Tempo-free predictions for 2012-13

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Expectations will rightfully be high for UCLA next season. There's little to suggest Ben Howland screws it up. (US Presswire)

Dan Hanner is one of the best tempo-free stat guys out there. He reached out to me in March to share some of his fantastic statistical analysis work -- which normally runs on RealGM.com -- but we couldn't connect due to the crazy tournament schedule. Fortunately, now we have, and now you get to see some of the fruits of his labor.

Already looking forward to next season? Of course you are. So am I, and so is Dan. Below, his projections for '12-13, with recent recruiting coups included.
Get to learnin' about why UCLA has to be the Pac-12's best next year; why Villanova should be mediocre once again; and how West Virginia fits into the Big 12. Every major team is covered.



In sports, margin-of-victory is the greatest predictor of future success. Today I use the tempo-free player statistics to predict how the margin-of-victory numbers will change between the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. Then I use that information to predict the 2013 conference standings.

These projections remove all graduating seniors, announced transfers, and early entrants from rosters. My transfer information comes from Jeff Goodman's transfer list and I am also using CBSSports.com's early entrant list. I include all transfers and early entrants listed on April 10th. Because a few players had not made a decision, I had to make some assumptions. I assume Connecticut's Andre Drummond, Florida's Bradley Beal, Kentucky's Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will declare for the draft. And I assume NC State's C.J. Leslie, UCLA's Josh Smith, and the rest of the Kentucky roster will return. (Ed. note: We're hearing it's highly unlikely any of the five starters from this year's Kentucky team come back.) I will update these projections later this summer when more information becomes available.
  • PW = Predicted Conference Wins
  • PL = Predicted Conference Losses
  • P% = Percentage of Possessions Returning – (Possessions are a more powerful predictor of future offense than minutes, although the model includes returning minutes as well.)
  • FrP% = Percentage of Freshmen Possessions – (Teams that give major minutes to freshmen are significantly more likely to improve the following season.)
  • T10Fr = Consensus Top 10 Freshmen Recruits
  • N100 = New Recruits Ranked 11-100 on the Roster – (This includes transfers like Iowa St.'s Korie Lucious and redshirt freshmen like Duke's Alex Murphy.)
  • Total = Total RSCI Top 100 high school recruits on the roster
  • NC = New Coach
  • RV = Relative Value = Offensive Rating of Returning Players, Incoming Transfers, and Players Returning from Injury (like UNC's Leslie McDonald) divided by the Offensive Rating of Last Year's Roster
  • MOV12 = Opponent Adjusted Margin-of-Victory in 2012 (see Pythag. rating on Kenpom.com)
TeamPWPLP%FrP%T10FrN100TotalNCRVMOV12
UCLA

13

5

63%

7%

2

2

9

N

0.996

0.812

Arizona

13

5

60%

29%

2

2

9

N

0.953

0.791

California

12

6

63%

10%

0

1

2

N

1.004

0.856

Stanford

12

6

70%

22%

0

2

5

N

0.998

0.841

Colorado

11

7

56%

27%

0

2

2

N

0.996

0.736

Washington

10

8

49%

12%

0

0

1

N

1.013

0.791

Oregon

8

10

45%

3%

0

1

2

N

0.984

0.797

Oregon St.

8

10

76%

12%

0

0

1

N

1.004

0.704

USC

7

11

76%

19%

0

1

1

N

1.038

0.317

Washington St.

7

11

72%

15%

0

1

1

N

0.977

0.704

Arizona St.

4

14

56%

11%

0

0

1

N

0.997

0.342

Utah

3

15

34%

5%

0

0

1

N

1.106

0.155


-Now that Shabazz Muhammad has committed to UCLA, the Bruins are projected to be the top team in the Pac-12. And with Kyle Anderson's passing and Muhammad's scoring ability, there is going to be a lot more room for Josh Smith to operate this season.

-Arizona has a great recruiting class, but the Wildcats lose their three most efficient players in Kyle Fogg, Brendon Lavender, and Jesse Perry. The Relative Value Column shows that in terms of efficiency, Arizona is returning the absolute wrong players. Arizona will be a Pac-12 title contender because of all the talent on the team, but a number of players need to get better this summer for a Pac-12 title to become a reality.

-Washington lost Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross to the draft and Oregon St. lost Jared Cunningham. Relative to last week, both teams are now projected to win fewer games.
-Don't forget that Jio Fontan will be back for USC this year. A healthy USC team will be much more competitive.

TeamPWPLP%FrP%T10FrN100TotalNCRVMOV12
Kentucky

16

2

54%

24%

2

3

9

N

0.955

0.968

Florida

13

5

63%

1%

0

2

8

N

1.004

0.916

Alabama

12

6

66%

39%

0

0

4

N

0.992

0.854

Tennessee

11

7

82%

17%

0

0

5

N

1.012

0.767

Missouri

11

7

33%

0%

0

1

2

N

0.939

0.923

Mississippi

10

8

74%

32%

0

0

4

N

1.015

0.703

Vanderbilt

8

10

17%

12%

0

0

3

N

0.842

0.907

LSU

8

10

63%

32%

0

0

2

Y

0.969

0.674

Georgia

7

11

64%

33%

0

0

1

N

0.968

0.631

Arkansas

7

11

75%

45%

0

0

4

N

1.010

0.581

Texas A&M

7

11

48%

10%

0

2

4

N

1.026

0.634

Auburn

6

12

76%

0%

0

1

2

N

0.999

0.519

South Carolina

6

12

69%

12%

0

0

4

Y

0.982

0.515

Mississippi St.

