These games will be awesome. Please watch them.
|#2 Oregon vs. #1 Baylor||ESPN2||4/5 7 p.m.||79.6|
|#2 Uconn vs. #1 Notre Dame||ESPN2||4/9 9 p.m.||83.9|
Enjoy the games!
These games will be awesome. Please watch them.
|#2 Oregon vs. #1 Baylor||ESPN2||4/5 7 p.m.||79.6|
|#2 Uconn vs. #1 Notre Dame||ESPN2||4/9 9 p.m.||83.9|
Enjoy the games!
After I published my essay on teams that oddly had a better point per possession statistic for their half court offense compared with their transition offense, I received the following comment from James Arnold, the head coach of NCAA Division III team Westminster (MO) College.
|Team||Record||Transition PPP||Half Court PPP||Pace rank||Overall PPP Rank||FT rate||FT %|
|Little Rock Trojans||21-11||0.792||0.813||328||131||324||97|
|Boston University Terriers||15-14||0.722||0.783||343||174||265||66|
|CSU Fullerton Titans||14-16||0.755||0.792||215||207||212||244|
|Colorado State Rams||8-22||0.748||0.782||347||284||309||34|
|Grand Canyon Antelopes||7-20||0.680||0.743||311||289||180||346|
|Loyola (MD) Greyhounds||7-24||0.664||0.703||326||316||285||87|
|Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders||23-11||0.877||0.883||349||32||119||165|
|Northern Kentucky Norse||11-18||0.732||0.746||284||255||57||235|
|South Dakota Coyotes||28-6||0.932||0.939||196||14||62||3|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||22-12||0.842||0.913||216||34||92||1|
Unfortunately, I’m not aware of anywhere that breaks FTs down on a comparison of if they come from transition or half court offense. I think Arnold’s question is a really pertinent one, though – if a team is just much better at getting to the free throw line in the half court, that could explain why they have their expected offense performance “flipped.”
The closest thing I could find to the answer for this question is Synergy listing what percentage of a team’s transition & half court points come from the free throw line. However, I don’t see a very easy way to compare this across teams without pulling up the numbers for each DI team. Which, uh, no thanks.
So I did the next best thing and looked up the teams in question’s FT rate & FT % numbers from last year. Unfortunately, neither really provided an answer to the question. Free throw rate is spread out in this group, with some teams getting to the line a lot and some other ones almost being allergic to it. There’s also no apparent link between free throw rate and overall offense within this group; Little Rock had a pretty good O, but they took very few free throws. Meanwhile Northern Kentucky got to the line at a great late but had a poor overall offense.
Free throw percentage was a little closer, but again didn’t offer a clear answer. Grand Canyon was very poor at making freebies. UTSA wasn’t much better, and there were three more teams that I’d generally classify as not great. But it also includes the best & third best teams at making shots from the charity stripe, plus five more teams from the top 100.
It feels like the strongest correlation is between ability to make free throws & these “flipped” offenses, but I don’t think it’s strong enough to make any kind of an actual declaration of a relationship.
The frustrating thing is I’m not any closer to solving this issue. Maybe it’s not a circumstance that actually has an answer. Maybe these 14 teams are just kind of weird in how their offense performed. Maybe it’s actually most meaningful that 11 of the 14 teams had an edge of less than 0.05 points per possession in their half court offense, and that just means it’s within the realm of possibility to have these numbers come out of your offense, and it’s basically just statistical noise.
After listening to a talk from the head coach of Western Illinois, JD Gravina, I was struck by a comment Gravina made that teams practically always have more efficient transition offenses compared with their half court offenses on a per possession basis. I wasn’t sure how often the opposite happened – that a team scored more points per possession in the half court than as a transition team.
|Team||Record||Transition PPP||Half Court PPP||Pace rank||Overall PPP Rank|
|Little Rock Trojans||21-11||0.792||0.813||328||131|
|Boston University Terriers||15-14||0.722||0.783||343||174|
|CSU Fullerton Titans||14-16||0.755||0.792||215||207|
|Colorado State Rams||8-22||0.748||0.782||347||284|
|Grand Canyon Antelopes||7-20||0.680||0.743||311||289|
|Loyola (MD) Greyhounds||7-24||0.664||0.703||326||316|
|Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders||23-11||0.877||0.883||349||32|
|Northern Kentucky Norse||11-18||0.732||0.746||284||255|
|South Dakota Coyotes||28-6||0.932||0.939||196||14|
|Virginia Tech Hokies||22-12||0.842||0.913||216||34|
The above transition & half court points per possession (PPP) data is from Synergy Sports. The team ranks in pace & overall PPP data is from Her Hoop Stats.
