KenPom interviewed

KenPom interviewed

Submitted by LLG on February 6th, 2018 at 1:45 PM

MGoBoard might enjoy this interview with Ken Pomeroy on college basketball analytics.…

"Ken Pomeroy, a pioneer in college basketball analytics and founder of, joins me for a wide ranging discussion. He tells us how his college basketball rankings work, what aspects of 3 pointers a team controls on offense and defense, and how predicting the weather prepared him for college basketball."

KenPom Numbers of Beilein Teams

KenPom Numbers of Beilein Teams

Submitted by Hail-Storm on January 17th, 2018 at 2:06 PM


Beilein team Kenpom results
Year AdjO Rank O AdjD Rank D AdjOvAdjD Rank NCAA Tournament
2018 114.1 6 93.8 1 20.3 4  
2017 122.3 2 99.2 7 23.1 3 Sweet 16
2016 114.6 4 100.5 8 (Tie) 14.1 8 First round
2015 110 9 100.5 8 (Tie) 9.5 10 NA
2014 123.9 1 100.5 8 (Tie) 23.4 2 Elite 8
2013 121.9 3 94 2 27.9 1 Finals
2012 114.3 5 96.8 5 17.5 6 First Round
2011 112.8 7 95.1 3 17.7 5 Second Round
2010 107.4 10 95.9 4 11.5 9 NA
2009 112.2 8 97.5 6 14.7 7 Second Round
2008 104.4 11 101.7 11 2.7 11 NA
Average 114.4   97.8   16.6    
Std Dev 6.2   2.9   7.2    

Above is a quick look at Beilein's teams Kenpom AdjO, AdjD, AdjO vs AdjD, and the NCAA tournament result. 

A few things that stick out to me:

- This year's defense is the statistically (to Kenpom) the best of the Beilein era and similar to the 2013 team's D

- The offense is having a very average year so far with similar offensive results to 2016 and 2012

- The current unscientific expected results with this O and D would be to lose in second round or in sweet 16

- Since we would expect the team to not get better on their already best defensive year, the way for this team to improve is to be more efficient on offense.  They need to be at an offensive AdjO of around 117 to increase expectations of a Sweet 16 or Elite 8.  

- If they somehow were to get to offensive efficiency numbers of 2013, 2014, or 2017, the team could have a run to the finals and championship when paired with this defense.

This really isn't saying a whole lot, but I am avoiding doing my work after lunch, and found it interesting how good this defense is statistically and how average it is offensively. I know that Beilein offenses tend to pick up in second half of schedule, but I guess we will see. 

Basketball Opponents 2015-2016: Through January 13, 2016

Basketball Opponents 2015-2016: Through January 13, 2016

Submitted by Hail_Yes on January 13th, 2016 at 6:59 PM

I did some research on the D1 opponents we have played thus far and put together a little something to summarize how they've fared through this point of the season.  I recorded our score against said team, what their record is, what their Kenpom ranking is, and wrote down a few notes on how their season has gone.  I characterized our wins and losses against our opponents this year using this metric:

Wins:  Great (Kenpom 1-25), Good (26-50), Decent (50-100), Meh (100+)

Losses: Not Bad At All (1-25), Not Bad (25-50), Borderline Bad (50-100), Bad (100+)

Road wins get bumped up one catgory.  For example, our road win at NC State (Kenpom 78) gets the bump from "Decent" to "Good" for being a road win.  Similarly, home losses get bumped one category down.


Elon (W 88-68):  11-6 Overall, 2-2 CAA

Kenpom: 163

Notes:  Elon has lost to anybody of significance thus far; a very average mid-major team.

Win Status: Meh


Xavier (L 86-70):  15-1 Overall, 3-1 Big East

Kenpom: 10

Notes:  Xavier has been one of the best teams in the country so far this year.  They have a list of quality wins including Butler, Cincinnati, Dayton, USC, 3 SEC teams, and Wake Forest.  The only loss they suffered was a blowout at Villanova when guard Evan Sumner was injured when a Villanova defender landed on his head.  This team is likely to be in the 1-4 seed range come March.

