In today's digital age, pretty much every statistic we could ever want is right at our fingertips. And that has led to us becoming smarter basketball fans. No longer do we blindly look at points scored per game or points given up per game as our primary means for gauging defense, without regard to tempo.
Instead, it's about efficiency, and how efficient a team is at taking advantage of its possessions. Here, I've tried to take it a step further. Because the possessions for two teams are always going to be either the same, or with a one-possession difference. But that's not the case for shots. Teams can gain extra shots by grabbing offensive rebounds, extending possessions. Or they can commit a turnover, ending a possession without a shot. So I've tried to take a look at every Big 12 team and the job that they've done at generating more shots than their opponents.
To get the shots gained portion for offense, we simply take the difference between a team's offensive rebounds (a shot attempt gained) and turnovers committed (a shot attempt given away). If a team has more offensive rebounds than turnovers, that's a positive ratio. Kansas State, for instance, has grabbed 307 offensive boards this year. The Wildcats have turned the ball over just 257 times this season. That's a difference of plus-50. Divide that by the 22 games the Wildcats have played, and Kansas State leads the Big 12 with 2.27 shot opportunities gained, per game, on offense. Inversely, if a team gives away more turnovers than it gets back in offensive rebounds, that's a negative ratio.
Here's how the rest of the Big 12 stacks up:
|TEAM||OFF. REB.||TURNOVERS||DIFFERENCE||SHOTS GAINED PER GAME|
But obviously, offense is only one part of it. Now let's take a look at defensive shots eliminated. In this case, we'll invert what we had above: gaining turnovers is good, while allowing offensive rebounds is bad. Causing more turnovers than offensive rebounds allowed is a positive ratio, with more offensive rebounds allowed than turnovers caused resulting in a negative one.
|TEAM||TURNOVERS CAUSED||OFF. REB. ALLOWED||DIFFERENCE||SHOTS ELIMINATED PER GAME|
Interestingly enough, every team in the Big 12 came out with a positive ratio defensively, eliminating more shots than they gave away. Now, let's put it together.
1) Kansas State — +6.09 shots per game
2) West Virginia — +4.91
3) Oklahoma State — +3.44
4) Iowa State — 2.59
5) Oklahoma — +2.24
6) Baylor — +2.05
7) Texas Tech — +1.35
8) TCU — -0.54
9) Kansas — -1.27
10) Texas — -2.68
How important is getting more shots? Four of the top five teams above are also four of the top five teams in the Big 12 standings. And Texas, which has a reputation for losing close games, is giving away the most shots in the league — a better ratio there could have swung a few of those tight ones — while other bottom teams TCU and Texas Tech are also among the Big 12's worst here.
There are a few outliers, though they are somewhat explainable. West Virginia is arguably the Big 12's worst shooting team, but the Mountaineers are near .500 in Big 12 play because of the way they've scrapped on the boards and won the turnover battle. Inversely, Kansas is the Big 12's best shooting team. But the Jayhawks have struggled of late when they haven't shot especially well. Oklahoma State grabbed more shots than Kansas in the Jayhawks' recent loss, while Kansas shot poorly against TCU. That's a dangerous profile to keep.