Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Year of the Offenses

Defense wins championships is an old maxim. It's easier for a bad offense to score against a mediocre defense than for even a great offense to score against a great defense (or so the conventional wisdom goes). This year's Sweet 16, however, is heavy on the offense, and not as much on the defense. According to Ken Pomeroy's adjusted efficiency, the top 3 teams, 8 of the top 10, and 11 of the top 14 teams on offense still remain in the tournament. The worst offensive efficiency by any remaining team belongs to George Mason, but they're still in the top 20% in the country (ranked 68th). By contrast, there are some bad defensive teams who are still playing - Boston College checks in at 97th, and Gonzaga is a robust 170th in the country, which puts them in the bottom half of defensive teams. 5 of the top 7 defensive teams are now sitting at home. The trend was reflected in who got into the tournament, too - just 4 of the top 30 offenses missed the tournament (Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Oregon, and Michigan), while 8 of the top 30 defenses missed out on the dance. So it's been a very good year for the offense, which means good things for Duke - #1 in adjusted offensive efficiency on the season. For the record, here's how the 16 remaining teams stack up

Offensive Efficiency
1) Duke - 119.5
2) Texas - 119.3
3) Gonzaga - 118.8
5) Villanova - 118.5
6) Boston College - 117.8
7) Connecticut - 117.8
8) Georgetown - 116.7
10) Florida - 116.4
12) Washington - 116.1
13) West Virginia - 115.4
14) UCLA - 115.1
25) Memphis - 112.8
29) Wichita State - 112.3
39) Louisiana State - 111.1
65) Bradley - 107.6
68) George Mason - 107.1

Defensive Efficiency
3) UCLA - 85.9
6) Texas - 87.1
8) Connecticut - 87.5
9) Louisiana State - 87.6
10) Bradley - 88.1
11) Memphis - 88.1
12) Florida - 88.2
15) George Mason - 88.9
16) Villanova - 89.4
17) Duke - 89.5
26) Washington - 90.6
43) Georgetown - 92.5
45) West Virginia - 92.6
60) Wichita State - 93.8
97) Boston College - 96.6
170) Gonzaga - 101.4

1 comment:

Music 074 said...

Past years show that offense actually IS more important.

In 2005, the Final Four teams had the following offensive rankings: 1, 3, 6, and 7, and ranked defensively: 7, 11, 16, 25.

In 2004, the offense was ranked 2,5, 8, 27. Defense: 3, 4, 5, 9.

Defense was clearly a lot stronger in 2004.

In both pervious years, very strong defensive teams missed the party: Duke (05): Off 17, Def 2; Pitt (04): Off 22, Def 2. Similarly, Kansas this year - Off 32, Def 2.

This trend bodes well for Texas, Connecticut, Duke and Nova. Poorly for Memphis, UCLA and LSU. Gonzaga will really test the limit of the value of defense, paring its 3rd rated Offense with its 171st rated defense.