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2010-11 Season Analytical Writings
Last year through the first 8 games, the Cats were 8-0. They had beaten:
That is an average Pomeroy Rating of #141.1 for those 8 opponents, with only 1 opponent in the top 100, and none in the top 50. That is 5 games at Rupp, 2 at a neutral venue, and one game at Louisville's Freedom Hall. Through those 8 games, the Cats had posted the following performance measures.
This year through 8 games, the Cats are 6-2. Their first 8 games have been:
That is an average Pomeroy Rating of 75.1 for those 8 opponents, with 5 of 8 opponents in the top 100, 4 of the 8 in the top 40. That is 2 games at Rupp, 3 at a neutral venue, 2 games on the road, and one game at Louisville's Freedom Hall. Through 8 games, the Cats have posted the following performance measures.
Most observers agree that last year's team got off to a slow start due to its youth and inexperience, but last year's team was not as young and inexperienced as the current team. Yet last year's team played an early schedule that was average at best, with all but two games at Rupp or the friendly confines of Freedom Hall. This team has played all but two games at neutral and road sites, traveling almost non-stop since early November, detracting from focused practice time and practice opportunities. The schedule has been more difficult by a wide margin, and the travel has worked to compound the more difficult schedule by detracting from badly needed development time.
Despite the much more difficult schedule, and the unfavorable venues for such a young team, this team has performed nearly as well using the win-lose record as the only criteria. Remember the 8-0 start last season could have easily included two early season losses:
Yes, last year's team did find a way to win both of those games, and that team deserves all the credit for that gutsy determination to win. Granted, this team did not display that same gritty determination to win in its 2 losses, but when this team faced an 11 point deficit with 5 minutes to play in the first half against Notre Dame, it responded in great fashion. This team applied outstanding defense for the final 25 minutes to earn an important 14 point victory over #39 Notre Dame. I doubt that this team would have lost either of those games that last year's team managed to overcome adversity and win. I doubt that this team would have required a last second shot to win one and send the other into overtime.
This team is getting three more shots at the basket each game on three fewer possessions per game. Of those three extra shots, they are all additional 3-point shots, for which this team is making two more 3-pointers per game. This team is not rebounding quite as strongly as last year, but it is working the boards well nonetheless. In addition, this team is protecting their possessions much better by making much fewer turnovers. The teams' offensive efficiencies are almost identical, and the teams' defensive efficiency has decreased about 0.019 points per possession [about 1.3 points per game at the pace of play].
Clearly, one of the most difficult issues to address in comparing teams in this manner is the amount of weight or significance is appropriate for differences in schedule strength. Using the adjustment for the schedule strength that I have developed over the years, this year's adjusted NGE is considerably higher [better] than last year's team through eight games despite the more difficult schedule and travel noted previously. This is why Pomeroy has this team ranked #6 today and last year's team at this stage of the season was mired down in the depths due to its early schedule that ranked #328 out of 347 NCAA D1 teams at that time.
The bottom line:
I am more impressed by this current team's accomplishments through its first eight games than I was with last year's group through their first eight games.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks