Jim Boeheim is ticked at KenPom ... for someone else's stats.
In the middle of his news conference following Syracuse's 90-66 loss to Louisville on Wednesday, Boeheim -- apropos of absolutely nothing -- name-checked KenPom, the statistical analyst Ken Pomeroy, who runs KenPom.com and has been a contributor for ESPN.
"I love this ... I don't know where this guy ... he's making a lot of money -- KenPom -- but when you start putting in print they scored 25% against the zone against Buddy [Boeheim] and 25% against this guy, I'm telling you right now: No one in this room, nobody that's doing KenPom knows who's at fault when somebody scores on us," Boeheim said. "No one knows. Not one person."
"To think that somebody knows who's at fault when somebody scores against our zone is the craziest thing. I've never heard of this until this year. I've been in this a long time," Boeheim continued. "I think I know a little bit about this game. I've never heard, Well this guy's 25% responsible for this and this guy's 35%. Are you kidding me? I'm telling you I could get a kindergartner to tell you better than they can tell you, who's responsible."
There was one problem with Boeheim's critique of Pomeroy: Those numbers aren't his.
Entertaining presser including the complete non sequitur where Boeheim invokes my name about something I have nothing to do with and implies I am dumber than a kindergartner but mostly he makes good points. https://t.co/tkhJkCs3VI— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) February 20, 2020
All of the information on KenPom.com comes from box score or play-by-play data, Pomeroy said in a phone interview. He doesn't produce any individual defensive metrics like the kind Boeheim is talking about.
Pomeroy said he found the whole episode "hilarious."
"If you watch the press conference, whatever he's talking about apparently really bothered him because it had nothing to do with the topic he was previously discussing. But I have no idea what it was!" Pomeroy said. "But it was obviously something he wanted to get off his chest."
Here's our best guess as to what Boeheim was actually complaining about: this article from the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is an Absolute Magician. That story cites information from Synergy Sports, which provides statistical analysis on college basketball teams and does provide individual defender stats and differentiate between man and zone. ESPN uses information from Synergy Sports.
The article mentioned Buddy Boeheim as being in the 25th percentile of defenders and Joseph Girard III in the 35th percentile, seemingly matching the numbers Jim Boeheim cited. It also mentioned Syracuse's relatively poor defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com, although that had nothing to do with individual defenders.
Oh, so Jim IS a reader. https://t.co/qBXLH7iXAH— John Cassillo (@JohnCassillo) February 20, 2020
"I think somewhere in there is a good point -- when you're playing a zone defense, it's probably hard to judge a player's individual defensive ability," Pomeroy said.
That may be true. But just for Boeheim, we thought we'd pass these numbers along: On Wednesday, the Cardinals were 2-for-7 against Buddy Boeheim and 3-for-5 against Girard, per Synergy Sports.