At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
SEEKING RELATIONSHIPS: PASSING OFFENSE IN THE BIG TEN
The object of this experiment was to look for highly correlated data within some of the regular season passing statistics. Data from all 144 regular season games within the Big Ten conference was collected from box scores and team sites. What is being sought is to confirm essentially some of the relationships that people notice with the so-called “eye test”, plus potentially find ones that are not so obvious.
A matrix of statistics was created using six variables – passing attempt, pass completions, total passing yards, yards per attempt, yards per completion and completion percentage. For purposes of this diary, interception data was not included, but is part of a future planned diary along this vein of discussion.
So, in all (n=144 for each variable), there were 864 individual values which were either reported or calculated from existing data. The assumption made was that 144 trials would be sufficient to show some interrelationships inside the data.
Fifteen potential relationships were examined and their r-value calculated.
The six most correlated variables are as follows –
Completions / Attempts - r=0.88
Yards Per Attempt / Yards Per Completion – r=0.82
Completions / Yards – r=0.77
Attempts / Yards – r=0.65
Yards Per Attempt / Comp. % - r=0.57
Yards / Yards Per Attempt – r=0.49
Two relationships showed a relatively meager positive correlation; Completions / Completion % (r=0.37) and Yards / Yards Per Completion (r=0.36)
A few relationships even showed very slight negative correlation; Attempts / Yards Per Attempt (r=-0.29), Attempts / Yards Per Completion (r=-0.29) and Completions / Yards Per Completion (r=-0.26)
TABLE AND CAT PHOTO:
Below is the table of summary conference statistics (including a thumb of the matrix I used to calculate "r") and a cat photo -
Gale Catlett coached the West Virginia Mountaineers from 1978-2002.
That’s 24 years. In that time, the Mountaineers moved from the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference to the Atlantic 10 to the Big East. Catlett was able to reach the NCAA tournament 8 times. When West Virginia moved to the Big East, things got toucg for Catlett. He managed to reach the NCAA tournament just once in his seven Big East years, finishing his 2001-2002 campaign at 1-15 in conference. The game had passed him by, the program had gotten out of control, and it was time to move on.
In one of the more bizarre transactions in the history of college basketball, this led to the hiring of Bowling Green’s coach Dan Dakich, and his resignation 8 days later under the pre-existing threat of West Virginia NCAA sanctions(click http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/sports/basketball/basketball-star-jonathan-hargetts-story-is-a-cautionary-tale.html?_r=1&ref=sports if you must, but college basketball was the "Wild Wild West" back then.) And if you look at Michigan's program in the 90's we've got no room to talk.
Long story short, a laundry list of coaches turned the job down after that(including Bob Huggins) until John Beilein took on the challenge. He was tasked with rebuilding the program as well as the culture from the ground up. That is exactly what he did, taking West Virginia to the Elite Eight, the Sweet 16, and winning an NIT Championship in his 5 years as West Virginia’s coach.
When Beilein was hired at Michigan, the West Virginia job was finally good enough for Bob Huggins. The rest is history.
On Saturday Michigan joins the West Virginia mountaineers, heading off to Brooklyn New York to help break in the Nets new digs
The mountaineers enter Saturday’s game at a disappointing 4-4 on the heels of a painful loss to Duquesne in which not a soul could hit the broad side of a barn for West Virginia(33% from the field for the game). That has been the general theme of all their losses, as they shot 36% against Oklahoma, 40% against Davidson(whom they beat up pretty good on the boards too…Davidson just had a really good shooting night), and 27% against Gonzaga who absolutely throttled them in their first game 84-50. West Virginia averages something like 43% from the floor in their wins.
The West Virginia Mountaineers typically enjoy very balanced scoring and distribution from their starters(2 upperclassman big men and a bunch of smallish underclassman guards) as well as their bench.
Speedy 6-1 sophomore point guard Juwan Staten
is their nominal leading scorer/distributor at 11 points and 2 assists per game. He spent his freshman year at Dayton where he led the Atlantic 10 in assists. I obviously don’t expect he will keep up with Trey on the offensive end, but he is a pesky enough defender to slow Trey down a bit at the other end. He shoots 40% while contributing 3 boards, 2 steals, and 2 turnovers. Like I said, balanced.
Straight out of the streets of Istanbul, 6-9 big body senior forward Deniz Kilicli
adds 10 points, 6 boards and 3 turnovers shooting 41% from the field.
6-10 junior center Aaric Murray
is their most efficient scorer, shooting 53% from the field, 50% from downtown(1 attempt/game) for 9 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks/game. He’s pretty agile for his height, which he uses to his advantage finishing on the move and swatting balls in the lane. He transferred from La Salle, whom he led in pretty much every statistical category.
5-11 sophomore slasher/creator guard Jabarie Hinds
shoots 35% from the field and 27% from downtown(3 attempts/game) for 7 points, 2 boards, and 2 assists.
