Efficiency Stats: Illini & Buffaloes Away from Home
This post started with a tweet.
I thought I was done writing about the efficiency stats of Illinois and Colorado until after their game on Friday. Then, yesterday I received this tweet from Lucas Dawdy:
@bmoline11 Brian, have you looked into CU's efficiency numbers in road/neutral sites? They score 12 PPG less there than at home.
— Lucas Dawdy (@BotB9) March 18, 2013
Of course, I hadn't looked into the Buffaloes' numbers away from home. It hadn't even crossed my mind. But, as the day went on, Lucas's question kept gnawing at me. Twelve points less per game away from home seemed like a lot. Was Colorado much less efficient at home, or did they just play at a slower tempo? Finally, last night I started digging into the numbers. I looked at efficiency stats away from home for both Colorado and Illinois, and there's certainly a big difference for one team. First, here are the road/neutral numbers for Illinois, with their overall season number in parenthesis:
- Illinois 1.05 PPP (1.02)
- Illinois 1.02 defensive PPP (0.97)
- Illinois 48.0 eFG% (48.0)
- Illinois 48.1 defensive eFG% (48.9)
- Illinois 16.1 TO% (17.1%)
- Illinois 21.6 defensive TO% (21.5%)
- Illinois 30.1 OReb% (32.2%)
- Illinois 62.8 DReb% (68.0%)
So, the Illini have actually been better on offense away from the Assembly Hall this season. They're not shooting any better, but they've taken better care of the basketball, which accounts for the difference. Their defense (both field goal defense and rebounding) have been a bit worse outside of Champaign. So, the Illini's efficiency margin (the difference between their PPP and their defensive PPP) has been 0.03 away from come, compared to 0.05 overall. That's a bit worse, but not out of the ordinary. Illinois has a 10-8 record away from home this season. Now, for Colorado:
- Colorado 0.96 PPP (1.00)
- Colorado 0.99 defensive PPP (0.94)
- Colorado 44.8 eFG% (48.6%)
- Colorado 46.3 defensive eFG% (46.1%)
- Colorado 19.8 TO% (19.4%)
- Colorado 18.7 defensive TO% (19.0%)
- Colorado 33.5 OReb% (32.1%)
- Colorado 66.5 DReb% (71.1%)
So, as Lucas wondered, the Buffaloes are indeed a different team away from home. Their efficiency margin goes from +0.06 overall to -0.03 away from home. They shoot much worse outside Boulder, almost four full percentage points worse in effective field goal percentage. Plus, they haven't done nearly as good a job grabbing defensive rebounds away from home, getting nearly four percent fewer.
One word of caution I would give before you think the Illini should be prohibitive favorites in this game. One of Colorado's early season road games was at Kansas. Not only is Allen Fieldhouse perhaps the toughest road environment in the country, but this is also a young Colorado team that has an average of just 1.16 years of NCAA experience on the roster per Ken Pomeroy. That ranks #310 out of 347 division one teams. In that game, the Buffaloes were blown out 90-54, and had an efficiency margin of -0.47. Other than that debacle, their biggest margin of defeat on the road was a 16-point loss at California. The young Buffaloes appear to have done some maturing throughout the season. Their record away from home (9-8) actually isn't much different than the Illini's (10-8)
My conclusion from these numbers is that Colorado has struggled shooting away from home. They've also played a number of low-scoring slugfests on the road with mixed results. These numbers lead me to believe that Illinois should be a slight favorite in this game, but if they get a shooting performance like they had against Iowa or Minnesota, they could easily lose the Buffaloes, who have no problem playing a game in the 50's, or even the 40's.
[photo courtesy of theshiver.com]
Thanks for reading.