this may be of some local interest
I'm not the only one then.
I have no idea what this fucking means, but on the other hand I never knew how much Steve Alford looks like Texas gov Rick Perry.
I believe this is a response to the Mailbag this week, in which Brian says we're a vulnerable 3 seed and maybe not as good as our record/Big Ten title would indicate. He based it off of UM's close wins and low KenPom ratings. I think the OP is using parody to argue that advanced metrics might not determine who will win any given game.
I think if you read it with this in mind it makes sense, but the author didn't do a great job of taking you there. I don't know if it was quite the "what am I reading" material everyone made it out to be.
You would not think you would have to do this on MGoBlog, but if you write a satirical post, you have to paste a big red /s all over it or people freak out.
If you were to make them read EDSBS while listening to Zappa their heads would asplode.
I got a chuckle out of this post since it was referencing something posted earlier by Brian. Your open letter wasn't funny at all, hence everyone took it seriously and didn't pick up on the sarcasm.
I filled out a bracket last year using strictly KenPom and entered it into a pool to see how advanced metrics fared against the field. I believe I finished last.
The OP has a point, although it wasn't clearly stated.
And in other years, filling out a bracket based off of KenPom would have produced very good brackets. What's your point? Your reasoning there is akin to some of the faulty reasoning about player stars that the Mathlete debunks in his recent diary.
To use the Mathlete's analysis as a metaphor, just like a recruiting service identifies the best prospects (5 stars), KenPom identifies the elite teams, using advanced metrics. Each year in recruiting, there are far more 3-stars than 5-stars. Each year, the basketball tournament has only 5-10 elite teams per year, leaving far more non-elite teams. Each year, inevitably some 5-stars end up as busts and lots of 3-stars end up being good. Each year in the basketball tournament, inevitiably some elite teams get upset early, and some non-elite teams get hot and go on a run to the Elite 8 or Final 4.
And beyond that, the Tournament is essentially a best of 1 playoff series that is subject to very high variance. (Which is part of what makes it awesome, but that's besides the point.)
So my point is, giving some anecdotal evidence about how KenPom gave you a really crappy bracket is not a concrete indictment against KenPom.
It's a strong indictment against Brian's philosophy of not buying into intangibles. Numbers don't dictate how various teams match up with each other, and they don't show how a great coach can lead a weak squad over a much more talented one (Shaka Smart, Brad Stevens, etc). Luckily, it looks like we've got someone who can do just that.
I still agree with Brian's sentiment that we could very well lose to any team we face in the second round, I just don't think the numbers are what demonstrate that.
First of all, I don't think Brian has a philosophy of not buying into intangibles - that's an absurd assumption - a more accurate description is that he does not attempt to guess or measure how they will affect the outcome when you have a plethora of tangible, measurable statistics available for you to use.
Second, read through Kenpom's own description of the purpose of his analytics. They use all known information to predict how a team will perform against another team right now. Obviously, if past performance perfectly predicted future outcomes we'd all be rich off the stock market. Kenpom doesn't ever claim to make up for the intangible factors of human nature in college players (hot shooters, girl problems, exam stress, etc.). He can measure past home court advantage and build it into his model but how do you plan to include "Great Round of 64 Pep Talk" into a predictive model?
It is not a strong indictment of Kenpom's numbers or Brian's use of them if you fill out a bracket with them and it sucks. The only strong indictment you can pull from that is that the previous poster was dumb for not reading what Kenpom's numbers are for and then being surprised when it didn't work out for him (not to mention the fact that some years Kenpom has, in fact, been better than chalk).
I don't know that Brian "doesn't buy into intangibles", I think it's more of the fact that intangibles are just that, intangible, so it is impossible/difficult to quantify them. If you are trying to objectively compare two teams, how can you possibly compare their grit, toughness, and unity other than by making highly subjective statements? We think Novak is the toughest SOB in the country, how many points a game is that worth? And some people probably think their grit guy is tougher than Novak - how can you show who is right?
