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Texas Longhorns Basketball: Inside the Numbers, Week 13

Texas won two very important games this week. The first one came easy, as Texas won at home against Texas Tech. The second one was hard. Texas finally prevailed in a close game, winning on the road at Texas A&M. These wins were really important for the Longhorns' chances of making the NCAA tournament.

Texas is currently sixth in the Big XII standings, with 5 wins and 6 losses. Texas has a pretty reasonable chance of catching Kansas State in wins and losses, but catching up to Iowa State will be tough. As of my writing this (Tuesday evening), the projections give Iowa State about a 95% chance of finishing the season with 10 or more conference wins. Texas has slightly less than a 50% chance of getting to 10 wins. Texas has less than a 20% chance of getting 11 or more wins, while Iowa State has about a 75% chance of getting 11 or more wins. At this point it is reasonable to expect that Texas will finish the season with 9 or 10 conference wins, and in either fifth or sixth place in the conference.

Now, the question that we all want to know is, will 9 conference wins and a #6 conference finish in the conference be good enough to make the tournament? This is a hard question to answer, as there are a lot of moving parts involved in such a projection. I find it a bit easier to look back at history. In 8 of the 15 seasons of the Big XII, 6 or more teams have made the NCAA tournament. So based on this history, if Texas ends the season with 9 conference wins and #6 overall in the conference, their chances of making the NCAA tournament are probably about as good as a coin flip.

It would be much better to win 10 games, and not leave things to chance.

In this week's Inside the Numbers, I review the Texas Tech and Texas A&M games, and take a look at the Texas big men.

The Week In Review

Background information on the statistics is posted here and here.














FGA + 0.475 x FTA




Off Rebs






















Points/100 Poss



Clint Chapman made positive contributions for Texas in so many ways in this game. Keep an eye on how many time his name pops up as we unwind the statistics for this game.

I take a very specific approach when I dive into post game statistics. I always start with two things: true shooting percentage and the number of shots for each team. In this game, Texas easily was ahead in both categories, with a substantial true shooting percentage advantage and 7 extra "shots" (shots refers to FGA + 0.475xFTA). In games where one team wins both of these categories by a decent margin, the story is usually uncomplicated, and the game isn't very close.

In a game like this, the next thing I want to look at is where each team's true shooting percentage came from. To help to highlight players who made significant positive (or negative) contributions to a team's true shooting percentage, I use a statistic I call Points Above Median (PAM) to combine shooting efficiency and shooting volume for individual players. Clint Chapman led all Texas players with a PAM of 6.8. Chapman's contribution to the Texas offense came in two ways. He was 8 of 8 from the free throw line, and according to my play-by-play statistics he was 5 of 7 on shots attempted at the rim. A healthy mix of layups, dunks, and free throws is a recipe for success for Chapman (and most other players).

Sheldon McClellan chipped in with a PAM of 4.6. McClellan's was very efficient in a way that players usually are not. McClellan was 2 of 4 from the line, which accounts for only 0.2 of his PAM total. He was 1 of 2 from three point range which adds another 1.1 to his PAM. McClellan shot 5 of 8 on two point jump shots, which accounted for 2.3 of his PAM, with the balance of about 1 coming from his single made shot at the rim. It is pretty unusual for a player to be so efficient on two point jump shots. On the season McClellan is making about 37% of his two point jump shots, which is a pretty typical field goal percentage for a college player on these sorts of shots.

On defense, Texas did quite well. Only Clark Lammart (PAM=6.3) and Ty Nurse (PAM=5.5) really did much damage for the Red Raiders. Texas' greatest defensive strength this season is that they protect the rim. That was clearly evident in this game. On the season, Texas Tech attempts about one third of their shots at the rim, and makes about 60% of these shots. In this game Texas Tech was 7 of 14 on shots at the rim. The 14 Red Raider attempts at the rim only accounted for one quarter of their shots.

By my count, Texas blocked four of Tech's shots at the rim (2 by Wangmene, 1 by Chapman, and 1 by J'Covan Brown). Chapman was all over the place on defense, with a total of 5 blocked shots. We estimate that he blocked roughly 15% of all of Tech's two point shots while he was on the court. As a team, Texas blocked 10 shots, which is 23% of all of the two point shots that Texas Tech attempted.

Texas' 7 extra shots were produced by a combination of a rebound advantage and a turnover advantage. Texas Tech has struggled with turnovers all season. They turned the ball over in 22% of their possessions against Texas, which is actually a fair bit better than their season average of 25.7% (kenpom, $). Texas protected the basketball pretty well, with turnovers in 18% of possessions.

