Inside The Numbers - 2008 Cal Basketball Regular Season

We are about to enter a brave new world of "seeding," North Carolina States, and Tournaments where the only vowel in their name is an "A" or two. This is definitely undiscovered country for many Cal fans in recent years. 

Coach Montgomery has brought a new era of hope to fans of Cal basketball.  Of course with hope for success comes anxiety over failure.  I don't know about you, but I am very nervous over the next few weeks.  Figuring out the new and inventive ways for karma to screw Cal over.  When I was at Cal, we always seemed to face the home team in the 2nd round.  Pitt in Pitt.  Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.  Always felt like Cal got the short end of the straw.

So, I am feeling anxious.  This is probably how Kirk and McCoy felt after they were framed for the assassination of Gorkon in Star Trek VI:  The Undiscovered Country.  Fearful that I'll be sentenced to life at the gulag Rura Pente, but hopeful that Cal will make a Sweet 16 run.

St6_medium

"The plot of this movie was not as apropos to Cal's current basketball situation as the title led me to believe" via www.startrek2.com

With that mindset, I decided to take a look at the regular season statistics.  What can we gleam from them and what might they tell us for the future?  And is there a Star Trek movie better compared to this situation?  Because I'm at a loss for metaphors here. 

All numbers are from here

 TEAM STATISTICS                   CAL          OPP
--------------------------------------------------
SCORING................. 2326 2108
Points per game....... 75.0 68.0
Scoring margin........ +7.0 -
FIELD GOALS-ATT......... 839-1724 767-1741
Field goal pct........ .487 .441
3 POINT FG-ATT.......... 196-448 171-494
3-point FG pct........ .438 .346
3-pt FG made per game. 6.3 5.5
FREE THROWS-ATT......... 452-596 403-573
Free throw pct........ .758 .703
F-Throws made per game 14.6 13.0
REBOUNDS................ 1051 953
Rebounds per game..... 33.9 30.7
Rebounding margin..... +3.2 -
ASSISTS................. 482 384
Assists per game...... 15.5 12.4
TURNOVERS............... 380 390
Turnovers per game.... 12.3 12.6
Turnover margin....... +0.3 -
Assist/turnover ratio. 1.3 1.0
STEALS.................. 149 161
Steals per game....... 4.8 5.2
BLOCKS.................. 63 102
Blocks per game....... 2.0 3.3
ATTENDANCE.............. 155233 126633
Home games-Avg/Game... 18-8624 12-9629
Neutral site-Avg/Game. - 1-11080

SCORE BY PERIODS 1st 2nd OT OT2 OT3 Total
--------------- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
California..... 1070 1210 22 13 11 - 2326
Opponents...... 977 1091 19 13 8 - 2108

 

 

First, let's talk about score by periods.  Cal was viewed as a 2nd half team.  Is this perception accurate?  Well, they scored 140 more points in the second halves.  But they also gave up 114 points in the second half.  So, that could be indicative of players tiring in the second half on defense.  And, also, extra free throws at the tail ends of games.  But that comes out to a 13% increase in the second half for Cal compared to an 11% increase for their opponents.  We'd probably have to do a more in depth analysis of many other teams to determine if that 2% difference is statistically significant. 

 

Looking at the other available numbers, what jumps out firstly to me is that Cal outrebounded their opponents by about 3 rebounds a game.  Considering many criticized this team for lacking a solid inside presence, that is intriguing to me.  Most other numbers seemed more in line with my perception.  For example, our 3 Pt percentage is quite a bit higher than our opponents at .438 to .346.  I'm moderately surprised to see that we attempted about 50 fewer 3 pointers than our opponents.  That might have something to do with our opponents trying to catch up late in games by just jacking up bad 3s?  Not entirely sure, but we were clearly much more efficient with our 3 pointers.

