This is not my review of Harding’s weekend wins, although that will be up this evening. Stats will be updated at some point tomorrow and will include tonight’s UAM-Philander Smith non-conference game.
If you’re not interested in the statistical side of basketball, this post probably isn’t for you, but I thought I would pass along this bit of information because of some problems I ran into with this weekend’s update.
I use Offensive Efficiency Rating (or OER/ORtg/OEff) quite regularly to evaluate players on this site, but it’s quite the immense formula and probably isn’t worth fully explaining here. For that, I recommend Dean Oliver’s Basketball on Paper, which is an absolute must-read anyway if you’re into basketball stats. Essentially, it takes all of the good things a player can do on offense (shoot efficiently, create opportunities for opponents via assists, not turn the ball over) and boils it down into one rating, which represents the number of points that player “produces” per 100 possessions.
Some players are not incredibly efficient, but they use a lot of possessions on offense, while others are efficient within their limited roles. Both are valuable, and OER is helpful for determining that value. It’s a bear of a formula to calculate, since it takes into account such little (but important) things as what percentage of a player’s field goals are assisted, which helps to properly allocate scoring possessions across the team.
Specifically, the calculation I just mentioned is called Qast, and it’s a nasty formula in its own right, accounting for a player’s time on the floor, field goals and assists (both individually and by the team). Theoretically, the percentage of assisted field goals has to be between 0% and 100%, but Qast in its raw form doesn’t take that into account.
99.9% of the time, that’s not an issue, but on the far extreme of high productivity per minute, it can cause total chaos. This was the case in Harding’s 104-95 win over Delta State a few weeks back. I just noticed the issue today, and the problem, essentially, is that Qast can be tricked into thinking that more than 100% (or less than 0%) of a player’s baskets were assisted.
In this case, DSU’s Anthony Fizer lit up the Bisons, scoring 10 points (three 3s and a free throw) in just four minutes on the floor. Qast thought, based on those gaudy numbers, that 726% of his field goals were assisted, ultimately wreaking havoc on his total scoring possessions (calculated at -13), points produced (-37), and OER.
It took me long enough to figure this out that I don’t have a Harding update ready yet, although I will at some point this evening. This has been the only instance of this kind of formula destruction in OER, and it will be corrected in tomorrow’s stat update.
Fear not, Anthony Fizer. My spreadsheets are not biased against you.