Our Journey Through Big Ten Basketball To Date

Our Journey Through Big Ten Basketball To Date

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on February 18th, 2013 at 1:15 PM

“CHARTING THE JOURNEY THROUGH CONFERENCE PLAY”

Now that there is some respite from the meat grinder that seems to be the Big Ten basketball schedule (at least until this weekend), I felt it might be an appropriate moment to step back and look at some of the basic numbers and breakdowns for our Wolverines. Much has been said in the postgame threads over the last stretch of games, and indeed, some of it bears itself out in the trends that you will see here. The caveat here is that the conference schedule is not yet complete and these numbers are not final.

I had wanted to do something like this since the Indiana game, but I held off because there simply was not enough data regarding conference play to make much of a determination about where the areas of focus should be at that point. Now, I think you can see some definite trends. I also compiled our statistics in a Michigan win versus Michigan loss format so you can easily see just how stark some of the differences are in some cases.

TABLE 1 – “Michigan Win Vs. Michigan Loss”

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The one thing that leapt out immediately, at least to me, is that in conference play, we are shooting about 11% when we win as opposed to when we lose, which is significant considering that our four losses have been at the hands of some of the most defensively efficient teams in Division I basketball, not just the conference. The difference is small for our opponents, who shoot only about 6% better in wins as opposed to losses. It’s a fairly similar story for three-pointers – we are down about 13% in losses compared to wins, whereas our opponents again show a difference of only 6% between the two scenarios.

Here is the shooting data broken out into individual games:

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Many of the findings aren’t entirely unexpected – we have fewer assists when we lose, we rebound less, and so on, but there are actually sustained trends that are worth noting at this point. Below are trends for point totals and the running average of points:

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In both of these, you can see an overall decline in our own production and a gradual increase in the production of those we have played. Since Indiana, in fact, we are giving up three more points per game on average, which may not seem like much, but when you consider that the fewest we have given up since then is 65, it is noteworthy. Our average in the same period has declined about two points, but our average is bolstered some by some of our early performances in conference play.

Tied somewhat to that would be offensive and defensive efficiency, shown below. This is the running number, cumulative as of each game:

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The trends are obviously not favorable, but overall, the efficiency numbers have not slid too much, as you will note. In both case, it is less than a 10% slide. It is enough, however, to say that there are items to address soon on both sides of the ball.

Rebounds and assists have also tailed off somewhat, but turnovers show one notable aberration:

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TL;DR CONCLUSION:

This is here for your perusal. The discussion which hopefully follows will become the conclusion of the board, or at least that is my intention. If there are other statistics that you would like to see charted, let me know and I will insert the data as time permits. I thought I might just get the discussion going with what I did here.

 

OBLIGATORY:

Quantifying Winning And Losing: The Defensive Version

Quantifying Winning And Losing: The Defensive Version

Submitted by LSAClassOf2000 on January 17th, 2013 at 2:52 PM

“WINNING AND LOSING WITH YOUR DEFENSE”

I thought it might be interesting to do a companion entry to the diary which I posted earlier in the week, and then expand on that analysis a little bit. Using the same 120 Division I football teams as in the previous diary, I started to do similar sorts of the data and did find some intriguing relationships as well as some intriguing quirks in the relationships.

As in the other diary, I first broke down the team averages on some basic dynamics by win total. Below are the results for basic defensive statistics:

 

 

Plays

Total Yards

Yards / Play

TDs

Yards / Game

12-13 Wins

935

4387

4.68

28

325.83

11 Wins

920

4614

5.01

33

349.60

10 Wins

945

4915

5.20

37

370.01

9 Wins

935

5197

5.54

42

400.46

8 Wins

917

4962

5.39

41

385.57

7 Wins

914

5056

5.51

44

389.52

6 Wins

924

5257

5.68

45

404.35

5 Wins

891

5027

5.63

48

418.92

4 Wins

849

4910

5.78

46

409.14

3 Wins

858

4985

5.81

50

415.43

2 Wins

874

5326

6.11

52

438.56

0-1 Win

854

5595

6.56

62

466.21

 

For a point of comparison, the division means for each:

 

 

 

Avg. Yards /Play

Plays

Total Yards

TDs

Avg. Yards / Game

DIVISION I AVERAGE:

5.53

902

4991

43

393.31

 

 

The relationship here is roughly linear, but not precisely linear.