Loss status: Not Bad


UConn (L 74-60): 11-4 Overall, 3-1 American

Kenpom: 37

Notes: UConn hold two quality non-conference wins against OSU and at Texas, but have suffered losses at the hands of Syracuse, Gonzaga, Maryland, and Temple.  This is a hard team to get a read on.  Their play in the American will show whether or not this team truly is a contender.

Loss Status: Not Bad


Charlotte (W 102-47): 4-11 overall, 1-2 C-USA

Kenpom: 230

Notes: Charlotte isn't quite as bad as their record leads you to believe, but they're still pretty bad.  

Win status: Meh


Texas (W 78-72):  10-6 overall, 2-2 Big 12

Kenpom: 58

Notes: Texas has done a quality job of defending home court this year, with a 2-1 record against Kenpom Top-40 teams (Wins against UNC and Iowa St., Loss to Uconn).  Away from home is a different story.  Texas has lost to Washington, Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and TCU away from home.  They're going to have to step up their game if they want to make the dance, as 13 of their last 15 games come against teams that are currently Top-50 in Kenpom. 

Win Status: Decent


NC State (W 66-59): 10-6 overall, 0-3 ACC

Kenpom: 78

Notes:  NC State started the year off on the wrong note when William and Mary ran them out of the gym.  It really hasn't gotten better for the Wolfpack.  They picked up a quality win against LSU, but had close games with almost every mid-major team they played.  They've lost their first three ACC games by 13 points total, and are about to enter a 5 game gauntlet that includes Duke, North Carolina, Pitt, and Miami.  Likely not a tournament team this year.

Win Status: Good


Houston Baptist (W 82-57): 8-7 overall, 3-0 Southland

Kenpom: 267

Notes: Not a very good team.  The Huskies have beaten the 3 bottom teams in the Southland Conference, and those teams all rank below 330 on Kenpom.

Win Status: Meh


SMU (L 82-58): 15-0 overall, 4-0 American

Kenpom: 15

Notes: One of two undefeated teams left in D1.  Their seemingly low ranking is due to strength of schedule, which is 250th according to Kenpom.  They have beaten two top-40 teams in Michigan and Cincinnati.  Trips to Houston, Uconn, Cincinnati, and a home date with Gonzaga will determine how good this team really is.  If they could play the postseason this year, they certainly look the part of a 2-4 seed.  

Loss Status: Not Bad At All


Delaware State (W 80-33): 1-14 overall, 0-1 MEAC

Kenpom: 349 (out of 351)

Notes: They are a D1 team that put up 33 points against an average defense. That is all you need to know.

Win Status: Meh


Northern Kentucky (W 77-62): 4-10 overall, 0-3 Horizon

Kenpom: 282

Notes:  The Norse have lost their first three Horizon league games by a combined 41 points.  The only true bright spots on their season are not getting blown out by Michigan and Xavier.

Win Status: Meh


Youngstown State (W 105-46):  7-10 overall, 2-2 Horizon

Kenpom: 222

Notes: Another average-at-best mid-major team.  Blown out by any team of significance. 

Win Status: Meh


Bryant (W 96-60): 6-11 overall, 3-1 NEC

Kenpom: 294

Notes:  Bryant got absolutely slaughtered in non-conference play, earning only two wins (one against a D2 squad).  They're off to a good start in conference play though, with their only conference loss thus far on the road at Wagner, who currently sits atop the NEC.

Win Status: Meh


Illinois (W 78-68): 9-8 overall, 1-3 B1G

Kenpom: 97

Notes: The Fighting Illini are a confusing team, as always.  They have played good games against good competition, such as a win against Purdue and close losses to Iowa State, Providence and Notre Dame.  On the other hand, they have also had some baffling losses, such as North Florida and Chattanooga at the beginning of the year.  They opened B1G play with Michigan, MSU, OSU, and Purdue, a tough opening that certainly attributed to their 1-3 record thus far.  They're going to need to pick up some more quality wins and beat the bottom level teams of the B1G if they even want to sniff the tournament bubble.

