...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
One of the most lamentable aspects of being a college football fan as far as I'm concerned has long been the lack of quality stat keeping, as well as analysis. Matt Hinton (currently Dr. Saturday) and Chris at Smart Football are great, and if CFB Stats didn't exist, this post wouldn't exist, but it ain't no Fangraphs and those fellas ain't quite Tom Tango, who literally wrote The Book on baseball. Not that it's a fair comparison.
I bring Tango up because his stat wOBA inspired this post. wOBA (weighted On Base Average) is basically on base percentage gone plaid. Instead of dividing times on base (1B+2B+3B+HR+BB+HBP+ROE) by plate appearances, you decide how valuable in terms of runs each of those individual events are and then proceed (hence weighted). OBP is transformed into runs per plate appearance. Multiply times total PAs and you have the runs that batter was responsible for in that season. And scoring (or preventing) runs are the bottom line in baseball. In sum: bases get you runs get you wins. In football, it looks like this:
Yards - Turnovers = Points
This isn't exactly groundbreaking. It's a fundamental assumption behind Dr. Saturday's Life on the Margins, iirc, and I'm pretty sure this is what I'm going to find in Pete Palmer's Hidden Game of Football if and when it eventually ships to a2. And it's sorta-kinda what David Romer did, though not nearly exhaustive. The theory is good. The actual arithmetic is kind of annoying and is summarized in the following paragraph. Feel free to skip to the part where we find out just how crippling the impact of Nick Sheridan was and how much worse it could have been.
The key to being able to do this yourself is to figure out yards and turnovers in terms of points. I ripped the drive logs of every Big Ten conference game in 2008 from Yahoo. That'll give you yards/point, which came out to about 15. Then I plotted, in buckets of 10 yards, the percent of drives that resulted in a TD or FG based on the drive starting field position, except the last 30 yards which I averaged at the opponent's 15 due to relatively few samples.* This gives you average expected points based on field position. That plus average field position equals the average value of a possession, which is what you lose in a turnover. Not only that, but you give expected points to your opposition. According to my math, an INT was worth about -4 points. Thus points per throw is (Yds/15 + INTs*4)/attempts.
Feel free to comment
I Am Not An Expert. If my math is off, then suggest different constants/methods. They pass the sniff test to me; I ran assorted regressions on excel to test assumptions and it looked right. I'd be glad to share the drive chart database. Onward...
The Part Where We Find Out Just How Crippling The Impact Of Nick Sheridan Was
It's sorted by pts/attempt, the relevant measure. Average was .33. Mr. Sheridan was dead last with those over 50 attempts with .15 points per attempt. An all around average team wins 4 games. The results indicate that an all around average team that replaced its average quarterback with Nick Sheridan would win 2 (converting to wins over average is easy enough). But it would also have tremendous team chemistry and at least one valedictorian. Wins aren't everything.
Also, check out Terrelle Pryor's numbers. Remember, this is just per throw. Rushing and sack yards are not included, nor is it defense adjusted. Having rewatched the Texas and Michigan games in HD (being able to see the d-backs helps), I was impressed. Tressel used the threat of Wells inside and Pryor's skills when bootlegged on the edge to great effect. The playbook seemed cut down, but his athleticism made it work. The sack numbers (scroll right in the g-doc) and somewhat inconsistent mechanics are the most glaring issues, but they were exaggerated by a bad pass blocking unit in front of him. In conclusion: barring injury, Pryor is going to be a terror. Surprise! Rivals #1 overall prospect in 2008 is projected to dominate. At least he'll probably be gone after his junior year.
*It's a shortcut and it probably understates how valuable possessions that start inside the 15 are. I actually think inside the 15 the function is probably no longer linear. I'm also sorry that this is isn't the most thorough or transparent presentation. It's a start though.
With both teams being ranked in the Top 25, it should be an exciting meet at Cliff Keen. PSU will most likely be without the number 2 ranked 149 pounder in the country as Bubba Jenkins injured himself a couple weeks ago. That will definately help the Wolverines.
