The four factors: Mississippi Valley State

  • 11/17/2010 10:55 am in

If you’ve been reading Inside the Hall since last season, you know we made an effort a year ago to dive into the four factors to winning the game of basketball: effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, offensive rebounding percentage and free throw rate.

The four factors, established by Dean Oliver, are building blocks for Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency formula, which we’ll also be using as the season moves along. It’s important to mention, as noted by Stat Sheet, that the factors are not weighted equally. Research shows the best way to weight the numbers is as follows: shooting (40 percent), taking care of the ball (25 percent), offensive rebounding (20 percent), and getting to the line (15 percent). That said, here’s a look at the four factors in last night’s 71-54 win:

NCAA Basketball

Free throw rate: The Hoosiers did a solid job of getting to the line (29 attempts), but left nine points there as well. Nonetheless, close to a 50 percent free throw rate is a very good number and came close to matching the output for the Wright State game, where the Hoosiers had a free throw rate of 52.5 percent.

Turnover percentage: The 23.3 percent mark here was IU’s best performance of the young season. Making it more impressive was the helter skelter style of play that the Delta Devils tried to employ which many believed would give IU ball-handling woes. Through IU’s first two games, only eight teams ranked worse nationally in turnover percentage, so this is a number to keep close tabs on as the season moves along. The Hoosiers must get better here, period.

Effective field goal percentage: This was a mediocre performance by both teams, but for IU, it’s nice to see a blowout win despite the woeful shooting. In the first two games, the Hoosiers were remarkable in this category — 64.9 percent against Florida Gulf Coast and 65 percent against Wright State. That won’t happen too often. Bottom line here is that while IU didn’t shoot well, it was negated by the fact that MSVU shot even worse (41 percent effective field goal percentage).

Offensive rebounding percentage: A very solid performance here — 38.1 percent — but just 11 second chance points is a bit low. This was a strength for IU a season ago (35 percent, 89th nationally), but it was also a bit negated by the fact that the Hoosiers allowed opponents to rebound at a 35.4 percent clip.

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  • Ed Anderson

    I hear Coach Crean talk about +/- stats. Can someone explain to me what the formula is for coming up with that stat on each player after a game?

  • jas

    it’s just how well your team does when you are on the court. how many points did you team score vs how many your team gave up. +5 means while you were on the court your team outscored the other team by 5 points

  • I guess I’m missing something. The chart looks as if we made less than 50% of our free throws. Even if it was 52% is this really a good number? For instance just looking down at the next box score on CBS in North Texas’ win over Texas Tech last night UNT shot 23/29 from the line 79.3% and the losing Red Raiders shot 11/19 58%, Virgina Commonwealth and Wake Forest shot 75% and 64% in their game. Ok maybe Miss Valley State had better defenders! LOL Ok maybe I’ll go back to sleep.

  • Casey B.

    I believe it’s no more complicated than how +/- is calculated in hockey. For every point your team scores while you’re on the floor, you get a plus; and for every point the opposition scores against your team while you’re on the floor, you get a minus.For example, if, while you’re on the floor, your team goes on a 10-2 run, you’d be a +8.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Casey B.

    Let me first say that I love Verdell Jones. He’s embodied perseverance and mental toughness for the past 2+ seasons, and has always found a way to make more with less.

    That said, I truly feel that our turnover issues could be quickly solved by nixing the Verdell-at-point-guard experiment. I don’t mind him taking it to the lane when he sees an opportunity. He’s proven he can be very effective in that regard. However, he shouldn’t be our primary ball handler. If you remove his turnovers from the team total in the past two games, the numbers don’t look nearly as bad.

  • The plus/minus statistic keeps track of the difference in points, either positive or negative, between the two teams while a player is on the floor.

    So a plus 30 for Oladipo means that IU outscored Mississippi Valley State by a total of 30 points with Oladipo on the court.