Win Status: Good


Penn State (W 79-56): 10-7 overall, 1-3 B1G

Kenpom: 151

Notes: Another year, another bad Penn State basketball team.  The Nittany Lions were crushed by Duquesne early in the season, and also have a loss to Radford.  Their best game of the year was probably against Maryland, where they took the Terps down to the wire before succombing in the end.  Likely another season spent in the basement of the Big Ten for Penn State.

Win Status: Meh


Purdue (L 87-70): 14-3 overall, 2-2 B1G

Kenpom: 13

Notes:  The Boilermakers are a very solid squad this year, but their weak non-conference schedule showed itself when they entered Big Ten play.  Purdue suffered losses 2 and 3 on the year to Iowa and Illinois respectively.  Their only other loss comes at the hands of a good Butler squad.  This is a team that is going to improve as the year goes on, and if they learn to shoot like they did against Michigan on a consistent basis, they'll be a terrifying team come tourney time.  Likely a 2-5 seed in the big dance.

Loss Status: Not Bad At All


Maryland (W 70-67): 15-2 overall, 4-1 B1G

Kenpom: 14

Notes:  Unlike Rutgers, Maryland has certainly proven that it is worthy of playing basketball in the Big Ten.  The Terps only lost one non-conference game, and that was in Chapel Hill to an excellent UNC team.  The Terps still have much to prove however, as their best wins have come against UConn and Northwestern,  neither of which are top-30 Kenpom teams.  If this team plays up to it's potential it will most likely be a 1-seed come tournament time.  If not, the lowest they'll fall is a 4 or 5 seed.

Win Status: Great


Overall Opponent Record: 150-106 (.586)


Michigan Record vs.

Kenpom 1-50: 1-4

Kenpom 50-100: 3-0

Kenpom 100+: 8-0


Currently ranked 31st in Kenpom, Michigan is sitting in a good place with no losses outside the top-50 and a signature win against an excellent Maryland squad.   According to Kenpom, if the season were to end right now the Wolverines would be an 8-seed.  If they continue to take care of business against teams they should beat and rack up a few more quality wins, there's no reason this team couldn't be a 4 or 5 seed come March. 

How Teams With Top 30 Offenses and Sub 100 Defenses Have Fared NCAA Tournament

How Teams With Top 30 Offenses and Sub 100 Defenses Have Fared NCAA Tournament

Submitted by Soulfire21 on March 17th, 2014 at 9:50 PM

/u/LOLmodel on Reddit compiled a list of how teams with top 30 offenses and sub-100 defenses have performed in the tournament (using Kenpom's adjO and adjD numbers).  This year, Michigan enters the tournament with the 3rd best offense and 104th best defense.

The results were not incredibly encouraging, but I found it a highly interesting examination.  Click the image below to open a full-sized (i.e. legible) version in a new window.

Sorry I couldn't fit more words in the title...

The reverse (top 30 adjD and sub-100 adjO is also available here).

Kenpom's Big Ten Tourney Projections

Kenpom's Big Ten Tourney Projections

Submitted by MH20 on March 13th, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Mr. Pomeroy has been busy crunching the numbers for each conference tournament, calculating percentages for each team's chances for success.

Below is the chart for the BTT based off of Ken's ratings and Bill James' log5 formula (I am not familiar with this formula but assume it is complicated).

Michigan is the favorite as you can see, though a potential quarterfinals matchup with Indiana has them slightly less favored to make the semis than Wisconsin, who most likely will be facing Minnesota.

