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Summer Q&A: Is '08 KU better than '12 Kentucky? And who had the best season in the Bill Self era?

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Earlier today, I asked Twitter followers if they'd be interested in a question-and-answer blog on KUsports.com about advanced stats, and the response was great.

The following are some of the questions I received. Let's get nerdy.

Kevin Baker @deutschmarine

why is 2012 UK seen as some all time team (especially defensively) when '08 KU is KenPom's number 1 team of the decade?

It's all a matter of perception and our eyes sometimes getting in the way of what might not be true.

Kansas players Jeff Withey (5) and Kevin Young wrestle for a loose ball with Kentucky players Doron Lamb (20) Anthony Davis (23) and Darius Miller during the first half of the national championship on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans.

Kansas players Jeff Withey (5) and Kevin Young wrestle for a loose ball with Kentucky players Doron Lamb (20) Anthony Davis (23) and Darius Miller during the first half of the national championship on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans. by Nick Krug

To be fair, the 2012 Kentucky team probably had as much talent in terms of NBA prospects as any team in the last decade. Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went 1-2 in the draft, and a total of six Wildcats were drafted that year, which tied an all-time high.

But your point stands ... talent doesn't necessarily mean UK was one of the best teams.

The stat you're citing above is KenPom's "pythagorean winning percentage," which Pomeroy uses as the primary way to rank each team. In his own words, Pomeroy defines the stat as "a fancy way of computing a team’s expected winning percentage against an average D-I team."

According to pythagorean win percentage, the college basketball team since 2003 was 2007-08 Kansas, which had a mark of .9859.

2011-12 Kentucky, meanwhile, had a pyth of .9679, which is ranked 20th in the last 11 years. The Wildcats' season actually falls behind two other Jayhawk teams that didn't win it all (2006-07 KU, .9755; 2009-10 KU, .9683).

This also leads me to another point: Oftentimes, we overrate records when trying to evaluate teams.

Kansas guard Travis Releford looks to foul Kentucky guard Marquis Teague during the second half of the national championship on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans.

Kansas guard Travis Releford looks to foul Kentucky guard Marquis Teague during the second half of the national championship on Monday, April 2, 2012 in New Orleans. by Nick Krug

Though Kentucky tied an NCAA record for wins in 2012 with 38, a 38-2 record might not actually be better than KU's 37-3 record in 2008 when you consider all the circumstances.

According to KenPom, KU's 2008 strength of schedule (.8202) was much tougher than that of UK's in 2012 (.7061). Though we'll never know what would have happened if UK 2012 faced KU's 2008 schedule, the safe bet would be that the Wildcats would have had at least one or two additional losses, which would have knocked them down a few notches with national perception.

And let's be honest: As sports fans, we love watching superstars. I'll easily argue KU 2007-08 was a better team than UK 2011-12, but KU didn't have an Anthony Davis or a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Heck, KU didn't even put a player on the All-Big 12 team that year.

Kansas players watch highlights of the game against Memphis on Monday, April 7, 2008 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Kansas players watch highlights of the game against Memphis on Monday, April 7, 2008 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. by Thad Allender

That doesn't mean KU wasn't a great team. It just means that the perception of what makes a great team might be different from reality.

Brian Haase @bhaase86

what do u feel is the best advanced stat that accurately portrays how an individual is performing on offense and defense?

On offense, I'll have to go with two hand-in-hand: offensive rating and usage percentage.

Part of offensive rating's problem is that it's a complicated formula, and trying to explain it is difficult. There's a reason many people are drawn to stats like batting average and simple shooting percentages: because they're easy to tally and understandable to non-statistics majors like us.

If you can accept the fact that offensive rating is widely considered the best individual basketball statistic, though (it was developed by one of the leaders in advanced statistics in Dean Oliver), and it can be extremely useful.

