#KPI Blog: Tracking NCAA Scoring Trends

All season long, the #KPI has examined statistical trends as it relates to the rules of college basketball.  The NCAA Tournament, where the stakes are the highest, is no different.

Scoring tends to fall come NCAA Tournament time. Over the last three years (since the field expanded to 68), NCAA Tournament scoring has dropped 1.50 PPG in 2011 (down 2.2% from regular season), 1.55 PPG (down 2.3% from regular season) and 1.72 PPG (down 2.6% from regular season).

PPG in NCAA Tournament 3-yr Avg 2013 2012 2011
First Round 65.5 67.5 64.5 64.5
Second Round 65.9 64.5 66.4 66.7
Third Round 67.4 66.7 65.0 70.4
Sweet 16 68.7 67.4 68.3 70.4
Elite Eight 68.8 64.5 73.3 68.8
Final Four 63.0 64.3 64.0 60.8
Championship 63.0 79.0 63.0 47.0
All NCAA Games 66.6 65.8 66.5 67.6
Regular Season 67.5 68.0 69.1

Scoring Margin has averaged 11.3 PPG over the last three NCAA Tournaments.  Over a three-year period, margins in the second round (13.2 PPG) and third round (10.8 PPG) have been greatest as one might expect.  The average margin for each round of the tournament over the last three seasons:

Margin in NCAA Tournament 3-yr Avg 2013 2012 2011
First Round 9.2 9.0 7.5 11.0
Second Round 13.2 15.2 11.1 13.2
Third Round 10.8 12.1 9.7 10.4
Sweet 16 9.0 8.8 8.4 10.0
Elite Eight 10.0 15.5 9.0 5.5
Final Four 4.7 4.5 5.0 4.5
Championship 8.7 6.0 8.0 12.0
All NCAA Games 11.3 12.9 9.9 11.3

In games deemed upsets (won by the lower seed), the average margin has been 7.9 PPG over the last three seasons. When the higher seed wins, the average margin is 12.8 PPG.

There were 24 “upsets” (games won by the lower seeded team, wearing the dark uniforms) in 2013, 18 “upsets” in 2012 and 22 “upsets” in 2011.  32% of games are “upsets” while 68% of games are won by the better seed.

Scoring tends to fall during the postseason because the number of possessions in a game tend to fall.  In conference tournament action this year, scoring fell to 68.2 PPG (compared to 69.7 PPG in conference games and 72.1 PPG in non-conference).  The number of possessions per game, per team fell to 65.1 possessions/game in conference tournaments (from 66.5 in conference games and 69.4 during the non-conference).  Most other data was consistent on a per-possession basis and reflected the decrease in possessions, and hence longer possessions.  Full data from the 2013-14 season is also available at kpisports.net.

Teams averaged 70.7 PPG during the regular season this year.  Weekly scoring fell as the season progressed.  Week by week scoring trends over the last four seasons can be found here.

Enjoy the games!

This is the #KPI

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.