 

 

POINTS                G  Pts  Pts/G             SCORING AVERAGE       G  Pts Avg/G
----------------------------------- ----------------------------------
Randle, Jerome...... 31 571 18.4 Randle, Jerome...... 31 571 18.4
Christopher, Patrick 31 453 14.6 Christopher, Patrick 31 453 14.6
Robertson, Theo..... 31 398 12.8 Robertson, Theo..... 31 398 12.8
Boykin, Jamal....... 31 301 9.7 Boykin, Jamal....... 31 301 9.7
Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 145 4.8 Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 145 4.8
Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 133 4.3 Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 133 4.3
Kamp, Harper........ 31 123 4.0 Kamp, Harper........ 31 123 4.0
Amoke, Omondi....... 30 82 2.7 Amoke, Omondi....... 30 82 2.7
Seeley, D.J......... 24 46 1.9 Miller, Eddie....... 7 17 2.4
Knezevic, Nikola.... 21 28 1.3 Seeley, D.J......... 24 46 1.9
Zhang, Max......... 15 20 1.3 Zhang, Max......... 15 20 1.3
Miller, Eddie....... 7 17 2.4 Knezevic, Nikola.... 21 28 1.3

 

 

I'm not entirely sure why Cal lists essentially the same stat twice here.  Unfortunately, Cal controls by game and not by minutes.  They do list minutes later in the stat sheet here, but it might be prudent to look at some of these numbers per minute, too. 

For example, if my calculations are accurate here, Randle scored a point per every 1.88 minutes of play.  Patrick Christopher was at 2.27.  Now, next would be Theo with 100 points more than Boykin.  Except that Boykin scored a point per 2.4 minutes, while Theo was 2.6.  Again, I'm not smart enough to know if a .2 difference is significant there, but it could potentially mean that Boykin was a more efficient scorer than Theo.

 

FG PERCENTAGE         FG ATT   Pct              FIELD GOAL ATTEMPTS   G  Att  Att/G
---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
Carter, Nigel....... 2 2 1.000 Christopher, Patrick 31 370 11.9
Miller, Eddie....... 6 8 .750 Randle, Jerome...... 31 356 11.5
Zhang, Max......... 9 13 .692 Robertson, Theo..... 31 300 9.7
Boykin, Jamal....... 122 226 .540 Boykin, Jamal....... 31 226 7.3
Wilkes, Jordan...... 59 116 .509 Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 116 3.9
Randle, Jerome...... 179 356 .503
Kamp, Harper........ 47 95 .495 FIELD GOALS MADE G Made Made/G
Robertson, Theo..... 147 300 .490 -----------------------------------
Amoke, Omondi....... 29 60 .483 Randle, Jerome...... 31 179 5.8
Knezevic, Nikola.... 7 15 .467 Christopher, Patrick 31 167 5.4
Christopher, Patrick 167 370 .451 Robertson, Theo..... 31 147 4.7
Gutierrez, Jorge.... 49 109 .450 Boykin, Jamal....... 31 122 3.9
Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 59 2.0

 

What jumps out at me here is PC being so far down the list.  He attempted the most field goals on the team by about 15 over Randle.  But his pct is about .050 points worse than Randle.  Even compared to Theo who shot 50 fewer FGs, PC's percentage is about .040 points lower. 

Personally, I think some of that stems from Randle's amazing season.  Of the players with significant minutes, 3 out of the top 4 are inside players, shooting far closer to the basket than Randle.  Yet, Randle is right in the middle of them, making half of his shots!  Half!  And lord knows half of those shots were those 58 footers that always cause the fans to groan until it swishes through!

This is, IMO, a sign of Monty being a much better coach than Braun.  We all knew Randle had the talent and Monty was able to better focus Randle on that talent.