    The problem with the stat is that it has many flaws. For example, if a particular player is playing with subpar talent, that’s not factored in the rating. So you could have LeBron James with four subpar teammates getting drilled and his plus-minus would be awful. Perhaps we’ll dive into this more down the road, but I find it interesting that Crean’s been citing it so much despite all of its pitfalls.

  • CheaneyFan40

    This has nothing to do with this post by Alex (which is very informative), but can everybody head over to @MackADad on Twitter and let him know what a dumb#!! he is for writing this on twitter:

    “@TPritchard25 is bad at basketball”

    Pritchard’s response was “I love my haters. 3-0”.

    While Pritch has had his issues, you don’t directly call a kid out like that. Very disgusting from a supposed fan. Ugh!

  • It’s not free throw percentage. It’s free throw rate. Defined as: FT Rate = Free Throws Attempted / Field Goals Attempted. Measures how well a team gets to the line.

  • Anonymous

    As brought up in another thread: how about trying out Will or Victor at the point? Their speed and athleticism may help break presses better and both have the ability to attack the rim more aggressively. I think both are also looking to get others involved. Speed/High % shot ability/more height/better defenders? Though they are young, It should at least be worth a shot.

  • Casey B.

    I see your point about how it can potentially be misleading. But at the same time, if you have the highest +/- in a game of anyone on your team, you’re probably doing something right out on the court.

  • It also depends on the opponent. A plus 30 against MVSU and a plus 30 against Kentucky are two totally different things.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never understood why this statistic is gaining popularity. I’ve seen it used in hockey a ton. It is incredibly flawed. No individual player is going to influence each play.

    In baseball, defensive efficiency (1-BABIP) is a great measure of team defense, but not accurate for one player. I feel plus/minus is similar. There have been efforts to look at defensive efficiency for each position. Is there a way to do that with +/- so they only get points when they directly score or their error leads to opponent scoring?

  • The pomeroy rating system is great. I have been using it for years in the ncaa pools come tournament time – and have found the most predictive stat being defensive efficiency. We rank 38th in the country so far and this will be our bread and butter. Unfortunately we rank 298th for TO and that is our achilles heel. CTC’s +/- system is great for it teaches each player that he carries the team on his shoulders when he is out there. If the team struggles and falls behind they have no where to hide – I like the concept of this stat.

    Overall, my 2 cents worth is that Hulls is clearly showing me he belongs at PG – he is doing a nice Mark Price imitation. Great heart, nice shot, showed he could penetrate – not turning it over and now is playing some D and penetrating the lanes….he even mixed it up inside for a rebound!

    He needs to be surrounded by athletic slashers – VO, Sheehey, CW, and VJ III: shooters – esp a healthy Mo and also Roth, and some talent down low. We have these pieces and CTC is developing a core so the chemistry in game situations gels – then I see us getting stronger over the season – something we missed last yr. We really need Guy back as well.

  • Agree, but at the same time I think it will highlight outliers on the court that are either hurting or helping the team dramatically. Crean uses so many different lineups, so if most players average for example +11 all season, but a guy like Vic is averaging +20, I think that shows you he is an outlier in the fact that when he is on the court the team is doing well.

    Also I think talking about the stat to a deeper team means that you will be held accountable for the results while you are on the court and it drives you in a sort of mini-game to not let the other team score, especially for someone like Bobby or Vic who many only play a few minutes at a time.

  • kentuckyhoosier

    ALEX , Is there anyway that you can post the box score after each game ? I always come to this site first but have to to another to look at that when reading your articles .

  • HoosierDavey

    I keep hearing about this amazing pass Jordy threw last night, but wasn’t home to watch it. Anybody know where I can see it on a highlight reel or something?

  • It’s linked in the Minute After post every time.

  • brklynhoosier

    Yes, for sure. The stat is relatively meaningless in the course of one particular game. However, if you have the highest +/- over the course of the season, or if you’re able to improve it over the course of several games, then it says a lot more regarding your overall contribution than most of the stats traditionally looked at, like TP, OR, FT %, etc.