I'm not speaking for Brian, but to me it looks like he is trying to provide objective, measurable analysis, so he focuses on advanced metrics. I don't think anyone on this site would argue with you that intangible things (matchups, team psychology) impact how a basketball team performs. They are just much more subjective, and so the focus is on the measurables.
To nit pick a small point you made, even great coaches are limited by their players. Look at what Brad Stevens is doing this year - "he" is struggling b/c Butler lost a bunch of talented players. Don't get me wrong, I still think he is a good coach, but giving him all the credit for leading a "weak" Butler squad to the Final Four is wrong, imo. Those Butler squads had a good coach AND were talented.
EDIT: Beaten to the punch a bit by Hardware Sushi. Very nicely said, Sushi.
I think some of the heated debate on this topic comes from a confusion over whether one is analyzing predictively or descriptively.
In recruiting, it's a little more clear: we rank the players once, before they do anything, and then they are judged basically on what they produce, so we're happy to label players as busts or hidden gems depending on if they under- or overperformed relative to expectations.
When talking about teams and seasons, the line between predictive and descriptive is blurred because we analyze as we go. The OP has purposely demolished this line, which can help to identify that one ought to exist, but his dickishness obscures his point.
I think the healthy approach is to consistently remind oneself of the difference between predictive and descriptive. Numbers can be part of storylines, identifying teams that are ripe to surge or fall, adding an interesting component to the game. In the end, we describe "best" as "won most when it counted," that's that.
And I hope you dont feel like I'm singling you out, because this applies to many, many posters on this board...But if one's goal is to attack a piece of writing, feigning stupidity is generally not the way to go. Just a bit of constructive criticism.
"Wut" is the standard response to something this pointless. But hey, if you have time to kill, feel free to write this pointless jibberjabber as often as you like.
I think it's time to bust out the ole' "WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN" images, boys.
Seriously, what are you trying to do here? It doesn't even make sense from a satire standpoint.
definetely meth. Damn drug anyways. Does anyone have any?
I would be very happy with Duke losing to New Mexico.
Let's put it this way, either Kentucky or Syracuse will most likely end with the most impressive season in the country regardless of whether they actually win the NCAA tournament. I for one wish that kind of thing were rewarded.
Hey man, probably not a good idea to be drinking so heavily this early in the day.
Maybe he is trying to poke fun at mgobloggers for using efficiency margins to measure a teams competency?
Will everyone excuse me while I go put some popcorn in the microwave?
I like the concept, but it wasn't executed well.
Do not speak for me sir!!
I was also bothered by the use of invented KenPom formulas and indicators to detract from our season. KenPom, where MSU is #3, Wisconsin is #7, Duke is #17, and Michigan is #20. Time to recalibrate those formulas, Ken.
I thought it was actually pretty funny. The concept of game being over before it's played is pretty good, but the OP could have expanded on it more... this probably could have even made into a diary. I give it an "A" for effort, and I liked the K-Mart remark
I think a better analysis would be to actually take efficiency and kenpom ratings from years past to actually determine how that correlated into NCAA tournament results. Then debunk or affirm the relative predicting power of kenpom, efficiency, etc. and determine what, if anything, was a good predictor of NCAA tournament success.
That would be an interesting analysis.
I wonder if nothing came up as a decent predictor of tourney success, would we gripe about how the postseason format should be constructed so as to favor teams we thought should win?
I thought it was pretty funny.
Not sure I agree with the somewhat harsh tone of this post, and in some parts even I - who support the OP's basic premise - was all like "WTF?", but I've been feeling this way as well.
Brian's slavish reliance upon the Kenpom numbers feels to me a little lazy and bordering on a cult-like devotion. We get it, they are very valuable statistical figures. However, merely stating "Welp, KenPom says this so this is true" is not the kind of analysis I've come to expect from Brian - who often does a great job of eviscerating the faulty premises of other's statistical analyses. In the latest post he merely states that the 5 seeds are more palatable seemingly because their Kenpom numbers are lower than UNLV/New Mexico. There isn't any thought behind why UNLV/New Mexico are less palatable than Louisville/FSU (the latter of whom has some major wins against major programs), other than "See: Kenpom". Maybe there's more analysis under the surface, but I feel like a lot of basketball previewing/coverage this year from Brian has been "See: Kenpom".
