this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Latest bracketology, updated today, as the following Big Ten teams and UM opponents represented. 7 Big Ten teams total.
2 Duke (vs. 16 Bucknell)
8 Illinois (vs. 9 Harvard - Amaker woo???)
1 ohio state (vs. 16 Weber State)
7 Purdue (vs. 10 Wichita State)
8 Wisconsin (vs. 9 Dayton)
5 Virginia (vs 12 Belmont)
11 Memphis (vs 6 Creighton)
2 mihcigan state (vs. 15 Buffalo)
5 Michigan (vs. 12 FSU or Xavier)
2 Indiana (vs. 15 Cleveland State)
By combining two things I geek out about -- politics and sports statistics -- Nate Silver has become something of a legend in my own mind. Plus he's from Michigan. Briefly, he's a baseball statistician who rose to prominance by predicting the 2008 election better than any polls and has since become a sort of pop-statistician for the New York Times doing both election and sports predictions. He has come out with a bracket largely based on KenPom and similar computer rankings adjusted for injuries, locations and the like (as far as I can tell it hasn't been adjusted for current form, which is why Villanova isn't given a 0% chance of winning their first game). It picks Tennessee to win, so I'm angry at it right now, but it's worth a look and at least as legit as Joe Lunardi.
EDIT: This post is not saying Lunardi is a bad source. He's been great at predicting who will make it into the tournament and who wont. It was written to point out that his predictions should be taken with a grain of salt beyond bubble-predictions- seedings, regions, etc.
Since our beloved men's basketball team first played itself onto the bubble in the last few weeks, countless threads have been started citing Joe Lunardi's picks for Who's in/who's out, rankings, and even the regions teams will be placed in. What has earned Lunardi the "Bracketologist" title? More importantly, does his "wisdom" deserve so much attention within the mgoblogosphere? Like most of you, I assumed it would be his proven track record that allows him this McShay-like authority. Unfortunately, the following data argues otherwise. He accurately predicts the bubble, but beyond that you might as well have your girlfriend set up the bracket.
[The statistical data in this post is courtesy of ssreports.wordpress.com. I was going to compile the data myself for my first diary, but some time spent on google showed me that someone beat me to the punch.]
The article is worth a read but here are the main points:
Lunardi Accuracy 2010
Who's in who's out- 64/65
"Saying Lunardi got 64 out of 65 teams correct is no big accomplishment because over 50 of those teams either received auto-bids or were locks."
Teams correctly seated- 27/65 (41.5%)
2009- 31/65 (47.7%)
Teams correctly placed in each region- 17/64 (26.5%)
2009- 29/64 (45.3%)
ESPN has Novak as one of three guys as the picture for their MBB coverage.
I'm kinda missing the days when this was a normal occurance.
*Note - it's not of him being posterized :)
Doug has us out tho - LOSER!! /snark
Before I start, I just want to thank whoever created the "groping for optimism" tag before I could. After last night's miserable ending, I felt like looking for a reason to be positive.
Anyway, a few days ago I put up a side-by-side comparison of Michigan and Virginia Tech. The Hokies are a team that most bracketologists not only have in the tournament, but many have above the "last four in", and the case can certainly be made that Michigan's resume is stronger.
Today, I thought I'd look at a bubble team that the BTN compared Michigan with last night: the Butler Bulldogs. Butler is 19-9, with a 12-5 record in a fairly competitive Horizon League. Michigan, however, is now 16-12 in D1 play, and 7-9 in the B1G. Here, again, are each team's wins and losses, with common opponents in bold. I did the losses a little differently this time; since Michigan has three more losses, I listed those first and then did the remaining 9 side-by-side. Also, these RPI numbers are from before last night's games. Wisconsin's RPI is probably a little higher, Florida States is a little lower, but it's not a big deal.
RPI Team RPI Team
37 @Cleveland St. 36 @ Michigan St.
37 Cleveland St. 41 Harvard
48 vs. Florida St. 61 @ Penn St.
