Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on Duke and fouls)

Posted on: August 7, 2008 1:41 pm
 

Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: I'm not a Duke fan at all. I'm just a guy who loves college basketball more than anything except for probably my girlfriend. The people responding on the message boards failed reading comprehension because all your column on Duke stated was that Duke was ranked 15th nationally in foul call differential. So they still get a lot of calls - more than 320 other teams - but just like you said, Not ALL the calls. I swear, Gary, if your readers were only half as smart as me and you a lot of problems in this world could be fixed -- that is except for St. Bonaventure and whatever is going down in Lute-ville, Arizona. Pleasure reading and take care.

-- Troy

I couldn't agree more, Troy.

I wish people were as smart as us.

Maybe someday.

But in the meantime, I would like to address some of the people responding on the message boards and point out that, yes, I know the foul-differential statistic doesn't tell the whole story. How could it? Style of play is also a factor in the number of fouls called, as is whether a team is fouling late to stop the clock, as are the actual referees working the games, as is the number of no-calls in a contest. All sorts of things are also factors. But all sorts of things are factors in all statistics, and in this statistics-driven world we don't feel the need to rationalize them in most other sports so I felt no need to rationalize them here.

When somebody leads the American or National League in hitting we call him the batting champ, right?

Of course we do.

But what we don't do is say that he only led the league in hitting because he runs faster than the guy who finished second, which allowed him to beat out five more singles throughout the year. And we don't mention that he got better pitches to hit because he had an All-Star hitting behind him while the guy who finished second had a bum protecting him. Clearly, those things are factors. It's an advantage to have Josh Hamilton hitting behind you rather than Brian Schneider. But we don't spend a lot of time talking about those things. We find the man with the highest batting average and hand him a trophy. In other words, we rely on the numbers.

Same goes with basketball.

We don't say the guy who averaged more points than everybody else did so only because he took five more shots per game than the guy who finished second. Or because his team played faster. Or because he was a one-man show while the guy who finished second had three other All-Stars on his roster with whom the ball had to be shared. Clearly, those things are factors. It's easier to score a lot of points when you take 24 shots compared to 18. But we don't spend a lot of time talking about those things. We find the man with the highest scoring average and hand him a trophy. In other words, we rely on the numbers.

So that's what I did: I relied on the numbers.

I addressed the theory that Duke gets ALL THE CALLS and used hard, indisputable data to show that Duke opponents are barely whistled for more fouls per game than Duke. It just doesn't happen the way most people believe it happens, according to the numbers. And that's the only point I was trying to make.

Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Aug 8, 2008
Posted on: August 12, 2008 2:44 pm
 

Dear Gary (on Duke and fouls)

hmmm... different animal you say?

           
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;     &
nbsp;     
      
;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;     &
nbsp; GP    FTM    FTA    PCT
1.    Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina    34    281    344    81.7
2.    Stefon Jackson, UTEP     &
nbsp;     
      
;     &nbs
p;  32    221    303    72.9
3.    Charron Fisher, Niagara    &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;    29    219    284    77.1
4.    Jonathan Rodriguez, Campbell    &nb
sp;    30    208    272    76.5
5.    Marqus Blakely, Vermont    &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;    29    153    271    56.5
     Eric Gordon, Indiana    &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;     &
nbsp;     
   31    229    271    84.5

Most attempted FT seemed to be guard heavy last year. Of course, except for the ACC chosen one,  but he gets a majority of those calls in league.



Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: August 8, 2008 11:13 pm
 

Dear Gary (on Duke and fouls)

The NBA is a different animal.  It's a one-on-one league, so you get the top guards getting fouled a lot going to the basket.  That just doesn't happen regularly in college basketball.

Look at the major conference teams ahead of Duke in the foul differential column: They all had big time low post threats.  UNC (Hansbrough), UCLA (Love), Notre Dame (Harangody), etc.



