The four factors and efficiency: Indiana vs. Pittsburgh

  • 12/05/2009 11:10 am in

If you caught Ryan’s post a little over a week ago, one thing we’re hoping to do this season is look more at on the court numbers rather than expectations. In doing so, one of the best tools available is to look at the four factors to winning, established by Dean Oliver. The four factors are building blocks for Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency formula.

The below chart shows how the Hoosiers rank nationally in comparison with Tuesday’s opponent, Pittsburgh, in the four factors — effective field goal percentage/effective field goal percentage defense, turnover percentage/opponent turnover percentage, offensive rebounding percentage/defensive rebounding percentage and free throw rate/opponent free throw rate.

The final number, which Ryan used in his piece last week, is adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, defined by Pomeroy as:

Raw offensive efficiency is points scored per 100 offensive possessions. The adjusted version adjusts for the quality of opposing defenses, the site of each game, and when each game was played (recent games get more weight). Defensive efficiency is points allowed per 100 defensive possessions, adjusted for the same things.


One thing that immediately jumps out is that Pittsburgh is superior in essentially every category and in a few, they’re considerably better.

Factors in Indiana’s favor: The one factor in which Indiana holds a measurable advantage is defensive turnover percentage. IU is forcing a turnover on 25% of opponent possessions. But you could argue that the effect of this stat is negated by the fact that IU is turning it over on 22.4% of its possessions.

Factors in Pittsburgh’s favor: The Hoosiers are a respectable 113th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage, rebounding 35% of their missed shots. However, Pitt ranks sixth in defensive rebounding, corralling 75.8% of their opponents’ missed shots.

Opponent free throw rate (311th/51.4% for IU), which is FTA/FGA, is also troublesome when you consider how good of a job Pittsburgh (39th/48.7%) does in getting to the line.

And finally, the adjusted offensive/defensive efficiency numbers are pretty one-sided. Pitt has been 20 points better than opponents in offensive efficiency (107.5) compared to defensive efficiency (87.0). IU, meanwhile, has both numbers riding side-by-side: 97.3 offensive efficiency versus 97.7 defensive efficiency.

(Thanks to mgoblog for the idea on the chart layout.)

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