Gonzaga Statistical Review

Dec. 15 -- Our statistician presents a look at the basketball season to date and what specifically went wrong against Gonzaga...

In the wake of the first meaningful game on American soil, we’re going to take a look at how UCLA basketball stacks up in some key statistical categories, as well as how the upcoming Bruin opponents have looked against high level competition. As easily one of the top 300 JV players in Williams College basketball history, I hope to add a statistical viewpoint to the great work that Greg, Robert, David, and Tracy do covering the Bruin basketball program. Let’s get started!

Just as in football we track the “five factors” of efficiency, explosiveness, scoring, turnovers, and field position, in basketball we will track the “four factors” of shooting, turnovers, offensive rebounding, getting to the foul line (for a pretty solid explanatory article on why these are the most important factors, go here. We will track those factors by the following statistics:

  • Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) to measure Shooting. eFG% is more robust than regular FG% because it weights for three pointers, which are worth more than twos.
  • Turnover Percentage (TO%) to measure turnovers. TO% divides the amount of turnovers by the amount of possessions to give a better sense of how often the team is turning the ball over than just the raw amount of turnovers
  • Offensive Rebound Percentage (OR%) to measure offensive rebounding. OR% divides the amount of offensive rebounds by the opportunities for rebounds.
  • Free Throw Rate(FTA/FGA) to measure getting to the foul line. This divides free throws attempted by field goals attempted to figure out how often a team is getting to the line.
Just as we did with our football statistics, we have assigned ranking tiers to better understand how the Bruins and their opponents are doing.

Here is how the Bruins stacked up in 2013-2014 and how they are playing so far this year:

We should take this year’s numbers with a pretty hefty grain of salt, as we have a small sample size and the Bruins haven’t faced many quality opponents. It is kind of cool to see the different personalities of the two teams borne out in the stats, though. Last year’s team, led by offensive wizards Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams, had a great Effective Field Goal Percentage and an elite Turnover percentage, but had a terrible Offensive Rebound Percentage due to Travis Wear and David Wear being perimeter-oriented posts, a weak FTA/FGA that reflected a lack of inside presence, and a terrible Effective Field Goal Percentage allowed.

This year’s team, led by the athletic Norman Powell and interior beasts Tony Parker and Kevon Looney, is doing a great job at preventing the opponent from getting offensive rebounds, and are doing an ok job on their own offensive boards. However, this year’s team isn’t shooting the ball nearly as efficiently as last year’s version, and it is doing a terrible job of both holding onto the ball and forcing turnovers on the defensive end.

With that introduction out of the way, let’s review Saturday’s game against the Gonzaga Fightin’ Morrisonstaches. Here is the report card from that game:

It is pretty remarkable that with such a poor statistical performance the Bruins were able to stay within 13 points, but that can be explained by the TO%, OR%, and FTA/FGA numbers for each team being relatively similar. The big difference was the ridiculous -17.8% deficit the Bruins faced in eFG%. UCLA was unable to shoot well, but they really were unable to prevent the Bulldogs from hitting their shots. Not many teams are going to win games by allowing opponents to shoot 67%

Here are the eFG% shot charts for each team:


The Bulldogs were efficient all over the court, as they both made UCLA’s poor perimeter defense pay with fantastic numbers from three and battered the Bruins down low and in the midrange. There isn’t a whole lot more to say here—the Bruins just allowed Gonzaga to scorch the net.


The Bruins had the most offensive success on three pointers from the top of the key and left wing (they were also 1/1 on right corner threes). Considering that eFG% numbers do weight for the added value of three pointers, the Bruins did not shoot particularly well from the right wing. The biggest offensive issues came inside the three point line, as the Bruins only shot 41.6% at the rim, 42.9% from the mid-key to the top of the key, and dreadful 33.3% and 20.0% from the midrange wings.

It doesn’t get any easier for UCLA next Saturday, as they travel to face #1 Kentucky in Chicago.

We hope you have enjoyed this first installation of Bruinalytics for UCLA Basketball. Questions? Comments? Meet us on one of the Premium Hoops Forums, or tweet us @Bruinalytics.

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