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ANALYTICAL DARLINGS: Basketball analytics say the Vols are poised for a breakout season

By: Dallas Bowlin

Senior Staff Writer, Junior Editor, Co-Host

The All Vol Call in Show


Photo by Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

The Tennessee Volunteers have emerged as a darling in the world of basketball analytics. Analytics, driven by a treasure trove of statistical information, have always played a role in the sport. However, their influence on in-game decisions and team strategies has never been more prominent than it is today.

In a two-on-one fast break scenario, the traditional choice was often a layup. However, with the rise of analytics, teams are now more inclined to opt for the open three-point shot, a testament to how analytics are reshaping the game. Defenses have adapted, conceding the two-point attempt to defend against the potentially more valuable three-pointer, reflecting just how much analytics now guide on-court decisions.

For Tennessee, the data reveals a team that is loaded with talent and has the tools to excel in the areas the data says you need to if you wish to be successful. Here’s exactly what the metrics say:


Haslametrics was founded by Erik Haslam a full-time electrical engineer who reserved the name “Haslametrics” in 2004. What makes his method different is that he has sworn off the popular methods like: effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, offensive rebounding percentage, and free throw rate. Instead, he has narrowed it down to what he calls the “bare necessities” like how often teams shoot, how close to the basket those shots are, and how teams shoot from different spots on the floor.

This season, Haslametrics projects the Volunteers as the third best team in the nation, with the tenth best offensive efficiency and the second best defensive efficiency. Its near-proximity percentage which entails layups, tip-ins, and dunks sits at sixth in the nation at 65.29% while the defensive field goal percentage sits third in the nation at 38.55%.

Haslametrics takes each game and gives it a “should” section,which projects the outcome of each game. Currently, they predict Tennessee will go 27-2 in the regular season with its lone losses coming at Arkansas and at Alabama.


Kenpom’s archives goes all the way back to the 2002 season and is ran and founded by Ken Pomeroy. Kenpom is probably the most popular of the analytic sites due in partt to its longstanding history in the basketball community.

This season, Kenpom projects Tennessee as the eighth best team in the nation, and is projected to have the 33rd best adjusted offensive efficiency which is tracked by points scored per 100 possessions. On the flip side, its defensive efficiency is projected to be the second best in the nation behind Kansas.


Evan Miyakawa has a doctorate in statistics and graduated from Baylor with a Ph.D. in 2022.

Miya projects Tennessee as the second best team in the nation with an Offensive Bayesian Performance Rating (BPR) which qunatifies how effective a team is at 9.6 which is good for tenth in the nation. Their defensive BPR of 12.8 is good for first in the nation and is a whole 2.7 points better than the second best in Houston.


So, there you have it. The analytical sites clearly love the Volunteers, projecting them as one of the top teams in the nation. They will still have to execute on the court, but Tennessee is set up to be a very fun team to watch not just for its fans, but for basketball fans in general.


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