I love working with coaches and showing them how statistics can impact their team. Recently, a coach I’ve worked with for a few season at the NCAA Division III level asked me ‘how do we measure up to some of the top teams in the country?’ In other words, she saw improvement in various numbers of her own but how far off were they from a championship caliber team.
So, we looked at the most recent top 5 teams according to D3Hoops.com: Amherst, Tufts, Thomas More, St Thomas and Scranton. These teams aren’t just good this season, they’ve been good for a long time. I coached in the NESCAC almost 10 years ago and Amherst and Tufts were kicking butt then too, it helps the same coaches are still there.
All five teams were still unbeaten at the time of this study. So, what did we learn?
Each team had four individual players with double digit efficiencies numbers on the year. Anything in double digits is very good for an individual player so having four is similar to having a strong foursome like the Golden State Warriors have in Curry, Durant, Thompson and Green. All four won’t have huge games every night but they’re all going to do a whole lot more good than bad.
Each of these teams has an offensive efficiency number of about 100, except for Tufts, but having coached in that conference, I can tell you they just play at a slower pace. Tufts also has the lowest defensive efficiency. The differences between efficiencies range from 25 to 77 among the top 5.
Further points per possession are at a minimum of 0.88 but are above 1 for three of the teams. That’s 88 – 100 points per 100 possessions which is crazy high for a 40 minute game.
Obviously, all five of these teams are good. Amherst, Tufts and Scranton stand out from the other two but there was no factoring in of strength of schedule. We’ll revisit these teams as the season goes on to see if they continue to dominate or if something trips them up along the way.