this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
[Ed-Ace: Bumped on a slow day. I'm working on the initial Big Ten recruiting rankings for the class of 2013, which should be up later today.]
I have never played basketball at any level, outside of a few pickup games. I'm not all that good at statistics, so I apologize for any and all statistical errors. However, as a former actuary, I am good at finding trends and patterns in data. Last week, Maize N Brew had a good article on whether Michigan lives and dies by the three. The conclusion was that the offensive efficiency was not really dependent on hitting 3 pointers. When looking at it the data presented, it looked as though the more three point shots UM takes the worse the offensive efficiency. I decided to take a closer look.
3 point Attempts vs Offensive Effiency.
I went throught the game by game box scores and looked at the 3-point attempts and plotted it against the offensive efficiency. [I removed Ferris St. since they aren't a D-I opponent.] What I found was slightly disappointing. The correlation was -0.15 (the negative means the higher the number of 3-point attempts the lower the offensive efficiency) and the R-squared was a low 0.02. However, when I took a closer look, I noticed that two of our lower offensive efficiency numbers came against Ohio and MSU, which is no surprise considering that they are the #1 and #2 best defensive efficiency teams in the country.
So to adjust for that I looked at the amount the offensive efficiency exceeded the opponents average adjusted defensive efficiency from Kenpom. The result was more in line with what I expected. The correlation drops to -0.49 and the R-squared rises to 0.24.
Looking at the results, when U-M shoots 20 3-pointers or less, Michigan is 10-0 (4 of them RPI Top 50 wins, 5 more Top 100 wins). Shooting more than 25, Michigan is 6-3, but those wins came against Arkansas Pine Bluff, Oakland, 2 overtime wins against Northwestern, Bradley and Iowa St (the only quality win in regulation). The 3 losses were the 3 worst performances of the season, @Iowa, @Arkansas, and the loss to Purdue.
So is this unique to Michigan? I looked at Northwestern, a team I think is most similar to Michigan's style of play (in the B1G). They spread the floor, shoot a ton of 3s and look for back door cuts. And I found they have a positive correlation between 3 attempts and offensive efficiency. A correlation of +0.17 (after adjusting for defensive effiency). The R-squared is a pathetic 0.03, but I think it is important to note that the correlation is the opposite sign.
I also looked at Wisconsin. Ohio relies on Sullinger and MSU relies on the offensive rebound so much that I didn't think that they would be good comparisons to Michigan. For them it doesn't seem to matter if they shoot a lot of threes or not. A correlation of -0.1 and an R-squared of 0.01.
One of the 4 factors is Free Throw Rate. I think this may be the most important of the 4 for Michigan. Michigan is 10-0 vs RPI Top 100 competition when their FT Rate is greater than 25%. Michigan is 2-7 vs RPI Top 100 when the FT Rate is at or below 25%. How does this relate to 3-pointers? My theory is that Michigan is at their best when driving the basket and drawing fouls and not settling for jump shots of the 3-point variety (I'm looking at you THJ). It might also explain why Northwestern gives us fits. Their zone forces us to take a bunch of 3 point shots (like 38 of them).
So as we go into the post season:
- Cackle with knowing glee if Michigan is driving the basket
- Worry if we draw a zone team that forces us to shoot a lot of 3 pointers.
If anyone has a team they would like me to look at, let me know. I'm going to try to figure out how to add graphs so you can see the dramatic downward slope of Michigan's efficiency against 3 point attempts.
As mentioned two days ago, I was recently defeated by the stomach virus
and ordered by my doctor to cease all drawing of cartoon Michigan families
until I could stand the smell of cooked food. As such, I opted to run
Tuesday's feature Blockhams strip today, and that's what brings us to this...
(Click the image to view full size)
There's something about a big victory that brings the charm out of a Blockham man... and with three kids named Thomas, Chalmers and Desmond, matriarch Donna has seen it before and knows it all too well. Call it the heat of the moment, the rush of unbridled happiness, or something far less eloquent... but for a Michigan Man like Tom, there's something about a big win that calls for, well, another big win.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog, and at least
every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out our newest
feature, Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
|Targets||Ht.||Wt.||40||High School||Scout Rank||247 Rank||Rivals Rank||Commit|
|Wide Receivers (1 Offer)|
|Drake Harris||6'4"||180||Grand Rapids Cristian HS, Grand Rapids, MI||NR||NR||NR|
|Offensive Linemen (3 Offers)|
|Andy Bauer||6'5"||285||DeSmet HS, St. Louis, MO||NR||NR||NR|
|Orlando Brown||6'10"||360||Peachtree Ridge HS, Duluth, GA||NR||NR||NR|
|Damian Prince||6'7"||300||Bishop McNamara, Forestville, MD||NR||NR||NR|
|Defensive Ends (2 Offers)|
|Da'Shawn Hand||6'5"||245||Woodbridge Sr HS, Woodbridge, VA||NR||NR||NR|
|Malik McDowell||6'6"||260||Loyola HS, Detroit, MI||NR||NR||NR|
|Defensive Tackles (1 Offer)|
|Bryan Mone||6'3"||255||Highland HS, Salt Lake, UT||NR||NR||NR|
|Linebackers (0 Offers)|
|Cornerbacks (1 Offer)|
|Jalen Tabor||6'1"||170||Friendship Collegiate HS, Washington, DC||NR||NR||NR|
Given that we've almost wrapped up the 2013 class - I'll start maintaining the 2014 offer board
This has been derived from the 2013 offer board, so credit to wlubd for creating the template.