125: Watts (UM) vs Pataky (PSU). Pataky comes in the higher rank but both wrestlers are pretty evenly matched. If UM wins this match it's a good sign of things to come the rest of the meet. However, Pataky is tough on his feet and can scramble real well. I ll go with Pataky in a close one UM 0 PSU 3
133: Stevens (UM) vs Strayer (PSU). Strayer is a tough kid and more experienced than Stevens. Been a tough year for Stevens but keeping this match close will go a long way for the Wolverines. UM 0 PSU 7
141: Russell (UM) vs Molnaso (PSU). Russell needs to work for extra points here, he is obviously more talented. UM 4 PSU 7
149: Beaudrey (UM) vs Pisani (PSU). With Bubba Jenkins out last meet, it appears Pisani will step in. Jenkins hurt his ankle a few weeks back and would be a great blow to the Nitney Lions if he cannot go. Either way PSU still gets at least 3 here. UM 4 PSU 10
157: Hynes (UM) vs Darling (PSU). Hynes should pull out a victory here, coming off a big win against Rex Kendle of MSU last weekend. UM 7 PSU 10
165: Zeerip (UM) vs Vallimont (PSU). Zeerip is improving but Vallimont will be too much for him here. Zeerip should keep to only a regular decision UM 7 PSU 13
174: Luke (UM) vs Wright (PSU). Wright is only a freshman but has been wrestling tough all year to earn the 17th ranking in the country. However, Luke is just too good. Luke isn't a great pinner, but should be able to score a major decision here. UM 11 PSU 13
184- Biondo (UM) vs Decker (PSU). Biondo should win this match fairly easily and should be looking for bonus points. A major decision here would solidify a UM win. UM 15 PSU 13
197- Todd (UM) vs Brown (PSU). Todd needs to secure a wolverine victory by working for extra points against an inferior opponent and take the pressure off Phillips at Heavyweight. Look for at least a major to seal the victory. UM 19 PSU 13
Hvy; Phillips vs Wade (PSU). This match is a real toss up. Both wrestlers are a little small for heavyweights but Phillips is a little more athletic. I ll give it to Phillips in a close one UM 22 PSU 13
Big Wrestling Meet Tomorrow at Cliff Keen with #17 UofM against #6 Ohio State at 7 PM. On Saturday the Wolverines will square off against #24 Penn State at the same time and venue. Michigan is undefeated in the Big Ten and is coming off a blowout win against MSU. The team is really starting to click now it seems.
UofM ranked wrestlers (According to intermat)
125 Pounds: Michael Watts (SR) 17th
141 Pounds: Kellen Russell (So) 5th
174 Pounds: Steve Luke (SR) 1st
184 Pounds: Anthony Biondo (So) 13th
197 Pounds: Tyrell Todd (SR) 6th
133 Pounds: Reece Humphrey (JR) 2nd
141 Pounds: J Jaeggers (SR) 11th
149 Pounds: Lance Palmer (JR) 4th
157 Pounds: Jason Johnstone (SR) 17th
165 Pounds: Colt Sponseller (So) 2nd
184 POunds: Mike Pucillo (Jr) 2nd
125 Pounds: Brad Pataky (SO) 13th
133 Pounds: Jake Strayer (Sr) 9th
149 Pounds: Bubba Jenkins (Jr) 2nd
165 Pounds: Dan Vallimont (Jr) 20th
174 Pounds: Quentin Wright (Fr) 17th
Heres My Predictions
125- Watts (UM) vs Triggas (OSU). This is a big match for Michigan. Watts needs to try and get some extra points. Most likely a UofM win but only 3 team points (3-0 UM)
133- Stevens (UM) vs Humphrey (OSU). Humphrey is a stud and Stevens is a true freshman. Stevens needs to do the best he can to not get pinned. Stevens did an excellent job against Franklin Gomez of MSU (5th ranked)only getting majored. I ll give Stevens the benefit of the doubt (UM-3 OSU-5)
141- Russell (UM) vs Jaggers (OSU). Wow, this is gonna be a great match. Russell is a true Sophomore and made alot of noise last year, being Michigans big time recruit from Blair Academy. Russell beat Jaggers in a close match last year and will do the same this year. (UM-6 OSU-5)
149- Beaudrey (UM) vs Palmer (OSU). It's gonna be tough for Beaudry to stay off his back against Palmer. Beaudrey is new to the UM lineup and Palmer is a stud. UM-6 OSU-11
157- Hynes (UM) vs Nemac (OSU). This is a match UM has to have. Nemac is a true freshman but was one of the top recruits of the nation this year. Hynes is a senior and needs to step up. UM-9 OSU 11
165- Zeerip (UM) vs Sponseller (OSU). Zeerip is a 4 time state champ out of Michigan and had never lost a match in high school. However, he is a redshirt freshman and learning the ropes of college wrestling. Sponseller is a tested veteran. Zeerip needs to try and keep close, however it will be hard. UM-9 OSU 15
174- Luke (UM) vs Rella (OSU). This is where Michigans big boys come up. Luke is the top rated 174 for a reason, he is tough. Should be looking for a pin here. UM-15 OSU 15
184- Biondo (UM) vs Pucillo (OSU). Biondo has shown great improvement. I can't believe he used to wrestled 103 in high school! But Pucillo is very good, should be a decent match but Pucillo should pull out a close one UM 15 OSU 18
197- Todd (UM) vs Gardner (OSU). Todd is a captain and needs to work for extra points here. If he can get the pin, it would be huge. I ll give it to him here. UM 21 OSU 18
HVY- Phillips (UM) vs Morrison (OSU). The winner of the meet will be decided at hvy. Phillips is undersized for a heavyweight but is all muscle. Morrison is a little more of a true heavyweight. A Michigan loss here and they tie, a Phillips win and the team wins....I ll give it to Phillips UM 24 OSU 18. Granted I think a Tie is very possible and there is no tiebreaker in college wrestling.