3-POINT PERCENTAGE   3FG ATT   Pct              3-POINT FG ATTEMPTS   G  Att  Att/G
---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
Miller, Eddie....... 4 5 .800 Randle, Jerome...... 31 165 5.3
Boykin, Jamal....... 3 6 .500 Christopher, Patrick 31 119 3.8
Robertson, Theo..... 53 107 .495 Robertson, Theo..... 31 107 3.5
Randle, Jerome...... 77 165 .467 Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 19 0.6
Knezevic, Nikola.... 3 7 .429 Seeley, D.J......... 24 15 0.6
Christopher, Patrick 46 119 .387
Seeley, D.J......... 5 15 .333 3-POINT FGS MADE G Made Made/G
Gutierrez, Jorge.... 5 19 .263 -----------------------------------
Robinson, Nican..... 0 2 .000 Randle, Jerome...... 31 77 2.5
Kamp, Harper........ 0 1 .000 Robertson, Theo..... 31 53 1.7
Wilkes, Jordan...... 0 1 .000 Christopher, Patrick 31 46 1.5
Amoke, Omondi....... 0 1 .000 Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 5 0.2
Seeley, D.J......... 24 5 0.2

 

No real surprises here.  We all knew Theo was kicking butt at 3s.  And we all knew that Randle attempted a LOT (!) of them.  The fact that Randle attempted so many and STILL had a fairly good percentage is unbelievable. 

 

FT PERCENTAGE         FT ATT   Pct              FREE THROW ATTEMPTS   G  Att  Att/G
---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
Miller, Eddie....... 1 1 1.000 Randle, Jerome...... 31 156 5.0
Carter, Nigel....... 1 1 1.000 Christopher, Patrick 31 89 2.9
Randle, Jerome...... 136 156 .872 Boykin, Jamal....... 31 76 2.5
Christopher, Patrick 73 89 .820 Robertson, Theo..... 31 65 2.1
Wilkes, Jordan...... 27 34 .794 Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 46 1.5
Robertson, Theo..... 51 65 .785
Boykin, Jamal....... 54 76 .711 FREE THROWS MADE G Made Made/G
Kamp, Harper........ 29 44 .659 -----------------------------------
Gutierrez, Jorge.... 30 46 .652 Randle, Jerome...... 31 136 4.4
Knezevic, Nikola.... 11 17 .647 Christopher, Patrick 31 73 2.4
Seeley, D.J......... 11 18 .611 Boykin, Jamal....... 31 54 1.7
Amoke, Omondi....... 24 40 .600 Robertson, Theo..... 31 51 1.6
Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 30 1.0

Again, Randle shows his value here.  He has attempted, BY FAR, the most FTs on the team.  Add PC and Theo together and you get Randle's amount.  And yet, he is hitting nearly 90% of them!  I mean I knew that Randle was having an amazing season, but before I really looked at these numbers, I didn't realize just HOW amazing.  Sometimes the numbers can lie, but in this instance, I think they are reflective of just how great a season he has had.

However, it's not all just Randle on this team.  Christopher also makes better than 80% of his free throws, and all five starters make better than 70% from the charity stripe -- all better than the national average.  Unsurprisingly, Cal ranks 13th in the country in free throw shooting as a team, at 75.8%.  If you're trailing the Bears with less than a couple minutes to go, these guys make it very difficult for any team to come back against.

 

REBOUNDS              G  Reb  Reb/G             ASSISTS               G  No.    A/G
----------------------------------- -----------------------------------
Boykin, Jamal....... 31 200 6.5 Randle, Jerome...... 31 156 5.0
Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 121 4.0 Robertson, Theo..... 31 76 2.5
Robertson, Theo..... 31 119 3.8 Christopher, Patrick 31 65 2.1
Christopher, Patrick 31 118 3.8 Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 51 1.6
Kamp, Harper........ 31 102 3.3 Kamp, Harper........ 31 32 1.0

REBOUND AVERAGE G Reb Avg/G STEALS G No. S/G
----------------------------------- -----------------------------------
Boykin, Jamal....... 31 200 6.5 Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 26 0.8
Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 121 4.0 Christopher, Patrick 31 24 0.8
Robertson, Theo..... 31 119 3.8 Robertson, Theo..... 31 23 0.7
Christopher, Patrick 31 118 3.8 Randle, Jerome...... 31 21 0.7
Kamp, Harper........ 31 102 3.3 Boykin, Jamal....... 31 16 0.5
Kamp, Harper........ 31 16 0.5

 

 

First, a note on steals.  Jorge leads the team in steals.  What is most amazing about it is that he's played half the minutes of PC, Theo, and Randle.  They all have 1,000+ minutes, while he has 566.  So, those numbers for Jorge are EVEN better than they look.