This is not a flame on Brian, who I think does tremendous work. It is constructive criticism. The only reason I raise it is because I think it is a marked difference from how in depth his other work is/has been.
I could be wrong on this, but I think that a big part of the reason that Brian relies on advanced metrics for basketball is that he does not know as much about the intricacies of the game as he does when it comes to football.
That's not meant as an insult in any way. I know very little about the inner workings of basketball, especially when compared to football.
Perhaps Brian defers to these statisitics for bball because they are the best way he knows how to predict what will happen, and instead of making basless predictions to appease the masses (like ESPN talking heads do all the time), he defers his expertise to KenPom.
I mean, sure it would make us all feel better if Brian said that he had a gut feeling we are going to the Elite 8. But that wouldn't make it happen. And it would take away from some of the professionalism that he displays on a daily basis. There are plenty of homers* around these parts already.
*including yours truly
I have no problem with Brian deferring to others if he's claiming ignorance. I would no doubt have to do similarly. Although, I think Brian does provide some rather good game recap analysis. That's why I'm sort of shocked about the Kenpom reliance. I think he's actually become much more capable of a breakdown than the usual layman and - in my opinion - Seth Davis.
I'm not really looking for a breakdown of intangibles, but things like "Team X runs this type of offense" or "Player Y has improved as of late and rebounds beyond his measurables" do have an impact that Kenpom can't measure or predict.
Also, I don't really make this critique re: his prediction at the end of game previews - clearly that section is at least part in jest and I also don't really care about what anyone predicts for the game. It's more of some of his general analysis like what I referenced in his breakdown of potential matchups for Michigan.
i just scratched my eyes a lot.
The backgroud or "theme" wasn't very well defined, but it's basically a set of political cartoons in words. I think it's very current too, even using at least one (i think only the one) quote from Brian's mailbag.
You are correct that Brian has a rather pessimistic view of the team. I believe that the statistic MOV is overrated, and that Beilein has very deliberately game-planned to compensate for Michigan's general lack of length and athleticism. This keeps the MOV low. It also keeps Michigan in games.
My hope is that both Smotz & THJ are peaking, and will be shooting 35 - 40% plus from the three point line. This will open things up so significantly that Michigan would win decisively over most competition.
Also you seem to be writing this from the perspective of someone who does not get the difference between "Team A and Team B split their season series but Team A scored more and was scored on less over the course of a relatively equal season, therefore I predict Team A would defeat Team B in a hypothetical sixth game between them," and "Team A just beat Team B in their last game, therefore Team A is 'better!'"
That the first thing bothers me more is definitely more my problem than yours. The second is the reason your attempt at lampooning Brian's statement said more about your comprehension of logic than any logical fault with his statement.
what makes you think he doesn't understand the second thing? it makes sense to satirize brian's overreliance on kenpom if you think some analysis of unique circumstances surrounding individual games deserves equal billing, even if you understand the stats and how they can be used perfectly well. i don't really think he could have written it if he thought it were just about who won the last game.
You are reading that too literally.
What I'm saying is you could say "games are decided on the field!" to any prediction, but in doing so you're making a statement about the value of predictions in general, not the specific prediction in question.
If you can quantify and qualify the "unique circumstances" surrounding individual games and their predictive worth against "which basketball teams are better at scoring and not getting scored upon" (ie Kenpom), then please write that diary.
But that's not what the OP is doing. If you say something like "I know Kenpom says we are 70-30 to lose to Kentucky but our players have more heart," then you don't get how statistics work.
I'm not discounting "heart" by saying this. What I'm saying is that "heart" or "whatever" is already IN the statistics because their Novakian efforts were converted during the season to things like "beat Ohio State" and "only lost once at home," and "scored more points than Northwestern except when their 3-pt attempts were just bad-sample-size-y unlucky."\
To the greater point: "Found a way to win" sounds great in prose and that's about the nicest thing you can say about that phrase.* The problem with it is "a way" could mean anything, therefore it's a completely useless statement. I "found a way" to post a reply to you just now. I also "found a way" to age past 30. Everything that has ever happened has "found a way" to do what it did. Unless you can describe the "way" then all you've said is "I have no fucking clue why this happened," which is probably true, but not at all useful to a reader who is coming to you to find out what the fuck just happened.