 Looking at averages for total yards, for example, there are two small dips in the trend – one is at 7 and 8 wins, and the other occurs between 3 and 5 wins. One thing that is intriguing about the 7-8 win range is that there is a preponderance of ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 teams that sit in this range, most notably Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan St. (bowl stats included here), as well as Arizona, Oklahoma St., Baylor, Clemson and many others. Indeed, three of the top ten defenses and seven of the top twenty defenses by national ranking (yards / game) sit in this area of the overall chart.

The second anomaly – between 3 and 5 wins  - is largely inhabited by teams from lesser discussed conferences, such as the Mountain West, Conference USA, and the bottom tier of teams from the MAC conference. My guess on this one is that it is a quirk of their 2012 schedule and the results of these games, at least when it comes to total yards. In other words, many of these teams seem to be the bottom rung of teams in conferences that don’t have many high-powered offenses. I could be wrong on this, and at some point, I may very break this up into passing vs. rushing to elaborate on this effect.

Next, let’s take a look at top decile and bottom decile performers in the areas of total yards, yards per play, TDs surrendered and average yards per game:

 

 

AVG. WINS

AVG. LOSSES

Top 10% Performers - Total Yards

9.2

3.8

Top 10% Performers - Avg. Yards / Play

9.7

3.4

Top 10% Performers - Touchdowns

9.8

3.3

Top 10% Performers - Avg. Yards / Game

9.8

3.3

 

 

 

Bottom 10% Performers - Total Yards

6.7

6.0

Bottom 10% Performers - Avg. Yards / Play

4.0

8.3

Bottom 10% Performers - Touchdowns

4.5

7.9

Bottom 10% Performers - Avg. Yards / Game

4.5

7.8

 
It seems as if the top decile performances more or less speak for themselves in terms of having a defense that doesn’t give up big plays and can make crucial stops – these elements are, on average, worth about three wins above the division mean. As you may expect, on defense, the bottom decile performances in total yards still harbor the potential to produce decent seasons. Indeed, in this group, you have bowl-eligible teams like UCLA, Baylor, Lousiana Tech and Toledo, so having a defense that surrenders yards in bulk doesn’t mean we won’t see you in December. Of course, that won’t shock anyone, but here’s some statistical confirmation of that. Where it seems to hurt the most among bottom decile performances is when you combine surrendering yards in bulk with giving up bigger plays and allowing more touchdowns on top of that.

Actually, you can see this in terms of average yards per play right here:

 

AVERAGE YARDS - RANGE

AVG. WINS

AVG. LOSSES

max-6.5

3.6

8.7

6.49-6.0

4.8

7.5

5.99-5.5

5.8

6.8

5.49-5.0

8.2

4.7

4.99-4.5

8.9

4.2

4.49-min.

10.3

3.0

 
Here are the average records for teams either one standard deviation above or below the division mean:

 

 

AVG. WINS

AVG. LOSSES

More than 1 Std. Dev. Above Mean - Total Yards

5.5

7.2

More than 1 Std. Dev. Above Mean- Avg. Yards / Play

4.3

7.9

More than 1 Std. Dev. Above Mean - Touchdowns

4.1

8.2

More than 1 Std. Dev. Above Mean - Avg. Yards / Game

4.8

7.5

 

 

 

More than 1 Std. Dev. Below Mean - Total Yards

8.9

4.0

More than 1 Std. Dev. Below Mean - Avg. Yards / Play

9.7

3.5

More than 1 Std. Dev. Below Mean - Touchdowns

9.7

3.4

More than 1 Std. Dev. Below Mean - Avg. Yards / Game

9.0

4.1

 

 

 

More than 1 Std. Dev. Below Mean - All Metrics

9.8

3.2

More than 1 Std. Dev. Above Mean - All Metrics

3.6

8.6

 
So, the results are comparable to the top and bottom decile performances. In this, however, I included the averages for teams which excelled in all four categories and were above or below one standard deviation in all of them. For you edification, here are the first ten teams that qualified in this regard in both directions:

 

BEST

WORST

Alabama

Duke

Florida St.

Miami (OH)

BYU

Wyoming

Michigan St.

