Sunday, February 16, 2020

Offensive Basketball

Brian and I were texting yesterday about the state of college basketball and who is any good this year. Eventually, we started discussing offenses this year or apparent lack thereof. I took a look at the numbers and sure enough, the top offensive team in KenPom AdjustedO, if the season ended today, would be one of the worst in the KenPom era if not the worst.

Gonzaga has the best offense with an AdjustedO of 120.4. Going back to 2013, a year similar to this with offenses, we’d find that to be pretty low for the top offensive team. Let’s take a look at those numbers.

2019: Gonzaga 124.5, 6 teams better than this year
2018: Villanova 127.8, 5 teams better
2017: Oklahoma State 126.0, 9 teams better
2016: UNC, 124.4, 9 teams better
2015: Wisconsin 129, 6 teams better
2014: Duke 124.7, 4 teams better
2013: Michigan 121.9. 3 teams better

In 2013, Michigan made the Final 4 as a 4-seed. Louisville won it all as the overall 1-seed and had the nations best defense. They are quite similar to Kansas. The other two Final 4 teams were Syracuse, a 4-seed and Wichita State, a 9-seed. FWIW, Michigan this season is quite similar to Wichita State and Baylor most similar to that Syracuse team.

We discussed if this means chalk or chaos and my hunch is chaos. All that said, I think Kansas and Duke have separated themselves as the top-2 teams in the nation. At this moment, I’ll be surprised if neither make a deep March run.

Finally, we wondered if defense or offense would dominate. It seems defense would be the answer but if your team can score the ball, I like their chances given the dearth of good offensive teams this year.

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