Basically, with our eyes, it's hard for us to take in the entirety of a player's game, even if we feel like we know them well. The stats showed last year that Perry Ellis was one of the best players in the Big 12 at avoiding turnovers. I watched him all season, and I never would have been able to come up with that observation on my own without the numbers.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis flashes a rare smile as he is applauded by the Kansas fans after leaving the court following the Jayhawks' 88-73 win over Iowa State in the semifinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas forward Perry Ellis flashes a rare smile as he is applauded by the Kansas fans after leaving the court following the Jayhawks' 88-73 win over Iowa State in the semifinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. by Nick Krug

So basically, offensive rating compiles all of a player's offensive statistics (made and missed field goals, made and missed free throws, assists, offensive rebounds and turnovers) and tidies it up into one stat that shows a player's individual offensive efficiency — or how many points he scores per 100 possessions.

It's useful in that you can compare that to the team's offensive efficiency to easily figure out who should be doing more for an offense and who should be doing less. KU's schedule-adjusted offensive efficiency last year, according to KenPom.com, was 111.8. Both Elijah Johnson and Naadir Tharpe's offensive ratings were under 100. Obviously, KU would have benefitted by those guys taking a back seat to other more efficient offensive players.

Offensive rating also faces an obstacle in that it has to be used with usage percentage to be kept in context. Travis Releford led KU with a 125.8 offensive rating last year, but I don't need to tell you that he wasn't a better offensive player than Ben McLemore, whose offensive rating was 118.7.

The difference in the two players is usage (or possession) percentage — the percentage of possessions a player ends either by making a shot, missing a shot that isn’t rebounded by the offense, or committing a turnover. You can think of this as, "How much offensive load does a player take on?" The average for a player is 20 percent.

Last year, Releford's usage percentage was 15.7 percent, while McLemore's was 22.1 percent.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore drives between Iowa State defenders Chris Babb, left, and Willy Clyburn during the first half of the semifinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas guard Ben McLemore drives between Iowa State defenders Chris Babb, left, and Willy Clyburn during the first half of the semifinal round of the Big 12 tournament on Friday, March 15, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. by Nick Krug

Basically, on offense, you're looking for players with high offensive ratings that also end a lot of possessions. These players are rare, but they're also extremely valuable, as they're able to keep their efficiency up while also taking pressure off teammates by taking on large offensive responsibilities.

Wayne Simien's 2004-05 season (118.5 offensive rating, 26.9 usage percentage) and Marcus Morris' 2010-11 season (121.9 offensive rating, 26.1 usage percentage) stand out as two of the best offensive seasons in the Self era, and those high numbers combined with each other are rare.

As far as defensive stats go ... it's tough. I mostly stick to defensive rebounding percentage, block percentage and steal percentage, just because the standard box score does not (yet) keep many defensive stats.

If you're looking to get a little more advanced, Basketball-Reference lists both individual defensive ratings and defensive win shares, which attempt to give us a glimpse of a player's entire defensive value.

Beware of the Phog @Pay_Heed

I have a basic question. What's the football equivalent of a basketball PER?

Football still sits a little behind the curve as far as advanced stats go, and it's easy to see why.

KU defensive lineman Keon Stowers, top, wraps up Taylor Cox during KU's Spring Game on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

KU defensive lineman Keon Stowers, top, wraps up Taylor Cox during KU's Spring Game on Saturday, April 13, 2013. by Richard Gwin

Baseball is great for advanced statistics because it's easy to assign responsibility to one player. If you're in the batter's box, and you strike out, it's hard to blame that on anyone else.

Basketball is tougher, but there still are areas where we can say that certain actions are nearly independent of teammates. When you're shooting a free throw, it's hard to say anyone else contributed to you making or missing it. Grabbing a rebound is a stat we can assign to a certain player.

Football is much harder because almost every play is dependent on other people. Do you give James Sims credit for a 15-yard run, or should the credit go to the offensive line? Was that sack of Dayne Crist because he held it to long, or because a blocker came free on a blitz?

There still have been plenty of advanced stat breakthroughs in the past few years, especially at sites like FootballOutsiders.com, where smart folks are starting to pin down the best way to measure individual players in football.

So the short answer is: there is no PER for football yet.