                Qtrs  Semis  Final  Champ
 1 Michigan      100   72.6   45.1   25.4
 2 Wisconsin     100   73.7   40.4   22.1
 5 Ohio St.     82.2   55.2   28.9   15.1
 3 Michigan St.  100   55.9   29.3   15.0
 6 Iowa         86.2   42.3   21.8   10.9
 4 Nebraska      100   39.4   14.1    5.0
 8 Indiana      57.8   17.4    7.3    2.6
 7 Minnesota    58.9   17.1    5.7    1.9
 9 Illinois     42.2   10.1    3.5    1.0
10 Penn St.     41.1    9.2    2.4    0.6
12 Purdue       17.8    5.5    1.1    0.2
11 Northwestern 13.8    1.8    0.3    0.05

The summary of the tournament focuses mostly on MSU (yes, injuries are mentioned), however it mostly paints their chances now that they're "healthy" in a negative light.


Finally, a quick rundown of today's games:

Illinois vs. Indiana, 12pm (BTN) -- IU -2.0

Purdue vs. Ohio State, ~2:25pm (BTN) -- OSU -8.5

Penn State vs. Minnesota,  6:30pm (ESPN2) -- Minn -4.5

Northwestern vs. Iowa, ~ 8:55pm (ESPN2) -- Iowa -12.5

Chances of winning the B1G, per KenPom - 2/26 update

Chances of winning the B1G, per KenPom - 2/26 update

Submitted by J. on February 27th, 2014 at 2:38 AM

OK, so that happened. The great thing about the Big Ten standings is that they don't take 19-point first-half deficits into account.  :-) Unsurprisingly, the performance in West Lafayette reduced KenPom's probabilities of Michigan victory in each of the next three games; combined with an Illinois victory over Nebraska, the remaining schedule looks a couple of percentage points harder than it did a few days ago.

Having said that, GRIII's layup turned a 74% (pregame) probability of victory into 100%, which more than makes up for the slightly smaller future percentages.  Here's an updated chart of Michigan's expected final record, again to two signficant figures:

15-3 44%
14-4 43%
13-5 12%
12-6 0.93%

Staee hasn't played; their chart is nearly unchanged:

14-4 16%
13-5 49%
12-6 31%
11-7 3.8%

Wisky, now alone in third place:

13-5 43%
12-6 44%
11-7 or worse 13%

Ohio, still up half a game on Iowa:

12-6 33%
11-7 or worse 67%


12-6 21%
11-7 or worse 79%

(Nebraska, unsuprisingly, has been eliminated from title contention).

Combining the various scenarios, we get the following chance of winning the title with the given record (i.e., the rows add up to 100% and represent the probability of each outcome if Michigan achieves the record listed).

Record Outright Title Shared Title No Title
15-3 100%    
14-4 84% 16%  
13-5 20% 64% 16%
12-6 0.26% 20% 80%

Multiplying by the data in the first table -- the chance that Michigan achieves each of these records -- gives us an 83% chance of an outright title (up from 75% on Sunday) and a 15% chance of a shared title, for a whopping 98% chance of hanging a Big Ten championship banner for 2014.

With the victory over the Boilermakers, Michigan has also locked up a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament.  (I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that even if they lose out, Michigan's worst possible finish is a tie for fourth, and the winning record against the top teams in the B1G standings would pay dividends in any tiebreaker).

Clinching/eliminatation scenarios for the remainder of the week and weekend:

  • Michigan cannot clinch the outright title this weekend. However, Michigan can clinch a share of the title with a win and a loss by Staee.
  • Iowa plays @Indiana and vs. Purdue and is eliminated with any loss or Michigan victory.
  • Ohio plays @PSU and @Indiana and is eliminated with any loss or Michigan victory.
  • Wisconsin plays @PSU. A loss or Michigan victory means that they can do no better than a share of the title; a loss and a Michigan victory would eliminate them entirely.
  • Staee plays at home against Illinois; if they lose and Michigan wins, they can do no better than a share of the title.

As always, Go Blue!

(Edit: corrected a typo - "play dividends" -> "pay dividends")

Chances of winning the B1G, per KenPom

Chances of winning the B1G, per KenPom

Submitted by J. on February 24th, 2014 at 1:23 PM

(Apologies if this belongs elsewhere, but I haven't seen this analysis done yet).

