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Lookin' at the price of turnovers in the ACC

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No, I said YOU take it!

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine an alternate basketball universe where turnovers don't exist--literally zero turnovers are committed. In that land of puppies and ice cream, every team is getting at least one shot (be it a free throw or field goal attempt) on every single possession. With no more turnovers to drag down efficiency, averaging well north of 1.2 points per possession is the norm.

We will never live in that world, but we can see what it'd look like. For example, NC State has scored 795 points on 735 possessions in league play; that is an average of about 1.08 points per possession. State has turned the ball over 119 times, so if we just throw them suckers right out the window--note: do not take this sentiment too literally--we have our turnover-free utopia. Subtracting 119 from 735 leaves 616 "effective possessions" (ePoss).

Taking one factor out of the mix leaves a team to stand on its shooting, offensive rebounding, and ability to draw fouls. State's 795 points on 616 effective possessions comes out to 1.28 points/ePoss--the Pack averages 1.28 points on each possession that does not end in a turnover.

Here's how that compares to the rest of the ACC:

ACC Games Only Pts/ePoss (ACC Rank)
TO% Pts/Poss
Duke 1.36 (1) 16.1 (7) 1.15 (1)
UNC 1.32 (2) 18.3 (13) 1.11 (3)
Notre Dame 1.30 (3) 13.7 (2) 1.14 (2)
Florida State
1.29 (4) 20.6 (15) 1.03 (8)
NC State
1.28 (5) 16.2 (8) 1.08 (5)
Louisville 1.28 (6) 15.9 (6) 1.08 (7)
Pittsburgh 1.25 (7) 14.1 (3) 1.08 (6)
Virginia 1.25 (8) 12.3 (1) 1.10 (4)
Wake Forest
1.22 (9) 16.6 (9) 1.02 (11)
Miami 1.22 (10) 15.3(4) 1.03 (9)
Georgia Tech
1.22 (11) 18.9 (14) 0.99 (12)
Syracuse 1.20 (12) 15.3 (5) 1.02 (10)
Boston College 1.18 (13) 17.4 (12) 0.98 (14)
Virginia Tech
1.18 (14) 16.8 (10) 0.98 (13)
Clemson 1.16 (15) 17.3 (11) 0.96 (15)

In some cases, turnover rate is having a significant impact on overall efficiency. Florida State's offense has been very good on possessions that don't end in a turnover, but the Noles happen to be the most turnover-prone team in the league. FSU ranks sixth in eFG%, fifth in OR% and second in free throw rate; it's just hard to overcome the cinderblocks tied around their ankles.

Virginia is just the opposite--the Cavs rank eighth in eFG%, ninth in OR%, and 11th in FT rate, and as a result they don't show too well on turnover-free possessions. They score at a league-average rate on effective possessions. When their league-best turnover rate is accounted for, though, suddenly their offense vaults into the top five.

The average price of a turnover in the ACC is 1.25 points. That price will vary from year to year, and obviously from team to team. NC State's paying 1.28 points for each turnover this season. Now you can impress your friends and other bystanders after every State turnover by yelling "One-point-twenty-eight points!" with your arms raised pleadingly to the sky.

Don't say I never did anything for you.