If you're looking to go a step deeper with college football analysis, though, I'd highly recommend Bill Connelly's advanced stat season preview of KU on SB Nation. He also provides a glossary at the top that helps explain what some of the stats are and why they're important.

Give it some time, and I think we'll see some of these advanced football stats become more mainstream, just as on-base percentage and effective field-goal percentage have in other sports.

Chris Teegarden @firket2000

I would love to get a better understanding of how coach Selfs system works with advanced statistics. What works & doesn't

Had a couple questions about this. A good start, if you haven't read it yet, is the two-part series we had last week talking about how the KU men's basketball team uses new video technology.

Synergy Sports Technology is just one tool that is used by the basketball staff (along with KenPom.com, I'm told) to evaluate its own players and also opponents. From the articles, you can tell the coaches have embraced these new technological advancements in a short period of time.

Also, if you listen closely enough to Self's press conferences, you can tell he uses KenPom. He's referenced KenPom's "Experience" ranker before and a few times (saying something like an opposing team is the 10th-youngest in the country) and has made it a point to explain to media members that if KU allows a high number of offensive rebounds in a game, that doesn't mean the Jayhawks necessarily had a bad rebounding game (and he's right).

A good example is KU's round of 32 win last year against North Carolina. Though the Tar Heels posted the seventh-highest offensive rebounding total of the season against KU (16), that number was artificially high because the Tar Heels missed a whopping 51 field goals.

Kansas center Jeff Withey (5) jumps over North Carolina guard Leslie McDonald after a loose ball in the first half on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas center Jeff Withey (5) jumps over North Carolina guard Leslie McDonald after a loose ball in the first half on Sunday, March 24, 2013 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. by Mike Yoder

The better way to look at how well KU rebounded is by looking at its defensive rebounding percentage, which was 68.6 percent. That number was just below KU's season average of 70.7 percent, and in a completely acceptable range considering the quality of the opponent.

Self often talks about how he's a numbers guy, and he brings up field-goal percentage defense more than any other stat (effective field-goal percentage is a better stat, of course, but I digress).

This topic is probably worthy of exploring further, but based on the conversation I had with video coordinator Jeff Forbes, I can tell you that KU is at least accepting of the new statistics and technology out there to try to gain an edge.

Which is more than we can say for the Kansas City Royals.

Kevbo™©® @kevbo9

using advanced stats, who’s had the best season under Bill Self? T-Rob in 2011/12? Sherron in 2008/09? Simien in 04/05?

Great question, and one I've thought a lot about lately, especially when making picks for the best players during our KUsports.com summer series.

After looking it over, though, I think one season stands above all others: Cole Aldrich's sophomore year in 2008-09.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich screams in jubilation after getting a bucket and a foul Dayton during the first half Sunday March 22, 2009 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. At right is Kansas forward Mario Little, Dayton center Kurt Huelsman and Dayton forward Chris Wright.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich screams in jubilation after getting a bucket and a foul Dayton during the first half Sunday March 22, 2009 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. At right is Kansas forward Mario Little, Dayton center Kurt Huelsman and Dayton forward Chris Wright. by Nick Krug

I referenced this in the ranking of KU's centers under Self, but Aldrich's sophomore season stands by itself in terms of Basketball-Reference's all-encompassing Win Share statistic, which is "an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player due to his offense and defense."

Here are the top five from the Self era:

Win Shares.

Win Shares. by Jesse Newell

To me, no one looks out of place on this list, and Aldrich being that far in front of everyone else only strengthens his case.

Of course, his advanced stats at KenPom.com also back up the argument that he's Self's best player in a single season.

Remember, this team earned a share of the Big 12 title and advanced to the Sweet 16 basically with Aldrich, Sherron Collins, a freshman Tyshawn Taylor and a bunch of other guys. The Morris twins were not good statistically their freshman year (or playing much), and while Brady Morningstar added some defensive value, he shot on just 12.4 percent of his possessions, which limited his offensive role.

