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If you’ve followed OVC Ball for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed I like to use tempo-free statistics whenever possible. The reason why is simple: nothing skews statistics more than tempo. A team with 15-turnovers per game in an up-tempo offense is much different than a half-court team doing the same.

Tempo-free statistics also tend to be a better, although far from perfect, predictor of games.

This is simply a breakdown of some of the major (and in my opinion more important) tempo free statistics. Since this is my first time breaking these down, I’ll explain what each of them mean as I go.


Efficiency margin (Season)

Efficiency margin is the difference in points scored per possession and points allowed per possession. Essentially, this is much like the point per game difference, only with tempo taken out. Given an average of about 65 possessions a game, a difference of one-tenth is worth about 6 or 7 points.

  1. Belmont +.18
  2. Eastern Kentucky +.10
  3. Murray State +.09
  4. Jacksonville State +.01
  5. Southeast Missouri -.05
  6. Tennessee State -.02
  7. Morehead State -.06
  8. SIU Edwardsville -.11
  9. Austin Peay -.12
  10. Eastern Illinois -.12
  11. Tennessee Tech -.14
  12. UT Martin -.21

But when you break down just conference play so far, you get some very different numbers.

  1. Belmont +.32
  2. Tennessee State +.15
  3. Murray State +.12
  4. Eastern Kentucky +.11
  5. Jacksonville State +.01
  6. Austin Peay -.05
  7. Morehead State -.07
  8. Eastern Illinois -.14
  9. SIU Edwardsville -.17
  10. Tennessee Tech -.17
  11. Southeast Missouri -.20
  12. UT Martin -.24

There are a few things I see in these numbers. First more proof that Belmont is in a league of their own, as if that was needed. Second, Murray State should very much be in the discussion for second best team in the league, which really surprised me. I expected that number to be much worst for the Racers.

Third, there is a huge brightline between the top tier and bottom tier of the conference, with only really one team, Jacksonville State, stuck in between.


Top Offenses (Season)

Based upon points scored per possession

  1. Belmont 1.09
  2. Eastern Kentucky 1.08
  3. Murray State 1.06

No other team is above one point per possession, which is generally considered an “efficient” offense. That changes in conference play.

  1. Belmont 1.20
  2. Tennessee State 1.11
  3. Eastern Kentucky 1.09
  4. Murray State 1.06
  5. Jacksonville State 1.01
  6. Austin Peay 1.01
  7. Eastern Illinois 1.00
  8. Morehead State 1.00

I made a comment in a Morning After this year that it didn’t feel like any team was playing defense. Well, these numbers somewhat back that up. Even one win Austin Peay and Eastern Illinois are scoring more than a point per possession.


Top Defenses (Season)

Much like top offenses, top defenses are determined by points allowed per possession.

  1. Belmont 0.91
  2. Jacksonville State 0.94
  3. Murray State 0.97
  4. Tennessee State 0.98
  5. Eastern Kentucky 0.98
  6. SIU Edwardsville 0.98
  7. Morehead State 0.99

No one is really dominant defensively, which has been pretty clear. Conference numbers show much of the same.

  1. Belmont 0.88
  2. Morehead State 0.93
  3. Murray State 0.94
  4. Tennessee State 0.96
  5. SIU Edwardsville 0.97
  6. Eastern Kentucky 0.98

Jacksonville State falls to 1.00, giving them the biggest drop. Which helps explain why they’re struggling in conference play.


Worst Offenses (Season)

  1. UT Martin 0.87
  2. SIU Edwardsville 0.89
  3. Tennessee Tech 0.92
  4. Morehead State 0.93
  5. Eastern Illinois 0.94

None of those numbers are the least bit surprising. Conference numbers have just four teams under 1.

  1. UT Martin 0.85
  2. Tennessee Tech 0.89
  3. SIU Edwardsville 0.95
  4. Southeast Missouri 0.99

The face that UT Martin’s and Tennessee Tech’s numbers have gotten worse is almost comical, really.


Best Rebounding (Season)

Tempo free rebounding looks at the percentage of all rebounds made.

  1. Morehead State 56.2%
  2. Tennessee State 54.8%
  3. Murray State 53.9%
  4. Tennessee Tech 53.2%
  5. UT Martin 52.7%
  6. Belmont 50.8%
  7. Jacksonville State 50.2%
  8. SIU Edwardsville 50%

Fairly obvious, anything above 50% is good. Anything above about 55% is outstanding. Conference numbers:

  1. Morehead State 59.3%
  2. Murray State 55.1%
  3. UT Martin 54.1%
  4. Tennessee State 53.4%
  5. Belmont 51.7%
  6. Tennessee Tech 50.6%

Much of the same, really. Jacksonville State falls to 11th in conference play only, no where near making the list. SIU Edwardsville’s numbers still reeling from their game against Morehead State.


We’ll break down some other numbers next week.

Apologies, for this post the comments are closed.
OVC Ball
Predicting the OVC race…in mid-December

2016-17 Basketball Standings



Morehead State6-310-12
Tennessee Tech5-39-14
Jacksonville State5-413-11
Tennessee State4-413-8
Eastern Kentucky2-69-14


UT Martin5-315-8
Murray State5-311-11
Austin Peay3-57-15
Eastern Illinois1-79-12