The debate rages on. Shot clock proponents see a low scoring high school game, and the response is as predictable as it is inevitable: “KHSAA needs a shot clock now!” Almost every time I try to suggest this is untrue, and post all the links I have on the topic. Nobody reads them….
So, this time I will try to look at what seems to be comparable data. The Courier Journal’s Jason Frakes noted on Twitter how low scoring the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen was this year by tweeting, “In 11 of first 14 Sweet 16 games…neither team topped 61 points…” He wasn’t wrong. However, I saw no such tweet about the abject lack of offense in this week’s NCAA Tournament games including its Sweet 16 and Elite 8.
Remember, the NCAA game plays 40 minutes and has a :30 shot clock. The KHSAA game has 32 minutes and no shot clock. To hear many shot clock advocates tell it, we should see a wide variance in scoring between the two events as the shot clock has turned the NCAA game into a fast paced track meet while the KHSAA version apparently has Dean Smith clones on both benches holding the ball in a four corner stall for minutes at a time.
Let’s see if the numbers this week bare that out.
Thursday through Sunday the NCAA played 12 games that lasted 480 total minutes. The total scoring this weekend totaled (Jerry Lewis telethon drum roll please…) 1,551 points for an average of 3.23 points per minute. The 15 games played in the KHSAA Sweet 16 lasted 492 minutes (there were 3 overtime periods). The boys at the state tournament scored 1,486 points. The total difference…65 points at approximately 0.2 ppm.
So, the DI game did produce slightly more offense in this comparison. This is rare as most of the time, the high school game actually outscores its DI counterparts. However, the difference is miniscule.
Further, when you look at only the winning scores, the advantage actually skews to the high school folks. In those twelve NCAA games, the winners scored 836 points at 1.741 ppm. The KHSAA boys winners scored 859 points at 1.745 ppm. Now, why worry about the winning scores? Well, because basketball is a game of alternate possessions. So, we can assume that even though the losing teams in the KHSAA version scored less than the losing NCAA teams, we can guess they had similar opportunities to score. That is unless the high school folks were playing make it-take it.
Another interesting tidbit, no NCAA team broke 80 in either the Sweet 16 or the Elite 8. The highest score among all teams in either the college event or the high school one? Lyon County who put 82 on John Hardin in 32 minutes. That averages to 2.56 ppm. A couple of NCAA teams have hit 78. Which equals 1.95 ppm. So, to reiterate, no college team even with a :30 clock was able to average 2 points a minute in any game in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8. But a high school team in the state tournament playing a fellow regional winner on a longer floor and with a different shooting backdrop was able to average 2.56 ppm.
Yet we want to change the rules to make the high school game look more like the college game. I just don’t get it folks. I just don’t. But I am sure I will lose this argument eventually. Reason and logic and numbers so very rarely win anything…