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KenPom Demonstrates The Limits Of Statistical Analysis

Sorry, but this is just stupid

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Syracuce vs Wake Forest
Mar 6, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons guard Keyshawn Woods (1) reaches for the ball as Syracuse Orange center Paschal Chukwu (13) and forward Marek Dolezaj (21) defend during the second half of a first round game of the 2018 ACC tournament at Barclays Center.
Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Pomeroy thought he’d try to bring some clarity to what constitutes home court advantage and decided that no one in the ACC had a bigger advantage than...Wake Forest? And Virginia is fifth? Duke is seventh?

Here’s the problem.

KenPom finds that the biggest difference is in fouls and that Wake gets far more favorable calls at home than on the road...but isn’t there a simpler explanation? Like for the last several years Wake Forest has sucked as a road team? That they lack confidence and are hesitant and uncertain and therefore more foul prone?

What would really interesting to quantify would be official’s reactions to particular home crowds and how it might affect their perception of a bad team’s tendency to foul.

So for instance, how does Wake Forest do at Duke or Virginia vs. BC or Georgia Tech? Does Wake get more whistles at Cameron and JPJ because the referees perceive them to be a sucky team and therefore more likely to foul than the home team which is getting affirmation from its crowd? Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy?

That’s something worth knowing. It’d be an interesting psychological study or even something for the Freakonomics guys to consider.

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