Despite not playing a game, Michigan’s hopes for a NCAA tournament bid took a hit as a result of last night’s action on the hardwood. Left to scoreboard watching in the wake of the Wolverine’s loss to the Spartans Tuesday, I was hoping to see some fellow bubble teams crash and burn. Sadly the opposite happened and several teams that were even or slightly ahead of UM in the bubble pecking order notched key wins. Here’s a quick wrap of some of the bad news:
The Kansas State Wildcats routed Texas Tech, notching their sixth straight victory. The win puts KSU in the driver’s seat for fourth place in the Big 12 and a first-round bye in the league’s postseason tournament. It also helped further legitimize their quest for a surprise bid in the post Beasley/Walker era. A win Saturday at home against the hated Jayhawks could put KSU in near lock status.
Continuing their strong mid winter push, the Cincy Bearcats clinched their first winning season under new coach Mark Cronin by slipping by dormant St. Johns. The Bearcats aren’t celebrating that feat as they have bigger fish to fry: A possible NCAA tourney bid and a date with powerful Pittsburgh over the weekend.
LSU notched its biggest win in years (even bigger than during the Final Four run in 2006? Really?), and have solidified its place atop the SEC West standings and, perhaps, more importantly in the NCAA field.
Elsewhere in the SEC, the Tennessee Vols kept pace in the SEC East. They beat up on a team they should beat in last place Georgia, so the win is not impressive by any stretch. Still, after losing at weak Auburn over the weekend, the Vols needed a bounce back win. With their SOS, it will be tough to keep the Vols out of the field, but every game from here on out will be important.
Here’s a shocker: the Virginia Tech Hokies played another close game. Always living on the edge, Virginia Tech has avoided disaster all week. Sunday, they used a miracle second half comeback to stave off an upset bid from NC State. Last night, a workmanlike performance was needed to ease by Georgia Tech. The Hokies are in great position for a bid, but they’re heading into the meatiest part of their slate. They close out with 2 games against FSU and a game each against Maryland, UVA, UNC, Duke and Clemson, so they have a long way to go before they can feel easy about being guaranteed a spot.
The Wisconsin Badgers are back in contention for a bid after winning their third game in a row after topping Iowa last night. Wisco looked dead only days ago, but one winning streak later they’re probably no worse than sixth in the Big 10 pecking order heading into the weekend.
It’s time to drink the Dayton Flyer Koolaid. After dropping a game over the weekend to UNC Charlotte, Dayton responded by getting its biggest resume win of the season, thumping state rival Xavier. If the Flyers showed any signs of weakness, I got the impression bracketologists were more than willing to dump them from their fields. However, after such a marquee win, the Flyers looks as secure in the field as any other bubble team right now.
Out west, Utah buzzed San Diego State to take over sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference. We all know how I feel about the MWC and their projected four bids into the tournament. Last night's results probably did not impact that number for today, but I actually think the Utes win spins somewhat positively for the Maize and Blue. Among the quartet of teams (Utah, SDSU, BYU and UNLV), the Utes appeared to be the most firm in most mock fields. BYU and UNLV are just hanging on by a thread. The Aztecs are somewhere in between. The loss to Utah should push them closer to the bubble's edge. I dont think the Aztecs get an at large bid unless they win the regular season crown. Last night's loss will make that feat harder to achieve.