Basically, Aldrich had to be dominant on both ends for KU. And he was.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich stuffs a shot by Missouri guard J.T. Tiller during the first half Sunday, March 1, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich stuffs a shot by Missouri guard J.T. Tiller during the first half Sunday, March 1, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

On a team that had an adjusted offensive efficiency of 1.14, Aldrich posted 1.24 points per possession — and that was while ending an above-average offensive load for KU (he ended 21.5 percent of the possessions he was in and shot it on 22.8 percent of his possessions).

Aldrich was a great shooter that year. His effective field-goal percentage of 59.8 percent was 63rd-best in the nation, and his 79.2-percent free-throw percentage still stands as the seventh-best in the Self era (minimum 100 attempts).

Big men also never seem to get credit for avoiding turnovers, but Aldrich was exceptional at this as well, as his 14.3-percent turnover rate was best on the team.

Aldrich was rare in that not only did he block shots, but he also was a dominant offensive and defensive rebounder.

Aldrich defense.

Aldrich defense. by Jesse Newell

Jeff Withey received a lot of fan love, and rightfully so, but he didn't approach the offensive numbers or defensive rebounding numbers that Aldrich had his sophomore year.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich delivers a dunk over North Dakota State defenders Dejaun Flowers, left, and Ben Woodside during the first half Friday, March 20, 2009 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Kansas center Cole Aldrich delivers a dunk over North Dakota State defenders Dejaun Flowers, left, and Ben Woodside during the first half Friday, March 20, 2009 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. by Nick Krug

In a season where KU desperately needed Aldrich to score, defend and rebound, he did all three at an elite level without a whole lot of help around him.

Looking back, the center probably deserves the most credit of any Self player for keeping the nine-consecutive-conference-titles streak alive.

Comments

Ralster Jayhawk 9 years ago

Well, I guess the stats "answer" Jesse's headline 2 questions: KU2008 narrowly edges KY'12. But everyone will say KY'12 got 38 wins and a Championship, making it the best team. Does this now leave any room for discussion??? If Jesse's intent was to simply answer his question with stats, he succeeded. But my question is, what about when a statistically inferior squad knocks off a superior squad. You want to discuss "feel good story" or "cinderella team" or "bracket buster", or an team with a knack for showing "heart" and "gutting out a win", then that is where the stats fail to explain those situations. Consider the superiority of the 10-11 MorrisHawks, actually edging the KY'12 team also, yet NOBODY will call them the best team, as they got beat by VCwho. Consider KU'12, who literally forged themselves into a team to reckon with, and came within a WHISKER (5pts down with 3 missed dunks, and 3-4 bricked FTs...) of beating KY'12. You know, as proud as I am of the 08Champs, I also hold my head high regarding KU'12, as they proved our system and coach doesnt need an NBA roster to literally contend with anybody. This is how Bill Self defies the stats. This is how he surprises fellow coaches year after year after year. But yall knew that already: Self takes Tulsa to 32-5 record & Elite8 with zero MickeyDs. Of course any team can be beat in 1 game by almost any other team...it happened, happens, and will happen again. Stats just dont quite predict a 1 game tourney result. You gotta play at peak 'efficiency' in the Tourney, Self says. Self's own KU teams have proved BOTH sides of this phrase...and we alums & fans simply ride this roller coaster. Now somebody please statistically analyze what was "wrong" with that other royalty program, Duke, that made NO Final Fours for 9 years before their surprise/easy-path win in 2011 (when KU beat by VCwho). And finally, yes, credit Aldrich for keeping the conf. champ streak alive back then, but in defiance to any stats, please tell me which KU player we give credit to for Conf. Champ #9?

jhox 9 years ago

In 2008 all 4 number 1 seeds made the Final 4 and the East coast media machines were overlooking us, but I felt all along we were the best of the four. Fortunately, in basketball true champions get to prove it on the court.

The fact is, we won the championship against what could be argued as the strongest field on record. Kentucky's 2012 team won it in a down year. Even our 2012 team wasn't as strong as many of our teams over the last decade, but still made it to the final game. If our guards could have hit some early threes that game could have gone either way.

Our veteran 2008 team would have schooled the young 2012 Kentucky team, even though UK may have been more talented (in the long term.)

jaybate 9 years ago

ralster,

Part 1

One of your best.