This phrase and those like it which Brian said he isn't buying (the main point the OP was raking him over the coals for) are valueless. They're meant to be suggestive of "there's some secret situational weapon this team uses to score more when they most need to" but more often than not the "secret weapon" is "luck" which = randomness = not predictive = not useful except in narrative prose when you don't know shit and want to sound like you do.
I just totally set myself up for somebody finding an instance of me using "found a way to win."
I suppose I've got some 'splainin to do.
The idea for this post originated several weeks ago. Michigan had just beaten some random sub-Michigan team, and Brian was openly lamenting points scored by our opponent in garbage time. As if above and beyond style points, winning by 15 instead of 10 would have CAUSED the team to have success in the future. At first I wasn't sure if he was serious, and I had a good chuckle.
But several weeks later, and Brian is still leaning on Kenpom like its gospel...I'm not sure if he was kidding. I think he may have actually lost touch with reality. I mean Pomeroy is a great tool if you've never seen either team play...But I've got to say eyeballs are a little more reliable. You guys are acting like the stats Pomeroy tracks dont reflect luck and variance. Using Pomeroy rankings to judge the quality of a team is like using weight to judge a person't fitness. Its information, I'll grant you that. And across the entire population, it is a pretty good indication. But to use an extreme example...Mike Martin. Weight is great, but you can tell a little more jut by looking at him.
I'll tell you what my eyeballs tell me. They tell me saying that Wisconsin is better than Michigan is one of the dumber things they've heard. Michigan took them apart from the jump of the ball. I'll tell you why they've got a pretty statistical profile. I'll tell you why they finished in front of Indiana. Its because they only had to play Michigan once.
My eyeballs tell me that UM and MSU were about as close as they've ever been. I dont know how you take him out of the Pomeroy formula, but without Dawson my eyes tell me they give the nod to Michigan. They also tell me that Sullinger is baby soft, but Buford is probably the embodyment of what THJ would look like as an upperclassman.
Lets break out Occam's Razor for a minute. Half way through Novak's freshman year, Pomeroy's model suggested something like a 16% chance Michigan would reach the tournament. Halfway through this year, Pomeroy's model predicted something like a 16% chance Michigan would win a Big Ten Championship. The model gave us a 26% chance to beat Ohio and a 34% chance to beat Michigan State. Does it make more sense to believe that Michigan has been winning the lotto multipally and consecutively, or to admit that your model isn't very good?
I appreciate the explanation, but 16% chance of happening doesn't mean "it isn't happening;" actually it means "will happen" given enough trials. If Michigan plays its entire season against the Top 5 teams in the country, then 16% success rate predicts Michigan will beat those teams probably 4 times, plus or minus.
Your eyeballs are not trustworthy at all, because their information is only connected to and interpreted by a human brain, which is hardwired for overreaction, self-preservation, and group bias.
And more to the point, MGoBlog is written under the assumption of a mutual understanding that you already have the information from your eyes. True you can't tell everything about Mike Martin from his weight, but by complaining about MGoCoverage of basketball stats it's kind of like telling the guys who wrote Michigan's player roster that they're way overrating size, because by only focusing on height and weight they're making Kovacs look like a scrub.
If your point is that MGoBlog isn't enough and you should definitely watch all the games too, then I wholeheartedly agree with you!
Could not agree more with Misopogon. Well said.
But I feel it is necesary to defend the OP here. First, I found it funny.
I find it hard to believe that any reader of these very pages (HT: THE_KNOWLEDGE) seriously believes the ridiculous statement that you are imagining upon the OP here.
If they do, then the writers of this blog are terrible teachers.
I think, in comedy, stretching things a bit to make something more ridiculous is pretty standard. Also, I think, the object of the joke is not supposed to take every little thing as a personal attack.
