Ok sports fans, I'll give you the disclaimer now. This is one of my stat posts. If you find these dry and confusing, I don't blame you. I already got your click anyway, so I don't care if you read the rest. HA!
On a more serious note, as we've toyed with possible reasons for the Jayhawks' offensive struggles in the past year, it was mentioned that the team seems to play better at a higher tempo. Going entirely off the eye test, I agreed that it seems like a faster tempo benefited Kansas last year. Given that the personnel is largely the same this year, and through two games the offense seems to be very similar (with similar pitfalls) this year, it seems safe to use last year's data to determine how pace might impact this team's ability to score. While I was at it, I figured it would be worthwhile to also explore whether tempo had an impact on the team's outcomes.
To do this, I gathered all the possession and scoring data from last year's 37 games, and ran a correlation between the number of possessions in each game and KU's PPP (points scored per possession). I also ran a correlation between possessions and KU's efficiency margin (point scored per possession minus points allowed per possession). The following is what I came up with:
If you don't want to take the time to investigate the graphs, I'll save you some time and tell you that the relationship between number of possessions and performance is statistically insignificant. Last year, it didn't matter whether we played fast-paced basketball, or slow, low-possession slugfests. KU's offensive production and scoring margins didn't seem to rely on temp at all. In fact, their offense seemed to perform slightly worse (very slightly) as the game became sped up, while there was essentially no correlation whatsoever between efficiency margin and tempo.
If you were interested in tempo being the solution to what ails Kansas' scoring opportunities, you can look elsewhere. There are a lot of theories floating around about why KU is struggling to score at times, but this isn't a viable one.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter @bl_analytics. You can also visit my infrequently-updated website, blanalytics.com.