6-3 three star freshman shooting guard Terry Henderson
shoots 33% from the field and 26% from downtown bringing in 6 points and 4 boards for the mountaineers. Henderson splits starts with Gary Browne.
Baby faced 6-1 sophomore point guard Gary Browne
shoots 32% from the field and 26% from downtown for 9 points, 4 boards, and 2 assists.
6-2 freshman guard/energy man Eron Harris
plays only 10 minutes, but dumps in 5 points and 2 boards shooting 52% from the field and 33% from downtown(1 attempt/g).
Then you’ve got a bunch of guys(6-6 wing Matt Humphrey, 6-7 forward Keaton Miles, 6-10 forward Kevin Noreen) who play 15 minutes/game without contributing much in the way of statistics. Well, Noreen did combine with center Aaric Murray to carry West Virginia past Virginia Tech shooting a combined 12-20 for 29 points and 19 rebounds, but that was a bit of an anomaly.
So what does this all mean for Michigan? Well, as a general rule West Virginia doesn’t shoot the ball very well. They don’t turn over the ball a ton. Surprisingly they rebound at a decent rate despite their “two bigs and 3 hobbits”
rotations. I think West Virginia is going to keep the score within 13-14 points throughout, with Michigan slipping a bit while trying to kill the clock. Eventually they’ll put it together and get Beilein the win against his old school.
I've got 75-69 Michigan. Go Blue!
the hiring of Petrino by WKU may have been shocking to many, but one part of the events planned for 8/31/13 may not come as much of a surprise
the other part, not so much
THE KNOWLEDGE revealed many coaching changes on these very pages in his previous post, but did not reveal this for a reason
because doing so would have also meant revealing these planned events - which the Hilltopper AD would have read and promptly backed away from the hire - thus causing the hire not to happen - which would have resulted in a fallacy
the one thing THE KNOWLEDGE cannot afford to allow is a temporal fallacy caused by THE KNOWLEDGE's revelations. since THE KNOWLEDGE understands the information about the future, it is usually assured that THE KNOWLEDGE will not allow the fallacy
now that the hiring has happened, the AD is no longer reading these very pages; hence, THE KNOWLEDGE can reveal the events
now, on to the events on 8/31/13
WKU has planned to introduce a new "tradition" for their pre-game festivities keeping in line with the background of their new coach
when the players and coaches are introduced, the head coach will now ride into the stadium in a motorbike
petrino plans to introduce his own twist for the opening day. a WKU cheerleader will be riding with him on the bike
this will throw the juiced up hilltopper fans into delirium
this is the not-surprising part
the unexpected part will be due to the opponent - Kentucky
the vast majority of the human population (including petrino) does not know that WKU beat Kentucky this year
hence, UK is seething and planning for great revenge next year
the UK mascot is deeply involved in the revenge plan
the details of the coach introduction plan has already been leaked to the mascot
thus, the mascot has planned to tackle petrino while he is riding the bike; resulting in another pet. accident
seeing yet another woman riding with petrino, his wife will seek compensation from WKU
a great circus is in the making
in the next post, THE KNOWLEDGE will discuss the bowl game against the 'cocks
there is no need to discuss the basketball game against Beilein's old team; because it will not be much of a game
(Click the image to view full size)
Poor, poor Bump. Well, not really. After all, he subjected himself to becoming a Sparty, so he knew what he was getting himself into. But, on the other hand, I'd like to think Bump was a Spartan his whole life, even before he was turned down by Michigan.
Tomorrow brings more Charlie.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Wednesday here at MGoBlog,
and at least every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to
check out Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
going 12-0 is a often a recipe for this, but especially this year
With the pre-bowl season officially under wraps for 2012, it’s time for my annual review of teams whose record most greatly deviated from what it “should" have been.
To (attempt and fail to) avoid confusion, here is how I define Luck for this exercise.
What I Am Measuring
Luck can mean a lot of things but for this, I am comparing a team’s actual wins this year versus taking their opponent adjusted performance and re-simulating the season with the exact same schedule. Two teams who play a tightly contested game are roughly the same on that Saturday. Over a long horizon these wins and losses tend to even out but over a 12 game season there will always be teams whose final records don’t quite match how they played throughout the year.
What I Am Not Measuring
I am not looking at any preseason expectations. I am not looking at how each team did versus the recruits on their team. Those two would look at over-achieving teams of 2012 more than lucky. I am not going back to individual games or plays to look at if one or two games would have been different. I am also not looking at injuries on personnel changes throughout the year.
Think of this exercise as a sort of Pythagorean Wins for College Football. A lucky season is a great one to have for a fan, because no matter what the expected value is, the end result is all that matters in looking back. But like Pythagorean Wins, “Luck” is a great starting point for looking ahead. There are a lot of different ways to get to the same record. Last year Texas A&M had the most unlucky season in the country and was nearly 4 games below their performance. Kevin Sumlin did a great job this year and having the Heisman Trophy winner certainly helped, but Sumlin’s team was in a much better position than their prior year’s record would have indicated.