Texas Tech doesn't really crash the glass on offense, and Tech's 29% offensive rebounding percentage probably says more about them than it does about the Longhorn's defensive rebounding. Texas gained a huge advantage by tracking down more than half of the available offensive rebounds. While Texas has struggled this season with defensive rebounding, they are currently ranked #10 by in offensive rebounding percentage, with 39.7%. Clint Chapman led the way against the Raiders, with a 16% offensive rebounding percentage. J'Covan Brown also joined in on the fun, chasing down 14% of the available offensive rebounds. In more limited minutes, Jonathan Holmes and Jaylen Bond did their usual good job of getting to offensive rebounds, with offensive rebounding percentages of 13% and 12%, respectively.














FGA + 0.475 x FTA




Off Rebs






















Points/100 Poss



This is a game where we need to use the rule of thumb is that a 0.01 differential in TS% is worth approximately 1.3 extra shots. Unfortunately, it is also a game where this rule of thumb breaks down, and doesn't work. Texas A&M had a true shooting percentage advantage of 0.059, which according to the rule of thumb is enough to cover 7.67 extra shots. Texas attempted 7.3 extra shots. Normally, these numbers would suggest a close win for the Aggies, but instead things went the other way. So why didn't the rule of thumb work?

The rule of thumb is based on some approximate numbers for a typical game. It assumes that one team had a true shooting percentage of around 0.55, and the second team took around 70 shots, where shots refers to FGA + 0.475xFTA. Well, Texas' true shooting percentage was close enough to 0.55, but the Aggies had less than 54 shots. This is largely due to the slow pace of play by the Aggies, combined with good defensive rebounding by Texas to limit extra shots. It turns out that in games with fewer shots, extra shots become more valuable than they would otherwise be. This makes intuitive sense. If I go back and recalculate our rule of thumb for a game like this one, we find that a 0.01 differential in TS% is only worth around 1.0 extra shot. With this revised rule, the Aggie shooting advantage was only enough to cover about 6 extra shots, and Texas took 7, so the extra shots were the difference for Texas.

Games like this aren't going to happen very often. The Aggies play at a really slow pace, and this game was no different. There were only about 60 possessions in this game, which is a fairly low number for the Longhorns and for college basketball in general. Both teams shot the ball quite well. The A&M true shooting percentage of 0.632 is extremely high (this also messes with the rule of thumb). A large portion of that high true shooting percentage came from going 23 of 29 from the line (TS%=0.835 from the line), although the Aggies also shot a true shooting percentage from the floor of 0.563. Texas managed a true shooting percentage of 0.574, which is their highest total in several weeks.

While we are on the subject of shooting, Texas was led by J'Covan Brown on offense, with a PAM of 9.5. Alexis Wangmene chipped in with a PAM of 2.9, and Jonathan Holmes contributed a PAM of 2.8. Sheldon McClellan was also solid shooting the ball, with a PAM of 2.2. For the Aggies, Elston Turner (PAM=7.7), David Loubeau (PAM=3.7), and Ray Turner (PAM=3.5) were all big reasons that the Aggies' true shooting percentage was as high as it was.

Texas won this game with extra shots. The turnover difference was significant here, with Texas only turning the ball over in 13% of their possessions, while the Aggies turned the ball over in 20% of their possessions. Texas only managed to get to 30% of the offensive rebounds, but did a very nice job on the defensive glass, rebounding 75% of the available defensive rebounds. Jaylen Bond led the way on the Texas defensive glass, with a defensive rebounding percentage of 30%. Several guards also got into the action on the defensive boards. Myck Kabongo and Julien Lewis both had defensive rebounding percentages of 26%. Coming up with rebounds and loose balls is very important in such a close game.

Looking at the Texas Big Men

This season, Texas has played four inside players. At the 4 and 5 positions, there are 80 minutes a game that have been shared by Jonathan Holmes, Clint Chapman, Alexis Wangmene, and Jaylen Bond. Holmes, Chapman, and Wangmene have all split time more or less evenly, each with around 21 minutes per game, while Bond has averaged closer to 15 minutes a game. Each of these players provides different things to Texas. I thought it would be interesting to compare the games and contributions of the four Texas big men.

Let's start by looking at the box score statistics. The table below presents a variety of information derived primarily from box score statistics, as of February 3. An explanation of each column in the table is presented in the box below.

Player PAM PAM/40 min % pts assisted TS% ORB% DRB% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
Holmes 36.8 3.3 41% 0.610 14 15.6 1.6 4.0 18.4 19
Chapman 26.1 2.2 46% 0.580 10.4 18.8 0.8 8.4 14.9 16.1
Wangmene 7.9 0.7 51% 0.522 10.3 13.4 1.5 3.8 21 12.3
Bond 10.4 1.2 44% 0.543 12.4 20.8 2.6 2.2 12.6 13.4

PAM: Points Above Median. More detail is presented here.

PAM/40 min: Points Above Median per 40 minutes of play.

% pts assisted: This is the total percentage of a players points that were assisted.

TS%: True shooting percentage. Here is a pretty detailed explanation.

