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Tom Leach talks to Ken Pomeroy


As we creep closer and closer to the end of conference tournaments and the beginning of the NCAA tournament, the numbers aspect of college basketball comes to the forefront of the discussion for all those teams precariously sitting on that hypothetical bubble floating between a 10 or 12 seed and hosting an NIT contest. The numbers of importance go beyond the ones in the win and loss columns when figures like a team’s RPI, strength of schedule, wins against top talent and losses to less talented teams like, say, Drexel or something are scrutinized and dissected by the nerdy members of the selection committee.

No college basketball number cruncher may be considered nerdier than Ken Pomeroy who, on his website, has developed his own rating system to determine the top dog in college basketball. Despite the road struggles of the Cats this season, Ken has kept them relatively high in his rankings all year long, including a current ranking of 10th, and in a Tom Leach interview he explained what he sees in this Kentucky team, you know, with numbers.

Here are some of the highlights:

One of Pomeroy’s numbers where Kentucky shows up poorly is “luck.” How does he quantify that component?

“Luck comes down to how well you compete in close games,” Pomeroy said. “You would expect a team as good as Kentucky to do pretty well in close game. You aren’t going to win them all, regardless of how good you are or how good your coach is, but it doesn’t work that way. There are some things out of your control, so you expect good teams to win most of their close games. But with Kentucky, they have lost most of their close games, which is surprising but not unheard of for a good team, so that is where the luck rating comes out of. Sometimes you expect luck to even out over the course of the season.”

When asked to summarize the Wildcats’ profile, Pomeroy said UK is a team that is better on offense than it is on defense.

“I have them rated right now in the top 10 offensively and struggling defensively,” Pomeroy said. “They are ranked somewhere in the 30-to-40 range and the one statistic that comes out is that they don’t force a lot of turnovers and that is kind of typical of a John Calipari team. Calipari teams don’t force many turnovers and last year, they didn’t force too many turnovers. What is strange is that their two-point defense is excellent. They hold opponents to 41 percent shooting and the national average is about 48 percent. Kentucky ranks fifth nationally in that they are not a team that has a dominant inside presence that they had last year but they are still very good inside the paint.”

How do the numbers compare with the RPI?

“The main difference is that I account for margin of victory,” Pomeroy said. “The idea behind my system is that I want people to understand who the best teams are going forward from today. Incorporating margin of victory, you can make that more reliable than just who a team has lost to. Another difference between my system and the RPI is that – and a lot of people don’t know this – but in the strength of schedule category on the RPI, it doesn’t account for where the game is played, so it doesn’t account for home-court advantage or anything like that. My system does that and it is obviously included on how a team is evaluated.”

Pomeroy said the NCAA selection committee gets his numbers but he believes it weighs the RPI more heavily in its evaluations.

If you put stock in numbers, then what Ken has to say seems pretty promising for our young team, especially because we don’t have any more road games.

Road games just suck.

Article written by Matthew Hays

19 Comments for Tom Leach talks to Ken Pomeroy

  1. UKFan
    9:36 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink


  2. NegativeForNoReason
    9:48 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    This guy gives me a raging brainer

  3. Cal Purnell here
    9:54 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Did Matt Jones survive them tornados in Da Ville today?

  4. sunnycat
    10:21 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    2 brainer…..i didnt think that was going to end like that

  5. dmc
    10:21 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Is this cite really better without me?

  6. Enes Kanter
    10:35 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Free Matt Jones

  7. uk fan
    10:45 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    i miss last years team…

  8. duke
    10:51 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    im scared of uk

  9. Soap MacTavish
    11:13 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Ideally we’re saving all our luck for the tournament. I’d take six 2-point wins (starting after this weekend) to cancel out all the close losses we’ve had.

  10. dmc
    11:27 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Love ya Tyler

  11. dmc
    11:30 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Matt, Can we please for the love of God get more post on here by Tyler? I love her

  12. Tyler
    11:31 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Kobe! Gottem

  13. Classy
    11:32 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Hi my name is Ms. Thompson

  14. Charlee Sheen
    11:33 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Tyler=#WINNING DUH

  15. Goodnight
    11:34 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    Luv that Class TT

  16. Me
    11:34 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    planbetter u r my GODDESS TT

  17. holdmeclosertinydanson
    11:46 pm March 8, 2011 Permalink

    If we are going with the highly accurate statistics of luck, then he must have an algorithm for team chemistry doesn’t he? It’s the type of things that can only be measured by people who have nothing else to contribute! Like a “more Tyler” comment.

  18. 101blue
    8:02 am March 9, 2011 Permalink

    It’s not LUCK, it the other team concentrating more because of who they are playing.


  19. NBA league pass
    7:48 pm March 9, 2011 Permalink

    9) that’s what I’m saying. We’ve had enough BS losses to last the next 4 years. Ball should be bouncing our way soon.