I Love College Basketball

I love college basketball.  As a matter of fact, I plan to write about college basketball all season.  More on that later.

As I was saying, I love college basketball, but I also really, really, like the NBA.  I am not one of those college fans who think NBA players are mercenaries who do not care about their team.  Sure, there are guys picking in the NBA just picking up a pay check.  However, do not think that your team’s prize recruit has the same love of State U as you do.  The main reason he has matriculated to your school is the NBA doesn’t let guys jump straight to the NBA.

Nor am I one of the NBA fans who do not understand how people can watch inferior players play basketball.  They don’t understand that it is about cheering for State U.  The university, its basketball team, and it coach are constants if you cheer for a historically good program.  Even with the best players coming and going in 1 or 2 years, good coaches get them to buy into the love of State U, even if it is just for a few months.  Yes, the talent level and skill level are not the same as the NBA, but the heart is greater.

Usually the love of one over the other is dependent upon where you grew up.  If you grew up in a major US city with professional teams (usually in the Northeast, Chicago or California) as your sports watching option, you are much more likely to not understand college sports in general.  If you grew up in a smaller town or more rural area (usually in the South and Midwest), you gravitated to your state’s biggest and most successful college teams.

So, I will watch both this season, but I will write about the one closest to my heart.  What am I going to write about?  You ask good questions.

I am not a math whiz.  However, in recent years, I have become very interested in the use of advanced statistics in basketball.  By advanced statistics I mean, a lot of the work originally done by Dean Oliver, John Hollinger, and Ken Pomeroy.  What they have been trying to do is take the basic statistics (points, field goal percentage, rebounds, etc.) and adding things like tempo and number of possessions to find out how effective teams and individual players really are.

Their main and most important contribution, in my mind, is to take away the effect of tempo.  What the advanced statisticians are trying to do is compare apples to apples by comparing team’s offensive and defensive production over 100 possessions.

What I want to do is take the things Pomeroy and Hollinger, in particular, are doing and use them as a fan to learn more about my favorite team (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tar Heels) and the ACC.

I have set up a spreadsheet for UNC stats using a lot of Pomeroy’s and Hollinger’s formulas to look at this season in basketball.

As all things with my writing, it may make sense and it may not, but I’ll have fun.


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