If you’re a basketball stats geek then the term Tempo Free Stats (TFS) gets your heart going and you cringe every time a media personality starts quoting per game stats to compare players or a player from season to season. For those who aren’t familiar with TFS it’s basically this, each game is going to be played at a different pace, number of possessions, and each player’s minutes will vary between games as well as their Team Possession Percentage (how much of the offense runs through them). So how do you compare apples to apples? Ken Pomeroy has developed a great system and if you want to learn the details of it I suggest visiting his site KenPom and check out his definitions. Another great source is Backing the Pack. If you follow my web runs then you’ll be familiar with AkulaWolf’s great work over there before and after each game. If you still need more background on understanding it try Google and there is a wealth of information to find.
Now I’m no expert but I do feel I have a pretty good understanding of TFS, enough to write an article using it. Each year more and more media outlets are transitioning over to TFS and perhaps one day the media writers will use TFS to help base their post season awards off of it instead of the flawed Per Game stats.
For those of you who are familiar with Ken Pomeroy and tempo free stats please feel free to help point out any flaws you may see in this. I have no problem being correcting flaws in my own data.
So why the article, aren’t there many websites that I could just reference player performance using TFS? You’d be correct. There are plenty that I can point you too. This article is going to focus on comparing the current team’s TFS in ACC only games both Home and Away. Are the players performing as well on the road as they are at home or period? We all know that this year’s team isn’t playing as well on the road as compared to at home and defense comes into play but I wanted to see if the individual players are not playing as well. I also wanted to see if they have historically performed better at home than on the road. Now I know the sample sizes are small but I wanted to see how they performed against ACC teams only. Let’s take a look. NOTE: I have not used any data from kenpom.com.
Effective FG%: (eFG%) Since three pointers are worth more, then it needs to be weighted in figuring up a player’s FG%. Field Goals Made (FGM) + 0.5 x (3FGM)/Field Goals Attempted(FGA)
Possessions: FGA – Offensive Rebounds (OR) + Turnover (TO) + 0.475 x Free Throw Attempted (FTA)
Poss%: Percent of team’s possession by an individual player.
Offensive Efficiency: (Oeff) Points Scored/Possessions x 100.
PTS/40, REB/40, etc. To balance the outputs of per game I broke each one down to per minute then multiplied by 40 (the length of a game). What this does is say if they play 40 minutes this is what they’ll produce.
Let’s first take a look at the stats from this year of the “Starting 6”…because frankly V and Tyler just don’t have enough data to bother looking at. Small sample sizes (4 home/4 away games) so it is still easy to change their conference season output just by having a great game (as CJ did against UVA) or inversely a horrible game.
None of this is a shot at any of the players, this is simply a statistical look at why the Pack’s offense doesn’t appear to be performing as well on the road compared to their play at home.
The Good News:
Richard “The Terminator” Howell: He’s simply a machine. Howell will bring the same output every game. He doesn’t care who he’s playing or where, he’s going to give you a Double-Double every night. On top of him being the one guy Gottfried can rely on to give what’s asked of him let me drop this little fact on you. In Howell’s first 3 seasons he’s pulled down 16, 21, & 20 Offensive rebounds each away conference season. It’s only been 4 games into this away season and he already has 23 Offensive Rebounds!!!!
Lorenzo “MVP” Brown: If the UVA game didn’t show who the MVP of this team is I don’t know what will. Brown is the engine in the Ferrari that is this offense. One thing you may notice is Brown’s Assists/TOs drop dramatically on the road, I have a theory on that. At home everyone is producing and he can get everyone involved and when he gives them the ball they’ll actually put it in the basket. On the road, not so much; he appears to have to go lone wolf more and become more try to make up for the lack of production from his teammates who are struggling on the road.
The Not-So Good News:
Rodney “Monroe” Purvis: (Listen to the UVA game again, if you can stomach it, and you’ll hear the announcer refer to him as Rodney Monroe several times.) Purvis’ stats are deceptive. Yes it looks like he’s consistently bringing the same game on the road as he does at home but that’s where it ends. In actuality he’s either Senor En Fuego or Mr. Freeze on the road. He definitely needs to become more consistent but he’s a powerful weapon to have, as long as he doesn’t go to the FT line.