As for rebounds, Boykin being up top isn't surprising.  Having Wilkes be only 2 and 3 boards more over the course of the season than Theo and PC, respectively, was surprising.  I anticipated that Wilkes would have many more rebounds than them.  Hmmmmmm. 

And Randle has all the assists.  Just continues to show his value.  When he can hit his shots and distribute well, we could be unstoppable!  Just look at Thursday night against Arizona in the second half.  I am salivating at the thought of upsetting some team in the Round of 32 after Randle has an epic game to make the Sweet 16.  A Cal fan?  Optimistic?  This can certainly lead to nothing good!  Unless you count emotional devastation as good.  Which, considering most USC fans feed off of the tears of Cal fans, could end well for Pete Carroll.

 

OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS    G  No.  Avg/G             BLOCKED SHOTS         G  No.  Blk/G
----------------------------------- -----------------------------------
Boykin, Jamal....... 31 71 2.3 Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 14 0.5
Christopher, Patrick 31 37 1.2 Zhang, Max......... 15 13 0.9
Kamp, Harper........ 31 33 1.1 Boykin, Jamal....... 31 10 0.3
Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 32 1.1 Kamp, Harper........ 31 9 0.3
Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 22 0.7 Amoke, Omondi....... 30 6 0.2

DEFENSIVE REBOUNDS G No. Avg/G MINUTES G No. Min/G
----------------------------------- -----------------------------------
Boykin, Jamal....... 31 129 4.2 Randle, Jerome...... 31 1084 35.0
Robertson, Theo..... 31 100 3.2 Robertson, Theo..... 31 1035 33.4
Wilkes, Jordan...... 30 89 3.0 Christopher, Patrick 31 1030 33.2
Randle, Jerome...... 31 82 2.6 Boykin, Jamal....... 31 724 23.4
Christopher, Patrick 31 81 2.6 Kamp, Harper........ 31 623 20.1


FOULS G No. Per/G TURNOVERS G No. TO/G
----------------------------------- -----------------------------------
Kamp, Harper........ 31 75 2.4 Randle, Jerome...... 31 91 2.9
Robertson, Theo..... 31 72 2.3 Robertson, Theo..... 31 66 2.1
Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 65 2.1 Christopher, Patrick 31 53 1.7
Christopher, Patrick 31 64 2.1 Gutierrez, Jorge.... 31 50 1.6
Boykin, Jamal....... 31 57 1.8 Kamp, Harper........ 31 31 1.0

 

I mostly wanted to talk about the turnovers here.  Randle having the most turnovers by far is not a surprise to many.  We all know that with good Randle comes bad Randle.  Just in general he is going to have more turnovers, too, because he handles the ball more.  But the stark difference here stems from the bad Randle times.

He averaged 1 turnover per every 11.9 minutes. Jorge's minutes aren't listed there, but he had 566 minutes.  That comes out to a turnover every 11.32 minutes.  So, he was about at the same rate as Randle.  Not surprising to many.  By comparison, Theo had a turnover every 15 minutes, roughly.  For PChris, it almost 20 minutes per turnover.  These numbers are not terribly surprising, however, especially given the heavy ball-handling loads that the two point guards were asked to shoulder.  Would it be nice if Jerome and Jorge could cut down on the turnovers?  Of course.  However, I think these numbers are overall pretty acceptable, and it's nice to see that no one else on the court is turnover-prone.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts:

This all goes through Randle.  If Randle can play at the level we know he can (distributing well, hitting his shots, including 3s), this could be a dangerous team. Of course, the flip side is if he plays poorly, well, we've seen what can happen there.  I shouldn't put so much pressure on Randle, of course, because there are so many other parts to this team.  But I really think that Randle could be our key to a successful tournament run.

But enough of what I have to say.  What do you think?

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