55 Valparaiso 61 Penn St.
81 vs. Washington St. 64 @ Clemson
107 vs. Utah 67 Oakland
112 Wright St. 80 Northwestern
141 Stanford 107 Utah
153 @ Detroit 172 @ Iowa
153 Detroit 172 Iowa
171 @Wisc. Green Bay 181 Indiana
171 Wisc. Green Bay 250 Bowling Green
183 Ball State 255 Bryant
202 @ Siena 263 Gardner-Webb
212 @ Loyola (Ill.) 280 N.C. Central
233 Miss. Valley St. 319 S.C. Upstate
273 Youngstown St.
290 @ Illinois-Chicago
RPI Team RPI Team
4 @ Ohio St.
4 Ohio St.
6 vs. Duke 9 Purdue
23 @ Louisville 19 @ Wisconsin
24 @ Xavier 19 Wisconsin (guh)
55 @ Valparaiso 22 vs. Syracuse
108 @ Wisc.-Milwaukee 39 Minnesota
108 Wisc.-Milwaukee 41 @ Illinois
112 @ Wright St. 51 vs. UTEP
133 Evansville 76 @ Northwestern
273 @ Youngstown St. 178 @ Indiana
The quality of top wins is about the same. Butler's top five wins are roughly equivalent to Michigan's top five. While the RPI numbers average one spot better for Butler, Michigan has three road wins in that group to Butler's one road win and two neutral-site wins. Michigan's next three wins are all significantly better than Butler's. Where Butler cleans up in this comparison is in their wins against teams with an RPI over 150. Their wins against terrible teams are against less terrible teams than the ones Michigan played. Apparently bracketologists find this to be important.
As for the losses, there is truly no comparison. Even comparing Butler's 9 losses to Michigan's worst 9 losses, Michigan wins the comparison by a wide margin. Purdue and the two Wisconsin losses are roughly the same as Butler's top three losses, but Butler's five losses outside the top 100 stand out like a sore hand. Youngstown State? Really?
The way I look at this is that Michigan has better wins against the top 150, and Butler has better wins against the bottom 150. Michigan has lost to far better teams, a result of their much more difficult schedule. Against all teams ranked outside the top 25, Butler is 19-6, while Michigan is 16-5. Both have about the same winning percentage in that regard, but Michigan's losses were to much more difficult competition.
Let's look at it a different way, the way that the bracketologists do:
RPI: Michigan is #58, Butler is #47.
SOS: Michigan is #25, Butler is #74.
Record against the top 100: Butler is 5-4, Michigan is 7-11.
When you look at it in this simplistic a form, you can understand why Butler frequently gets put into the field (also, last year's tournament) and Michigan doesn't sniff the bubble. However, a closer look shows the comparison is far closer. It also shows that wins in the last two games might not be enough. Unfortunately, what gets left out in this view is:
Against teams 100-200: Butler is 8-4, Michigan is 4-1.
Against teams with RPI>200: Butler is 6-1, Michigan is 5-0.
If Michigan, rather than playing Kansas, OSU twice, and Purdue, had lost to IUPUI (RPI #102) four times, both teams would have 5 bad losses, but Michigan would now be 7-6 against the top 100, and the resumes would look the same, except Michigan's losses would be to better teams.
If Michigan beats Minnesota on Saturday, I'll continue this series of comparisons with a look at Gonzaga. If not, it will be time to focus fully on hockey.
Lunardi's Espn S-curve currently has us sitting at #78 which puts us 10 out for the tournie. Minnesota's loss last night put them at #71 (3rd out). It is behind the espn paywall but I will post the story here.
Take our "solid" at-large candidates (current Tournament Odds at 75 percent or better) and you have exactly 38 teams in the field. Add in the remaining automatic qualifiers and that's another 20 spots. All told we have 58 of the 68 spots accounted for, with only 10 up for grabs among current "Bubble" teams.
"BUBBLE" (21 teams for 10 spots)
IN (10, in S-Curve order): 39-Michigan St, 40-Alabama, 41-Georgia, 42-Marquette, 43-Virginia Tech, 45-Butler, 46-Boston College, 47-Gonzaga, 48-Colorado State, 49-Richmond
OUT (11, in S-Curve order): 69-UAB, 70-Baylor, 71-Minnesota, 72-VCU, 73-Wichita State, 74-Nebraska, 75-Clemson, 76-Maryland, 77-Southern Miss, 78-Michigan, 79-Penn State
Big East (11), Big 12 (6), SEC (6), ACC (5), Big Ten (5), Mountain West (4), Atlantic 10 (3), Pac-10 (3), Colonial (2), Horizon League (2).
Link for those with insider access: