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  1. #1

    ACC Foul Differential: UNC gets "all of the calls"

    We just took our mid-season look at foul differential in the ACC and the results were somewhat surprising.

    You can see the full chart at our site, but here's the quick and dirty list of teams and foul differential per game.

    UNC +4.3
    Miami + 3.9
    NC State +3.26
    Duke +3.24
    Virginia Tech +2.62
    Wake Forest +2
    Clemson +1.9
    Maryland +1.48
    Georgia Tech +1.2
    BC +0.83
    FSU +0.1
    Virginia -0.53

    For one, Duke doesn't get "all of the calls" but we already knew that, but the Blue Devils do draw the 2nd most fouls per game in the ACC. The big surprise to me was Wake Forest who was in the middle of the pack in foul differential per game.

    It seems pretty clear there is a correlation between inside play and foul differential, but definitely not in wins (see NC State).

    So go bust the chops of your UNC friends.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    Not too surprising when you can turn on a UNC game at any random point during the game and have at least a 20% chance of seeing Hansbrough standing at the free throw line.

    Getting ready to drain a free throw like he's in the shower, I guess...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Well, I would also venture to say that UNC leads the ACC in offensive possessions so this foul differential statistic is not all that surprising.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Durham-- 2 miles from Cameron, baby!
    Quote Originally Posted by jipops View Post
    Well, I would also venture to say that UNC leads the ACC in offensive possessions so this foul differential statistic is not all that surprising.
    True, but this argument was likely true of all the Duke teams that get/got tagged with "getting all the calls."

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jipops View Post
    Well, I would also venture to say that UNC leads the ACC in offensive possessions so this foul differential statistic is not all that surprising.
    Sorry, but I'm not buying this argument. The chart lists the fouls UNC has drawn and committed in their own games. Possessions for two teams in the same game are going to be practically the same so the higher possessions shouldn't make much of a difference.

    Just to dispute this point further, NC State currently ranks last in tempo (you'll have to sort by tempo) and is 3rd in foul differential.
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  6. #6
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    Sep 2008
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    Philadelphia
    Quote Originally Posted by alteran View Post
    True, but this argument was likely true of all the Duke teams that get/got tagged with "getting all the calls."
    I've never understood the relevance of the raw total number of fouls to the "xxx gets all the calls" argument. The idea that in any particular game two teams should have close to the same number of fouls called against them is ludicrous, and it drives me crazy when certain announcers imply that the differential means anything other than differing style of play.

    Some teams/players aggressively challenge the defense in order to draw fouls. Some teams/players aggressively play defense and thus potentially commit a lot of fouls.

    Duke happens to do both, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they draw a lot of fouls and commit a lot of fouls. UNC has at least one player who draws a ton of fouls but they're somewhat passive on defense, so it also shouldn't be a surprise that they have a high differential.

    I'm not suggesting anything negative about riverside's study. To me, it shows offensive and defensive tendencies of the various ACC teams. But IMO you'd need a lot more sophistication before you could suggest that the referees favor UNC. Which of course they do. (insert ironic smilie here)

  7. #7
    Kedsy, completely agree with your points. The "gets all the calls" argument is more tongue in cheek since Duke gets that claim more often than not.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cary, NC

    hmm..

    Interesting analysis. At this point in the season, though, the majority of games have been played out-of-conference, so these values are largely a reflection of scheduling. Also, UNC hasn't played in many close games; having the other team foul at the end of the game tends to inflate the stats. I'd be curious to see some further breakdown, such as offensive fouls versus defensive fouls, and number of free throws taken. Those who shout "XXX gets all the calls" tend to look at free throws more so than number of fouls, and a lot of times the number of fouls is actually much closer.

  9. #9
    Good points, perhaps we'll take a look later in the season at only conference games.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    The Birmingham of the North
    Quote Originally Posted by riverside6 View Post
    Sorry, but I'm not buying this argument. The chart lists the fouls UNC has drawn and committed in their own games. Possessions for two teams in the same game are going to be practically the same so the higher possessions shouldn't make much of a difference.

    Just to dispute this point further, NC State currently ranks last in tempo (you'll have to sort by tempo) and is 3rd in foul differential.
    A higher number of possessions should absolutely make a difference. If you start with the assumption that a team with better players generally, and superior inside players in particular will be more likely to be fouled while on offense than to commit a foul on defense, then the expected gap should rise linearly with the number of possessions in the game.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by calltheobvious View Post
    A higher number of possessions should absolutely make a difference. If you start with the assumption that a team with better players generally, and superior inside players in particular will be more likely to be fouled while on offense than to commit a foul on defense, then the expected gap should rise linearly with the number of possessions in the game.
    Tip o' the hat to you sir, you are correct in that argument. I would argue that the difference in 12 possessions (difference between fastest and slowest tempo) would be nearly negligible.

    Just spot checking the foul differential per possession is around .05 for both UNC and NC State which is the highest for any ACC team. This would equate to an additional .6 foul differential in 12 possessions for NC State or -.6 for UNC in 12 fewer possessions.
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