Saturday, November 16, 2013

StatWatch™: Update on the new rules

We've played a full week of college basketball now (not including this Friday's games), for a total of about 319 games between D1 teams. I've been keeping track of how the new rules have been affecting scoring as compared to the same time-period last year, and I will continue to do so until I get bored with it.

After the first weekend, overall scoring was about about 6.9%. Now it's up even more—9.1%. The increase is even large in certain subsets of games: close games (10 points or less), games that top 10 in Ken Pomeroy's "FanMatch" (that is, games expected to be competitive and quality basketball), and games between teams ranked in the top 100 of the Kenpom ratings:

D1 v D1 2014 2013 Change
All Scoring 73.5 67.4 9.1%
Close Games 74.4 66.2 12.4%
Top 10 FM 75.3 67.2 12.1%
Top 10 Close 76.1 66.9 13.8%
Top 100 76.1 68.0 11.9%
#OT 15 18

(Hey, look at that, I finally figured out how to embed an excel table into a blog post all pretty-like.)

Of course, for each of these subsets there is a small number problem, so the difference could just be a mirage. It's fun to speculate, though. I speculate that scoring is up in the games between good teams because the games between good teams are on television, so the officials are especially motivated to make a show of enforcing the new rules. 

That the increase also seems to be accelerating could be a sign that the rule changes are actually working to open up the offense, rather than just creating more free throws. But we shall see.

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