The Definitive Guide to Covid Pause Effect for CBB Teams

Covid pauses were a unique storyline in the 2020-21 college basketball season. Teams having to take a break from the court from anywhere between 10 days to 50 in some cases threw a massive wrench in many campaigns.

Here are the main stats to know about how covid pauses affected teams:

All D1 Teams

For all D1 teams who had a Covid pause this season, their adjusted efficiency margin dropped on average by 0.016 for all games after the pause, versus before the break. This corresponds to a point margin drop of 1.1 points in an average tempo game. If a team would have favored by 4.2 in a game before the pause, that advantage drops to 3.1 points for all games after the pause.

A look at how D1 teams fared after a covid pause, versus before. A longer pause usually led to a greater drop in performance.

There is a significant drop in performance especially in the first two games after a team’s covid pause. This disadvantage was worth close to 3 points per game in an average tempo game. The effect of the break becomes much more negligible in the third game after pause and beyond.

Here’s the performance dropoff in the next few games following a covid pause for D1 teams on average.

The graphic below shows the performance, relative to expectation, of all teams in their first game back from covid pause, through February 15th, 2021. While there were teams that did well in their first game back, most struggled.

Performance in the first game back from covid pause, relative to expectation

March Madness Teams

There are 27 NCAA Tournament teams that had at least one pause, and six with two (Baylor, Drexel, Florida State, Grand Canyon, Iona, and Norfolk State). Iona was on pause the longest, for 67 days in total, with breaks of 51 and 16 days. 

Baylor had the worst post-covid drop in performance of all tournament teams by far, as seen below. Iona managed to get slightly better after their break of 51 days.

Here’s a look at how tournament teams fared in just the first two games after covid pause. Baylor still was the worst of the group in this category, but Oregon was a close second. Florida State somehow fared really well after their break.

All of these stats are based on data that I collect for my website EvanMiya.com, and all team performance metrics are my own.

Published by Evan Miyakawa

College basketball analytics at evanmiya.com

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