Friday, November 12, 2010

Empty Glass: Hoya Prospectus' Worst Season Preview

For three straight seasons, the Georgetown Hoyas have managed to crush the souls of those foolish enough to root for them.  As the season tips off tonight, I thought I'd provide a public service and explain why Georgetown is not going to be a top team this season.


It really is that simple.  The Hoyas simply won't be good enough defensively to hang with the nation's top teams.  Will they pull off the occasional nice win?  Sure, with the offensive firepower on the roster, the Hoyas will have a puncher's chance so long as the 3-pt shot is dropping.  But generally speaking, this season's Georgetown Hoyas will be very similar to last season's Notre Dame Fighting Irish:  good "O"; no "D".
Conf. games only        Defense
Player                 Poss   Rtg
Freeman, Austin        1216  100.9
Wright, Chris          1287   98.4
Monroe, Greg           1236   92.0
Clark, Jason           1198  101.0
Vaughn, Julian         831   102.0
Thompson, Hollis       690    95.0
Benimon, Jerrelle      468    99.9
Sims, Henry            144    99.3
Sanford, Vee           147    94.9
The only quality defensive player on last year's team has taken his talents to Detroit.  Meanwhile, of the six returning players who were part of the rotation in conference play, four [Vaughn, Clark, Freeman and Benimon] were allowing a point per possession or worse.

Georgetown ended the season ranked 7th in defensive efficiency in conference, and should only see that rank decline this year.

the gory details after the jump

Why am I so worried?  Allow me to whip this out:

This isn't rocket science - in the six seasons that JT3 has coached the team, Georgetown wins games in the Big East when it defends, and is mediocre when it does not [R² = 76%].

Is it simply the rebounding?  If the Hoyas go big to get defensive rebounds, will they solve their problems?  Not really.  Conventional wisdom is that Georgetown's defense goes as it's rebounding, but that's not really the case:

Here are the last six seasons again, now looking at defensive efficiency as a function of defensive rebounding.  There just isn't much correlation here [R² = 13%].

Instead, the driver of defensive efficiency is simply opponent's shooting accuracy (eFG%).

This final plot shows that, at least for Georgetown, it simply a question of whether their opponent makes shots [R² = 84%].  Oh, and that point all the way on the right of this plot - the one representing the worst eFG% allowed by a JT3-coached Hoya team?  That's last season.

Can't Georgetown simply score a ton more points to be good?

 Well, if that's your plan, I'd first want to know just how efficient the Hoyas offense would need to be.

To be a very good team (i.e. Sweet 16 caliber) in the conference, we'd want to see a net efficiency of about +10 - that is, the Hoyas would need to have an offensive efficiency 10 points higher than allowed.  There have been fourteen Big East teams in the past 6 years that have ended the conference season between +8 and +12 in net efficiency, and they've won 72% of conference games on average - that's equivalent of going 13-5.  All of those teams have made it to the NCAA tournament, and have averaged 1.7 wins when they get there.

To be an elite team (i.e. Final Four caliber), we'd expect that net difference to be closer to +15.  There have been seven Big East teams in the past 6 seasons that have ended the conference season at +12 or better in net efficiency, and they've won 82% of conference games on average (15-3).  Those teams have averaged 3 wins in the NCAA tournament, and only Louisville in 2007 failed to make a regional final.

So now that we've got some context, what does the Hoyas' offense need to do?

Let's be generous, and figure that Georgetown ends up with a defensive efficiency of about 103.5 this season in conference (an average of the four seasons when the Hoyas weren't able to defend shots). So for the Hoyas to be a very good Big East team (+8 to +12), we'd want to see their offense post 111.5 and 115.5 efficiencies.  To be elite, we'd need to see the offense have an efficiency greater than 115.5 in conference this season.

One team has posted a conference offensive efficiency greater than 115.5 in the past six seasons - the 2009 Pitt Panthers.  To expect the Hoyas to pull that off is likely out of the realm of possibility.

So, can Georgetown accomplish the slightly more modest goal of producing an Off. Eff. of at least 111.5?  They've managed it only once in the past six seasons:

And if you think Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert are about to walk through that door, you're going to be waiting a long time.

If you've read this far, hopefully you've realized by now that this post was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek.  Needless to say, I will be rooting hard for the Hoyas tonight at Old Dominion and throughout the season.

No comments:

Post a Comment