Stanford's regional semifinal opponent Texas has one of the most efficient offenses in the country. After adjusting for the defensive efficiency of its opponents, kenpom.com ranks Texas 3rd in the country in offensive efficiency at 123 points per 100 possessions. The main factor in Texas's success is its ability to take care of the ball. The Longhorns turn the ball over on only 14% of its possessions, which is the best in the country. This strength will likely hold up against Stanford, which ranks 320th in the country in forcing turnovers. Even at this low ranking, Stanford opponents have turnovers on over 17% of possessions, which help illustrate how ridiculously well Texas handles the ball. The following table shows the offensive efficiency and four offensive factors as well as percentage of shots that are three pointers:
|Statistics from kenpom.com||Texas Offense||National Rank||Stanford Defense||National Rank|
|Effective Field Goal Percentage||51.7||101st||44.0||8th|
|Offensive Rebound Percentage||36.8||38th||28.8||26th|
|Free Throw Rate (FTM/FGA)||22.3||261st||33.0||97th|
Texas will get its shots up so Stanford's strength of forcing misses and rebounding those misses will have to come through in order to keep the Texas offense in check. Texas shot charts help show the strategy that can help Stanford accomplish that goal. In general, shot chart data has pointed to the defensive strategy of forcing offenses into shooting two point jumpers as opposed to the high percentage layups and dunks and higher value three pointers. Shot charts from CBSSports.com are used for Texas games against NCAA Tournament participants and Big XII opponents, which totals 27 games. The data in the shot charts do not exactly match total statistics, revealing some shot charting error, but the overall trends should be unbiased. Texas's shot chart data show this as well and holds true for all of its main players. Percentages in the following table are effective field goal percentages, which gives 50% extra credit for made three pointers:
|Per Game||Layups and Dunks||2 Pt Jumpers||3 Pointers|
Defending point guard D.J. Augustin will be crucial. He is a good shooter, but Texas appears really efficient when he is able to set up teammates for easy layups or open three points. Execution may be difficult, but Stanford's primary defender on him will want to force him into challenged two-point jumpers without requiring help. Anthony Goods or Fred Washington may be the best options Stanford has to accomplish this. Augustin's percentage on two-point jumpers reflects a high skill level, but it is the poison Stanford should want to pick.
The shot chart data also show where on the floor the Longhorns are most proficient shooting jumpers. Texas is better shooting two-point jumpers from outside the key than inside the key. This indicates that they are pretty good shooting open jumpers but not jumpers in congested areas. Damion James is particularly poor with jumpers in the key at 25%. Texas' three pointers are much more successful from the wings and the corners than the top of the key. This split is especially striking for A.J. Abrams and Connor Atchley. The shot chart data show Abrams was 3-for-25 and Atchley was 2-for-13 from the top of the key in the games analyzed:
|Texas Jumpers||FGM||FGA||Effective FG%|
|Baseline 2 Ptr Outside Key||38||97||39%|
|Wing/Semicircle 2 Ptr||101||258||39%|
|Corner 3 Ptr||25||60||63%|
|Wing 3 Ptr||166||413||60%|
|Top of the Key 3 Ptr||19||78||37%|
Kenpom.com also shows a positive correlation between Texas' defensive
turnovers and its offensive efficiency. Texas's three highest defensive
turnover and steal rates occurred in the same games as its three highest
efficiency games against Arkansas-Monticello, New Mexico State, and Texas
Southern. Comparing defensive turnover and steal rates against offensive
efficiency in games against NCAA Tournament participants and Big XII foes shows
no such positive correlation. Texas ranks only 236th in the country in
steal rate so this is not much of a concern for Stanford in tomorrow's game.
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