Friday, February 12, 2010

Inside the Numbers: A Closer Look at Vanderbilt's Statistics

If you'd like to view the season and SEC stats, they are available here at Stanimal and I were chatting this morning about our big-men, especially Steve T., who seems to pick up fouls faster than anyone else of the Commodores. This conversation inspired me to look a little closer at the numbers.

While I am clearly channeling my inner Billy Beane, I have absolutely no idea whether any of these stats are relevant or instructive at all. Still, I'm going to try and make a few observations all the same. I look forward to your criticisms and insults below.

Fouls Per Minute:

The inspiration for this post, I took the number of total minutes played and divided that number by the number of personal fouls. I ran these numbers for SEC play and for conference play and then compared the results to each other. The higher you are on this list, the fewer minutes per foul you are playing.

1. Steve T. (plays 3.8 minutes for every foul he commits in conference play, that number is down from 4.9 minutes overall average). Steve can be a very effective player, but is significantly limiting his playing time by picking up too many fouls.
2. Festus Ezeli (4.9, 5.7)
3. Jeffrey Taylor (7.8, 10.3) This indicates to me that Jeffery's foul trouble may be keeping him off the floor too much. Given how his game relies on "flow," he needs to get this number up.
4. A.J. Ogilvy (8.7, 8.3) While he's gotten a little better, A.J. is fouling out if he were to play in a hypothetical game where he played 40 minutes. He's been relegated to the bench too often this season, in part, because of his penchant for picking up fouls.
5. Andre Walker (9.2, 9.1) Not terrible numbers, but given his role in helping alleviate pressure, I'd love to see these numbers be a little higher.

The Rest: Beal is the team's best, picking up a foul every 28 minutes. Jenkins and Tinsley are committing 1 foul per 19 minute. It's a fine line between "smart" and "soft" defense. Basketball is a contact sport, but Vanderbilt hasn't had to worry much this season about their guards being unavailable due to foul trouble.

Points Per Minute:

It's possible to argue that this is a stat that indicates offensive efficiency, at least as far as scoring goes. The math is simple: # of points divided by the # of minutes played. Again, the numbers below are that results from conference play, and the results overall.

1. Jeffery Taylor - .59, .53
2. A.J. Ogilvy - .52, .60
3. Jermaine Beal - .51, .47
4. John Jenkins - .44, .50
5. Brad Tinsely - .34, .28
6. Steve T. - .30, .32
7. Lance Goulbourne - .27, .26
8. Festus Ezeli - .22, .32
9. Andre Walker - .18, .24

That Andre finishes dead last is not that troubling. His role on this team is not as a scorer. That A.J. is scoring fewer points per minute played in conference play is of great concern, however.

Points Per FG Attempt:

This is probably the best indicator of offensive efficiency. If you are taking good shots, the more points you will be scoring per attempt. This math on this is the number of points scored divided by the number of field goal attempts.

1. A.J. Ogivly (1.77, 1.54)
2. Jeffery Taylor (1.51, 1.53)
3. Jermaine Beal (1.50, 1.34)
3. Steve T. (1.50, 1.56)
5. Brad Tinsely (1.42, 1.27)
6. John Jenkins (1.41, 1.43)
7. Festus Ezeli (1.30, 1.35)
8. Lance Goulbourne (1.18, 1.54)
9. Andre Walker (1.17, 1.36)

Not surprisingly, A.J. is the leader in the category. I was surprised to see that his points per attempt went up in conference play given his recent struggles. Steve's numbers additionally underscore how important it is for him to stay out of foul trouble. He is very efficient on the offensive end, but that doesn't matter if he's riding the pine. I always think of Walker has hitting timely buckets, but these stats would indicate otherwise as he is the least efficient offensive player on the team.

I've got other stats, but these seemed the most pressing and informative. Any others you'd like to see? If I think of any other's, I'll be sure to post.


Tom M said...

If you really want to geek out on stats, I'd go to

Anonymous said...

Really interesting post. I don't think there's a way statistically, but I would be curious to know the difference between the number of fouls AJ commits and the number of fouls he draws from opponents. My guess is that even though he fouls a good bit, he is more effective at getting the other team to foul him, which has it's own advantages especially when you consider his 72% FT percentage.

chad said...

i want festus and steve t. to keep playing aggressive D. this season is the first time ever that i've heard announcers describe vanderbilt as "physical", which i love. considering the depth of our big men, i say hack away.

Unknown said...

@Anonymous - Ken Pomeroy says on his Vanderbilt page that AJO commits 4.8 fouls per 40 minutes and draws 8.0, so you're right.

AJO does draw quite a few more fouls than he commits, which is a very good thing indeed, considering how well he shoots free throws.

Douglas James said...

While it is good that aj gets to the free throw line I have two comments. First he never seems to get the And 1 shots. That to me is from is lack of finishing strength. Second and related aj seems content to be fouled. Its almost as if he is hoping the refs will bail him out by blowing their whistle

Colin said...

I like the stats. Though I favor more arbitrary and subjective ones. Food for thought though, based on the numbers Beal shoots 62% when releasing the ball from regions inside the three point line. He would clearly lead the team in offensive efficency if he shot fewer threes right? Also it would be interesting to see stats that factor in good and bad fouls/ and or fouls that ended in three point plays. I have a feeling our guards would only be giving bad fouls considering I only ever feel like they foul in transition as somebody goes for an and 1. While I feel like Fez and sometime Steve both commit okay fouls in that they atleast foul hard and prevent layups when people get beat. Obviosuly Walker would bow this category out of teh water considering he only ever fouls people when he is tired and doesn't feel like running back or wants Kstall to sub him. I love walker but has anyone else ever noticed this?

Drubaru said...

These stats show what we already knew about AJO. He becomes less aggressive against bigger, stronger opponents. His SEC stats for points per minute went down even though his points per attempt went up. Meaning, he just doesn't shoot as much in the SEC. He makes them when he shoots, obviously, so it is a mental thing - he plays tentative when he's decided he's up against the big boys. CKS needs to have a "Taylor Talk" with him and tell him to unleash the beast. Maybe we should give him a new nickname, like, The Tazmanian Devil.

Stanimal said...

I like that idea Drubaru. I would love it if Ogilvy would suddenly go crazy and eat opposing players while flying through the paint whirlwind style. He can keep the highlights and do that!

Drubaru said...

and the 'stache. (too late, I know)

Unknown said...

Could not agree more with Drubaru's initial comment. AJ needs to drink about 5 Red Bulls before each game and have coach tell him that the entire front line of the opposing team slept with his girl.

I do not know if this is available, but I would like to see the point differential for each player's time on the floor for conference and non-conference. By that I mean the difference in Vandy's score and the opponents score for the time they are on the floor. I have seen this in some NBA box scores.