Believe it or not, Michigan lacrosse is halfway through Season One. Seven games in the books, seven games in front. That makes it a good time to do math-things with the sport.
I've developed - well, developed is a strong word as it's not totally finished - I'm developing a KenPomish O-rating system for lacrosse. It's not totally finished because it doesn't yet account for strength of opponent, but I'm working on that. If you want a full rundown of how it works, you can click here. [/semi-shameless hit whoring]
The basic gist is that the eventual O-rating number represents a team's scoring in a 100-possession game of lacrosse, and that the D-rating is the defensive mirror image. It's based on three efficiency stats:
-- faceoff win percentage
-- clearing percentage (how good you are at getting the ball from the defensive end to the offensive end)
-- scoring efficiency (how good you are at converting offensive possessions into goals)
Michigan's offensive efficiency numbers so far this season, and the D-I averages, are as follows:
And the same for the defense:
|Opp. Faceoff %||56.4%||50%|
|Opp. clearing %||74.6%||82.9%|
|Opp. conversion %||39.2%||32.2%|
There are 61 D-I teams; Michigan is 52nd on offense and 53rd on defense. They're roughly a standard deviation below average on offense and slightly more than one below (above?) average on defense.
None of this comes as much surprise. The bright spot? Michigan's ride. They're allowing opponents to successfully clear the ball less than three-quarters of the the time. The ride is ranked 4th in the country, behind only Hopkins, Denver, and Army.
The worst two stats I see: probably clearing, and defensive conversion rate. The latter has slightly improved of late, I would say partly due to a change in net from Westerhold to Emil Weiss, and partly due to the competition (Mercer.) Clearing remains a big problem. Michigan simply has trouble with this. Only Mount St. Mary's and Wagner are worse. This is an issue regardless of opponent; Michigan only cleared 2/3 of chances against Mercer. It's likely the most obvious manifestation of club athletes vs. D-I athletes, since clearing is lacrosse's "open-field" game.
For reference and posterity, here are the O and D ratings of the teams on Michigan's schedule. I've bolded those numbers which are above (or below, on D) the D-I average of 14.48.
|Mount St. Mary's||14.93||15.12|
Keep in mind that since these numbers are unadjusted for strength of schedule, they're not 100% reliable as to who's actually the toughest opponent. But they do reflect reality regarding who's played the best.
The most beatable remaining opponent? Rutgers. They have a similar profile to Jacksonville - slightly worse, in fact - and the Dolphins were thisclose to being Michigan's first victim this season. Mount St. Mary's is also a possibility, and then - surprisingly - Ohio, who's been disappointing this year. A loss to Robert Morris is the Buckeyes' low point so far. They knocked off Denver, but have been in a major offensive slump since. Still, it's unlikely (as we knew) that we'll end up with more than two wins.
I'll update this as the season goes on, and I expect by the end of the year I'll have figured out a decent way to adjust this for strength of schedule. Also on the project list: finding the best exponent for a Pythagorean calculation.
Evaluating coaches is a tricky thing. Ultimately it comes down to wins and losses but even comparing one situation to another in the unbalanced world of college football is a tricky proposition. Mike Shula has a higher career winning percentage as a head coach than Brady Hoke. However Hoke has spent all but the last year at non-BCS schools where Shula was at Alabama. School prestige, resources and recruiting all play major roles in team success along with coaching. Many of them often go hand in hand but I think I am finding some ways to parse out different pieces of the puzzle independently. This is my first of hopefully many off-season looks at coaches, and who at excels at what parts of coaching.
To evaluate how coaches develop and evaluate talent I needed a way to separate out better inputs (recruits) from the output (team success and draft placement). Team success is a viable way to look at it and at some point I would like to circle back to compare PAN and recruiting for a comparison, but for today’s exercise I am going to look at recruiting ranking to draft position.
The main challenge with this method is that draft placement is such a lagging indicator from recruiting. Since only some of the 2007 recruits and most from 2008 on have yet to be drafted, I am only looking at recruiting classes from 2002-2006.
I have now been able to add all four recruiting services to my database. Since we are only looking at classes up until 2006, that means just Scout and Rivals for all years except 2006 when ESPN came on board, as well. Recruits are given a number value based on national rank, position rank and stars. Each year has 25,000 points assigned across all players so the early years with fewer players have their individual ceilings a bit higher. Consensus 5 star players are typically 50-60 pts. Generic three stars are in the low teens and below. Anyone without a position rank or less than 3 stars is zero points.