All those teams notching wins last night are officially ahead of Michigan in the pecking order. Not only do the Wolverines need to turn their own season around, but they could use a hiccup or two out of those programs as well.
It was not all bad news for the Maize and Blue tournament hopes last night. Some positive results did come across the finish line.
Penn State continued to see its shine dull. The Lions have now dropped three in a row and have to be behind Michigan now in the Big 10’s pecking order. PSU stud Talor Battle was shut down last night and eventually outclassed by a plucky Purdue walk-on, dubbed Bobby Buckets.
The Baylor Bears continued its freefall. They were a team I would have pegged in preseason as a tournament team. However, they started the week in worse position than Michigan, and they missed another chance to snare a big win when Oklahoma drubbed them on their home floor.
Boston College, a team in most fields right now as a double digit seed, lost a halftime lead and dropped a home game to Clemson. The Eagles bid is out there for the taking if they continue to play average ball.
It does not sound like much, but at least those results helped Michigan’s cause.
Focusing on the Bracket Project, of the final dozen teams fielded via at large bids, six notched wins this week, two lost and four either haven’t played this week or don’t take the floor again until this weekend. Of the first eight teams left out of the field, Wisconsin, Creighton, and Kansas State won; Michigan, Penn St and Oklahoma St lost; St Mary’s plays tonight; and Georgetown is off until Saturday.
What does any of that mean? Nothing, really, as these are only faux brackets and there are a ton of hoops left to be played. However, a pecking order is being determined. As of now, nobody looks like they’re falling out of the field. That’s not good for Michigan. Worse, it looks like they’re falling to the bottom of the list of the group of wannabees that currently sit on the outside looking in.
A lot can change with a full weekend of hoops ahead of us. And, there are some games going on tonight that might help shakedown the bubble. Here’s what’s on tap:
USC at Arizona, 10:30, FSN. Line, AU -2
Far and away, this game between the Trojans and Wildcats is the biggest bubble matchup of the night. In the Bracket Project, both of these clubs are among the final dozen at large teams, with USC coming in as an 11-seed and Arizona just squeezing in as a 12. The Cats are hot right now, riding a five game winning streak. Tonight, they face a plucky USC team that is 30-13 ATS as an underdog in the Tim Floyd era. They’ve also covered 17 of their last 24 on the road. Hmmm, intriguing. Regardless, the loser tonight finds their tenous spot in the field on even shakier ground. Michigan fans need to root for the loser tonight to go in a tailspin.
Gonzaga at St. Mary’s, 11, ESPN 2. Line, Zags -4.5
The Gaels may prove an interesting case study for the committee. They seemed a sure thing until a few weeks ago when star Patty Mills went down with a broken hand. They’ve lost three of four since. According to the Bracket Project, the Gaels are a consensus ‘final four teams out’ team, although Lunardi, for one, at ESPN still places them along the 11-line. The committee has been known to give teams dealing with injuries a break, provided they're healthy and playing well come Selection Sunday. With a win tonight over the Zags, the Gaels may not need the charity. With a loss, however, the club is on thin ice.
The Zags, meanwhile, were worked over ptetty good on their home floor by Memphis their last time out. Despite being undeafeted in league play, the loss is creating some introspection among the Kennel Klub patrons.
Louisville at Notre Dame. 7 pm ESPN. Line, L’Ville -2
Dear Louisville: Please stick a dagger in the heart (if they still have one….zing!!) of the Irish tonight. Once a top-10 team, the Irish aren’t even on anybody’s radar right now as far as an at large bid is concerned. That’s what a 7-game losing streak will do to you. Irish fans appear to have given up the ship. Rather than hammering more discussion on a one-man offense and a defense that cant stop the other team's best forward, Irish bloggers have gone back to the drawing board in hopes of discovering the keys to creating a perennial power.
The slate eases up slightly down the stretch for Notre Dame, so if the Irish can nab a big scalp tonight against the Cardinals they might be able to claw their way back into everyone’s good graces. Let’s hope it does not happen.
Illinois at Northwestern, 9pm, ESPN 2. Line, Illini -2
The Illini are a lock to make the field. The Wildcats are a long shot. This is not a huge bubble game, but it’s the only Big 10 game of the night. Michigan plays the Wildcats next, so tune in for some advance scouting.
