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KenPom: The Value of Altitude

Discussion in 'Colorado Basketball Message Board' started by Goose, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

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    KenPom has a nice blog post about the value of altitude and the Buffs are specifically mentioned.

    It, like everything else Ken does, is worth your time to read. One thing I find interesting is that he thinks that high altitude teams might be at a disadvantage at lower altitude.

     
  2. dio

    dio Admin Club Member Junta Member

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    That last part seems like a stretch to me.
     
  3. BehindEnemyLines

    BehindEnemyLines beware the habu Club Member

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    Agreed. Mark Schlereth and another espin pro football analyst (former player, too) were talking about teams from Denver. The other guy said he hated playing at home against the broncs because of their conditioning at altitude (elevation). He said that he'd look at the Denver team in the 4th quarter and it was as if they hadn't played at all -- like they could go another 3 or 4 quarters.

    As a side note, if KenPom's theory were true then we should move our Olympic training facility to sea level.
     
  4. jgisland

    jgisland Club Member Club Member

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    That last part is a total stretch, this is an interesting topic but KenPom needs some more statistical evidence before I come close to buying that theory.

    What about the theory that most of the teams playing at altitude have been horrible at cbb over the years and use the altitude to their advantage at home and can't win on the road to save their life.
     
  5. Darth Snow

    Darth Snow Hawaiian Buffalo Club Member Junta Member

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    I can't disagree. I'm pretty impressed by the size of the altitude advantage.
     
  6. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

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    Teams that train at altitude are in better shape.

    I think that KenPom is underestimating how large an advantage it is when we play at home. We haven't had good teams and we get exposed on the road.
     
  7. MrFrumpylane

    MrFrumpylane Well-Known Member

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    My guess is that basketball is a harder sport to play at altitude than football with the main difference in stamina.
     
  8. absinthe

    absinthe Ambitious but rubbish. Club Member Junta Member

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    I'd like to see it looked at from a field goal% stand point. Especially in the last 4 minutes of either half relative to what the visiting team normally shoots at home during that stretch.
     
  9. Del

    Del Member

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    His theory about altitude teams being at a disadvantage at sea level is completely wrong. At CU, we did our advanced training camp for ROTC at Ft. Lewis Washington in the summer. All of the CU cadets including me averaged about 30 -45 seconds faster on our 2 mile run time than we did up in Boulder because you can breathe so much easier.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  10. GoldenBuff

    GoldenBuff Club Member Club Member

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    Truth. Football is short bursts of very high level activity. Basketball, on the other hand, is lower exertion over a much longer period of time.
     
  11. tante

    tante Club Member Club Member

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    this might be kenpom worst article ever:

    this isn't rocket surgery, less oxygen means your body produced more red blood cells to compensate, so when you go to lower elevation (with more oxygen in the air) you have all these extra red blood cells carrying all this extra oxygen. I thought this was an axiom at this point.
     
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  12. jgisland

    jgisland Club Member Club Member

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    Are you sure? Can we get Doc Sadler to weigh in?

    And yes, this could be the worst KenPom article ever. He lives in SLC, he should know something about this whole altitude thing.
     
  13. Nor Cal Buff

    Nor Cal Buff Well-Known Member

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    Well, he's right in the sense that the players at sea level are able to train harder than the players at altitude but the effect of living at altitude overcomes this, even at sea level. But this is why the optimal strategy is to live high, train low.

    Also SLC is below the threshold for where the effects of altitude manifest themselves. Basically anything below 4900 feet is little different than sea level.

    I'm confused why he uses such small sample sizes in the article too. Seems pretty simple to me...take the home/away margins of CU, CSU, UNCo, DU, Wyo, UNM and NAU over the past 20 years and compare to nationwide.
     
  14. Shldr2Shldr

    Shldr2Shldr Club Member Club Member

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    There is a reason our Cross Country teams dominate pretty much where ever they go.
     
  15. GoonieBuff

    GoonieBuff Not really Club Member

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    His second theory makes no sense. Even high schools in the Denver metro area travel to the mountains during the summer to train at even higher altitudes.

    Altitude training helps for endurance (aerobic) but not for anaerobic (sprinting activities) performance. This is why CU has great XC and track distance runners that come here but not very good sprinters (usually local sprinters).

    Also, this is why the altitude difference is most noticed at the end of basketball games, as enough playing time would have gone by to impact the aerobic performance of the athletes.

    In short: For a sprint (length of football field, basketball court, basically 400 meters or less), the altitude doesn't give us an advantage. But, when you extend that distance, or put a bunch of those back to back throughout a game, the thin air becomes our big home advantage.
     
  16. SCB

    SCB Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't it be the opposite?
     
  17. BuffaloSoldier76

    BuffaloSoldier76 Unsound Meat Club Member

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    For an additional example, look at the dominance of Adams State and Western State in NCAA Div 2 Cross Country. In the past 20 years on the men's side, Western State and Adams State each have 8 national championships, while on the women's side, Adams has won 15 of the last 20 with Western taking 3. The Adams kids live and train in Alamosa, CO at 7,544 feet, and the Western kids live and train in Gunnison at 7,723. These kids go to the national championships and dominate partially because they have significantly more stamina and endurance from training at altitude, and partially because the national championship venues are always at significantly lower elevations. Granted that both of those schools are in high demand by distance runners because of their sustained success over the years, but their abilities are multiplied when they train hard at altitude.

    Goonie, et al are absolutely right that the endurance factors translate better to basketball than to football because of the sustained exertion that is required in basketball in comparison to the stop & go nature of football. The altitude factor cannot be taken for granted on the basketball court.
     

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