Here is Michigan’s 2012 class for reference.
Evaluating Draft Picks
Because of the much higher value to higher draft picks, the draft pick evaluations are fitted using an exponential formula.
This works out to about 500 for the first pick and then each round is half of the same pick in the previous round (1st pick in second round about 250, 1st pick in the third about 125, etc.). This puts the total points for a 255 player draft at 24,600, almost identical to the total for a year’s worth of recruits.
Players are counted towards the coach that recruited them. This will only be somewhat an evaluation of player development since the coach gets “credit” for the player they recruited even if they leave the next year. I have also restricted the search to coaches with at least 1,000 total recruiting points over the five year period. This is about equal to two top 15 classes or five top 50 classes. This gives us 43 qualifying coaches to review.
First thing I did was look at each coach and how many recruiting points they accumulated versus how many draft points they had.
|Rank||Coach||Recruit Pts||Draft Pts||Ratio|
|41||John L Smith||1,187||273||0.23|
The first thing that jumped out at me was that there seemed to be a strong correlation between total recruit points and total draft points. This is going to be true to some extent, but it seemed that ability for the top schools to load up wasn’t properly accounted for. So I plotted the two versus each other and found a very strong correlation was present.
Since we are looking for more on talent evaluators and developers than MOAR 5 stars, I used the correlation between the two to adjust recruiting points to give a more fair comparison between the lower end and the top end. This allows for a more common evaluation tool between elite programs/recruiters and the rest.
|Rank||Coach||Adj Recruit Pts||Draft Pts||Adj Multiplier|
|35||John L Smith||474||273||0.57|
Now we have something to talk about.
One thing that jumped out at me was that NFL guys did seem to have a bit more success. Maybe their buddies were just doing them favors, but there are a lot more guys with NFL experience at the top than the bottom. Oh, except for the big guy coming in last at #43. Weis’s monster class of 2006 (934 team points, my #7 class of the last 11 years) yielded two 6th round draft picks. His first class which was much less regarded still only yielded a single fourth round draft pick. In the words of our fearless leader, #MissYouBigGuyXOXO.
Lloyd Carr comes in just below average on the adjusted scale. Barry Alvarez checks in at #1 among Big Ten coaches and #2 overall. Wisconsin’s lineman machine is real. The evil genius Nick Saban is #3 based on his last three classes at LSU. Ohio coaches new and old round out the top ten.
Of the nine elite recruiters (3,000 or more adjusted recruiting points) Pete Carroll and Jim Tressell come out on top, with Phillip Fulmer close behind. The bottom three are all southern coaches: Bobby Bowden, Larry Coker and Mark Richt. Bob Stoops, Mack Brown and Lloyd Carr make up the middle third.
Ted Roof takes home the prize for most recruiting prize without a single draft pick with 515 points and nothing to show for it. Top performers who missed the cutoff included Dan Hawkins, Bret Beliema’s first class, Ed Orgeron, Mike Stoops and Greg Schiano.
Many thanks to all who have helped populate the recruit database. We are 25% of the way done.
Still have lots of ideas for future posts including the final post on how to use game theory to maximize success based on the overvalued running back and success rates. If there is interest, I would like to do a retrospective on previous seasons through the eyes of advanced analytics and throw up some of the best WPA graphs of the season. Hopefully I can start with 2003 in the next month. I am open to any ideas you have out there, as well.
If you are on the twitters follow me at @the_mathlete. I am trying to post little snippets that aren’t quite column worthy there. Recently I have tweets about which state’s recruits stay in-state the most (Utah and Arkansas) and least (NY/NJ and Hawaii) and used my recruiting points ranking to list the top 4 Michigan high schools in producing 3* or better talent (Cass Tech, OLSM, Detroit Renaissance & FHH), correctly guessed by @Joshua_Block.
NOT THAT OHIO
(Click the image to view full size)
I have never attempted to hide the fact that I'm just not much of a basketball fan.
Never played it, never watched it, and certainly never followed UM's teams in any
way. But many of you do, and these are the stories that the fan base is buzzing
about these days... and with good reason. Michigan Basketball has had a
great season and is certainly deserving of the spotlight.
So this weekend I found myself-- for the first time in my life, mind you-- doing
an online search to discover who Michigan drew in the tournament brackets. And
as we've all seen, the matchup itself is its own punchline. So much so that I even
considered discarding the topic and going somewhere else. But that'd be unfair for
all of the Bball fans, and probably the fan base as a whole-- our little illustrated
family was designed to be representative of all Michigan fans, not just, well, me.
