Basketball Prospectus has the offensive and defensive points-per-possession stats for the Big 6 conferences, thankfully the day after I spent way too long fiddling with a spreadsheet[*]. It raises some questions I'd love for folks to answer:
Does the Big 12 outside the state of Kansas just suck? Yesterday I was marvelling at Duke's efficiency margin, and today I see that Kansas and Kansas State are topping it. Hell, the Jayhawks' efficiencies are insane. Now true, of the five conference games they've played, two have been against bottom-dwelling Nebraska. But then again, Nebraska's stats can't be helped by the fact that half their games have been against Kansas. (Hey Big 12, balance the damn schedule, will ya?) So which is it? Is Kansas that much better than everyone else, or is the Big 12 that much worse? Or both?
How do Big 10 fans stay awake? The fastest tempo in the Big 10 belongs to Minnesota at 69.7 possesions per 40 minutes, which is faster than only three ACC teams. Duke makes it down the floor fifteen more times a game than Wisconsin. Over the entire season, these numbers are a bit more smeared out, which leads me to believe conference play reinforces the traits of various conferences. Oh, and that Big 10 fans should be clamoring for a partial refund on their ticket prices.
What's with all the bad defenses? Sure, once conference season starts, the offensive efficiency numbers drop while the defensive ones rise. And there's only five or six games being counted in each of these numbers, so there are outliers that I assume will regress to the mean. But only 19 teams give up less than a point per possession? While 13 give up more than 1.1? That's why I'm not too concerned by UNC's defense current status as "a hair above the ACC average." Because practically everybody's average. Or worse.