There’s been a lot of talk recently about NCAA coaches using advanced analytics to improve the performances of their teams.
In the latest edition of ESPN The Magazine, the University of Florida’s Bill Donovan talks at length about the importance of measuring and emphasizing his team’s DER (defensive efficiency rating) which reflects points per possession.
Donovan firmly believes (and has the stats to back it up) that his team cannot count on advancing in the NCAA Tournament unless the Gators have a DER below 0.9.
To emphasize this number in practice, Coach Donovan puts a group on defense for six straight possessions with the stipulation that they can’t allow a total of six points, which would translate to a DER of under 1.0.
If they allow only five points or fewer the defense gers to move to offense and a new defense steps onto the court.
If they allow six points or more, the defense has to run and then get back on defense for another six possessions.
“It’s about trying to get our guys to understand the mentality of moving from one play to the next,’”says Donovan.
“Let’s say you’ve given up three points in five possessions – that’s okay.
But now you can’t allow a three on that last one. All of a sudden you’re simulating a real endgame situation.”
While most of us may not have the rsources to use all the advanced analytics that the major NCAA programs have, we can certainly measure our DER and use it to strengthen our defensive presence.