  • marcusgresham

    He actually had a couple of them. One was a behind-the-back pass down the lane through bit of traffic, and that’s the one I’d assume you’re hearing about, but the other was a no-look left-handed bullet.

  • Tberry

    Which means that we really won’t know how good or bad we are until we play some really good teams no matter what the +/- say.

  • The stat that is going to separate this team from the past two years (save free throws) is rebounding. If we can put bodies on opponents down low and grab boards we can get those open shots that Hulls and company have been draining. Also I know this a topic that has been beaten like a dead horse, but as far as the NCAA investigation on Guy goes, can we expect the same time line as the other investigations on European players i.e a few months?

  • It’s my understanding that the ball is in the NCAA’s court in regards to Guy. There is no timetable for a ruling to come down.

  • Hoosieriniowa

    The final thing to do with the chart is to apply the weightings to each of the stats. That way you not only see how the teams fared against each other but you also see the impact of how well on a weighted basis. The visual right now reflects equal weighting and the reader has to visually on their own the 40/25/20/15 in their mind.

  • Casey B.

    I really don’t understand what’s so wrong with this statistic. I actually think it’s great, and it helps us look past the obvious statistics (points, assists, rebounds, etc.) to see how a player impacts the overall performance of his team.

  • JerryCT

    Some points on +/- stat:

    1) it is only effective as a relative measure not an absolute measure

    2) relative to other players …… ie Lebron compared to another on his team

    3) relative to minutes played ie +/- per minute of PT

    4) relative to several games and if a pattern emerges on the team

    5) forget hockey and baseball analogies they are irrelevant since the scoring and lineups are so different

    The +/- stat is the only individual stat I know that reflects the value of certain players who do not fill the offensive stat sheet. Players like Kramer ( PU ) , Kyle Taber, Pritchard , VO and Rivers last night and so far, very game this year.

    Almost all other stats favor the Allen Iversons and Stephon Marburys of the world who score points but the team suffers.

  • JerryCT

    Alex : You sent me an article about Shane Battier on +/- concept of a player’s value maybe you should post it somewhere so the overall concept is better understood

  • Thanks Alex. Nevertheless our free throw percentage is pretty weak.

  • dfitz3

    It sure seems a shame that any team could loose a couple of games they might otherwise win if they had a player in the NCAA prison, and those losses cost the team a trip to the post season. Not knowing until the start of the season that Guy played with a pro team in France makes it look like the NCAA is in no hurry to investigate and clear foreign players during the summer prior to the season. Too bad.
    Free Guy

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for posting this. Does anyone know if there is a metric to balance a team’s turnover rate with the opponent’s rate? It would seem that when you can turn the other team over 33% more than they turn you over, that’s a good thing, and less weight should be given to the fact that your TO rate is 23%. Or maybe it just looks more like middle school girls’ basketball. Dunno. Perhaps there should be no correlation.

    Also, I appreciate stats and do not disparage their meaning. However, after awhile, my eyes glaze over when trying to evaluate them. That is why I like the +/- approach. It is flawed and not perfect, but it is a simple and – IMHO – effective means of evaluating a particular player’s total contribution to the team.

  • Anonymous

    During the game last night I noticed about a five minute period where we really played well. When I looked at the floor I was surprised that the lineup was JH/JR/VO/CW/TP. I think this was our best lineup all last night.

  • Anonymous

    It is really sad that they haven’t either cleared him or declared him ineligible. Another poster on HN described it in as a statistic. He said, if guy 2 minutes playing time in 5 games and they’re holding him captive on the bench so far for 2 pre-season and 3 regular season games. That’s an entire game of penalty for every 24 seconds played. That is crap…The NCAA could possibly be penalizing a kid for nothing…

  • Anonymous

    I think one of the fundamental things I have realized through these 3 games is the improvement in certain players that I was fairly pessimistic about. Jordan Hulls was one of these. He successfully proved to me that he can be a good Big 10 PG (If only he could learn how to drive), and that he is a great leader. But I still believe that Verdell will get his head straight and not be the turnover machine he has been.