I believe all of the following to be true:
1.) Kenpom is one of the best predictors of college basketball outcomes, though this does not mean he is particularly good, just better than most.
2.) Kenpom bases his predictions on MOV.
3.) The OP knows 1 and 2 to be true.
4.) Kenpom is less accurate than Vegas, but Vegas makes its predictions based on an averaging of many, many, informed opinions. This accounts (at least more) completely for things like gritty grits, hot streaks, and the Illini quitting on their coach.
5.) Kenpom, and the OP, know 4 to be true.
6.) It was a joke, and the OP doesn't hate you, kenpom, or Brian. Relax.
toward the team in general. Once drained of his old emo--which tended to lift his diaries for me--his stancetoward the bball squad gets a little tired, especially since his hoops writing is less incisive (value judgement, yes, but shared). Once you've stated that the team lacks talent/is playing with house money more than twice you are doing something more than coldly calculating, whether you claim to be basing your posts in the data or not. And cold calculation is for cold calculators, who are definitionally distinct from fans. It's a fine line, and I would assume that if you write here you want to ply both sides.
Shorter version: the OP resonated for at least some of us. I have made similar pleas to keep the players respectfully in the picture, since they are our schoolmates, including the other day when Brian maligned some kids' contribution. I get that analysis requires criticism; thankfully, as the OP points out, there is also a reason why we play the games.
Fact-founded closing observation: if Hardaway and Lobsterycz are hitting throughout as they were at the start and beginning of the season we are there with everyone else statistically, on D AND O. MSU and OSU are both fairly one-dimensional teams, TOO, as recent lapses have shown (though Ravenel is coming on); MSU is arguably less flexible on offense than Michigan. I'll keep rooting lustily for my guys, and maybe find it harder to get so excited about the wins once the squad is full of highly ranked players.
a little over the top, but i enjoyed it. frankly i'm scratching my head about how anybody could misunderstand what he's saying.
but just think it's a really dumb argument that ignores the existence of luck and variance.
That's what he's mocking about it...
I understand what you're trying to say, but this is kinda dumb. No one is trying to take away anything from what the team accomplished. They came, they saw, they are going to hang up a banner in Crisler. That being said, if you're trying to PREDICT what will happen in the future, then it's a good idea to look at how those wins/losses occured, which is what KenPom does. This doesn't mean Kentucky will win the Title because it has the best efficiency numbers, it just means it's the most likely result. Even if UK were 99% favs in round one and then 90% favs in every subsequent round, they would still only have a 58% chance of winning the title. Obviously UK wouldn't be that huge favorites in every game so their chances are even slimmer. Saying that UM has gotten a bit lucky in winning the coin flip games (NW twice in OT, one point win over MSU, @Purdue) doesn't detract from the fact that they won them. It does mean that should the same situation arrive in another close game (I.e the NCAAs) there's a chance it might not go their way.
to Dylan's B1G Tourney preview at umhoops. Sometimes the fact that it's your school, that you love the players, rooting for the underdog--old-fashioned dumb stuff like that--tends to get a little lost in the shuffle.
I'm to the point with bball and football, happily, where I'm just happy with the coaching staffs, believe they're upright and going to field competitive teams, and not demanding that ten wins a year they strung up Lloyd for failing to obtain (being second-winningest active Div I coach with more than ten years was not enough*). Probably a function of increasing age. OR there may be a point when it's better for the fan to get outside and obtain a little exercise themselves.
*yeah, he's now on my shit list, too; but one BECOMES a grumpy old man--you are not born one
P.S. I got where you were headed with the post immediately; but you should probably signpost the thing a little bit better, as the English instructors say
Having a 10 year old reminds me that it is good to be a positve fan. My son is always going to root for the team, and has tons of hope. I know that Michigan is limited athletically and length wise, but they are my team, and I want to see them win.
In a way, it is actually especially nice to root for Michigan THIS year. Every game they win is a blessing. They are playing with "house money" after the first game in the Big 10 Tourney, and after the first two games in the NCAA tourney. If they win, because of superior defense, and shooting, and offensive schemes, it is a wonderful thing.
