This is the fourth of a weekly installment where we will dive deeper into the numbers of Texas Tech basketball. Each week a different advanced statistic will be presented, explained and viewed within the context of the Red Raider season. Our analysis will go beyond the familiar numbers of points per game or field goal percentage. Those long-kept statistics are nice to look at, but hardly shed light on the entire story of what takes place on the hardwood. Let your voice be heard and vote which stat will be covered next week.
What stat do you want to explore next week?
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3-point Attempt Rate
Player Efficiency Rating
The voting over our stat for this week turned into a two-stat race between strength of schedule (SOS) and defensive rating, but SOS won. SOS is one of the most-often used stats around. It attempts to calculate how strong the competition is that a team has faced (or will face). This allows for comparisons between teams, even if the two don’t play in the same conference. In fact, SOS is such an effective tool for this purpose, that it is explicitly listed by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Selection Committee as one of their criteria. Not to mention the fact that SOS is a part of RPI, another factor into the committee’s decisions.
How to calculate it
SOS presents a relative oddity among basketball stats, as there is not a standard way to calculate it. It can be as simple as the collective winning percentage of all your opponents. It can also be as complicated as giving higher ranked opponents more weight, and so on. Playing in March is what matters the most, so below is the official calculation of SOS by the selection committee.
How Texas Tech stacks up
Our analysis so far has been focused on how the selection committee views SOS, and there’s no reason to stop now. Throughout the course of the season, the NCAA compiles what the selection committee calls “team sheets.” They provide a lot of information, including SOS.
Through January 17th, which includes the Texas Tech loss to Texas, the Red Raiders have an overall SOS ranked 55th in the country. Considering the plethora of tough Big 12 opponents still on the schedule, Tech’s SOS ranking will undoubtedly continue to rise as the season progresses. A top-50, or even a possible top-25, SOS would do wonders for the Red Raiders when it comes down to seeding for the NCAA tournament.
What has the potential to be viewed as a negative in the committee’s eyes is Tech’s non-conference SOS. As of Wednesday, the non-con SOS is at a woeful 235 ranking. Seton Hall, Nevada, and Boston College were Tech’s three best non-con opponents. But, outside of those three, the non-conference slate didn’t provide the Red Raiders with resume building opportunities. However, that ranking is not set in stone. Conference seasons have only just begun across the country. Some of Tech’s mid-major opponents have the opportunity to start racking up more wins now that they are done with a tough non-conference schedule of their own. Basically, Red Raider fans need to start rooting for Wofford, Savannah State, and Abilene Christian.