Crowdsourcing A Template For RTT Basketball Previews

Every year about this time I practically strip the gears in a noisy transition from football to basketball. Your mileage will almost certainly vary, but for me, it's never as smooth as I'd like. Just how do football previews translate into basketball previews? They're two almost totally different things.

So I thought maybe we'd all do a little crowdsourcing to really delve into hoops and create a template for RTT's basketball previews. There are several fantastic resources for bball info on the web, most notably KenPom.com, Statsheet.com, and the good old trusty NCAA. But what's important among all of that data?

For instance, there's this from Statsheet.com:

  Tennessee Logo Pitt Logo
Rankings  

Conf Standing 1 1
AP Rank 11 3
RPI Rank 3 4
SOS Rank 14 21
Projected SOS Rank 14 6

Okay, good. Both Tennessee and Pitt sit atop their respective leagues and are essentially neck and neck in the all-important RPI. The voters think more highly of Pitt, but the Vols' strength of schedule is a bit better. All right. Detail:

  Tennessee Logo Pitt Logo
Wins & Losses  

Overall 6-0   (1.00) 9-0   (1.00)
Home 4-0   (1.00) 6-0   (1.00)
Away 0-0   (NA) 1-0   (1.00)
Neutral 2-0   (1.00) 2-0   (1.00)
Conference 0-0   (NA) 0-0   (NA)
Top 25 1-0   (1.00) 0-0   (NA)
Blowout (> 19) 2-0   (1.00) 4-0   (1.00)
Close (< 6) 2-0   (1.00) 1-0   (1.00)
Overtime 0-0   (0.00) 0-0   (0.00)
NCAA Tourney 0-0   (0.00) 0-0   (0.00)

Pitt's played three more games than have the Vols, probably because they don't have to really worry about all that "school" business (ha!) (actually, I don't have a clue about Pittsburgh's academics, so whatever). Tennessee has the best pelt (Villanova). Okay. More (much more) detail:

  Tennessee Logo Pitt Logo
Stats      
Pts Per Game 78.0 (49)  
82.8 (15)  
Poss Per Game 73.0 (58)  
67.9 (202)  
Pts Per Poss 1.07 (78)  
1.22 (4)  
Floor Pct 54.2 (87)  
64.2 (1)  
FG Made Per Game 25.2  
29.9  
FG Att Per Game 55.7  
61.7  
FG Pct 45.2 (111)  
48.5 (29)  
FT Made Per Game 22.3  
16.6  
FT Att Per Game 32.7  
24.9  
FT Pct 68.4 (159)  
66.5 (215)  
3FG Made Per Game 5.3  
6.4  
3FG Att Per Game 16.5  
17.6  
3pt FG Pct 32.3 (217)  
36.7 (97)  
Effective FG Pct 50.0 (156)  
53.7 (43)  
True Shooting Pct 54.8 (105)  
56.3 (60)  
Free Throw Rate 58.7 (2)  
40.4 (134)  
2pt FG Point Pct 50.9 (209)  
56.6 (68)  
3pt FG Point Pct 20.5 (302)  
23.4 (249)  
FT Point Pct 28.6 (3)  
20.0 (218)  
RPG 42.3 (15)  
45.6 (3)  
Off Rebs Per Game 13.7 (61)  
17.6 (4)  
Off Reb Pct 39.6 (33)  
48.3 (1)  
Def Rebs Per Game 28.7 (10)  
28.0 (23)  
Def Reb Pct 70.2 (90)  
72.2 (50)  
Assists Per Game 14.3 (107)  
20.0 (3)  
Assist Pct 57.0 (112)  
66.9 (8)  
A/T Ratio 0.9 (176)  
1.64 (4)  
Steals Per Game 8.2 (80)  
5.8 (253)  
Steal Pct 11.2 (102)  
8.5 (259)  
Blocks Per Game 4.2 (104)  
4.3 (93)  
Block Pct 7.2 (121)  
7.6 (100)  
TOPG 16.0 (83)  
12.2 (300)  
Turnover Pct 21.9 (128)  
18.0 (292)  
Fouls Per Game 22.5 (38)  
17.7 (251)  

Wow. See? That's a whole lotto stuff. How much of that is important?Which of it is most important? From that stuff above, it looks to me like Pitt is simply a better shooting team (in every category except -- brace -- free throws, in which Tennessee is better). The Vols make up for it somewhat in having more possessions, but not enough to make up the difference in total points. Pitt rebounds better on the offensive end, and the teams do equally well on the boards on the defensive end. Tennessee generates more steals (woo!)

But do us all a favor and spend some time over at Statsheet.com. Play with their cool embeddable charts. Which of those are not only cool but relevant and informative? What's with that Four Factors analysis? You tell me, and I'll begin to incorporate them into our basketball game previews.

Do the same with KenPom.com (which is just cool to say). For instance, he currently lists Pitt as Tennessee's best opponent of the season. He predicts a 75-66 Pittsburgh victory and gives the Vols an 18% chance of winning. That's good stuff. We've taken a look at how he arrives at such conclusions before. Should we revisit that?

There's good stuff at the NCAA site, too, but is there anything worth including in a preview?

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