Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adrian Preview

GameTwenty Two
WhoAdrian Bulldogs
WhereVan Noord Arena
WhenWed. -- 7:30 PM
Web VideoVideo
Web AudioAudio

When We Last Met
Calvin had a seven point halftime lead at Adrian last month, and even extended that margin to ten points early in the second half, but Adrian went on a 25-4 run to steal the game away from the Knights.

The run lasted about eight minutes and saw seven Calvin turnovers. That, in the end, was the difference in the game. Way too many turnovers, and way too many second opportunities for the Adrian Bulldogs.

I'm skipping my traditional 'advantage' chart and replacing it with a graphical representation of how the two teams match up according to Dean Oliver's "Four Factors." Oliver found these four statistics (effective field goal percentage, turnover rate, offensive rebound percentage, and free throw rate) to be the four most indicative of a team's success.

Here's how Calvin and Adrian rate (offensively) on the year (click image for larger version):

These numbers are tempo free, meaning you don't rate better or worse simply because you play at a faster or slower tempo. Grinnell is regularly one of the (if not the single) highest scoring teams in Division III every year. It's not because they're that good offensively, it's just because they play at a particularly fast pace, and there for take (and make) a ton of shots every game. So these types of stats are better for making comparisons than 'per game' stats.

Just looking at the graph, Calvin holds the statistical advantage in every offensive category (remember, it's good to have low turnover numbers). But the Knights don't often see defenses that are as good as the one Adrian has. It will be difficult for Calvin to play up to their season averages.

These two squads couldn't really be much more different (actually they could; it's just a saying). Calvin likes to play at a relatively fast pace (they get about 70 possessions per game), but Adrian likes to play at a more deliberate tempo (about 60 possessions per game).

But the differences don't stop with tempo. Calvin has been a good offensive team this season with only an average defense (a little worse), and Adrian has been a good defensive team with only an average offense (a little worse, actually). It's difficult to compare teams like this just using stats (but, of course, I'm doing it anyway). Efficiency ratings show these differences.

 Calvin     Adrian   
Offensive Efficiency107.395.3
Defensive Efficiency102.191.9

Efficiency ratings are calculated as points (or points allowed) per 100 possessions.

So while Calvin's offense is "12 points better" than Adrian's offense (over 100 possessions), Adrian's defense is "11 points better" than Calvin's offense. It all becomes very hard to predict.

Sure To Be Wrong Prediction
Calvin by 4
Need to win level: High
Expected to win level: Medium High
Massey Prediction: Calvin 62, Adrian 55 (74% chance of victory)

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