100% hot nerd action
Most old posts are embarrassing. My takeaway in reading through old work for research purposes is usually some stupid line that I wish I had framed a different way or a dumb joke that I forgot I made and spend the rest of the day regretting. Occasionally, though, I’ll read something that makes me feel exactly what I was feeling when I wrote it.
When I dug through old Goal-by-Goal Analyses featuring Michigan Tech I came across the mini-column I wrote at the bottom of this year’s Great Lakes Invitational post and felt the still-too-familiar raging bewilderment that marked much of the 2016-17 Michigan hockey season. The piece ended with boiled-over frustration about Michigan’s offense and their inability to get the puck in the zone; there’s a mention of how badly Michigan was out-attempted, but the Corsi hamblasting from Tech wasn’t unusual enough to garner anything more than an unfeeling, fleeting mention.
furthest right column is Tech’s Corsi For %
That’s Warner Bros. DC movie-level destruction; that’s also reflective of how difficult to stomach the 2016-17 Wolverines could be. If Mel Pearson’s Michigan Tech teams are any evidence, however, Michigan fans are in for a rebalancing in their squad’s putrid possession numbers. College Hockey News has some advanced stats available from 2013-14 on, including Corsi. Remember that Corsi is every shot attempted: shots on goal, shots that missed the net, blocked shots. (There’s a more complete primer at the bottomr of the post.) The general idea behind this is that a team has to have the puck to shoot it, so Corsi is a puck-possession proxy.
Generally speaking, Pearson’s teams were good against very good teams and great against bad teams, at least in terms of possession. You can see from the trend line that they did exactly what you’d want a team to do against teams outside the PairWise top 16; the trendline drops below 50% on the doorstep of teams that would make the tournament.
[After THE JUMP: looking for surprises in Tech’s possession numbers]
Tourney sponsor reminder: HomeSure Lending is that. NMLS 1161358.
This began as a tool I made to fill out my brackets, then a few years ago I shared it and it became a thing. Much of the data are from Kenpom, though this year I also included ThePowerRank.com’s rankings, which Ed determines by expected margin of victory over an average opponent. Both he and Kenpom wound up pretty close, but it’s a bit more data when you’re deciding things like which should-be-a-6-seed do I choose in this 7-10 matchup? Alex Cook will have a thing later today that shows which teams got screwed the most in this year’s rather whacky seeding. Spoiler: Maryland and Minnesota shouldn’t be over the BTT championship participants.
The Tool The Tool The Tool:
To use this you:
- Follow this link to make a copy of the spreadsheet.
- Select the two teams you want to compare.
The site will be pulled from Team 1, fyi, so if you pull a match that doesn’t exist you’ll still get the distance each team will have to travel to their real site.
Thanks also go to the guy who wrote a google script to pull drive times with a formula.
In the beginning, it seemed like things might change. Michigan’s defense has been giving up more shot attempts than their offense has been generating from the drop, but the freshman class seemed to inject a bit more tenacity into Michigan’s forechecking. Opponents held the puck for long stretches, but it seemed that the prime scoring chances ceded by defenses in years past, the ones right in front of the net, may have been corrected. At least, that’s what this writer naively believed.
We’re now a bit past the midway point in the season and, thanks to some meticulous stat tracking, we have data to lean on that suggests the unchecked-man-in-front-of-the-net problem has not been remedied. An idea that’s gained popularity over the last few years among NHL advanced stats wonks is separating out from which area a shot is attempted. Those analysts have found what one might expect: more goals are scored from the area in front of the net than from the edges of the zone. Below we have scoring chance by shooting location via a Chance article by A.C. Thomas:
Based on information like the above, analysts have started to call the area with the two darkest shades of green the “home plate” area. The success rate above is based on NHL data, but the idea can be carried over to college hockey. With that in mind, David has been tracking shot attempts (in the Corsi sense; shots on goal+misses+blocked shots) all season. (Special thanks to Orion Sang and Mike Persak of the Daily for frequently providing us with shot charts.) Now that we’re past the midpoint of the season and solidly into Big Ten play, it seems that there’s enough data to see how Michigan’s defense has fared. It’s, uh…well, there’s a reason I called myself “naïve” above.
[After THE JUMP: cheery fun stuff]
You will probably have to create your own copy but then you can type in any two teams and make a comparison. Thank you to Kenpom for the data and helpful Google Sheets script writers for helping me calculate distances. Drive times are calculated as 1.3 minutes per mile.
To get a copy:
Follow this link and play around with it on google sheets.
Follow this link to the spreadsheet.
Go to "File" and "download as". Choose a format and the rest is up to you.
To use it just put the two teams you're trying to compare and the round (it will return wonky stuff if those two teams aren't able to meet there). It'll show you things like Off and Def rank on Kenpom and a win confidence based on a factor of the average 1 seed will be 100% to beat an average 16 seed. It'll also bring up the site of the game and, new this year, the distance for each team in driving hours. Last it'll show any injuries I knew about when I made it last night.
No, Upon Further Review series is not comprehensive. Most years are absent Ohio State and bowl games (including last year), and 2014 checked out after Indiana. That said, I challenge you to find a greater cache of free data than Brian's masterful charting of Michigan plays going back to the DeBord Throws Rock age.
Every so often I pull all that into a massive Excel file and try to learn things like how spread the offense was, favorite plays, etc. Let's dive in shall we?
What're those pie charts at top? Shows the relative efficiency (by yards per play on standard downs) and the mixes of Michigan's backfield formation choices. For "standard downs" I mean 1st and 2nd downs when the offense wasn't trying to do a clock thing or go a super-long or super-short distance. So no garbage time, no two-minute drills, no goal line, and no going off on Bowling Green and Delaware State. The idea is to show which offense did they get in when they had the full gamut to choose from, and how many yards did it get when the goal presumably was to get as many yards as possible.
Nothing very surprising there. Rodriguez ran his shotgun offense, Borges inherited Denard and Devin and still managed to jam them half-way into an under-center offense in three years. Then Nussmeier ran his zone melange single-back thing. Harbaugh did what Hoke always dreamed of doing, and the offense climbed back to about where Hoke's offense was with a senior (but oft injured) Denard.
[Hit THE JUMP for each year's most charted play, visualized Hennecharts, how many TEs Harbaugh used, how many rushers defenses sent, and LOOOOOTS of charts.]