Offensive & Defensive Efficiency

Let's start with Offensive Efficiency.

A team's offensive efficiency is the amount of points it scores per 100 offensive possessions.

OE = (Points scored * 100) / Possessions

An Example

Let's stick with the 2017 regular season matchup between Kentucky and North Carolina.

Kentucky had 78.98 possessions and scored 103 points. Its offensive efficiency was 130.

OE = (103 * 100) / 78.98 = 130.41

North Carolina scored 100 points over 78.64 possessions for an OE of 127.

OE = (100 * 100) / 78.64 = 127.16

Defensive Efficiency

A team's defensive efficiency is the amount of points it allows per 100 defensive possessions.

DE = (Points allowed * 100) / Possessions

An Example

Following our example above, Kentucky's defensive efficiency is 127. Kentucky allowed 100 points over 78.64 possessions.

DE = (100 * 100) / 78.64 = 127.16

North Carolina's defensive efficiency is 130. North Carolina allowed 103 points over 78.98 possessions.

OE = (103 * 100) / 78.98 = 130.41

Notice this is the inverse. An opponent's offensive efficiency equals a team's defensive efficiency. A team's offensive efficiency equals their opponent's defensive efficiency.

Why are these numbers so high?

Remember this is the number of points scored or allowed per 100 possessions. Offensive efficiency isn't an indication of how many points a team scores. Defensive efficiency doesn't suggest how many points a team allows.

The final score of this game was Kentucky 103, North Carolina 100. Not 130-127.

The average college basketball game features around 70 possessions. In our example above, the game featured about 79 possessions.

The Offensive Efficiency numbers are high because the statistic is over 100 possessions. Not 79 or 70.

Don't confuse points-per-game with offensive or defensive efficiency.

Why was a team efficient on offense or defense?

A team's efficiency can be broken into four factors. Remember those factors?

  1. Shooting
  2. Offensive rebounding
  3. Avoiding turnovers
  4. Getting to the foul line

Let's continue with the 2016 Title Game as an example.

Kentucky turned in an offensive efficiency of 130.

Kentucky made a high percentage of shots, avoided turnovers 87% of the time, and rebounded 38% of its missed shots.

North Carolina posted an offensive efficiency of 127.

While North Carolina was effective shooting the ball and getting to the foul line, Kentucky was just a bit better.

This a good reason why Kentucky won the game by 3 points. A higher offensive efficiency and a lower defensive efficiency than their opponent.

Question, concern, or spot a typo? Please send me an email and let me know.

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