I’m hellbent on winning a March Madness pool this year, and have been reading up on modern basketball analytics (i.e., KenPom, Dean Oliver, Sagarin, Lopez).

In the process, I’ve played around with scraping data from various websites, to analyze in R.

This is a quick exploration of player height according to 2017-18 NCAA D-I Men’s Basketball Rosters.

Average Height by Team

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D-I teams tend to be around 6'5" in average height – 8 inches taller than the average US adult male at 5'9".

10 Tallest Conferences

Averaging the heights of players on each team’s roster:

Conf Average height
ACC 6’5.73’’
P12 6’5.72’’
MWC 6’5.69’’
B12 6’5.64’’
B10 6’5.56’’
BE 6’5.52’’
Amer 6’5.43’’
SEC 6’5.39’’
WCC 6’5.19’’
MAC 6’5.07’’

There are 33 NCAA D-1 Conferences, and all of the perennial top-performers are among the tallest.

10 Shortest Conferences

Conf Average height
NEC 6’3.8’’
BSth 6’3.94’’
SC 6’3.99’’
Slnd 6’4.01’’
OVC 6’4.3’’
AE 6’4.31’’
SWAC 6’4.38’’
MEAC 6’4.39’’
ASun 6’4.42’’
SB 6’4.49’’

At the time of this writing, not a single team from what I’ll now call the Short 10 Consortium is ranked in the Top 60 according to Kenpom, nor ESPN’s BPI.

Do taller teams tend to rebound, and block shots more than shorter teams?

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Looks like there is a correlation between team height, rebounding, and especially block percentage. The particularly-tall, high-block percentage team is one of my favorites: Syracuse.