Organization: Getting ready for basketball season

I know there are two months between now and the start of the college basketball season, but for me, that means it’s time to start thinking about what changes I want to make to improve this site’s coverage of Harding basketball.

Usually, the first thing that means is that I have to decide how I want to display the stats.  I keep a mess of data, and only some of it will make sense to most people, so I’m always thinking about how to display it better.  So far, all I’ve done is update a few pages on the site after each night’s games, but that doesn’t feel like enough to me.

If you’re interested in following the stats like I am, I’m considering a few different ways to share the data this year:

  1. A stats section separate from the blog itself, but still within my site.  It would probably be based on sortable tables, with me manually copying over the data from Excel.  Alternatively, I could try to learn how to deal with MySQL in such a way as to make that easier for myself in the long run.  That would be virtually uncharted territory for me, though, probably with a huge amount of time needed on the front end.  That’s time I don’t really have.
  2. I could share my Excel files, or at least a stripped-down version of them, making them downloadable from the site or accessible via Windows Live SkyDrive or Google Docs.  Personally, I think Google Docs would be an interesting way to share the data, and it would involve the fewest headaches for me.  As an added bonus, that wouldn’t cause double work for me on my MVN site, since I could just link from both sites to the Google Docs location.
  3. I could maintain the status quo, which basically involves copying-and-pasting set of tables into a page within the blog context.  For now, it gets the job done, but there are certainly ways I could make it look better.

I think the first option would be the best, and if I could get a similar look and feel to Yahoo’s, that would be ideal.  My problem is doing all the work to get it there.  After all, I do have a job and a family, and I spend enough time working on my site already.  My concern about the second method is that it would lack the professional touch you get at most major sites, and I suppose that’s something I’m striving for in the long run, unless someone else makes what I’m doing obsolete (as KenPom is doing for D-I).  Or, I could just keep doing #3.

Aside from the look and feel of the site, my other concern is the breadth of my basketball coverage.  Usually I do a detailed recap of the Harding game and perhaps give the score and a quick comment about other GSC West games.  I don’t track the GSC East at all, which bothers me a little bit, but since East-West games aren’t even considered conference games, I can deal with that.  I lump them in with the rest of the South Region, which I start tracking after conference season gets underway.  I’m satisfied with my current level of coverage, since I think it provides sufficient context to the performance of Harding’s team specifically.  While I wish there were better options for covering the conference, region, or D-II as a whole, I’m not really equipped to do that myself.

So, if you’ve made it this far through this meta-rant, I encourage you to drop me a comment about the basketball portion of my site.  Tell me what works and what doesn’t work, what you read and what you don’t.  I love doing this for my own sake, but if there’s something else you’d like for me to discuss, I’m certainly willing to consider it.  Don’t hold back on the criticism, either.  If you don’t find any of my basketball coverage interesting, or if you think the stats are way too complicated (I would already agree with you there), let me know.

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9 thoughts on “Organization: Getting ready for basketball season

  1. Looking forward to Bison basketball and whatever you post on your site. Hopefully Morgan has some help for Matt Hall. A better 5 and a good point would help.

  2. Although I have an admittedly weak grasp of HU basketball history, Hall has to be one of the very best to ever play there.

    Regarding your HU coverage, my favorite part is your commentary anyway. I do like the stats too though. Your first option sounds cool, but incredibly time-intensive, so unless you quit your job or something, I don’t recommend that.

    I prefer #3 to #2 though. I’d rather see the stats within the context of your posts than to download them and look at them in a spreadsheet.

  3. One thing I would like to see, but Harding’s boxscores won’t allow is some sort of comprehensive stats for each lineup on the floor. However, Harding’s play-by-play breakdown doesn’t include the SUB IN/SUB OUTs that many team’s play-by-play boxscores do. That would be an arduous process anyway since you can’t just make a MACRO to figure that out… You’d have to chart the points, rebounds, assists, etc. by hand. It would just be interesting to see if guys who seemingly have low output using your formulas are actually detrimental to the team’s overall performance or are effective minute stealers.

    Admittedly, I don’t understand what some of the formulas mean in the boxscore reviews, so you may have already some form of this in the efficiency numbers. I’m still a lot more old school in my analysis of basketball games- perhaps at this point – seeing and playing in 1,000s of them in my life, I can pretty much get a feel of whats going on. I love checking your analysis of the games we go to, to see if my initial observations are equal with the mathematical formulas.

    Also, I would like to see you break ground in adjusted player performance based on player age relative to actual age of a typical student in that grade. Since some of Henderson State (and others) have players who are the same age of 5th year NBA veterans, perhaps some adjustment needs to be made. Then again, I’m not sure Ryan Johnson’s player efficiency numbers could have gotten any worse even without an adjustment.

  4. Couple other thoughts:
    Maybe a glossary post as to what each of the keys and ratings mean. Some of the ratings on the Excel files I’m still not sure what they mean.

    Also can you make the MACRO available to the public on your website with instructions as how to use it? I’d like to try it with a couple other schools myself. If you don’t want to place it on your blog, I’ll just send you an e-mail from the gmail account.

  5. On an unrelated note, Sonny Moore has Father Ryan +5 McCallie. I’m taking Father Ryan straight up (for entertainment purposes). We may struggle to go .500 in conference.

    Though I always hate to see high school players out for the year, McCallie will be helped by the fact that Baylor lost three skill players for the year vs. MBA. I’m resigned to the point that if we beat Baylor for #10, it will be a good season.

    http://www.mccallie.org/internet/default.aspx?pid=6903
    Look at all the policies just to successfully even get into the game.

    Honestly, it was easier to procure tickets to see O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker play for North College Hill.

    I wouldn’t doubt these tickets could potentially be scalped between $50-$100.

  6. I would love to see win #10 in a row this year over Baylor. This streak should never end. They should go ahead and play it this week.

    As for basketball, I think I’ll continue working on option #1 for displaying stats if I can figure out a way to do it. If I can’t figure that out by the start of the season, I’ll keep putting the stats in my posts like I did last year. I kind of figured people wouldn’t bother to download the files, but I guess it is an option if everything else were to fail.

    Jay, I have a Glossary page and a Stats Primer page linked to the left under “The Basics > Basketball.” It’s probably incomplete, but that should fill in some gaps if the stats aren’t making sense. You might also glance through the posts in the category archive (bottom left) for Stats/Analysis.

    Honestly, though, I have to remind myself what some of these things mean from time to time, so I’m always thinking about how to display them in a more meaningful way. Within the spreadsheets I keep, I have them broken down in a way that makes sense to me, but it’s way too much to display on here in any kind of reasonable fashion.

    I’m going to work on better glossary page and a page explaining how to do-it-yourself with my spreadsheet and macros, since you’re not the first person to come to me with either of those suggestions.

    Thanks for your input, everyone, and keep the suggestions coming. I’m sure as the season rolls along, there will be things I have overlooked.

  7. Well, it would certainly spice up the month-end meta post. I bet the top searches leading to your site would be, uh, intriguing.

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