Before signing day I took a look at how team recruiting rankings were predictive of future success. I found that good defenses almost always come with good recruits, but on offense great offense often comes without being fully stocked, although it doesn’t hurt.
This week I wanted to look more at the individual level by comparing recruiting rankings to draft success. For most positions college success is going to translate well into future draft status. Michigan might have the biggest exception to that rule in Denard Robinson (although some think he might be a top WR pick). For almost everywhere on the field but rushing quarterback, college success and production are highly correlated to NFL stock. It’s not perfect but it’s a great place to start.
The debate on do recruit rankings matter rages on. Dr. Saturday, may he blog in peace, annually refreshed his look to affirm their accuracy. Rarely do you find anything resembling an analytical take down but from even the best writers on college football can come the anecdotal dismissal. Hopefully those of us who prefer to use data have already won you over and this can be a nice look at some of the ups and downs within the overall success of recruiting rankings. If you’re there yet, hopefully you are after you read this.
The Data Sets
On the recruit side, the pool of players will be the recruiting classes of 2002-2006. All but 2-3 of those players have had their shot to be drafted between the 2005 and the 2011 drafts. I will only be looking at the players who were ranked for their position, as well. This means I have all 4 & 5 stars and the best of the 3 stars. I excluded fullbacks and specialists because the numbers are pretty low and they are mostly all 3 stars or less.
It’s All in How You Word It
There are two key arguments against recruiting rankings. The first is the one used by Bruce Feldman in his recent article on Stanford linked above. It’s the yeah but what about…argument. Ignore recruiting rankings because Stanford is good. Ignore recruiting rankings because JJ Watt is good. There of course exceptions. There are plenty of flameouts and come from nowhere success stories but this is a volume game and the exceptions don’t disprove the rule.
The second argument is the famed failure to divide. Here are two true statements:
If you are drafted, you are more likely to be a three star or less recruit than four or five star.
The more stars you have the more likely you are to be drafted.
The first statement is used by opponents of rankings but isn’t really a relevant statement. The second is the key point. If every single five star was drafted, there would still be six times more three stars and below drafted than five stars. Because four stars and above are so selective they can’t win the quantity game but they dominate the likelihood game. The NFL is full of unheralded recruits but for every five start there are literally hundreds of unheralded recruits playing college football. The pool just starts much bigger.
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
So at this point we can all agree that recruiting rankings matter, right? If you’ve made it this far you’ve earned a chart.
Percent of Recruits Drafted
|Position*||5 star||4 star||3 star|
*Position based on recruited position, not drafted position
Across all positions, each additional star more than doubles your likelihood of being drafted. It’s not only true in the aggregate but at the position level, as well. There isn’t a single position where a 3 star recruit is more likely to be drafted than a four star. And this is a self-selected group of 3 stars and not the entire pool. In almost every case, a fifth star is another large bump from 4 stars. OLB, OT and WDE are virtually equivalent between 4 and 5 stars. Even a largely college specific position like Dual-Threat QB (RQB) and undefined positions like Athlete show the same trend.
The top positions for 5 star success are Athlete, DT, ILB and Safety at over 60% and the tight end position which was a perfect 4/4 in getting 5 stars drafted.
But getting drafted is only half the story, the other is draft position.
Average Pick For Drafted Players
|Position||5 star||4 star||3 star|
At the position level, the draft spot doesn’t hold up quite as well as the previous chart, but overall there is a strong trend favoring the higher starred players. On average, a drafted five star player will be picked in the middle of the third round, nearly a full round ahead of the average four star player and another 17 picks ahead of ranked three star players.
On twitter on Friday I teased a question about which position did five stars underperform four star counterparts. There is actually a position on each side of the ball. On defense it’s outside linebackers that don’t follow the trend and on offense it’s the tackles.
I think it’s interesting that Rivals has struggled to match top high school talent at position like tackle, outside linebacker and defensive end at the rate they have at other positions. Despite the weakness at these positions, similar positions like guard, inside linebacker and defensive tackle have had their rankings hold up quite well.