Since: Aug 8, 2008
Posted on: August 8, 2008 3:10 pm
 

Stop the excuses for the disputed excuses

Wow, if i hear the lame argument that Duke is a heavy guard shooting team that should not be drawing as many fouls as a inside team like a unc or uconn I may just throw up. So if this theory is so, it should translate into the nba right? Because as all of you have stated your taught never to foul a jump shooter and the nba is the best of the best, i think that we can all agree on. So lets take a look at that:
<table width="720" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="3" border="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowEven">1</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowEven"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 82 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 20.7 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 6.5 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 10.9 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 529 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortEven"> 897 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> .590 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowOdd">2</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowOdd"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 82 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 26.4 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 7.9 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 9.7 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 645 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortOdd"> 797 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> .809 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowEven">3</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowEven"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 75 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 30.0 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 7.3 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 10.3 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 549 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortEven"> 771 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> .712 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowOdd">4</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowOdd"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 82 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 28.3 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 7.6 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 9.0 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 623 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortOdd"> 742 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> .840 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowEven">5</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowEven"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 79 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 25.2 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 7.0 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 8.7 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 556 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortEven"> 691 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> .805 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowOdd">6</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowOdd"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 70 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 22.1 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 7.9 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 9.7 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 553 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortOdd"> 681 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> .812 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowEven">7</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowEven"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 82 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 22.6 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 6.6 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 8.3 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 542 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortEven"> 679 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> .798 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowOdd">8</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowOdd"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 77 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 25.7 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 6.0 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 7.7 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 464 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortOdd"> 590 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> .786 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowEven">9</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowEven"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 61 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 23.7 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 8.2 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 9.5 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 502 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortEven"> 578 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> .869 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowOdd">10</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowOdd"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 67 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 22.3 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 7.0 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 8.3 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 472 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortOdd"> 559 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> .844 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowEven">11</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowEven"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 77 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 23.6 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 6.2 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 7.1 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 478 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortEven"> 544 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> .879 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowOdd">12</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowOdd"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 82 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 19.9 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 4.5 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 6.2 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 365 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortOdd"> 506 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> .721 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowEven">13</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowEven"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 72 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 22.7 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 5.6 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 6.8 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> 402 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortEven"> 490 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowEven"> .820 </td> </tr> <tr> <td align="center" class="statsRowOdd">14</td> <td align="left" class="statsRowOdd"> </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 80 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 19.6 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 5.1 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 6.1 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> 409 </td> <td align="right" class="statsSortOdd"> 485 </td> <td align="right" class="statsRowOdd"> .843</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> I think my eyes are deceiving me. It almost looks like the guys who are shooters and slashers seem to be going to the foul line the most. There is Stoud and Howard, but the rest are more of a shooting /take it to the basketball type player, including Dirk. Hmmm what is the Duke basketball team made up of? Shooters? Slashers? I don't know, I'm sure you guys will find a void in those stats too. Esp since I am willing to bet most of these posters are looking out of a pair of baby blue sunglasses while trying to read and also cant stand the fact that they actually get more calls then Duke. I mean, does the soon to be 23 yr old senior know that its ok to bounce the basketball on that hard wood before running over, i mean drawing the foul or putting up a awkward sideways shot after doing the unk+ jim jones 2 step dance underneath the rim? And I think I saw a couple shots from Uconn fan. I mean really? You guys get more calls then Duke and UNC put together. Memphis fan,  great run last year, but lets not get to crazy here. You have taken Dukes place? Your what duke used to be? You had a soldier boy year but that doesnt make you a biggie smalls or jay-z, not even a nelly. If your program keeps it up over the next say, 7-10 years, you start actually playing some1 out of your conference because we all know your in cupcake- usa, and your program stays clean with that greasy salesman err i mean coach, then maybe you can start talking about yourself with the likes of a duke, kansas, unc, kentucky, ucla. You need to make history to be a part of history my man, no1 remembers second. Haters get ready for 08.



Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: August 8, 2008 9:31 am
 

Dear Gary (on Duke and fouls)

Add this to the formula -

Dook took 816 3-point attempts last year
UNC took 580 - because they push the ball inside - and realistically should get fouled a LOT MORE than Dook.

Troy - if you're REALLY a college basketball fan, you'll know that YOU DON"T FOUL A JUMP SHOOTER!

The fact is that Dook was 0.6 fouls behind UNC - but it should be a lot more. If Dook did not get "so many calls."


Phillip
Greensboro



Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: August 8, 2008 1:27 am
 

Dear Gary (on Duke and fouls)

Duke gets calls in pivitol moments as does UCLA. Thats why you have to knock out the champion. Not saying thay are the champs, jus saying that if it comes down to wire and  the game will be decided by refs dont expect the win. Just like in boxing with a split decision, steming the phrase "KNOCK OUT THE CHAMPION". Best way to beat duke is to blow em out. Because you dont want the refs to matter, because their rich  history may curve the calls. Human nature. My team Memphis gets calls in the conference, but when we play a ucla or duke we realized that we got to blow em out. Im not downing them because the best teams will get calls. I just think people should stop recognizing them as one of the best now. I think we have took their spot. Duke used to plan for the Final Four now they struggle to get to the sweet sixteen.



Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: August 8, 2008 12:39 am
 

Dear Gary (on Duke and fouls)

Gary, as much as you can say you relied on hard statistical evidence, there are lot of different stats you can pull up to try to defend you position. As much as they may have been 15th in foul differential, last year they were also 16th in 3 point attempts (per http://statsheet.com/mcb/teams/duke

/team_stats). They were 140th nationally at Offensive rebounding percentage (percent of shots rebounded) so they were not getting fouled on inside putbacks. That is not a team that should be in the top 20 of foul differential.

That is all.




Since: Oct 24, 2007
Posted on: August 7, 2008 4:45 pm
 

Dear Gary (on Duke and fouls)

I agree with the other guy who left a comment.  I don't think anyone's ever argued that Dook shoots more FTs than everyone, it's that they are the beneficiaries of bias more often:

Style of play + Skill (ability to draw fouls) + Ref Bias = FT Rate.

The ability to draw fouls is quantifiable, so is style of play to some degree (ratio of 3's to total FG attempted, etc.), but referee bias is unqunatifiable and obviously highly subjective.  I'm biased towards my team (UConn).  Dook fans are biased towards Dook, and biased against UNC, etc.

Certainly some referees have their preferences, based on their own personal like or dislike of coaches.  But these cannot be identified using statistics.  A better exercise would be to re-watch 5-7 competitive Dook games from last year and try to identify all of the bad calls, and who they went towards.




Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: August 7, 2008 3:03 pm
 

Dear Gary (on Duke and fouls)

Well, the statement that Duke gets ALL THE CALLS is absurd on its face.  You don't need statistics to disprove it.

If, however, the question is whether referees have a tendency to be biased towards Duke (consciously or subconsciously), then you need to try to control for factors other than referee bias that influence the number of fouls called on a team (style of play; presence of a low post threat, etc.).


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