I am old enough to remember watching both the 1989 & 1992 NCAA tournaments. In 1989, we were a three seed and the underdog in three games (vs. UNC, Illinois, & Seton Hall.) In 1992, we were a six seed, and the underdog in four games (vs. Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Cincinnati, & Duke.)
Michigan will be favored in the first weekend, but after that, they have a decent likelihood of being an underdog. Anything they do will be overachieving. From next year on, with a higher level of star power, there will be greater expectations on Michigan to win. That isn't a bad thing, and I'll be happy with that too. But the fact that Michigan is here where they are, in 2012, with this team, is something. When I think of the team, I have a goofy smile on my face. It is wonderful just to enjoy, and celebrate. Beilein has alluded to this himself, how he has allowed himself to sit back and enjoy the accomplishments of the team, because they won't always happen. This is truly a magical season.
Ten year olds are great. Sunday my son and I watched Michigan beat Penn State and then tuned into Ohio/MSU. His reaction when Buford drained that jumper was tremendous, both arms up in the air, jumping around the room, yelling. Its funny, he's not concerned with recruiting like me, he just wants his team to win now. Its great watching that. It reminds you of why you fell in love with it in the first place.
Shane Morris would like a word with your son. 18-10=8, this means he has 8 years to develop relationships with future MANBALL players..to the twitters!!
doesn't mean it wasn't the best team.
Stop making sense. There is no room for that kind of thing here!
So, if I'm understanding the OP correctly, your thesis is:
"We need to play the games because statistics can't predict everything correctly. Also, since math can't predict outcomes perfectly, it's useless as a tool to help make predictions."
1. Thanks for the profound statement that Kenpom doesn't predict with 100% certainty.
2. I'd much rather have analysis in the pregame writeups that include statistics rather than your typical WWL talking head or Freep hack making shit up based on his gut. If that's the analysis you want, it's not hard to find.
3. If this was a way more intense response than you intended, sorry. Kind of like the Saban letter, needs MOAR funny.
Having wrote the Nick Saban letter, I can handle the critique that as satire, it needed to be more funny.
What scares me about it and this post is how many people think it was real.
Seriously people? You do know that the news report on Saturday Night Live isn't real, don't you?
You shouldn't be scared, nobody thinks its real. They just think it is not funny and disagree with the writers perspective.
MGoSatire. I like it.
FWIW. I enjoyed this. Although I wasn't sure what I was reading at first, the title was pretty clear it was going to be farcical.
Related question about my bracket: if I'm picking Kentucky to win it all, should I write "Kentucky" or skip ahead a few years and write "VACATED"?
But I want to give you more than +1 for this. So, +1,000!
A bit over-the-top, but I agree with the general point. Not everything can be precisely quantified.
So in one sentence this entire thing breaks down as: In a bet of Kentucky vs. the field you're taking the field. Brilliant!
Advanced Metrics are useful, but not perfect. Satire is funny, even when the position it's arguing for isn't as strong as the position it's arguing against. Everything's fine.
Everyone is overanalyzing this. The OP's point is that we should play the tournament before crowning a champion because that is the current format of NCAA basketball. Would it be more reliable to pick the best team by using advanced metrics accumulated over a long regular season? Probably, but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
Not to rush to Brian's defense or anything but I think everyone was operating under the general understanding that games are not won/loss on paper. Isn't that a given not worth discussing? However, I'm definitely using the Kenpom ranking to help with my brackets!
I don't know if I would have commented if so many people weren't so slow to make the connection; I thought it was obvious... but I support the orignal post and think its funny...
Clear Eyes, funny post, good stuff, but don't get to full of yourself just yet. Try this again tomorrow and you will likely regress to the mean. Your posts' ability to strike a chord with the audience is fraught with variance and luck, but I thought you dug deep this one time and pulled off a clutch performance.
This thread is too smart for you.
It wasn't absurdly submitted as a diary like M-Dog's atrocity was. MOVE IT TO THE BOARD!
Every time I read a post like this, I think to myself, "Self, if there was a MgoBlog user poker tournament, you'd make a lot of money."