ORB%: An estimate of the percentage of the total possible offensive rebounds a player gets while on the court.

DRB%: An estimate of the percentage of the total possible defensive rebounds a player gets while on the court.

STL%: An estimate of the number of defensive possessions where a player steals the ball.

TOV%: The percentage of possessions "used" by a player that result in a turnover by that player.

USG%: Usage rate. An estimate of the percentage of team plays a player "uses" while on the court.

Also, using data from my site, we can take a look at how each of the Texas big men score their points.

Player %Shots at Rim FG% at Rim %Assisted at Rim %Shots 2pt Jumpers FG% 2pt Jumpers %Assisted 2pt Jumpers %Shots 3pt FG% 3pt %assisted 3pt FTA/ FGA FT%
Holmes 45% 67% 42% 28% 52% 62% 27% 27% 100% 0.61 76%
Chapman 54% 68% 68% 40% 38% 56% 6% 0%
0.53 80%
Wangmene 61% 64% 71% 39% 25% 71% 0%

0.65 60%
Bond 72% 69% 44% 25% 22% 100% 3% 0%
0.32 43%

Digging through the data in these tables, let's take a look at each of the four Texas big men.

Jonathan Holmes is the most efficient offensive player of the four Texas big men. Holmes actually leads the entire team in PAM/40 minutes, and is third on the team in total PAM, behind J'Covan Brown and Sheldon McClellan. The only Longhorn with a higher true shooting percentage than Holmes is Sterling Gibbs. Holmes creates a fair number of high percentage shots for himself with all of those offensive rebounds (ORB%=14%). While Holmes is "only" getting around 45% of his shot attempts at the rim, he converts on these 67% of the time. He also knocks down 2 point jump shots at a very high rate. He is hitting 52% of his two point jump shots, which leads the team by a sizable amount. He also gets to the line at a decent rate (FTA/FGA=0.61), and he is a good free throw shooter. I don't know why Holmes is only shooting 27% from three point range right now, as he is a very good shooter overall. I think we can expect to see his three point shooting improve with time. If Holmes has struggled with anything this season, it has been playing defense without fouling. Foul trouble has kept him off the court some of the time. Holmes averages 1 foul for every 6 minutes he plays.

Clint Chapman has taken major strides as a player. He is also a very efficient offensive player, although not quite as efficient as Holmes. His offense is mostly based on what he does at the rim (54% of his field goal attempts are at the rim, and he makes them 68% of the time) and at the free throw line (FTA/FGA=0.53 with a FT% of 80%). He lacks the shooting touch of Jonathan Holmes; Chapman makes 38% of his two point jump shots. It is also interesting to point out that a pretty high percentage of Chapman's points at the rim are assisted (around 68%). This is because Chapman has often been the recipient of plays made on offense by the guards. He has also been making some of these assisted opportunities for himself by running the floor hard. In general, I think much of Chapman's success this year on offense has been the result of playing really hard. Chapman has also done a nice job of avoiding turnovers.

On defense, Chapman has become an anchor for Texas. He is blocking 8.4% of opponents' two point field goal attempts, and despite attempting to block so many shots he is still Texas' second best defensive rebounder. Chapman can also get into foul trouble, with one foul for every 7 minutes that he plays. This has at times limited his contributions. I also agree with Peter that Chapman attempts to block more shots than he probably should, and it ends up costing Texas on the defensive glass.

Alexis Wangmene has struggled this year. Of the four Texas big men, he is the weakest rebounder and offensive player. He continues to struggle with turnovers. One thing he has done well this year is avoid fouling. He is only fouling an average of once every 8.4 minutes, which allows him to stay on the court. With Holmes and Chapman getting into foul trouble so much, Wangmene's ability to play defense without fouling is really critical. I just wish that he got to a few more rebounds.

Jaylen Bond is a solid player, and will be a really nice complement to Holmes over the next few seasons. Bond is Texas' best rebounder. With the defensive rebounding troubles Texas has had, I would like to see Bond play a bit more. He also comes up with a lot of steals on defense, which is a bit unusual for a big guy. Only Julien Lewis has a higher steal rate for the Longhorns right now than Bond. Offensively, Bond gets 72% of his attempts at the rim. Many of these come on offensive rebounds. He has not had much success from the free throw line, although he has only attempted 23 free throws on the season, so it hasn't really hurt that much.

Coming into the season, I think that most of us viewed the play of the Texas big men as their biggest potential liability. I have been pleasantly surprised with how the four Texas big men have performed. Chapman is playing at a pretty high level right now, the freshman are both good, and Wangmene is soaking up minutes when the other three guys can't stay on the court. As I pointed out last week, this Texas team has exceeded my expectations. I think that the play of Holmes, Chapman, Wangmene, and Bond has been the biggest reason that this team has played so much better than I expected.