Shaka v. Barnes

With the announcement of Shaka Smart as Texas’ new men’s basketball coach coming as I write this, I thought I would put a few keystrokes down on how the two coaches teams have fared since 2009, when Shaka took over at VCU.

Since I wrote about luck (Pythagorean Luck) earlier in the week, let’s start there. I also want to point out that all of these number utilize regular season data.

Pythagorean Luck calculated using both actual points and adjusted efficiencies.

Pythagorean Luck calculated using both actual points and adjusted efficiencies.

As you can see by the graph, Smart’s teams seem to always outperform Barnes’. It is so bad that while Barnes’ teams only performed above expected values only in 2014, Shaka’s were consistently above expected. This is very comparable to Duke over the same time period.

Next, let’s look at some typical statistics that are very popular today: Tempo, Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

I’ll start with a few definitions. These are taken pretty much directly from Ken Pomeroy’s website.

Adjusted Tempo – An estimate of the tempo (possessions per 40 minutes) a team would have against the team that wants to play at an average D-I tempo.

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency – An estimate of the offensive efficiency (points scored per 100 possessions) a team would have against the average D-I defense.

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency – An estimate of the defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) a team would have against the average D-I offense.

Stats comparison between VCU and Texas since 2009

Stats comparison between VCU and Texas since 2009

When we talk about adjusted tempo, VCU has played faster than Texas, especially over the last three years. This is probably due to his ‘Havoc’ defense. I am actually a little freaked out by the huge difference this season. That seems a little out of whack. Was Texas really just that slow?

When you look into Adjusted Offensive and Defensive Efficiency, Texas appears to seem pretty similar and a little better for the most part. The fact they are similar in all of these stats boils down to them both being defense first teams.

Both teams’ offensive efficiencies are above average (about 95.5). The average defensive efficiency during this time is a little greater (95.9). <why they aren’t the same is a discussion for another day>

One reason for Texas’ superiority in adjusted defense may be the way the statistic is calculated, giving weight to the opponent’s perceived strength versus the average. It is also interesting to note that Texas has much better numbers here in 2011 than VCU’s Final Four team that year. That would be the year Texas squeaked past Oakland before being upset by Arizona.

Who knows what the future brings? I expect Texas to be more exciting to watch, as they try to wreak havoc on their opponents. The Big 12 season is long and treacherous and never easy. The first West Virginia v Texas game should be exciting, as both teams will probably press for 40 minutes.

No matter what I have here, in the end, the only numbers that will matter will come in March.

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