But regarding Aldrich, the stats don't lie if one insists on doing what one should not and trying to explain a team in terms of individual player contributions, rather than in terms of team dynamics among players.

Individual stats never capture the dynamics of team performance that make the team. Aldrich and Sherron were a dynamic. Each was made more effective by the other and as with most dynamics, it is meaningless to say one driver of the dynamic is more important, when it is the dynamic itself that produces the significant outcome. Each would have been squat without the other that season. And Aldrich and Sherron would have been squat with out the rest of the team. And it does not matter which would have been tougher to replace, either, because KU had NO comparable replacement for either. And the team would have been squat without Self. And so on. Imagine that team coached by Bruce Weber, or Scott Drew!

My rule is: never disaggregate a team to talk about what made a team great.

Instead disaggregate it to reveal the pieces that fit together ad formed the dynamics that in turn fit together and produced the team.

Talk about how the team fit together to create the team. Therein lies the gold.

Why couldn't Michael Jordan win rings until Phil Jackson took over? Jordan was great before Phil. It was because Phil understood how to craft dynamics between MJ and Pippen, and MJ and each starter and rotation guy on the team vastly better than Doug Collins ever dreamed about knowing how to do. The same thing happened with Wilt and Alex Hannum and later with Wilt and Bill Sharman. Great player before. But no rings. Even had some great players on his teams. But without Hannum and Sharman crafting the dynamics between Wilt and his teammates, Wilt's greatness did not yield a great team.

Dynamics of team...this is paramount and everything else is metaphysics. Dynamics are real. They happen in space and time between persons within the black lines. Get the sub-group dynamics going and the team becomes a force. Get the sub group dynamics orchestrated with each other and the team becomes greater than the sum of its parts and limited only by the individual talents feeding into the dynamics.

jaybate 9 years ago

Part 2

Sherron and Cole were night and day, salt and pepper. They both were bulls in a shellacked-wood, china shop. They didn't even play well together at first. They never could fit together in the conventional dynamic between a PG and Big Man. Sherron was actually like a 5-11 inch big man. He was territorial like a big man. Self saw this and it took Cole and Sherron a while to see it. They finally became two bulls sharing a pasture uneasily. It made them very good, but in the end one could never dominate the other. Binary systems have their strengths, but they tend not to be the most elegant solution of all. They are what they are.

Cole and Sherron, both injured and playing without their old pop, their last season together, never quite achieved what they could have, because of their sharply reduced physical abilities.

But that first season together, in late January, or early February, there was a brief period there, when their binary dynamic was just AWESOME in its IMPACT on opposing teams!!!!

P.S.: Regarding UK, they did what they did and it stands, because the NCAA apparently got out of the enforcement business and because of the missed opps with 5 down. I look at the UK team in a broader context. I have come not to even think of them as UK. That UK team was really Cal/WWW-Lexington and it was a successor to Cal/WWW-Memphis, which was a succession of Cal/WWW-Amherst. In turn, Self and KU are 1-1 in exhibition games masqueraded as national finals with Cal-WWW teams that really weren't eligible for the NCAA tournament. KU has won two NCAA national champions ships recently. It won one in 2008 against North Carolina and it won one in 2012 against Ohio State.

ahpersecoachingexperience 9 years ago

I got about half way through this before my brain started to hurt!

jaybate 9 years ago

Not sure who you were responding to, ah, but learning always hurts. :-)

Joe Joseph 9 years ago

Nice post. I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I take issue (not with you personally) with the 2011-2012 team being considered a Cinderella. Even by Bill-Self-era-KU standards, that team wasn't much of a Cinderella when you consider it was a win against Baylor (in the conference tourney) away from being a one-seed in the tournament. While that roster may have not had the usual amount of scholarship-depth, it still boasted three NBA talents; one of which was a consensus all-American and another who would become the Kansas and conference all-time leader in blocks (if I'm not mistaken).

I just have a hard time calling that a "Cinderella."

Keith Kienzle 9 years ago

And one red-shirted NBA talent who was practicing with the team, all juniors and seniors for starters, the best strength coach in the country, and the best coach in the country.