West Virginia

Florida

Toledo

Bowling Green

Idaho

Notre Dame

New Mexico St.

LSU

Eastern Mich.

Connecticut

Kansas

Rutgers

Tulane

 
I also looked at one or two other things as well. I sorted the table by national rank and then did a quick study of the average records of each of twelve ten-team tiers (i.e., 1-10, 11-20, etc…) and the results do indeed show a progression:

 

National Ranking

AVG. WINS

AVG. LOSSES

1 to 10

9.5

3.6

11 to 20

9.0

4.2

21 to 30

8.2

4.6

31 to 40

8.5

4.5

41  to 50

7.6

5.3

51 to 60

7.2

5.4

61 to 70

6.1

6.4

71 to 80

6.7

6.2

81 to 90

4.8

7.5

91 to 100

4.1

8.3

101-110

5.4

7.0

111 and below

4.8

7.4

 
It should be noted, for those who are not aware, that the rankings are determined by average yards surrendered per game, so you’re essentially looking at the progression for that as well. Things actually get a little intriguing, however, when you blow this up to total yards:

 

TOTAL YARDS

AVG. WINS

AVG. LOSSES

4000 and below

9.6

3.6

4001-4250

8.1

4.6

4251-4500

7.7

4.9

4501-4750

6.3

6.4

4751-5000

6.8

5.8

5001-5250

7.4

5.6

5251-5500

5.6

6.9

5501-5750

5.6

7.0

5751-6000

4.0

8.5

6001 and above

8.0

4.9

 
You will note two spikes – one at the 5001-5250 yard range, and another in the tier of teams that basically don’t believe in defense. Part of the problem in the latter group was sample size and the fact that 5 of the 6 teams in that group had WINNING records. Here is the list for each “spike”:

 

5001-5250

6000 and above

Georgia

Duke

Mississippi St.

West Virginia

Cincinnati

Toledo

Auburn

Louisiana Tech

Ohio

Arizona

Nebraska

Baylor

Texas A&M

 

Washington St.

 

Southern Miss.

 

Southern California

 

UAB

 

Army

 

SMU

 

Clemson

 

Northern Ill.

 

Oklahoma

 

Wake Forest

 

UCF

 

Georgia Tech

 

 
TL;DR CONCLUSION:

One of the things that I found here that actually did surprise me a little bit was just how significantly less sensitive the relative performances can be to defensive play sometimes. There are indeed teams which have the firepower on offense to outgun their opponents, and when you look at some of the teams that show up as the worst performers on defense, you see many teams that also walked away with decent records for the season as well.

Overall, you still see how much it is worth in terms of wins and losses to have a good defense. The whole idea here was to reach an approximation of that essentially using the otherwise obvious football axioms about having a good defense and what it can get you. It seems that, similar to the diary on offense, we are looking at anywhere from 1-3 wins above the mean, depending on the measure used.

REALLY TL;DR PHOTO:

 

Bruce Feldman on Mattison and UM missed tackles improvement

Bruce Feldman on Mattison and UM missed tackles improvement

Submitted by triangle_M on October 26th, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Feldman reviews UM's scoring defense improvement (improving from 108th to 8th from 2010 to 2011). The article does a good job of getting inside our DC's philosophy.  It also pins down where our defense has made great strides (not missing tackles).

When I asked Mattison about the psychological effect of a guy missing a tackle, enabling the defense not to be able to get off the field on a third-and-long, he pointed out even the verbiage of such a question gets to the core of what he's looking to remedy.
"It shouldn't be 'a' guy," Mattison said. "For us, when we came in here, our whole thing was, the players are the players we have. That's it. It's not like the NFL where you can draft somebody or trade somebody. Our whole goal was to get the players that we have on defense to play 'Michigan Defense.' And when we say 'Michigan Defense,' that means it was first, an honor to play for Michigan. And once it was honor to play at Michigan, it became an obligation to play at that standard. That level was established a long time ago. You just had to play up to that level, and that level, in its simplest form, came down to pursuing to the football. You had to play hard on every play. A loaf, or taking a play off or not going hard, was just unacceptable. I think that's something we've really worked hard to try to get back to.

http://bruce-feldman.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/view/31626208

 

EDIT: Title changed to help with the GMAT confusion.  Changed missed tackles stat to scoring defense.