It’s quite a collection of teams, with varying levels of success through the season. There’s also no clear connection between having a more efficient half court offense & a team’s overall pace of play. Seven of these 14 teams played among the 50 teams with the slowest pace, and eight among the 100 teams with the slowest pace. But Drake had the thirty fastest pace of play, and three other teams ranked among the top 200 teams in pace.
Additionally, there is no correlation between having a more efficient half court offense and having either a better or worse overall offense. Five of the teams in this group were in the top 34 offenses nationally, but two ranked in the bottom 33 teams. Five teams ranked among the bottom 100.
If I learned anything from this dive into numbers, it’s that more teams have a half court offense that outperformed their transition offense than I expected. If I had to guess before looking at these numbers, I would have expected no more than two or three teams to have the flipped half court/transition efficiency.
So I forgot to calculate these before the Elite Eight started
|#2 UConn vs. #1 Louisville||ESPN2||3/31||83.2|
|#2 Oregon vs. #1 Mississippi State||ESPN2||3/31||82.7|
|#2 Stanford vs. #1 Notre Dame||ESPN2||4/1 9 p.m.||81.7|
|#2 Iowa vs. #1 Baylor||ESPN2||4/1 7 p.m.||76.7|
Unsurprisingly, this was the highest batch of scores for a round. We get our first scores in the 80s since the round of 32. The previous highest score was Florida State vs. South Carolina at 81.7.
Iowa & Baylor are hurt by the larger gap between the two teams’ ELO rating and both teams’ low three point rates. The only category they lead in is number of blocks, which is not a surprise.
I’m trying to track the coaching changes that are happening before the 2019-2020 season. I started with a lot of information from Raoul’s WBB Blog; that’s an invaluable resource I can’t recommend enough.
Last updated: 5/9/19
|School||Old coach||New coach|
|Arkansas-Pine Bluff||Nate Kilbert|
|Arkansas State||Brian Boyer||Matt Daniel|
|College of Charleston||Candice Jackson||Robin Harmony|
|East Carolina||Heather Macy (resigned in October 2018)||Kim McNeil|
|Eastern Kentucky||Chrissy Roberts||Samantha Williams|
|Fairleigh Dickinson||Peter Cinella||Angelika Szumilo|
|Florida A&M||LeDawn Gibson|
|Georgia Southern||Kip Drown||Anita Howard|
|Georgia Tech||MaChelle Joseph||Neil Fortner|
|Hartford||Kim McNeill||Morgan Valley|
|High Point||DeUnna Hendrix|
|Hofstra||Krista Kilburn-Stevesky||Danielle Santos Atkinson|
|Holy Cross||Bill Gibbons||Ann McInerney (interim for '19-'20)|
|Incarnate Word||Christy Smith||Jeff Dow|
|Lipscomb||Greg Brown||Lauren Sumski|
|Long Island Brooklyn||Rene Haynes|
|Louisiana-Monroe||Jeff Dow||Brooks Williams|
|Miami (OH)||Megan Duffy||DeUnna Hendrix|
|Missouri State||Kellie Harper||Amaka Agugua-Hamilton|
|North Carolina||Sylvia Hatchell||Courtney Banghart|
|North Dakota State||Jory Collins|
|Penn State||Coquese Washington||Carolyn Kieger|
|Portland||Cheryl Sorenson||Michael Meek|
|Rhode Island||Daynia La-Force||Tammi Reiss|
|Richmond||Michael Shafer||Aaron Roussell|
|Samford||Mike Morris||Carley Kuhns|
|St. Francis (PA)||Joe Haigh||Keila Whittington|
|Tennessee||Holly Warlick||Kellie Harper|
|Texas Southern||Cynthia Cooper-Dyke|
|UMBC||Phil Stern||Johnetta Hayes|
|Utah Valley||Cathy Nixon|
|Western Carolina||Stephanie McCormick|
|Wyoming||Joe Legerski||Gerald Mattinson|
|Xavier||Brian Neal||Melanie Moore|
Here are the FOWLES scores for the upcoming Sweet Sixteen match-ups.