4

14

17%

1%

0

0

0

Y

0.970

0.697


-Even if several players declare for the draft, Kentucky has plenty of talent coming in, especially now that Nerlens Noel has joined the fold. And with John Calipari's proven ability to teach defense, my model projects Kentucky as the best team in the nation.

-It seems a little scary that Missouri loses 2/3rds of its offense from last year, but there is still reason for optimism. Michael Dixon and Phil Pressey are back on the perimeter and Laurence Bowers will anchor the middle. Bowers missed all of last season due to injury, but his 2010-2011 stats were arguably the best on the team. Highly rated transfer Jabari Brown will also join the team mid-season.

-It was an odd week for Arkansas. BJ Young pulled his name out of the draft, but Julysses Nobles elected to transfer. Mike Anderson is a great coach but he can't have valuable players transfer every year if he wants to build a winner.

-I feel sorry for Mississippi St.'s Wendell Lewis. With Rodney Hood deciding to transfer this week, he has a lot of weight on his shoulders.

TeamPWPLP%FrP%T10FrN100TotalNCRVMOV12
Louisville

13

5

70%

18%

0

0

7

N

0.963

0.908

Syracuse

12

6

42%

8%

0

3

6

N

1.021

0.940

Marquette

12

6

61%

14%

0

1

6

N

0.950

0.903

Notre Dame

11

7

72%

9%

0

1

1

N

1.029

0.814

Georgetown

11

7

46%

30%

0

1

6

N

1.002

0.915

Cincinnati

11

7

66%

10%

0

0

1

N

1.003

0.860

South Florida

9

9

60%

15%

0

0

0

N

1.005

0.799

Pittsburgh

9

9

62%

11%

0

2

6

N

1.013

0.764

Villanova

8

10

79%

37%

0

2

7

N

0.979

0.718

Seton Hall

8

10

53%

25%

0

0

0

N

0.988

0.777

Connecticut

8

10

55%

17%

0

1

5

N

0.985

0.818

Rutgers

8

10

84%

54%

0

1

3

N

0.999

0.630

Providence

6

12

74%

22%

0

3

3

N

1.009

0.607

DePaul

5

13

84%

19%

0

0

1

N

0.979

0.541

St. John's

4

14

69%

55%

0

1

4

N

1.005

0.525


-Louisville was built on elite defense this year and almost all the key defensive players will be back. But who will provide the outside shooting now that Chris Smith and Kyle Kuric are gone?

-Syracuse was supposedly the deepest team in the nation, and that will be tested now that the team loses Dion Waiters, Fab Melo, Kris Joseph, and Scoop Jardine.

-Providence has a great recruiting class, but transfers continue to decimate this program. The loss of Gerald Coleman and Bilal Dixon means the team will lack depth and have little margin for error.

TeamPWPLP%FrP%T10FrN100TotalNCRVMOV12
Kansas

14

4

46%

3%

0

3

7

N

1.022

0.948

Baylor

13

5

63%

18%

1

2

7

N

0.990

0.904

Kansas St.

12

6

86%

29%

0

0

0

Y

1.000

0.863

Texas

10

8

55%

55%

0

3

7

N

0.977

0.849

Iowa St.

10

8

44%

4%

0

2

3

N

1.032

0.856

Oklahoma St.

9

9

76%

50%

1

0

4

N

0.962

0.687

West Virginia

8

10

55%

36%

0

3

4

N

0.934

0.790

Oklahoma

7

11

86%

0%

0

0

3

N

1.000

0.647

Texas Tech

4

14

84%

45%

0

1

1

N

1.020

0.292

TCU

3

15

56%

12%

0

0

0

Y

0.968

0.512


-Yes Kansas loses a lot of talent, but there will still be seven players on the team that were Top 100 recruits coming out of high school. (Ben Mclemore is finally eligible.) And thanks to Bill Self's ability to teach defense, Kansas will be the favorites in the Big 12 again.

-Kansas St. brings almost everyone back and Bruce Weber has a real chance to hit the ground running.

-When you look at all those freshmen minutes (FP%), you see why this conference could be extremely deep next year. Oklahoma St. should be substantially improved, and West Virginia should see plenty of player development, which will help offset the loss of the team's two best players.

TeamPWPLP%FrP%T10FrN100TotalNCRVMOV12
Duke

13

5

72%

8%

0

2

8

N

1.009

0.878

NC State

12

6

80%

4%

0

3

7

N

0.994

0.825

North Carolina

11

7

32%

18%

0

4

8

N

0.976

0.934

Miami FL

11

7

78%

12%

0

0

3

N

1.018

0.798

Florida St.