John Randall 9 years ago

Your history lesson should start with Larry Brown in 1983 - the only non-invite year was '89, for the egregious violation of paying a player's transportation to a grandparent's funeral.

Boouk 9 years ago

I think this season's KU and UK teams could be better than the 2008 KU team and the 2012 UK team. Both teams will have more depth this season than the aforementioned teams.

Michael Luby 9 years ago

Nah nah nah, the '08 team exemplifies "experienced talent" and those guys were a literal wolf pack. They didnt just beat teams, they destroyed them, mercilessly. When the other team showed weakness, they went for the throat.
However, this years KU and UK teams do have lots and lots of NBA potential talent on board. But, they are both young and inexperienced. It remains to be seen if either team can be good enough to win 6 in a row in March for a ring. Though I personally hope KU wins it all this year.

texashawk10 9 years ago

This year's Kentucky is going to underachieve because of the Harrison twins. They are chemistry killers. Kentucky may have the most talent on paper this upcoming season, but they won't be the best team and may not even be the best team in the SEC next year.

ljmhawk 9 years ago

KU in 08' won the final four with all 1 seeds there, therefore they are the best team in my opinion.

Michael Luby 9 years ago

Yep, they beat 2 of the higher #1 seeds and they would have beaten UCLA too had they played.

Michael Luby 9 years ago

By Jesse's wonderful stats analysis we can predict with almost an absolute certainty that the '08 KU team would have beaten the '12 UK team. It would be a fun game to watch though, simply because of how badly UK would get destroyed. Any member of that 8 man team KU had that year was capable of playing stifling defense and putting up double digit scoring nights. Kentucky of '12 was not nearly as deep and would have, I think, folded under the constant pressuring and as Jaybate likes to say Xtreme muscle balling. KU '08 would have circled them like a tiger shark and taken a bite out of their weakest point. If one of KU's scorers happened to have an off night offensively, then another would step in right away like the next tooth in line from its massive jaws. KU wins 89-68, no OT. Its over in the first half when KU '08 goes on a 25-0 run.

Michael Luby 9 years ago

You know, it really stinks that Cole hasnt been able to do much of anything in the NBA. I hope his season is a good one this year. Isnt he with the Kings? I forget. There has been a ton of movement with all the FA crapola.

Robert Rauktis 9 years ago

Best season under Bill Self? I'd say a white guy named Christian Moody. The Greek classical tradition defines the magnitude of success by doing the most with the least. Like that lauded 2012 team above or maybe even last year. I remember with Wayne out, Moody was on a severely underdog Self team that went in and beat Kentucky in Rupp. He was a good part of that. And 2008 doesn't see past Seth Curry and Davidson in the Elite Eight except for an exceptional performance by Sasha Kahn. Wolfpack? Right. (dropping inflection)

As well pointed out above, statistics have predictability only as far as the number of occurrences. Single game elimination is solely one turn of the wheel, where only at Rick's can a winner be assured by the pundits. The problem with predictability and the recruiting sites is that seventeen and eighteen year olds can change more drastically in their capabilities with aging than a fine Bordeaux. That's why a wise prospect, if there is such a thing, and their parents would be well served by ignoring the entourage of experts from Rivals and the hamburger stands who are just selling something anyway. Usually crap. They should be humble and play for their future in the present. The past is for schmuck sports writers.

actorman 9 years ago

"Imagine how it must go for most college fans... I'm thinking many fans of other college teams must only feel maybe something like 50 days of optimism per year."

For those of us who are also KU football fans, we do have to imagine that, as many years it would be wonderful to have as many 50 days of optimism. (Hopefully that's changing now, but you get the point.)

SFBayhawk, please explain what you mean by your Wolfpack reference.

Robert Rauktis 9 years ago

Wolfpack. Previous poster describes 2008 KU as a "wolfpack".

actorman 9 years ago

Jesse, thanks as always for your great numbers. One question (that's admittedly off the subject): what do you mean when you say that the Royals aren't accepting of new statistics? I've been following them from afar this year and they seem to be doing at least a little better than usual, but have they made specific comments in reference to not trusting the new kinds of numbers? Just wondering.