UCLA at Arizona St, 9pm ESPM. Line, UCLA -1
First place is on the line tonight in the desert. Ben Ball was stifled in these team's first game. Can UCLA exact a measure of revenge?
Meanwhile, despite a team battling for first place and a projected Sweet 16 team, it appears that nobody in Tempe is paying attention. Of course, when the primary blog covering ASU is plastered with football recruiting news on the day of the biggest hoops game of the season, can you blame anyone for not being that sky high?
Considering UM’s SOS took a hit last night with the losses by Duke and Northeastern, it would be nice to see UCLA win this game. Michigan will be on the bubble come Selection Sunday and their win over the Bruins needs to look as impressive as possible. A win over the Pac 10 champs would be a nice feather in the Wolverines’ cap.
[Comrades / Friends of the Revolution / Proletariat brothers],
[money stained hands of capitalism / cowardly bourgeosie / makers of substandard Vodka]
[false campaign of imperialist propaganda / corrupt hearts / capitalist lapdogs]
[quell our revolution / overtake the people’s hearts / drink all of our Vodka] !!
Insert picture of [Rodriguez as Stalin / Barwis as Mao / Will Campbell with a non-Thor people’s hammer / Randall from Clerks wearing a CCCP hockey jersey]
Rumors of the previous year’s
[less than adequate performance / minor setback on the road to true communism / failure of the new regime]
Have been spread by
[enemies of the revolution / shameless bourgeosie / misinformed unicorns].
Take heart!! These liars and thieves will be sent to
[Siberia / the darkest Gulag / East Lansing],
And their ramblings will be proven wrong! For next season our
[people’s army / revolutionary zealots / glorious proletariat]
[purge the capitalist insurgents / sympathize with the people / fix a random number of tractors / increase production at the exclamation point factory !!!!!!!]
[proving the worth of the revolution / sucking out the festering rot in their souls / winning more games for the motherland].
Unicorns rule! Far more than [insert your favorite mythical creature]
[Comrades / Brothers / Friends of the revolution],
Comrade Rodriguez will rise up
[from the muck of the Russian Steppe / to heights undreamt of by the shameless capitalists / like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV]
And conquer all!
[Viva le revolucion! / Death to dirty capitalists / Drink Wolverine brand vodka!]
Lather, rinse, repeat.
So I was parusing my usual USCHO.com Bracketology by Jason Moy reading for today and I had a disturbing thought.
Michigan hockey is in line for #1 seed which is good. But if Notre Dame finished ahead of us, they likely would get the #1 seed in the region closest to them which is Grand Rapids, likely pushing us out to the Western regional in Minnesota. Not too bad yet.
HOWEVER, Minnesota still has a shot of getting in as a #4 seed which since they're the host school for the Western regional, that means they get to play home games at theri campus rink as #4 seed. I'm sure the astute Michigan hockey fan will remember the advantage we received playing as the lower seed in Yost when we took out St Cloud St and one of those Colorado schools (Denver, right??) who was the #1 seed that year. So I don't want to get screwed by being a #1 seed and having to go to a "Region of Death" accentuated by the #4 seed being the home team.
That brings up the interesting dilemma... do we take the final day/weekend of the CCHA regular season off to lower our RPI so we're not a #1 seed. You say, "But W.I.E., even if we're a #2 seed that doesn't mean we won't get into a region of death". True, we still could be the #2 seed, get shipped to Minnesota's region anyway and still possibly play them in a regional final.
I hate doing this thought exercise, but let's take a hypothetical. Say we do this and get the #2 seed. Then say the NCAA decides to act on the proposed "geographic limitation rule" for all tourneys except basketball where a conscious effort is made to keep all teams as close to campus as possible. This would mean as a #2 seed we would likely be kept in Grand Rapids with Notre Dame as the #1 and a third CCHA team as the #3 seed (Ohio State by the latest bracketology). Outside of IMO having a better chance to win the region overall, the atmosphere in that place would be electric and provide some very entertaining rivalry hockey.
Now Minnesota could make this all moot by losing their at-large bid through continuing to descend the last couple weeks of the season (I'll take my chances with a Wisconsin #4 seed in Minneapolis). And I hate losing no matter what. But what say you M-hockey nation? Would you consider tanking against Ferris if it meant avoiding a Region of Death and getting our own non-#1 seed home regional in grand rapids?