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2006 Quarter-Season Big East Efficiency

I composed a brief essay on this topic for AOL Sports yesterday, but thought that I would present the full data and some brief conference-related notes here.

Also, if you would like to use/abuse the data illustrated below, feel free to do so. Quite frankly, any discussion about efficiency is good discussion.

[Introduction]
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of drive efficiency and total offensive/defensive benefit, I recommend reading this brief overview. The description is incomplete, but it is manageable for those allergic to numbers.

Also, those reading the data/analysis below must recognize that Connecticut has only played three contests this season while the rest of the conference has played the four-game maximum. Thus, the Huskies' total offensive and defensive benefit values are not totally indicative of the team's actual performance. As a consequence, attention should be given to Connecticut's efficiency factors rather than its benefit values.

[Data: Offensive Efficiency]

2006 Big East: Offensive Efficiency
TeamPFSEFDEFTOB
Louisville3.172.952.73150.33
West Virginia3.313.142.96136.33
Pittsburgh2.362.071.79102.25
South Florida2.612.201.7987.83
Syracuse1.761.691.6183.67
Rutgers2.261.891.5374.83
Connecticut2.392.0961.8073.92
Cincinnati1.821.481.1460.58
PF = Points Factor
SEF = Scoring Efficiency Factor
DEF = Drive Efficiency Factor
TOB = Total Offensive Benefit


[Woefully Truncated Analysis]
Once again, Louisville stands as titans amongst men in terms of offensive output and efficiency. Outpacing its closest competitor by almost three scores this season, Louisville not only generates a ton of points, but also manages to do so efficiently, registering the conference's second-best scoring and drive efficiency values.

In essence, Bobby Petrino has created an offensive juggernaut that is, frankly, unstoppable.

Outside of Syracuse (which, in 2006, is only about 40 points away from its total offensive benefit value of 2005), the biggest surprise so far this season has to be South Florida. Leading the conference in offensive turnovers and plagued by serious questions at virtually all the skill positions entering the season, the Bulls have put up solid stats this season, generating virtually the same number of points the offense has actually scored (87.833 versus 87 actual points). Ideally, efficiency prefers teams that actually score more points than it theoretically generates (like Louisville and West Virginia, for instance), but given the number issues South Florida needed to overcome this year, Jim Leavitt cannot be displeased.

[Data: Defensive Efficiency]

2006 Big East: Defensive Efficiency
TeamPFSEFDEFTDB
Rutgers1.340.830.3216.33
Connecticut1.341.020.6929.83
West Virginia2.241.781.3156.42
Pittsburgh1.751.421.0960.00
Louisville1.731.461.1961.92
South Florida1.9981.671.3565.92
Syracuse2.221.871.5379.33
Cincinnati2.181.871.5783.33
PF = Points Factor
SEF = Scoring Efficiency Factor
DEF = Drive Efficiency Factor
TOB = Total Defensive Benefit


[Woefully Truncated Analysis]
So much for that awesome Syracuse defense, huh?

Eds. Note: I'll tackle the Syracuse issue on AOL some time this week.

First of all, Rutgers' defensive values are skewed by the Scarlet Knights' horrendous schedule. Playing Ohio, Howard, Illinois, and North Carolina have allowed Rutgers to accumulate ridiculous efficiency and total defensive benefit values. When the Big East schedule comes around, I wholly expect Rutgers' defensive efficiency values to come back to earth.

Second, West Virginia has probably the best balance -- efficiency-wise -- in the conference. Ranked second in total offensive benefit and third in total defensive benefit, the Mountaineers are finding ways to ruin its opponents opportunities to score while moving the ball effectively on offense. When a team can generate a marginal benefit rate of almost 80 points, it is going to win a ton more games than it will lose.

In short, West Virginia is the model of efficiency in the Big East, finding great balance on both sides of the football. If the Mountaineers can keep up this pace during conference play, there is no question that it should position itself for a legitimate shot at the national championship.

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