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Varsity Blue

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Tempo Free Investigation

If you really want to know about tempo-free statistics, you should really head over to Basketball Prospectus. Anything and everything you would ever want to know about the statistical analysis of basketball is there. Since the Big Ten Wonk left his blogspot home and moved to BP, there hasn't really been a focus on the statistics of Big Ten Basketball lately.

I'm just starting to get into this and I haven't really gone too deep into the statistics. For those of you who like charts (and/or AJAX filled Web2.0 applications) I compiled some basic tempo free stats online. You can see them here. The conference sheet is sorted by Possessions and the U of M sheet is sorted by effective field goal percentage.

If you want a quick crash course on tempo-free statistics, I recommend checking out the tutorial on Big Ten Wonk.

From looking at Michigan's stats compared to the rest of the conference, I'm cautiously optimistic. One of the biggest complaints I had from the Amaker era was the frequency of turnovers, which killed any chance of Michigan winning. Michigan this year is number 3 in the conference in Turnovers per Possession (TOPP on the chart). Another complaint is that the games were boring. Michigan versus Northwestern did not even pretend to be a basketball game as both teams pointlessly dribbled or passed the ball around the perimeter until the shot clock ran down. Michigan is 3rd in the conference in possessions behind only Purdue and Illinois. This does not mean they are good, but it's more a matter of personal preference. I like a smooth, flowing game; the change is like going from Mike DeBord to Rich Rodriguez.

Where Michigan is crashing and burning is shooting the ball. They have the worst effective field goal percentage (eFG%) in conference. eFG% even appropriately weights the benefits of 3pt shots and it still doesn't bring them up. Michigan is shooting about 46% when the median is 50%. There could be a silver lining on this horrible showing. Michigan is 4-1 when their eFG% is greater than 50%. It isn't ridiculous to think that once Beilein gets his players in and really gets the freshman and sophomore class shooting well this team will contend.

Beilein has stopped a lot of the bad the Amaker left him. He just needs to get his players playing his system and things should look up. If Michigan shoots well, they can beat some good teams (see Ohio State). I think most of the pain from this season is coming from square pegs meeting round holes.

I'll try to dig a little deeper through the week and look up some defensive numbers. The spreadsheet is saved on GoogleDocs, so if anyone wants to put together the team table for their (or any) team, let me know and you can be added as a collaborator.

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“Tempo Free Investigation”