11

7

41%

3%

0

1

5

N

1.068

0.865

Virginia

10

8

55%

15%

0

3

4

N

0.971

0.837

Virginia Tech

10

8

73%

34%

0

1

6

N

1.005

0.697

Maryland

9

9

75%

29%

0

3

4

N

0.991

0.579

Clemson

7

11

56%

24%

0

0

3

N

0.927

0.725

Boston College

5

13

79%

73%

0

0

0

N

1.007

0.263

Georgia Tech

5

13

79%

7%

0

3

7

N

0.989

0.440

Wake Forest

4

14

55%

12%

0

3

4

N

1.068

0.377


- Not much changed in the ACC since I projected the standings on April 2nd, but I did make one manual tweak to the projections. Maryland's Pomeroy and Sagarin ratings were unreasonably low. This was clearly a different team after Alex Len became eligible, and when I used Maryland's splits from the second half of the season, the 2013 projection looks more reasonable.

- The model says that based on history, Mike Krzyzewski won't have a bad defensive team two years in a row. Whether it will be recruit Rasheed Sulaimon or Tyler Thornton, someone will get more minutes on the perimeter and become a defensive stopper.

-UNC loses 4 critical starters from a 7 player rotation and no one in the recruiting class is a sure thing. The Tar Heels will be an NCAA tournament team but not a Final Four favorite this year.

TeamPWPLP%FrP%T10FrN100TotalNCRVMOV12
New Mexico

13

3

66%

8%

0

0

0

N

1.024

0.899

UNLV

11

5

60%

0%

0

3

6

N

0.982

0.816

San Diego St.

10

6

84%

0%

0

1

1

N

0.994

0.750

Colorado St.

8

8

82%

1%

0

1

1

Y

0.994

0.681

Wyoming

7

9

50%

11%

0

0

1

N

0.985

0.672

Nevada

7

9

64%

0%

0

0

0

N

1.022

0.641

Boise St.

6

10

84%

37%

0

0

0

N

1.012

0.505

Fresno St.

5

11

70%

1%

0

0

0

N

1.005

0.439

Air Force

5

11

90%

26%

0

0

0

Y

1.001

0.401


-UNLV keeps adding transfers. This year the Rebels add Pittsburgh's Khem Birch and USC's Bryce Jones.

TeamPWPLP%FrP%T10FrN100TotalNCRVMOV12
Ohio St.

14

4

61%

11%

0

0

6

N

0.989

0.964

Indiana

13

5

83%

22%

0

3

6

N

1.004

0.918

Wisconsin

13

5

71%

5%

0

1

3

N

0.981

0.942

Michigan St.

12

6

59%

22%

0

4

9

N

0.974

0.953

Michigan

10

8

64%

24%

1

2

3

N

0.974

0.854

Minnesota

10

8

83%

31%

0

0

2

N

1.004

0.797

Purdue

8

10

44%

12%

0

2

3

N

0.940

0.868

Illinois

8

10

73%

18%

0

0

6

Y

0.971

0.740

Iowa

6

12

68%

23%

0

2

2

N

0.997

0.704

Penn St.

6

12

76%

14%

0

0

0

N

1.028

0.590

Northwestern

6

12

60%

15%

0

0

0

N

0.974

0.747

Nebraska

2

16

35%

3%

0

0

0

Y

1.000

0.508


-Here is why my model likes Ohio St. ahead of Indiana. The Buckeyes are more likely to play elite defense next season. The Hoosiers will have a better offense, but it takes great offense and great defense to be a championship caliber team. Indiana will also be extremely deep next year, but you can only play so many players at once. The model views the Hoosiers as a long-term buy, but not necessarily the favorite next season.

-Michigan is getting a lot of love nationally, but I think expectations may be a little unrealistic. Mitch McGary is a great prospect in the post, and Trey Burke might be the Big Ten's best point guard. But my model is concerned that Michigan loses its three top sharpshooters (Evan Smotrycz, Stu Douglass, and Zack Novak). Tim Hardaway Jr. is a fantastic player, but he is not a three point shooter, and Michigan is going to be depending a lot on new players for outside scoring.

Final Notes

I use data from the 2003 season to the 2012 season to fit the model. The basic model incorporates several well-established basketball facts: First, experience matters. Teams that have more returning minutes (and possessions) tend to improve.

Second, teams that return more efficient scorers (i.e. better shooting percentage, fewer turnovers) improve more than teams that return less efficient scorers.

Third, the biggest leap in development is from a player's freshman year to his sophomore year. Teams that give major minutes to freshmen tend to improve significantly the following season.

Fourth, the return of injured players (such as Louisville's Mike Marra) has a predictable impact on team performance.

Fifth, for incoming transfers, the performance with the previous team provides some information about the player's future performance. Sixth, coaching ability impacts performance in a predictable manner.

And finally, high school recruits can have a significant impact on a team's performance. High school recruits ranked in the Top 10 have the biggest impact, but players ranked in the Top 100 are also important. These factors are combined to produce a numeric ranking of teams for the upcoming college basketball season.
 
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