Don’t get too hung up on the magic of the fourth or fifth star. They are a nice aggregation but there isn’t going to be much difference between the last five start and the first four star. The bottom line is the higher ranked a recruit is the better they are likely to be, with plenty of exceptions. Positions like tackle, weakside d-end and outside linebacker the difference between a four star and a five is almost negligible. And there are no guarantees. Loading up on top talent gives you the highest likelihood of having team success and successful individuals, but when you get down to the specific player level it becomes a crapshoot. More 5 stars players never hear their names called than ones who do. For four stars it’s still a nearly 4:1 chance against getting drafted.
Examining Line Combinations and Defensive Pairings:
Today we look at how each line preformed as a group, to see which groups have been most effective.
Before we get started just a few notes:
- Many +/- numbers, goals and assists have been left off. The Wolverines used about thirty different forward combinations this season and many of them scored one time and never played together again. For that reason those numbers have been excluded.
- To avoid huge numbers a line only gets +1 or -1 when a goal is scored. +/- are not added together
- A line can earn more than one assist per goal scored.
- This only includes CCHA play
- This is not reflective of individual points or +/- Looking at overall stats and trying to compare them to what I have will confuse you. Any attempt to add them together to prove me wrong will result in hours of wasted time.
|K. Lynch-Deblois-T. Lynch||3||3||6||+3||-3|
As we can see here the top line does the heavy lifting and it's not even close. Our chances of winning can be directly attributed to how they are playing, because as you can see after that line scoring drops.
Players like Sparks and Hyman are left off the list, because they never scored more then one point on the same combination.
From watching the games you could tell our PP is not very good. This group also used many different combinations that only scored one time, before finding a unit that kind of worked but really not that well.
This looks pretty bad. Mac Bennett and Greg Pateryn have been pairing the entire year, they seem to get a boost in the + for being on the ice with the scoring line.
Moffie and Chiasson paired at the start of the season with bad results, and Moffie and Merrill haven't been that much better.
Another weak unit, stats don't say much here because of low numbers all across the board. Merrill-Moffie is much better than Pateryn-Bennett
Dear Coach Saban,
Congratulations on your recent College Football National Championship. Your Defense was truly inspiring, if not your television ratings. We hope all is well with you and your staff. We trust that you are enjoying a well deserved break before spring practice starts in earnest.
We, the Michigan faithful, are writing to you to ask you for your wisdom and guidance in an area where you are the undisputed master of the college football world. You see, we at Michigan suddenly find ourselves in a position that, quite frankly, bewilders and confuses us.
No doubt you've heard about the recent recruiting tear that we are on. It's only March, and we've already signed 11 4-star recruits, 8 of them in one weekend! That's more than the rest of the B1G teams . . . combined. But now it is starting to get out of hand. We are on the verge of having to turn away elite recruits in March because all of our slots are filling up. Worse, we are in a position where many of the players we may have to turn away are 5-stars. It's true. We have 5-stars lined up waiting to replace the 4-stars that we just recruited.
It's just not funny any more. We can't keep up with this madness. And with Coach Hoke on board at Michigan, it's likely to become an annual problem.
Coach, it has become clear to us that there is only one answer: Oversigning.
Yes, we know we are on record as being vigorously opposed to Oversigning. It's true we have looked down our noses on the SEC in general, and on this topic in particular. But that was when it was only a theoretical concept. Now that it's a real issue for us, well you know, we can kind of see the appeal. Perhaps we were a bit too harsh. Perhaps we were a bit too judgmental. There are lots of new innovative concepts out there being tried by true pioneers such as yourself, Coach Saban. Maybe it's time for us to quit being so insular, and get caught up to modern times.
The problem is, we're babes in the woods. We're Oversigning virgins. We don't understand any of this stuff . . . Greyshirting . . . Medical Hardships . . . and don't even get us started on how you can get to a roster of 85 players by signing 25 a year for 4 years. Our heads just hurt. So we ask ourselves: "What would Nick Saban do?” As the undisputed master of Oversigning, we humbly ask for your sage advice.
Coach Saban: Please teach us how to Oversign.
We have watched in awe all these years your expertise in Oversigning. We have watched you essentially recruit 5 classes to everyone else’s 4. We have watched you masterfully clear up roster space of, shall we say, "disposable players" to keep the recruiting pipeline flowing. We have even watched you clear up space within a recruiting class for better players, before any of those players even stepped foot on campus. Now that's Oversigning mastery.
Nick, please teach us the tricks of the trade. A skill-set such as yours should not be locked away. It needs to be shared where it will do the most good.
We at Michigan are ready for your lessons. We are willing to be your loyal apprentice. We will be the Luke Skywalker to your Yoda of Oversigning.
Thank You for your consideration,
The Michigan Faithful. Go Blue!
P.S. We are truly sorry for all the grief we caused you when you were at Michigan State. We were just doing what comes natural to us. It turns out your observations about MSU always being second fiddle to Michigan were on the money. In fact, they even came up with a name for it: "Little Brother". The current regime up there can certainly relate to your plight. But it all worked out OK for you. You moved on to "greener" pastures (sorry, lame joke). I hope we can let bygones be bygones and put this unfortunate history behind us, okay?