|#3 NC State vs. #2 Iowa||ESPN||3/30 11:30 a.m.||79.6|
|#4 Oregon State vs. #1 Louisville||ESPN||3/29 9 p.m.||75.8|
|#6 South Dakota State vs. #2 Oregon||ESPN2||3/29 11 p.m.||75.5|
|#4 South Carolina vs. #1 Baylor||ESPN||3/30 1:30 p.m.||74.5|
|#6 UCLA vs. #2 UConn||ESPN||3/29 7 p.m.||74.3|
|#4 Texas A&M vs. #1 Notre Dame||ESPN2||3/30 4 p.m.||73.1|
|#5 Arizona State vs. #1 Mississippi State||ESPN2||3/29 9 p.m.||72.1|
|#11 Missouri State vs. #2 Stanford||ESPN2||3/30 6 p.m.||70.0|
FOWLES really likes NC State vs. Iowa because of how close these teams are together in Warren Nolan’s ELO rating. Unsurprisingly as a #11 vs. #2 match-up, Missouri State vs. Stanford ranks lowly in this category. Of course, Missouri State playing well against the Cardinal would make this one of the most noteworthy games in this round, but FOWLES doesn’t consider that.
None of these games really look to be a sprint, but Arizona State and Mississippi State will most likely end up being the slowest paced game of the eight. Arizona State was involved with the expected slowest game in the round of 32 with Miami and in the first round with UCF.
South Dakota State & Oregon is the best offensive match-up of the tournament so far. Oregon is the best team in the country in points per 100 possessions per game (per Her Hoop Stats), while South Dakota State ranks seventh.
If you’re a fan of shots from downtown, I wouldn’t expect A&M-Notre Dame or South Carolina-Baylor to scratch that itch for you. For all of the reasons to watch those two games – the amazing young talent of the Aggies like Chennedy Carter & Ciera Johnson or Tyasha Harris of South Carolina, or this season’s likely first round WNBA draft picks Teaira McCowan of Mississippi State or Jackie Young & Arike Ogunbowale of Notre Dame – an eagerness to engage with three pointers on offense is not one of them. Baylor takes the least three pointers as a proportion of their field goal tries of any D-I school, while Texas A&M and Notre Dame rank as the seventh and eighth least likely to throw up a trey. By comparison, South Carolina are the Golden State Warriors of this bunch, as they only rank among the 100 teams that are the least likely to take a three pointer.
On the defensive end, South Carolina & Baylor are going to throw their own block party. They’re the top two teams in blocked shots. None of the games in this round particularly look like they’ll feature a lot of turnovers, though Arizona State vs. Mississippi State is the game where the teams combine for the highest ranks in turnovers forced per game.
I’m pressed for time as far as the write up due to being very tired, but here are the FOWLES scores for the round of 32 for this year’s NCAA tournament.
|#5 Florida State vs. #4 South Carolina||ESPN2||3/24 2 p.m.||81.7|
|#6 South Dakota State vs. #3 Syracuse||ESPN||3/25 7 p.m.||80.3|
|#5 Marquette vs. #4 Texas A&M||ESPN2||3/24 2 p.m.||79.0|
|#6 UCLA vs. #3 Maryland||ESPN||3/25 7 p.m.||77.2|
|#5 Arizona State vs. #4 Miami||ESPN2||3/24 7 p.m.||76.8|
|#6 Kentucky vs. #3 NC State||ESPN||3/25 7 p.m.||76.4|
|#5 Gonzaga vs. #4 Oregon State||ESPN||3/25 9 p.m.||76.1|
|#11 Missouri State vs. #3 Iowa State||ESPN||3/25 9 p.m.||76.1|
|#7 Missouri vs. #2 Iowa||ESPN2||3/24 2 p.m.||74.7|
|#7 BYU vs. #2 Stanford||ESPN2||3/25 11 p.m.||70.1|
|#10 Buffalo vs. #2 UConn||ESPN||3/24 7 p.m.||69.3|
|#9 Clemson vs. #1 Mississippi State||ESPN||3/24 9 p.m.||68.9|
|#8 Michigan vs. #1 Louisville||ESPN2||3/24 noon||68.5|
|#9 Michigan State vs. #1 Notre Dame||ESPN||3/25 7 p.m.||67.1|
|#8 California vs. #1 Baylor||ESPN||3/25 9 p.m.||66.6|
|#10 Indiana vs. #2 Oregon||ESPN2||3/24 9 p.m.||66.5|
Florida State & South Carolina reach new heights for the tournament, beating the previous high set for Clemson & South Dakota. Clemson’s next game’s appeal falls off due to the disparity between its rating and Mississippi State. In fact, the games of the 1 & 2 seeds unsurprisingly clustered towards the bottom. For the women, there’s still a big disparity between the top 8 programs this year & those that would fall into the 7-10 seed range. Note that I’m still using statistics from prior to the first round of games, so that could artificially increase the divide between these teams, and thus knock their FOWLES score down lower than would be accurate.