    Tom Pritchard, even though he still has a problem with fouls, seems to be a pretty good influence on the defensive end, making some big plays, showing a lot of effort, and winning the approval of his coach. As much as I really look forward to Guy, Pritchard is proving to me that he belongs on this team, probably more than Elston (Who in my opinion needs to improve on the defensive side of the ball in a bad way).

    Jeremiah Rivers is probably the primary example of this phenomenon however. The guy has literally taken a 180 in regards to his offensive approach. Before the 3rd game, he hadn’t even taken a shot (Can’t remember if he took one in the 3rd game or not), and this speaks to the selfless nature that he seems to have adopted. One might argue that this may be a lack of confidence rather than selflessness, but I tend to believe that he is looking for his teammates rather than himself, which is a major step in his development.

  • Adam B

    Ever think Pritchard doesn’t follow that guy on Twitter? Come on man. There’s going to be guys that don’t like certain players and you can’t chastise him for having an opinion.

    For what it’s worth, I think Pritchard is referring to a lot of IU students that boo him, not just MackADad

  • Anonymous

    Jeremiah had one shot that I remember, and it was horrible. The less jumpers he shoots the better.

  • jgongora86

    Hey guys I have a theory on why the Guy situation is taking longer than usual. Could it be that the ncaa is devoting all of its resources to clarifying the cam Newton situation in Auburn? I would think that they would want to clarify everything before the last pole comes out, because the least they need right now is making the BCS Title Game a pr nightmare. Any thoughts? I could be way off base and probably am.

  • Anonymous

    The tweet was directed at Pritchard. When you put @TPritchard as the start of the tweet, it goes directly to that person’s “mentions” page. Lack of class, in my opinion. Just because it is easy to directly give an athlete your opinion of them doesn’t mean you should. Especially if you are a fan of the team.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know if there is video of Hulls’ pass to VO last night? That was AWESOME! I can’t find it anywhere.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Walton, I think you would see more TO’s if that was tried. I like Hulls at point…he may be a little slower but he is starting to be able to put that ball where it needs to be with less TO’s. Also he is a three point threat as well.

    If you look at the stats for the last three games avg minutes played:

    Player – Mins/Assist/TO
    Hulls – 28min/10 A/ 5 TO
    Victor – 15min/1 A/ 6 TO
    Will – 7 min/2 A/2 TO

    Hulls is learning to take care of the ball. Even thought your defense would pick up and maybe create more TO’s for the other team, I think you could already see that our TO’s would escalate very quickly. IMO

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Rivers only put up one shot and if I remember correctly, time was getting ready to expire so he had to shoot. That was the only shot he attempted.

    If you noticed he has not shot the ball once until then. He has also NOT drove the lane for a layup only to either charge or lose the ball like last year. Either CTC has finally gotten to him or he has been told not to shoot.

  • Anonymous

    yeah – it started as a far fetched idea then all of a sudden sounded like a decent idea, but has grounded since into a “not so” plausible idea since. I accepted the idea that IU doesn’t have that true and trusted PG – the player that can take the ball from inbounds, dribble up the back court with pressure, start the offense, and/or create offense by themselves. Instead we have a handful of talented players that each have their own strengths and flaws that the IU staff is going to need to compensate and build around for. This makes Creans job tough. At all points in the game he will need someone in there to start the offense. But this doesn’t necessarily need to be the same person that brings the ball up the court. would post more but go to go

  • Adam B

    From what I read in an ESPN article, the NCAA pushes all cases that are during their season (there are over 2000 per year) to the front of the line. Given that Newton is in the middle of the season, has a higher profile, and is a much more serious case, his is of higher importance than Guy’s. Your theory could be right.

    Regardless, the NCAA is a huge organization, hopefully they can perform more than one case at once.