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Crunching the Math for March Champs

math

First off – big ups to BlugrassDiesel in the show thread today, for getting this idea going.  Free throws have been a big topic of discussion for this team (and pretty much every Calipari team, but just how important are they when it comes time to win a title?  Are there other factors we can look at too?

We’re going to compare some statistics to see where each title team finished, and where Kentucky falls in so far this year.

Free Throw Percentage
2003 Syracuse 69%
2004 UConn 61%
2005 UNC 73%
2006 Florida 73%
2007 Florida 68%
2008 Kansas 70%
2009 UNC 76%
2010 Duke 75%
2011 UConn 75%
2012 Kentucky 72%
2013 Louisville 71%
2014 Kentucky 66%

Takeaway:  Well.  Kentucky isn’t the worst so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.  And let’s throw 2008 Memphis in the mix – they only averaged 61% on their free throws, and were a crazy shot away from winning the title.  That said, it’s clear that more consistency with free throws takes this team from good to great, so it’d be nice if that percentage creeped up about 4 points. 

3pt Percentage
2003 Syracuse 35%
2004 UConn 40%
2005 UNC 40%
2006 Florida 39%
2007 Florida 41%
2008 Kansas 40%
2009 UNC 31%
2010 Duke 39%
2011 UConn 33%
2012 Kentucky 39%
2013 Louisville 33%
2014 Kentucky 30%

Takeaway: With great post play, Kentucky hasn’t had to rely on the three too heavily.  And with Randle getting better at passing out of double and triple teams, the percentage will get better.  But it’s clear that the Cats need to work on taking smarter shots here, too.  But at the end of the day, the 3 ball is only to keep teams honest.  Kentucky is going to win on their inside play this year.

FG Percentage

2003 Syracuse 46%
2004 UConn 48%
2005 UNC 50%
2006 Florida 50%
2007 Florida 53%
2008 Kansas 51%
2009 UNC 45%
2010 Duke 44%
2011 UConn 43%
2012 Kentucky 49%
2013 Louisville 45%
2014 Kentucky 48%

Takeaway:  This should be encouraging.  Kentucky is right in the middle here, and they’re still rounding in to shape.

And then of course, there is the Offensive and Defensive efficiency rating. Every champ for the past ten years has been in the top 20 of both categories, with only two being outside the top 5 in offensive, and three outside the top 5 in defensive

Kentucky is 11th in Adjusted Offensive efficiency so far on the season… and 45th in Adj Defensive efficiency.

The teams that are in the top twenty in both so far this season?  Kansas, Syracuse, and Arizona.  That’s it.

The stats back up what we already knew, to be honest.  The Cats still have work to do.  But as Calipari has preached – enjoy the process.  They’re getting better.  Here towards the end of SEC play, we will take a look at how the Cats performed solely in the SEC season, and compare the statistics again.

Until then – Go Cats, Beat Tennessee.

Article written by Will Lentz

12 Comments for Crunching the Math for March Champs



  1. DidYouKnow
    8:42 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Did you know that in the 18th century that sports mathematicians would have been called Rocket Scientists? Ah, if only we had smart missiles back then.



  2. GoCats2
    8:43 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Because it has to be posted…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4N08MrTO4g
    I cant stress that enough…



    • soggyUKgrad
      8:51 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

      Thank you for posting this!!! never gets old…”They low down, they dirty….” 🙂



  3. soggyUKgrad
    8:44 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    Will, where did you get these stats? I’d be interested to see how our rebounding stacks up to past Champs b/c it is a very important reason for this team’s success.



    • Brody Jones
      12:51 am January 18, 2014 Permalink

      Except the problem is that we are actually NOT getting better, as anyone who has watched the Pomeroy stats all year can easily attest. Our offensive efficiency went steadily from first place to finally dropping out of the Top Ten completely as other teams’ progress has outpaced ours. Our defense has gotten worse as well, dropping out of the Top Forty finally. Let’s face the facts: Cal is not getting it done with this team. Our 3 point shooting and free throw percentage are both getting worse.
      It’s time to stop whistling through the graveyard and start demanding results. Right now we’re looking at a Tubby-esque first weekend exit from the tourney assuming we make it in.



  4. Catlogic15
    9:01 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    So, we need to improve on free throws and 3 point shooting. Hmmm, glad someone finally pointed this out.



    • Megan
      9:38 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

      I wouldn’t have believed such a thing, but the proof is irrefutable. As things stand, Kentucky is mathematically eliminated from a national championship.

      You can’t argue with math. What’s the point in watching anymore?



  5. Vols
    9:11 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    I hope a couple of your bought and paid for ringers blow out their knees tomorrow.



  6. harry
    10:29 pm January 17, 2014 Permalink

    good stats, it would be nice to see Turn Over/Assist ratio as well. lots needs to be improved before we can make the leap and put our name down with the other champions.



  7. Clark
    1:47 am January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Do you play the game on paper, in Jaunary? No. Statistics aren’t everything. So all of you saying that we’re not improving, we’re eliminated from a Championship are not watching the same college basketball scene. No team has shown that they’re elite or unbeatable, it’s wife open. Anything can happen. Enjoy the season as the Fans (not coaches) that we are.



  8. BravBigBlue
    8:58 am January 18, 2014 Permalink

    Statistics can be “bent” in many directions to prove or disprove a position. I rely on my on own eyes, my own common sense, my own judgment to arrive at a decision or a logical conclusion. While this Kentucky group of players has a lot of talent, it is full of fundamental flaws that it will likely not be able to overcome to go very far in the NCAA tournament. The primary reason is that most of these players have never learned the fundamentals of the game. And Cal is not real strong in that area either. Based on those facts, I expect the Cats to go no further than the Sweet 16. Which of course would be a huge underachievement for the preseason #1 ranked team in the country and the “greatest incoming freshman class of all time” (laughable). Welcome to the Memphis University North Wildcats.



  9. just wondering
    10:40 am January 18, 2014 Permalink

    could you guys do average rebounds per game?