The appeal of the 1 & 2 seed games is generally higher than their corresponding game from the first round, but it’s not exactly a lock that these match ups are going to produce the most exciting games possible. Iowa & Missouri in particular have a good score for their seeds.
I’ve tossed together a new statistic to help you prioritize your March Madness watching experience: FOWLES (Figures Observed, Weighted, and Leading to an Excitement Score). It’s a weighted average of six factors that I hope will allow for prioritization of which games to watch during the women’s NCAA tournament.
The six factors are:
My reasoning for the weighting is that the most exciting thing this time of year is close games (duh), but that scoring helps, playing fast helps, and threes & turnovers are exciting but not necessary.
I hope this fairly silly tool at least gives you an idea of what games to prioritize watching on Friday & Saturday.
Here are the first round’s games in order of FOWLES. All games are on ESPN & ESPN.
|No. 9 Clemson vs. No. 8 South Dakota||3/22 7 p.m.||81.3|
|No. 12 Rice vs. No. 5 Marquette||3/22 1:45 p.m.||81.2|
|No. 10 Buffalo vs. No. 7 Rutgers||3/22 4 p.m.||80.7|
|No. 10 Auburn vs. No. 7 BYU||3/23 3:30 p.m.||79.8|
|No. 11 Quinnipiac vs. No. 6 South Dakota State||3/23 11 a.m.||79.4|
|No. 9 North Carolina vs. No. 8 California||3/23 3:30 p.m.||79.2|
|No. 13 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 4 Miami||3/22 9 p.m.||79.0|
|No. 11 Princeton vs. No. 6 Kentucky||3/23 11 a.m.||78.4|
|No. 10 Drake vs. No. 7 Missouri||3/22 4 p.m.||78.1|
|No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 8 Central Michigan||3/23 1 p.m.||78.1|
|No. 12 Bucknell vs. No. 5 Florida State||3/22 4 p.m.||77.7|
|No. 13 Boise State vs. No. 4 Oregon State||3/23 5:30 p.m.||76.5|
|No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 8 Michigan||3/22 1:45 p.m.||76.3|
|No. 13 Belmont vs. No. 4 South Carolina||3/22 1:45 p.m.||76.2|
|No. 12 UCF vs. No. 5 Arizona State||3/22 7 p.m.||76.0|
|No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 6 UCLA||3/23 1 p.m.||74.7|
|No. 14 New Mexico State vs. No. 3 Iowa State||3/23 5:30 p.m.||74.0|
|No. 14 Fordham vs. No. 3 Syracuse||3/23 1 p.m.||74.0|
|No. 11 Missouri State vs. No. 6 DePaul||3/23 3:30 p.m.||73.9|
|No. 13 Wright State vs. No. 4 Texas A&M||3/22 4 p.m.||72.6|
|No. 10 Indiana vs. No. 7 Texas||3/22 7 p.m.||71.8|
|No. 12 Little Rock vs. No. 5 Gonzaga||3/23 3:30 p.m.||71.8|
|No. 14 Maine vs. No. 3 NC State||3/23 1 p.m.||69.7|
|No. 15 Mercer vs. No. 2 Iowa||3/22 1:45 p.m.||69.1|
|No. 14 Radford vs. No. 3 Maryland||3/23 11 a.m.||68.3|
|No. 15 UC Davis vs. No. 2 Stanford||3/23 5:30 p.m.||68.1|
|No. 15 Portland State vs. No. 2 Oregon||3/22 9 p.m.||65.1|
|No. 15 Towson vs. No. 2 UConn||3/22 7 p.m.||62.8|
|No. 16 Abilene Christian vs. No. 1 Baylor||3/23 5:30 p.m.||61.5|
|No. 16 Robert Morris vs. No. 1 Louisville||3/22 noon||60.5|
|No. 16 Southern vs. No. 1 Mississippi State||3/22 9 p.m.||59.0|
|No. 16 Bethune-Cookman vs. No. 1 Notre Dame||3/23 11 a.m.||56.6|
The Quinnipiac Bobcats finished the season on a 21-game winning streak after going through the MAAC untouched in both the regular season and the conference tournament. Only three of those wins came by a margin of less than ten points. Their last loss came on December 30th in a two-point home loss to UCF. They capped their conference championship run with a thirty point victory over Marist.
