Glossary

On this page are some stats that have come along in recent years for easy reference. Their formulas and relevance are explained here, though you’ll come across the more traditional stats in my analysis as well. To bring SU-focused context to these stats, the Division-I leaders in each stat from the 2010-11 season are given, along with Syracuse’s marks.

Pace (Possessions/Game)

  • Relevance: Pace is the term used to refer to the average speed at which a team operates its offense over the course of the season. The numerator, possessions, is calculated on a single-game basis by starting with the number of field goal attempts a team took. You then subtract the team’s offensive rebounds, which prolong possessions, and add the number of turnovers, which end them. To that total, a multiplier to consider free throws (.4*FTA) is added.
  • Rule of Thumb: 60 possessions is considered very slow, 75 is very fast.
  • 2010-11 Leader: VMI – 78.8
  • Syracuse in 2010-11: 66.5
Points Per Possession (Points/Possessions)
  • This stat measures offensive efficiency by calculating how many points a team scores, on average, each time it has the ball. It’s used to account for the differences in tempo between teams. For example, if Team A scores 80 points in 60 possessions (1.33 PPP) and Team B scores 80 points in 70 possessions (1.14 PPP), Team A is said to be more efficient, since it took them fewer possessions than Team B to score the same number of points.
  • Rule of Thumb: Above 1.0 is good, below 1.0 is bad. The inverse is true for measuring defensive points per possession.
  • 2010-11 Leader: Ohio State – 1.2
  • Syracuse in 2010-11: 1.1
  • Note: You may hear Ken Pomeroy or other analysts refer to offensive efficiency ratings, which is simply points per 100 possessions.
Turnover Percentage (TO%): TO’s/Possessions
  • TO% is used to measure the rate at which offensive possessions end with the team turning the ball over before it creates a scoring opportunity. It gives a clearer idea of how often a team or player turns the ball over than the simpler stat of turnovers per game. For example, a team that turns the ball over 12 times in 70 possessions per game is better at holding onto the ball than a team that turns the ball over 12 times out of 60 possessions, even though their turnovers per game marks are identical.
  • Rule of Thumb: Obviously, the lower, the better; Generally, 15.0% or below is good, and 25% or greater is bad.
  • 2010-11 Leader: Wisconsin – 13.4%
  • Syracuse in 2010-11: 18.6%
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%): (FGM + 0.5*3PM) / FGA
  • Used to measure the number of points a team scores on each shot attempt. This is different from the traditional field goal percentage in that more value is given to a made three-pointer.
  • Rule of Thumb: Similar to the traditional FG% stat, above 50% is considered good, and under 50% is considered bad.
  • 2010-11 Leader: Kansas – 57.0%
  • Syracuse in 2010-11: 52.8%
Offensive Rebounding Percentage (OR%): Offensive Rebounds/(Offensive Rebounds + Opponent’s Defensive Rebounds)
  • Used to measure the rate at which a team rebounds its own misses. Offensive rebounds prolong possessions, leading to scoring opportunities.
  • Rule of Thumb: 30% or higher is good, 25% or lower is bad.
  • 2010-11 Leader: Old Dominion – 45.3%
  • Syracuse in 2010-11: 36.7%
Free Throw Rate (FTR): FTA/FGA
  • Used to measure the number of free throw opportunities a team creates, relative to the number of shots it takes from the field. You can also use this stat to get an idea of the style of offense a team implements. For instance, a team that drives a lot will usually have a higher FTR than a jump-shooting team.
  • This stat can vary widely and is dependent on the offensive style a team implements, the opposing defense and the officiating, but generally, the range varies from 25% to 45%. It’s important to bear in mind that a high free throw rate doesn’t always correlate with wins, but it is a piece of the puzzle.
  • 2010-11 Leader: Northwestern St. – 50.6%
  • Syracuse in 2010-11: 36%
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