Caulton Tudor: Please Use Facts, Not Bias

Chances are pretty good that Mike Scott made this shot. Chances are similarly good that John Henson flopped on the next possession. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Fudge.

I was hoping things would turn out the way they were supposed to and I wouldn't have to do this again. But not only am I going to have to do this again, I'm going to call out one specific person in the process: Caulton Tudor.

I didn't know who this guy was until the last couple of weeks. Now I wish I still didn't. But the bottom line is that somehow he gets to vote on who should be on the All-ACC teams and so that opens him up to criticism. And there shall be plenty of it for his votes.

Mr. Tudor has voted to put four Carolina players (Zeller, Henson, Barnes and Marshall) on his first team ballot along with Duke freshman Austin Rivers. Mike Scott was relegated to second team.

To be fair to Mr. Tudor, I'll give him props for one thing: he owned up to it and has tried to state his reasoning (flawed as it is). Go check out @CaultonTudor to see what he had to say. So, at least there's that. There's another writer who, at the time of this posting hasn't owned up to his decision making process. I'm assuming it'll come out sooner or later.

So with that out of the way, let's get into it. Check back after the break for a true breakdown to see how absurd this all is.

Statistics

Here with go with statistics. I'm only going to focus on Mike Scott, Austin Rivers and the four Carolina players.

First up is points per game:

Name ACC Rank PPG
Mike Scott 2 17.9
Harrison Barnes 3 17.4
Tyler Zeller 5 16.3
Austin Rivers 7 15.3
John Henson 10 14.2
Kendall Marshall - 7.2

OK, so Mike Scott is actually the highest scorer of the bunch. But Terrell Stoglin is the highest scorer in the ACC and he didn't make Mr. Tudor's first-team either. So let's move on.

Most people (though I'm guessing not Mr. Tudor) understand that pacism is bad. Virginia plays a slow tempo game. Therefore Mike Scott has a lot fewer possessions to work with than any of the Carolina players. In fact, Virginia averaged 60.3 possessions per game this year across 30 games. Carolina on the other hand averaged 72.5 possessions per game across 31 games. Duke was sort of in the middle with 68.2 possessions per game across 31 games. So let's look at how this would work if each team was given 100 possession to work with. On average, what would these players numbers look like?

Name PPP
Mike Scott 29.7
Harrison Barnes 24.0
Tyler Zeller 22.5
Austin Rivers 22.4
John Henson 19.6
Kendall Marshall 9.9

So Scott's margin as the best in this category is larger than it was in the previous category. What does that mean? Does it mean he's more efficient than the other four players with scoring? Or does it mean his team depends on him to score more? Both, I'd say. I'd also say it doesn't really matter which it is. Both should put him on first team All-ACC.

But now let's move on to another metric: Field Goal Percentage. I'm going to combine two stats here. Literal field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage. It stands to reason that someone like Zeller, who can basically place the ball in the basket, would have an advantage in these categories. Most big men have a solid FG% because they dunk or lay-in the ball so often. Effective field goal percentage corrects for that a little bit by giving a little more credit to three pointers since they're worth more.

Name FG% eFG%
Mike Scott 57.3 58.2
Tyler Zeller 54.9 54.9
John Henson 50.7 50.7
Harrison Barnes 45.8 50.6
Austin Rivers 44.2 51.7
Kendall Marshall 42.8 48.3

Well then. It looks like Mike Scott may actually just be more efficient than all of those other players as well. He has the highest FG% AND eFG% in the field. Barnes, Rivers and Marshall clearly make a bunch more three pointers than the other players, so their eFG% is closer to the top three than their FG% is. But Mike Scott leads this category by a wide margin. In fact, Mike Scott has the best shooting percentage in the entire conference.

Alright, moving on, let's take a look at Offensive Rating. This is more of a complicated statistic that gives an overall measure of a player's offensive output.

Name ORtg
Tyler Zeller 121.4
Mike Scott 117.4
Harrison Barnes 111.8
Kendall Marshall 111.2
John Henson 108.9
Austin Rivers 104.8

So Zeller is pretty clearly first here, but Mike Scott is up there with him and still head and shoulders above the rest of the field that we're looking at. In fact, Zeller and Scott are the only two players from the ACC in the top fifty in the entire country in this metric (assuming minimum 20% of possessions used).

Let's take a break from raw output statistics here to talk about how important a player is to their team. Some voters (though clearly not Mr. Tudor) consider that to be an important part of All-ACC voting. It's hard to quantify that importance, but one way to look at it is to see how often a particular player is used during the game. So we'll look at the percentage of possessions that each of these players is used:

Name %Poss
Mike Scott 29.2
Harrison Barnes 26.4
Tyler Zeller 25.2
Austin Rivers 23.8
John Henson 22.1
Kendall Marshall 16.4

So once again we have Mike Scott back up here. Now of course the argument here is that yes, he's going to get more chances because he's clearly the best player on the team, whereas both Carolina and Duke have several burger boys and whatnot. But do I need to remind you that he also had, clearly, the best shooting percentage? So he not only gets more opportunities, he makes them.

Alright, half of these guys are big men and even guards get in on the rebounding action. So let's take a look at some rebounding statistics, shall we? First, offensive rebounding percentage (the percentage of offensive rebounding chances by his team that a player himself brings down):

Name OR%
Tyler Zeller 14.6
Mike Scott 9.8
John Henson 9.3
Harrison Barnes 7.5
Austin Rivers 1.8
Kendall Marshall 0.4

Then defensive rebounding percentage (the percentage of his teams defensive rebounding chances that the player himself brings down):

Name DR%
John Henson 24.9
Mike Scott 24.2
Tyler Zeller 19.3
Harrison Barnes 10.5
Austin Rivers 9.1
Kendall Marshall 7.2

In both sets of numbers, there's a clear distinction between the big men (Scott, Zeller, Henson) and the guards (Barnes, Rivers, Marshall). Scott comes in second on both lists, looking to have fairly similar numbers to Henson on both.

