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The DPI: Halfway Through Conference Season

Show Me the Numbers

The DPI is back baby. The DPI exit survey was pretty successful from March Madness 2023, but why settle for ‘pretty successful’? There has been one minor change since we checked in last year to the formula, we’re now taking into account team free throw percentage.

It’s a minimal amount being weighted for 2 percentage points out of 100, but that measly factor really hurt teams like Houston and Iowa State that have struggled from the charity stripe. In case you forgot, here’s what DPI takes into account for its total value with their weights assigned to them.

  1. Scoring Margin - 10%
  2. Rebound Margin - 10%
  3. Turnover Margin - 10%
  4. KenPom Adj. O - 7.5%
  5. KenPom Adj. D - 7.5%
  6. Strength of Record - 10%
  7. Strength of Schedule - 10%
  8. 2-pt% Offense - 2%
  9. 3-pt% Offense- 2%
  10. 2-pt% Defense - 2%
  11. 3-pt% Defense - 3%
  12. Ft% Offense - 2%
  13. Off. Effective FG% - 5%
  14. Def. Effective FG% - 5%
  15. KenPom - 5%
  16. BPI - 5%
  17. NET - 5%

An executive decision was made to lessen the importance of SOS/SOR and emphasize the offense/defense shooting percentages. It didn’t transform the rankings, but there are some teams that were helped/hurt from this.

Alright, without further ado, let’s dive in.

The Contenders

If you watch a college men’s basketball television segment for long enough, someone will bring up the parity in the sport, and that there’s no “great” team. While mostly true, there is a handful of teams that thus far have separated themselves.

The Contenders

Team DPI
Team DPI
Auburn 27.1
UCONN 27.6
Tennessee 29.8
Arizona 30.8
Houston 34.4

These are the top 5 in DPI currently. Auburn might be a surprise to some of you, but they are top 100 in every stat except 3-pt% offense. Being top 100 in almost everything is extremely rare. UCONN is close behind, the DPI loved them last year, and they’re still a DPI sweetheart.

The Huskies have really improved defensively, 3rd in scoring margin and 14th in rebound margin. We don’t have a bracket out yet, but I want the Cyclones to be about as far away from the Huskies as possible.

Tennessee is a poor man’s Auburn, the good at everything bad at nothing model. However, they have to be coached by Rick Barnes in March which never ends well. If Tennessee stays healthy, they could be a 3-4 seed that has the analytics of a 1 seed, similar to UCONN last year.

Arizona and Houston are both great but flawed. Honestly if you combined these two teams you might break DPI. Houston’s 2-pt% offense and team free throw % really hurt the Cougars. The Wildcats meanwhile are 123rd in Def. Effective FG%, Houston is 1st in the country. Houston needs to get a little bit better on offense, and Arizona needs to get a little bit better on defense in order for them to be a safe bet for a natty.

The Surprises

There are some teams, cough Wisconsin, that basically don’t even pass the eye test. You can watch Wisconsin and say, “Hey man, they seem a little overrated” and that’s because they are. Out of the 33 teams I calculated, Wisconsin came in at 32nd.

The Surprises

Teams DPI
Teams DPI
6. BYU 37.3
14. New Mexico 48.3
19. Michigan St 57
25. Wake Forest 63.1

However, there are always a few teams that you’re like how is their record like that, if their analytics are like this? Or even a team like New Mexico in a great Mountain West conference, they are the clear stars in the DPI.

Wake Forest is 15-7, Michigan State is 14-9 and yet there are a lot of teams with better records that are worse analytically. Now the best stat, especially in March, is W’s. However, these are two teams that could get hot down the stretch, because by the numbers, they should be winning more games.

Fraud Watch

I could also just call this: the Big Ten. I already touched on Wisconsin, but Purdue and Illinois need some mention too. They might not be full frauds, but they’re definitely flawed.

Big Frauds

Teams DPI Turnover Margin
Teams DPI Turnover Margin
8. Purdue 41.4 290
21. Illinois 58.4 301
? Wisconsin 72.8 95

I included turnover margin because Illinois and Purdue are both in the bottom third nationally of turnover margin. Meaning if they played a team like Iowa State, Houston, or get this, McNeese St. (4th nationally), their highly rated offenses would, likely, take a hit in those games because of their inability to take care of the ball.

Wisconsin has a whole host of issues, unremarkably 89th in scoring margin, 139th best offense, and the 297th best three-point defense. I probably don’t have to tell you a team prone to scoring droughts, and terrible at defending the 3 might be a problem come March.

Cyclones

To date, this is the best DPI ranking the Cyclones have ever had. Also, take into account Iowa State’s 80th ranked SOS will only increase as the Big 12 rolls on, and without team free throw %, Iowa State is a top 6 team in the country.

Iowa State is elite in scoring margin, turnover margin, and basically every advanced defensive stat except 3-pt% defense. Iowa State has also consistently been able to score over 60 points, the one game where they didn’t score 60 this year? They beat Houston in a rock fight at home.

How ‘Bout Them Cyclones

Teams DPI Scoring Margin Turnover Margin Adj. D SOR SOS Ft%
Teams DPI Scoring Margin Turnover Margin Adj. D SOR SOS Ft%
Iowa State 44.3 3 2 4 13 80 283

Iowa State has the chance to get as high as 6th in DPI by March, right now they’re 10th. Strength of schedule will rise on its own, but if Iowa State can increase their team FT% by 3%, they’d jump up 100 spots in the team free throw rankings, so that stat isn’t unsalvageable either.

Looking Ahead

The DPI, as always, is not foolproof and isn’t responsible for your future bets. However, where there are numbers, there are patterns. Iowa State’s schedule tapers off in intensity from here, but Otz’s teams seem to get a little gassed come February. If this team can stay as high energy as they have been, the DPI will be kind to the Cyclones.

Expect an article before conference tournament week, and of course, after Selection Sunday. It’s the most wonderful time of the year y’all.