Quinnipiac is currently projected as a 12 seed by both High Post Hoops’ Russel Steinberg ESPN’s Charlie Creme as of the end of March 11. They don’t have a true bad loss on their schedule, with their defeats coming to a sextet of 20-win teams: Bucknell, Texas, Missouri, Central Michigan, Princeton, & UCF. They lack a very strong non-conference win, with either Harvard or Drexel being the best team they beat. The MAAC lacked a strong contender for a NCAA at-large bid beyond Quinnipiac; the best of the rest was Marist, who Quinnipiac beat in all three meetings.
The Bobcats excelled on defense, where they led the country in points allowed per 100 possessions at 75.4. Their offense was fine, with their 95.6 points per 100 possessions placing them 111th. They’re one of the slowest paced teams in the country with just 67 possessions per 40 minutes, which put them in the bottom 50 of all of Division I.
Defensively, Quinnipiac thrived on forcing turnovers – they ranked eighth in the nation with 21.2 forced turnovers per game. This was a team-wide effort, with four players averaging 1.8 to 2.0 steals per contest. They also rejected 2.2 shots per game, which ranked 19th in the country. Paula Strautmane paced the team with 1.8 rejections per contest. They were unfortunate in that their opponents made 73.3% of their free throws, which ranked just 320th out of 351 teams.
On offense, the Bobcats were particularly dependent on spot up possessions, with 29.9% of their possessions ending that way. They only ranked in the 26th percentile of points per possession (PPP) for plays ending this way. They were more efficient on plays ending with shots for the pick & roll ball handler and for players coming off screens, but these were far less common plays. They did draw a fair number of free throws, ranking 105th nationally in free throw rate, but they only made 67.2% from the charity stripe, which put them 246th.
The Quinnipiac offense is fairly evenly distributed, with no player sticking out as clearly dominant in terms of possessions used on this side of the ball. Seniors Jen Fay and Aryn McClure taking the most shots. 5’11” wing McClure wasn’t the most efficient scorer, shooting just 26.7% on 116 jumpers, but she did excel in scoring near the basket in non-post-up opportunities, making 58.8% of her 97 tries in that range. McClure would benefit from focusing on jumpers inside of 17 feet: she made 20-51 of her tries in that range, but just 11 of 65 beyond that.
McClure is most effective coming off of cuts, as she ranked in the 96th percentile in PPP on these kind of plays.
6’0” forward Jen Fay is a better spot up shooter. She’s oddly better on long jumpers (between 17 feet & the three point line) vs. jumpers inside of 17 feet on a PPP basis. She’s a solid scorer in transition, on spot ups, and coming off of cuts, ranking in the 63rd to 71st percentiles in PPP for these play types. While she rarely used them, she was in the 94th percentile for post ups and in the 90th percentile for off screen PPP.
If Quinnipiac does continue their streak of successfully upsetting teams in the NCAAs (they knocked off #5 Marquette & #4 Miami in ’17 and #8 Miami in ’18), it’ll be due to their suffocating defense. They might not produce the most high flying games you’ll see in the tournament this year, but it’s been effective for them so far.
Statistics from Her Hoop Stats and Synergy Sports
I was just mentioned on Twitter for predicting Rice as the top teams in the Conference USA before the season started by the moderator for r/NCAAW. I haven’t been able to follow the game too much the past couple of months due to real life stuff, but their success has been pretty shocking.
Because I didn’t include reasons as to why I thought the Owls would win the Con-USA, I thought I should talk about why this is happening now.
(Current season stats are from Her Hoop Stats).
* One concern I do have is that Erica’s three point shooting has fallen off badly from last year; ’17-’18: 54-143 (37.8%) in 32 games; ’18-’19: 26-88 (29.5%) in 23 games.