Teams with great records are rarely unlucky and vice versa. The formula is [Actual Wins] – [Simulated Wins]. If you win most all of your actual games there is very little room for your simulated wins to be higher. It’s more a factor of math than destiny.
Coach Hoke’s alma mater was 2012’s luckiest team. Ball State was simulated to win 6.4 games this year but pulled out a 9-3 record. Beyond that, three of the four teams following Ball State are of high interest to Wolverine fans.
|Team||Actual Wins||Simulated Wins|
Michigan’s two biggest rivals and bowl opponent all crack the top 5. As noted above, Ohio St and Notre Dame were easy candidates for this list with perfect seasons, but their perfect seasons were the luckiest undefeated seasons in the seven years I have been measuring the luck factor, and by a considerable margin.
Michigan ended the season slightly lucky with 8 wins versus an expected 7.6 based on their total season performance.
Of the teams that finished the year with 2 or fewer losses, Florida State is the only team to finished at least 0.5 games unlucky, thanks to their upset to NC State and an otherwise weak ACC schedule. Their loss to the Wolfpack was the 7th most unlikely outcome of the season based on the simulation but the most likely outcome based on Seminole history. Of the Top 10 biggest upsets looking back, five happened in Week 1 and all by road teams (Youngstown over Pitt, McNeese St over Middle Tennessee, Tennessee-Martin over Memphis, Ohio over Penn St and Iowa over Northern Illinois). Only three of the top 10 happened after the second week of the season with
UMass topping Western Michigan and Florida Atlantic over Western Kentucky joined the NC St upset. The Ohio-Penn St game was an interesting one because people acted like it was at the beginning of the season even though it really wasn’t at the time. By the end of the season Ohio had tailspinned and Penn St turned out to be a much better team.
The unlucky list features some of the same teams from the biggest upsets above
|Team||Actual Wins||Simulated Wins|
Michigan State was a few spots down, as they finished nearly 2 games below their simulated totals, falling on the wrong side a few too many 16-13 totals.
Is This Luck Repeatable?
Almost certainly not. The scatter plot of current year versus prior year luck:
There are a lot of teams in each of those quadrants, each season is its own animal. Notre Dame’s was nearly 2 games above simulated this year but was –5.5 over the last three. Those who remember Northwestern as the team continually defying expectations. The Wildcats continued this year and are one of only two teams (Rice) who have had above average luck for all seven years. With Wake Forest right behind them I began started to draft a “smart schools are more lucky” section until I looked at the rest of the all-time top 10 and saw Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, Auburn and Ball State all on the list.
When you look at the spread of lucky years by
Count of teams by number of lucky seasons from 2006-2012
The twin peaks could mean there is a lucky and unlucky group, each normally distributed. It could also just a be bump in the data or it could be part of the fact that wins by program is somewhat consistent and luck is slanted if you are at one end of the spectrum. My biggest conclusion is that most of it is truly luck but that there is the possibility that teams like Northwestern or coaches like Les Miles have a true ability to consistently win more than they should but also that statistically, teams like that are bound to turn up even if its truly random.
“KEEPING THE DRIVE ALIVE”
A slow time on the board is a good time to post some summary information on how successful the Big Ten was as a conference in converting third and fourth downs and to discuss the relative success of individual teams as well.
Overall, the Big Ten lined up for third down 2,139 times and converted 856 of those downs for a conference success rate of 40.02%. The best team was actually Michigan, converting 51.3% of its third downs, followed by Northwestern and Penn State at 45.2% and 43.08% respectively. The worst teams in the conference include, in no particular order, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, all of them sitting in the 34% to 36% range.
The conference went for it on 4thdown 205 times this season and managed to get a fresh set of down on 111 of these occasions, making for an overall success rate of 54.15% for the Big Ten. Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin were the most successful teams in this regard, converting well over half of their 4thdown attempts. Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois were the least successful teams on 4thdown, with Iowa attempting to convert twenty times and only making it on seven attempts.
The average Big Ten team attempted 178 conversions on third down and was successful 71 times. On fourth down, the average team went for it 17 times and converted 9 of them. The median values were similar actually, indicating 178 attempts to 75 successes on third down, and 15 attempts to 7 successes on fourth down.
How good was the Big Ten then in this regard? It might be worth mentioning that, if the conference were in fact a team, it would have bested Southern Methodist for a solid 62ndplace in the rankings among Division I programs (point of trivia – the worst individual team at converting third down was Boston College at 28%). On fourth down, the “conference as a team” fared somewhat better, as in this scenario, we would be in 53rdplace, slightly better than Air Force (by about 0.1%).
Below are links to the tables for third and fourth down conversions for the season as well as relative success among individual conference members.
When it comes to looking at conference statistics sometimes...