What these numbers don't show, however, is the style of play. Virginia just doesn't get many offensive rebounds. So the OR% for anyone on Virginia is going to be lower than it would be for an "average" offensive rebounding team.

At this point I'm starting to feel a little bad for Kendall Marshall. He's a good player, but he's an assist-first kind of player. Like our own Jontel Evans, he doesn't rack up a lot of flashy numbers. But he's a hugely important part of his team. The numbers I'm pointing out here just don't show well for him. So I'll fix that by throwing in some assist numbers:

ACC # Name APG
1 Kendall Marshall 9.6
2 Lorenzo Brown 6.8
3 Tanner Smith 4.1
4 Luke Loucks 4.0
5 Jontel Evans 3.8

Alright, there we go. Very impressive numbers, Mr. Marshall. Clearly the most assists by a wide margin. Even adjusted for tempo into assists per 100 possessions, he would still have 13.2 to Jontel's 6.3. Very impressive.

Let's go ahead and look at a couple of other things that guards are (supposed to be) good at, shall we? Let's say steals and assist to turnover ratio. First steals:

ACC # Name SPG
1 Andre Young 1.7
2 Tanner Smith 1.7
3 Lorenzo Brown 1.7
4 Jontel Evans 1.6
5 Shane Larkin 1.6
6 Sammy Zeglinski 1.5
7 Erick Green 1.4
8 Deividas Dulkys 1.4
9 Kendall Marshall 1.3

Hrm. Ok, well that's interesting. He has fewer steals than two Virginia players. Didn't expect that. Though I guess Virginia does play defense. The discrepancy gets a little bit wider when you remember to adjust for tempo - the Virginia players got those steals per game in a lot fewer defensive possessions.

So now assist to turnover ratio:

ACC # Name A/T Ratio
1 Kendall Marshall 3.6
2 Andre Young 2.4
3 Alex Johnson 2.1
4 Lorenzo Brown 1.9
5 Tanner Smith 1.9
6 Durand Scott 1.8
7 Luke Loucks 1.7
8 Jontel Evans 1.6

Ah ok, there we go. Marshall's back at the top. And once again, even adjusted for tempo, Marshall (5.0) is still a good chunk above Evans (2.7).

OK, now I feel a little better about Marshall being at the bottom of all of those lists above.

Specific arguments

Mr. Tudor made a few specific arguments against Scott:

  • "He was just average in 2 games that mattered most -- v. NC. He had foul trouble, but still."
    • So on this point he managed to knock his own reasoning by mentioning foul trouble. Foul trouble, you'll remember, that was NOT his fault.
    • When challenged by a reader who pointed out that Marshall went 1 for 9 with 8 total points in two games against UVA, Mr. Tudor decided to state that the team's records made the difference there. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to explain to me how that makes any sense whatsoever.
    • To get into other counters to this argument, we have to look no further than Zeller himself who, in one of his most important games of the season - the first matchup with Duke - basically choked the game away by tipping in a three pointer, missing free throws and playing about the worst perimeter defense possible.
    • Or you could also look at Harrison Barnes, who shot 23% in two games against Virginia. Mike had more points in those two UVA/UNC contests than either Barnes or Marshall and he played HALF the minutes because of the bogus foul calls.
  • "1 other thing re/M-Scott: When the entire offense is set up to get him the ball, he's going to have impressive stats."
    • First thing wrong with this statement: Our entire offense is NOT set up just to get him the ball. For most of the season we had several three-point shooters (Harris, Zeglinski, Brogdon, Jesperson) and our offense was as much designed to get them the ball as it was to get it to Scott. Granted, as the season wore on and our players succumbed to injuries and cold streaks, we did try to get the ball to Scott more. Why that should be a negative for him I don't understand.
    • Second, even if our offense WAS set up exclusively to get the ball to him, that should be a good thing for him. He's that dominant that we give him the ball often. And guess what? That led us to a 22 win season, fourth place in the ACC and an all-but-certain NCAA berth. Why would we hold that against him again?
    • Finally, the flip side of this coin is that opposing defenses schemed to specifically stop him. Especially as the season wore on and our other players succumbed to injury. And yet he still had great games. His two highest scoring ACC games were his last two: 28 points against FSU and 35 against Maryland. Oh, and did I mention that 35 points was the most ANY ACC player scored this season in an ACC contest?

Other Comments

Sixty of the sixty-two voters think Mike Scott should be on the first-team. That's 96.7%. Only Mr. Tudor and a mystery voter disagree. I'm not usually one to think that the masses are always right. But it is yet another factor in Scott's favor.

If a player is in the discussion for ACC Player of the Year - and Mike Scott certainly is and has been for weeks now - how can he possibly not be listed as one of the top five?

Did I mention that Scott scored more points in an ACC contest than any other player this year?

Scott was named ACC Player of the Week four times this year - once again more than any other player.

Conclusion

Mike Scott deserves to be first team. I think he deserves to be conference player of the year. But I can understand why some people would choose Zeller. But leaving Scott off the first team is inexcusable. He is, at worst, on par with Zeller and Henson this year. The only reason to leave him off would be bias.

The statistics back Scott up. The intangibles back Scott up. No one backs up Mr. Tudor.

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