In the end, as it always does and probably should, it came back to the
characters. It's been fun getting to know the archetypes of each individual
Blockham, and getting inside their heads pretty much writes the story
each time. Today, the frustration of the blue hair won out.
Look Thursday for another Men's Bball Tourney strip, where I'll get
inside the head of another Blockham who has good reason
to be enthusiastic of his team's chances this March.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog, and at least
every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out our newest
feature, Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
Thanks to all that helped build the coaching database. Now it's time to move on to recruits. I have uploaded all available recruiting sites databases back to 2002 in an effort to connect them to team rosters. Of 16,865 recruits, I have connected most of them to players in the databse. However there are about 2500 players still unconnected. Some of them were academic or legal casualties, some of them were transfers. Most of them are offensive lineman that never showed up on the play by play in the first place.
For those who consider themselves recruiting and or Google ninjas, I can use your help. I have listed the players, school they signed with and year they signed for all the missing entries. Whatever info you can help fill in would be a great help. There are more instructions in the spreadsheet and feel free and contact me with any questions you might have. My email is in the instructions. Thanks again for everyone's help.
Notre Dame Picture Pages
Watching the highlights I was very surprised by how the scoring played out for us. I could not see anything televised because of my location, but it was very strange to see an entire series of lucky bounces and soft goals.
In the preview I noted that there are two Summerhayes, he's either almost unbeatable or incredibly bad. This weekend he was terrible, getting beat to the glove, letting in bad angle shots and having awful positioning.
Our first goal is set up in transition after a nice stick from Treais keeps the puck in the zone. It's set up with Di Giuseppe in the middle, Treais trailing and Glendening going to the net. Good things happen when you get the puck on net.
This has been an issue for the Wolverines all season long, the transition game suffers because they just don't shoot, they try to make the extra pass and the window closes.
It should have been an easy save for Summerhays, but he lets it get by him. Michigan gets a lucky roll and the puck bounces off the inside part of the post and back into the crease.
Because of the position of the defenders in the previous frame they have taken themselves out of the play, and Glendening can punch in the rebound for our first goal.
Our game winning goal starts with Lynch and Rohrkemper fighting along the side boards. The Irish have left Bennett, Brown and Merrill on the left side of the ice by themselves.
I've watched replay over and over again, but I can not figure out how the puck gets out to Bennett. As you can see the Irish are scrambling to get back into position but Bennett has already made his decision on where he is going with the puck.
Bennett slings it across the ice to Brown, who does a great job of bringing the puck in on his backhand and getting his hips turned for the shot.
Notice how Summerhays is playing back in the crease, if he moves up a little bit he may be able to take the angle away from Browns wrister, but Brown sends it past the glove for the game winner.
We start here with Di Giuseppe fighting down the side boards for the loose puck, Michigan is changing lines which leaves him by himself.
Phil comes away with the puck and Wohlberg curls around. The defender is only in position to make a play on PDG, who hits David for the one timer.
Once again Summerhays is playing extremely far back in the crease, if he is challenging higher he may have a play on the puck but Wohlberg gets it past him with ease.
This was a great goal that opened up the game for the Wolverines, it took me a couple views to see what actually happened because of the angle.
Treais gets the puck in the corner boards after a nice keep in and just throws it at the net. Di Giuseppe gets a stick on the puck and deflects it right through the open legs of Summerhays.
This is a low confidence goal given up by the Irish, it should have been routine for the netminder to get his pad down but when things aren't going right you don't get the breaks.
Another soft goal and lucky bounce for the good guys, Guptill crosses the line and meets with two Notre Dame defenders.
The Irish do a good job of knocking the puck away from Big Gup, but unfortunately for them it goes right to a trailing David Wohlbeg.
It's not the closest shot or the best angle, but Summerhays takes a big whiff and is left staring at an empty glove while the Wolverines send the Seniors out with a win in their last game at Yost Ice Arena.
Having done something similar last year, I just combined the Scout, Rivals, and 247 football recruit rankings into one. The purpose is to help sort through the confusion that comes from seeing three different rankings for each kid. I provide a little analysis below the rankings, but I’ll leave the rest to you.
What to know about how I did this:
I started with the Scout 300, Rivals 250, and 247’s top 247 and removed all of the prospects who were ranked by only one of them. Therefore, every prospect below appeared on at least two of those three lists. The reasons for this are that: (1) it keeps the rankings to a manageable size and (2) if only one site really likes a prospect, it might just be an outlier.