Calvin “POY” Leslie: The guy can just do it all, even the bad stuff. Prior to the UVA game Leslie’s road offense was sorely lacking compared to his offense at home. If he can bring the same game he brought to UVA to other venues then maybe the Pack will have a chance to get over these road woes. His FT’s are definitely hurting on the road. Maybe he just needs to watch the scene in “Hoosier’s” just before the State championship game where Gene Hackman has the basket’s height measured and the FT line to know it’s the same there as it is in the giant ATM.
The Bad News (Bears):
Scott W: We all know how great Woo is at home, heck just look at his numbers but he most definitely forgets to pack his O when he travels. I’m guessing he thinks everyone else’s balls suck because just look at that difference in his 3 point shooting.
TJ “Home Cookin” Warren: What can I say other than if you take away the Wake game he’d really be in trouble. The guy is clearly in love with PNC and doesn’t want to play anywhere else.
There’s still plenty of games left to change but as of right now you can pretty much see what you’re going to get from The 6-Pack. Now what about historically from the upperclassmen, how have they performed in previous seasons? Let’s take a peak.
It appears that Wood does better every other year at home and luckily this is a good year. The problem is he’s having a bad year shooting the ball on the road. He still has a chance to improve back to historic road performances but he must start putting the ball in the basket because that’s what is affecting his efficiency and hurting the Pack in these close road losses.
If you look at Howell’s numbers nothing is spectacular, except his Offensive Efficiency and Rebounding. It’s the rebounding, more specifically his Offensive Rebounding, that makes him so efficient. As you can see from his numbers Howell has historically brought his “A” game on the road with him. I just wish he’d help some others on the team pack theirs.
Wish we could have last year’s Home Calvin this year, check out his Offense!! Now he has improved his FT shooting at home each year but still struggles on the road. Calvin’s Oeff is down for many reasons and they all are adding up to CJ instead of Calvin. Remember Oeff is the points scored/possessions and possessions are your FG attempted, Offensive Rebounds, Turnovers, and FT attempted. On the road CJ is taking more FT attempts than in his previous years, a lot more, (Imagine how many more if they’d actually call the muggings he receives and he made more FT’s??) but less at home so more FTA equals more possessions. The more offensive rebounds you get the more it reduces your possession total, CJ is not grabbing nearly as many OR’s so far this year as he has in previous years. (Not listed above) The more turnovers you have the more possessions you have, as you can see above he’s turning the ball over a lot more than previous years. A better way to look at it but I don’t have it in the chart is his TO% = TO/Possessions. CJ is turning the ball over 20% of the time, both home and away. That has got to come down. His previous years he was around 15.5% in 2011/12 and 12% in 2010/11, so you can he’s on the wrong trajectory. He’s also taking fewer FGA this year than his previous two. (Not listed above) so that is actually helping reduce the possession total a little. So what can Calvin do to increase his efficiency and help the team? Reduce the TO’s (First Priority), increase the OR’s, and make his FT’s (increasing your scoring increases your Oeff…and it should be his Second Priority).
Because Brown is a guard he’s not really going to be grabbing many Offensive Rebounds, but that’s okay, Howell will get them all. As you can see historically Brown isn’t that efficient on Offense, Turnover can have that effect. In the past Brown’s looseness with ball has been more on the road than at home. This year it’s the opposite and where his 12% TO% on the road has helped improve his Oeff, his 24% TO% at home is bringing that one down. That’s his weakness, his Turnovers, because if you look at the rest of his numbers he’s been improving in every facet at home. On the road he’s bringing the same thing every year though I do still believe his dip in Assist is a result of his teammate’s inability to score when he gets them the ball this year.
So in conclusion what does this team need to do to get better on the Road offensively?
1. Wood needs to make his shots and get back to his historical FG% on the road.
2. Leslie needs to cut down on his turnovers and make his free throws.
3. Warren needs to start making shots on the road, since it appears from watching games most of his shots come from 2 feet around the basket they need to be going in more.
4. Getting some consistency from Purvis would help. I love the 19 point games with high efficiencies but they can’t be offset by 3 point games.
I say if the Pack could get 2 out of the 4 consistently then these road losses will turn into road wins….from an Offensive standpoint that is.
WV Wolf has an excellent theory as to why Wood and Warren are shooting so poorly in the Wolfpack’s ACC losses this season, make sure you check it out.
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