At 11-3, with a half-game lead on Staee and four games remaining, Michigan is obviously in the driver's seat for the B1G basketball title.  Using the game predictions from KenPom's site, I've done a quick probability analysis to see what the odds are that there's a banner to be hung.

First, Michigan's expected record, along with a percent chance:


15-3 36%
14-4 43%
13-5 18%
12-6 3.1%
11-7 0.18%

(I used two significant figures, since there were two in the KenPom data; obviously, they won't add to exactly 100%).

Here's Staee's expected record:

14-4 16%
13-5 49%
12-6 32%
11-7 3.7%


13-5 15%
12-6 40%
11-7 33%
10-8 or worse 12%


13-5 37%
12-6 44%
11-7 17%
10-8 or worse 2.4%


12-6 33%
11-7 44%
10-8 or worse 23%


12-6 5.7%
11-7 26%
10-8 or worse 68%

Put it all together, and you get the following possibilities (all chances here are conditional -- e.g., each line should add up to 100% within the limits of rounding and significant figures):

Record Outright Title Shared Title No Title
15-3 100%    
14-4 84% 16%  
13-5 19% 65% 16%
12-6 0.20% 19% 81%
11-7 < 0.01% 0.20% > 99%

When you factor in the chances that Michigan achieves each of these records (from the first table), and add it all up, and there is a 75% chance of an outright title, a 19% chance of a shared title, and a 6% chance of being bannerless.  (Coincidentally, I coded up a simulation using the same KenPom percentages, ran it 100 times, and got at least a share of the title exactly 94 times).

Long story short, even with a single loss, the odds are still in our favor to win the title outright, since KenPom doesn't think Staee is likely to run the table, and 2-2 down the stretch is likely to be enough to secure a share of the title.  Like many of you, I never would have predicted this in December.

Go Blue!

Beilein at Michigan: KenPom/Sagarin analysis

Beilein at Michigan: KenPom/Sagarin analysis

Submitted by Leaders And Best on January 27th, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Because I was bored during lunch, I wanted to see how John Beilein's teams had improved over his tenure at Michigan by looking at the final KenPom and Sagarin numbers. I made 2 quick and dirty graphs that show the teams yearly final rank and rating. I thought the team rank would probably be the best way to compare across years because it is more standardized as the formula for the rating may have slight tweaks that impact the final value of the rating between years.

Amazingly, Michigan's teams under Beilein showed a progressive improvement each year with the outlier of one year, 2009 or 2010. You could make a case that Michigan overachieved ahead of schedule in 2009 or underachieved in 2010. I also thought it was pretty interesting that Michigan has played one of the toughest schedules in the nation under Beilein. Some of this has to do with the Big Ten Conference, but even within the Big Ten, Michigan's SOS are some of the best. Michigan has pretty much had a top 15 SOS every year under Beilein.

EDIT: Can't figure out how to successfully cut and paste the graphs.

The raw numbers:

Year KenPom Rank KenPom Rating Sagarin Syn Rank Sagarin Syn Rating Sagarin Predict Rank KenPom SOS Sagarin SOS
2008 143 0.5418 148 0.7356 128 12 7
2009 43 0.8211 34 0.8412 49 12 6
2010 66 0.7616 87 0.7842 71 15 29
2011 26 0.8614 32 0.8486 22 7 8
2012 23 0.8588 25 0.8499 32 4 1
2013 4 0.9427 2 0.926 4 4 4
2014 8 0.9366 5 0.9111 8 8 3



Where I React to the Prediction by KenPom

Where I React to the Prediction by KenPom

Submitted by Mmmm Hmmm on March 31st, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Wonderful win, outstanding game.  Final Four Woooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Michigan beat the KenPom expected result by 25 points.  What does that mean about KenPom?  Absolutely nothing.  What does it mean about Michigan? The team played an outstanding game.

Time to take sharp objects to defenseless nets...on to Atlanta!

P.S. Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!