Jesse Newell 9 years ago

I won't get on my soapbox, but even though some of the game's best advanced stats thinkers have been Royals fans (Bill James, Rany Jazayerli, Rob Neyer), the Royals repeatedly thumb their nose at even the most basic of advanced stat concepts.

A quick example that Rany often cites: The Royals have finished in the top half of the AL in walks just once since 1980. Not coincidentally, that year was 1989 when they won 92 games, which was the most for them in that span.

texashawk10 9 years ago

You cannot say how many stars are going to end up coming out of the 2012 draft when those players have only been in the league one season. And since when are Brook Lopez, OJ Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, and George Hill NBA stars? Good players yes, but none of those guys are stars.

jaybate 9 years ago

Not even close.

A great experienced team always beats a great inexperienced team.

Hell, the 2012 UK team was almost beaten by a team without a single Mickey D on it!!!!

The 2008 KU team would have beaten the 2012 UK into the cracks of the floor and then urinated on it.

Using statistics to talk about this is overkill and mastery of the obvious.

To get personal about this, Brandon Rush would have HURT Kidd-Gilchrist.

Shady and DBlock would have neutralized Anthony and Terrence and when Cal would have tried to tell Terrence to get physical on DBlock, Self would have come with Sasha Kaun, who would have HURT Terrence. Then Self would have come back with DBlock and DBlock would have kept HURTING Terrence. People have apparently forgotten how just plain mean that '08 KU team was.

And who was that skinny little piss ant for a point guard UK had in '12? OMG, imagine what that guy would have looked like after 40 minutes of RR and Sherron rotating on his face!!!!!

Finally, if anyone has any doubts about the '08 team stomping on the '12 UK team, know this: that UK team had 6 players and then nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. KU was deep everywhere except the 3 and Brandon was a MAN by then.

Good lord! The '08 Memphis team would have beaten the piss out of '12 UK, too!!! Imagine Derek Rose being guarded by that '12 UK point guard!!! Wouldn't even have been close.

Jonny Swift 9 years ago

Marquis Teague? He probably is guarded by DRose every day in Bulls practice. It's unfortunate that he's in the league when RR and Sherron aren't.

Jack Jones 9 years ago

Great question, and tons of expert analysis ~ all of which I've thoroughly enjoyed. Ofttimes, on matters of such magnitude, not to mention Global significance, I find that I must to try to boil things down to their simplest components. This is one of those times. The Question ~ Which is the best TEAM '07-'08 Jayhawks, or '11-'12 Kanetucks?

Fact ~ Pyth rankings - "computing a TEAMS expected winning percentage against an average D-1 TEAM. KY -.9679 20th in last 11 years ??? KU -.9859 Best college TEAM since 2003

Fact ~ Strength of schedule ~ TEAMS v/s TEAMS KY - .7061 ??? KU - .8202

Fact ~ KY had 6 players drafted -INDIVIDUALS KU had not one player on All-Big 12 team

"Your Honor, the jury determines that deliberation is totally unnecessary; The verdict is ~ Unanimous + 1 ~~ THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS 2007-2008"

Spencer Goff 9 years ago

I am not convinced 2012 Kentucky makes the Final Four in 2008. It is astounding how poorly people remember the last great Final Four.

Go look at the talent on all four teams and you will realize that we probably will not see another Final Four like that in twenty years. Not only were teams full of talent, but most of the players were experienced, veteran college players.

I have yet to see such a champion like the 2008 Kansas Jayhawks get less respect. Who else can say they had to beat Derrick Rose and Steph Curry for a title?

Spencer Goff 9 years ago

Furthermore, when it comes to making big shots, Mario Chalmers is the Robert Horry of this basketball generation.

Nobody on any team since has had ice in their veins like that guy.

ku_foaf 9 years ago

I will give 2012 KY credit for having the most future NBA players of any team I can remember.

But yes, 2008 KU had more experience and accomplished more than any KU team in history. They were better.

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