by A.J. Coltrane
From left to right: Team Name, Kenpom Rank (minimum, top 50), 3-point percentage and rank, free throw percentage and rank, 3-point attempted quantity and rank. The ranks are relative to all 347 Division I teams.
Then it’s me screwing around with numbers. The “Vol” is the Volatility of the team. It’s 3P% x 3PA%. These are the teams that rely upon 3-pointers for a lot of their offense. If they get hot they can beat anybody, and if they get cold they could lose to anybody. Conversely, a team with a low “Vol” doesn’t take many 3’s and isn’t good at shooting them. A team with a low “Vol” isn’t likely to shoot itself out of, or back into, a game.
The “VR” is that team’s “Vol” rank among the top 150 teams according to Kenpom. (I didn’t care about the Weak Sisters Of The Poor.) “Vol” wound up ranging from 1658 to something like 800. The lowest team on the “top 50 Kenpom list” is NC State at 920. I think it’s telling that the top 50 teams can all shoot at least a little, and with some volume.
The teams are sorted by Q-E, explained below.
|Nevada Las Vegas||30||32.7||214||70.4||137||33.8||156||1105.3||89||-58|
|San Diego St.||26||33.5||183||68||218||32.5||190||1088.8||91||7|
|North Carolina St.||44||40.2||7||68.2||210||22.9||339||920.6||126||332|
Q-E is pretty self-explanatory: It’s 3PA% rank minus 3P% rank. (The Excel columns were “Q” and “E”. Yeah, I’m a big thinker.) As an example, Cincinnati is the first team listed with a -191. They’re 75th in 3-pointers attempted, and 266th in accuracy. 75 – 266 = -191. My suspicion is that the teams with large negative numbers are going to shoot themselves out of the tournament at some point. Offhand, I’d also guess that those teams lack a guy who can create his own shot, or slash and kick, leading to some desperation heaves late in the shot clock. I’ve seen Cincinnati. It doesn’t feel like an unrealistic set of assumptions. Watching them the other night I kept saying “They look really disjointed…”
On the other hand, the strongly positive teams may benefit from shooting more 3’s. That might bode well if they happen to fall behind and are forced to try to catch up quickly.
It’s interesting to me that there are only two “top-50” teams at worse than -100 “Vol”, but twenty-two teams at better than +100. A large percentage of the top teams are relatively judicious with their 3-point attempts. My guess is that the unwashed masses are shooting a lot of 3’s that they shouldn’t be, but they’ve got to create offense somehow, so that’s how it goes.
If I was smarter I’d be able to do a regression of 3P% vs FT%, I’d expect that there’s some positive correlation to it. At the very least, it illustrates that Cincinnati can’t shoot free throws, either. Poor free throw shooting may do them in, too.
Final note. I like Florida, but their 6th-ranked “Vol” score kinda gives me the heebies.
Burn After Reading mini-spoiler below.