If a kid was ranked by two services but not the third, I imputed a ranking for the third service. To do this, I added 100 to the lowest ranking provided by that service. In other words, a kid who wasn’t ranked in Scout’s top 300 received a Scout ranking of 400; a kid who wasn’t ranked in Rivals’ top 250 received a Rivals ranking of 350; and a kid who wasn’t ranked in 247’s top 247 received a 247 rank of 347.
I took one more step before finding the average ranking for each prospect. I incorporated the median ranking across those three services. Therefore, a prospect’s mean ranking, which is the basis of these rankings, comes from an average of his real/imputed Scout ranking, Rivals ranking, 247 ranking, and the median of the three. I added the median to mitigate the effect that one outlier ranking would have on a prospect’s mean.
Okay, enough with that.
Edit: I just added position rankings. Note that I used the positions listed by Scout.
|5||Vernon Hargreaves III||CB-1||6||10||3||6||6.25|
|19||Derrick Griffin||WR-3||Texas A&M||30||19||22||22||23.25|
|20||Adam Breneman||TE-1||Penn State||22||22||29||22||23.75|
|25||Jalin Marshall||RB-4||Ohio State||34||41||8||34||29.25|
|29||Cameron Burrows||CB-3||Ohio State||74||7||30||30||35.25|
|47||Steven Elmer||OT-6||Notre Dame||99||49||44||49||60.25|
|50||Isaiah Golden||DT-7||Texas A&M||54||63||85||63||66.25|
|55||Eli Woodard||CB-5||Ohio State||90||28||83||83||71|
|75||Austin Golson||OT-8||Florida State||125||57||92||92||91.5|
|100||Holland Fisher||OLB-9||Virginia Tech||190||72||107||107||119|
|110||Ishmael Wilson||OT-10||Texas A&M||171||143||80||143||134.25|
|113||Christian Hackenberg||QB-11||Penn State||183||153||68||153||139.25|
|120||Billy Price||DT-14||Ohio State||111||130||205||130||144|
|122||Evan Lisle||OT-11||Ohio State||68||83||347||83||145.25|
|139||Garrett Sickels||DE-15||Penn State||271||50||169||169||164.75|
|141||Kohl Stewart||QB-14||Texas A&M||207||181||112||181||170.25|
|142||Jamar Gibson||WR-18||Texas A&M||112||350||109||112||170.75|
|168||Kerrick Huggins||DT-15||Texas A&M||133||154||347||154||197|
|175||Laquvionte Gonzalez||RB-25||Texas A&M||237||151||213||213||203.5|
|179||Tony Stevens||WR-25||Florida State||155||350||160||160||206.25|
|183||Jayron Kearse||OLB-14||Miami (Fl)||60||218||347||218||210.75|
|208||Devin Lauderdale||WR-30||Texas Tech||275||193||245||245||239.5|
|215||Fred Ross||WR-32||Oklahoma State||210||213||347||213||245.75|
|217||Alex Collins||RB-28||Miami (Fl)||252||147||347||252||249.5|
|235||Jon Reschke||OLB-20||Michigan State||239||350||222||239||262.5|
|239||D.J. Park||OT-20||South Carolina||219||350||247||247||265.75|
Michigan currently has commitments from:
#15 Shane Morris (#2 QB)
#36 Dymonte Thomas (#4 S)
#38 Kyle Bosch (#4 OT)
#53 Chris Fox (#1 OG)
#64 Patrick Kugler (#2 OG)
#97 Logan Tuley-Tillman (#9 OT)
#125 Michael McCray (#11 OLB)
#145 Wyatt Shallman (#1 FB)
#151 Jake Butt (#6 TE)
#186 David Dawson (#7 OG)
#187 Taco Charlton (#18 DE)
#221 Jourdan Lewis (#21 CB)
Gareon Conley and Jaron Dukes aren’t listed because they were only ranked by one service (Scout). Khalid Hill isn’t currently ranked by any of them.
Here are the programs with the most commitments from this group - along with Big Ten programs (& Notre Dame) with at least one commitment:
Michigan – 12
Texas – 10 (but very top-heavy)
Alabama – 8
Texas A&M – 7
Florida – 6
Georgia – 5
Ohio State – 5
Penn State – 3
Michigan State – 1
Notre Dame – 1
Let me know if anything seems wrong or strange.