FanPost

Introducing the MUGASM

USA TODAY Sports

So I like looking for predictive patterns in stats. I know it's lame, but I like it so back off and stop trying to take my glasses and HEY MAN THOSE ARE PRESCRIPTION AND MY MOM IS GOING TO KILL ME! To this end I started pouring over the statistical profile of our upcoming opponent. However, like the great Dr. Jones setting off on a scholarly search for relics of antiquity, I found more than I bargained for. But instead of a golden box that lets out freaky killer ghosts, I found The MUGASM.

Here's how it started. I noticed that we are coming off our highest tempo opponent (UNC AdjT 74.1) and moving onto our slowest in UVA (59.7). Below is a chart showing our worst five performances of the year (as measured by BPI) and the tempo of those opponents. Obviously our style of play would be most effective in a fast-paced game, so our worst performances must have come at the hands of our most Sendekian opponents:

Opponent

Opponent AdjT

AdjT Rank

NCSU Game BPI

Ok State

67.4

128

34.7

Wake

69.1

65

57.1

UNCA

70.4

36

60.5

Cleveland State

66.5

178

77.8

UNCG

71.7

15

78.7

WTF? Our worst five performances have come against average to fast-paced teams? Ok. New theory. UVA is the 4th best defensive team, in terms of AdjD, that we have played all year. That will certainly be a problem right? Obviously we had to have performed poorly against the best defensive teams we have played:

Opponent

AdjD

AdjD Rank

NCSU Game BPI

Ok State

84.5

6

34.7

Duke

85.9

11

97.9

GT

86.9

17

93

Stanford

89.6

33

93.8

Maryland

89.9

35

80.3

Seriously? So we play well against teams that try to slow it down and we play well against teams with great defenses (in the continental US). Then obviously we are going to beat the living crap out of UVA (unless the game is moved to Guam). This can't be that easy. There must be something else going on here.

If there is a predictive pattern to our poor performances I think it can be seen in the MUGASM. For those of you that have never heard of the stat that I just made up, MUGASM stands for Made-Up-Give-A-Shit-Metric. This cutting-edge stat measures the perceived weight of the game in terms of opponent prestige or game importance. In layman's terms, it measures the level to which I think our players give-a-shit. Below are our 4 highest MUGASM games, and our 3 lowest BPI games:

Opponent

Opponent Kenpom Rank

Game MUGASM Rank

MUGASM Breakdown

NCSU Game BPI

UNC

46

10

It's UNC

91.6

Duke

5

10

It's Duke, #1 ranked opponent

97.9

Michigan

2

8.9

High ranked prestigious opponent, national TV

79.4

UConn

45

8.2

Prestigious opponent, national TV, PackMentality sitting courtside

92.3

OKST

20

4.8

We're favored by 10, Puerto Rico in November > Raleigh in November.

34.7

Wake

145

4.6

The 4th side of the Triangle

57.1

UNCA

150

2.8

I'm glad that OKST thing is over. Let's just move on and get ready for Michigan.

60.5

I think there is a very clear lesson here and the takeaway is ultimately positive. The Wolfpack can perform well against even the highest level of opponent as long as they care. It's certainly frustrating now while we are still playing the Wakes and BC's of the world. However, I think it bodes well for the postseason. I think it also explains how well this team, essentially the same team, performed last postseason.

In a way this only serves to support what we all kind of already knew: this team is long on talent and athleticism and short on passion and leadership. Luckily it does seem that enough external motivation can fill those voids. Time will tell, but I like our chances.

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