Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Wisconsin

Submitted by Ecky Pting on November 16th, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Advanced Stats Matchup Analysis – 2017 Michigan at Wisconsin

Introduction

As usual, this matchup analysis draws upon the Advanced Stats Profiles published weekly by Bill Connelly on Football Study Hall. The profiles feature Connelly’s well-known Five Factors, and also include the more detailed groups of S&P+ metrics that break down elements of the game such as Rushing and Passing, as well as the down-and-distance scenarios known as Standard Downs and Passing Downs. This new interpretation is an updated take on what you may recall from last season. It assesses the complete set of 26 advanced stats metrics using an approach that displays the matchups graphically, in a way that more clearly distinguishes and gauges the significance of any net advantages. For more details regarding the definition of and concepts behind each of the metrics, the Advanced Stats Glossary is a handy reference to bookmark.

Methodology

If you’re interested in the approach to analyzing Bill Connelly’s base metrics, the formulation for deriving the matchup metrics and the data visualization concept for the charts, you can read more in the previous Michigan at Indiana diary. Nonetheless, nothing here is etched in stone, and certainly suggestions for improving any of the aspects of the methodology are welcome and appreciated!

Michigan at Wisconsin Matchup Analysis

So, on with the matchup analysis!

The Five Factors Matchups

Here are the matchups for the core Five Factors metrics that compose the actual S&P+ ratings from which the game scoring margin is derived. As of the beginning of this week, that margin stands at 9.9 points in favor of the Badgers. Keep in mind a couple of things: the weightings of the factors into the projected scoring margin are not uniform and, a team has control of only the first four. Of those first four, the Badgers have an edge in two, and the other two are a statistical push, including the factor that is weighted most heavily: Efficiency.

Efficiency

In Efficiency, the UM Offense is slightly below average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which knocks the UM Offense down to well below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is also well above average, however, the UM Defense remains the elite-est, holding steady at #1 in this category. The net matchup gives a slight advantage to Wisconsin in Efficiency.

Explosiveness

In Explosiveness, the UM Offense is actually above average, but the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is slightly below average, but the UM Defense is well below average, which boosts the Wisconsin Offense to slightly above average. The net matchup gives a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Explosiveness.

Field Position

As for Field Position, the UM Offense is now well above average following the short-field extravaganza that was the Maryland game, but the Wisconsin Defense is equally good. The matchup, which is the average of the two (not the geometric scaling as with the first two), pulls the UM Offense down to being perfectly average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is above average, which pulls the Wisconsin Offense down to about average as well. The net matchup, is a negligible Field Position edge for Wisconsin.

Finishing Drives

In Finishing Drives, the UM Offense is above average, but the Wisconsin Defense is elite (ranked #2). This matchup, also a simple average, knocks the UM Offense down to below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is above average. The net matchup is a considerable advantage for Wisconsin in Finishing Drives.

Turnover Margin

Michigan has continued to improve in this metric since Brandon Peters took over at QB, but at this point is unlike to turn the corner for the season with its Turnover Luck; whereas Maryland has had more good luck than bad this season. What this means is that Michigan’s actual turnover margin has significantly lagged expected turnover margin based on measurables (e.g. Fumbles and Passes Defended). It’s been a similar story for the Badgers thus far, however they are at least on the plus side of the actual turnovers measure. Setting luck aside however and just comparing the statistically-based expected turnover margin, Michigan is actually well above average (ranked #11, up from #16), whereas Wisconsin has not created so many opportunities (ranked #19). The net difference amounts to about 1.3 PPG. Thus, the net matchup is a slight edge for Michigan in Turnover Margin.

Rushing Matchups

In going up against Wisconsin, Michigan almost manages to achieve a clean sweep in the Rushing metrics! Indeed, Michigan captures a net advantage in five of the six Rushing matchups, with the exception being – as you may have guessed – Explosiveness. Most importantly though, Michigan captures the overall metric matchup. Here remains UM’s best path to victory. So with that, on to the Rushing matchups.

Rushing S&P+

The aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Remarkably, even after the erosion of its rushing metrics in the Maryland game, the Michigan Offense is remains well above average (holding at #12); but, the Badgers Defense is aboeve average, which pulls UM down closer to average. On the other side, the Badgers Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is top ten, which knocks Wisconsin down to well below average. The net result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in the aggregate Rushing S&P+ metric.

Rushing Success Rate

In Rushing Success, the UM Offense is about average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well above average, which drops UM to well below average. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is top ten (#6, up from #9). The net matchup in the end is still a slight advantage in Rushing Success for Michigan.

Rushing Explosiveness

In Rushing Explosiveness, the UM Offense is well above average, however the Wisconsin Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down a good chunk. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is slightly above average, while the UM Defense is well below average. In the end, Rushing IsoPPP (Explosiveness) favors Wisconsin by a sizeable margin.

Adjusted Line Yards

In Adjusted Line Yards, the UM Offense is top ten, but the Badger Defense is above average, which is a drag on the UM Offense. Meanwhile, the Badger Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is nearly top ten, which knocks the Badger Offense down below average. The net matchup result is sizeable advantage for Michigan in Adjusted Line Yards.

Opportunity Rate

In Opportunity Rate, the UM Offense is about average, while the Wisconsin Defense is slightly below average, giving a slight boost to the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense, which takes the Badger Offense down to below average. The net is a slight advantage for Michigan in Opportunity Rate.

Power Success Rate

In Power Success Rate, the UM Offense is now top ten, while the Badger defense is well below average, which tweaks the UM Offense even higher. On the other side, the Badger Offense is slightly above average, while the UM Defense remains elite, which sends the Badger Offense down even further. In the end, the matchup balance is a significant advantage for Michigan in Power Success Rate.

Stuff Rate

Last is Stuff Rate (a contra-metric). In this case, the UM Offense is above average, while the Wisconsin Defense is well below average, which benefits the UM Offense. The Badger Offense is well above average, while UM Defense is elite. Think “space hogs” like Moe Hurst and Brian Mone. So, in the end, the matchup result is a considerable advantage for Michigan in Stuff Rate.

Passing Matchups

In stark contrast to the Rushing metrics, the Passing matchups turn out to be a clean sweep by the Badgers. The continued atrophy of the Michigan passing attack is manifest in these metrics. That’s not to say that the Badger passing attack is particularly robust, yet, Badger QB Alex Hornibrook still ranks a solid #2 in the B1G with a 155.6 QBR.

Passing S&P+

The aggregate Passing S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which drops the UM Offense into a black hole. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is elite, which drops the Wisconsin Offense a good chunk. In the end, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in overall Passing S&P+.

Passing Success Rate

In Passing Success Rate, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Wisconsin Defense is elite, which drops the UM Offense into a black hole once again. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, but the UM Defense is the elite-est (maintaining its #1 status in this metric), which drops the the Badger Offense a good chunk. The net is still a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Passing Success Rate.

Passing Explosiveness

In Passing IsoPPP (Explosiveness), the average UM Offense is pulled down by the well above average Wisconsin Defense. On the other side, the above average Badger Offense is boosted by the below average UM Defense. Thus, the net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in Passing IsoPPP.

Adjusted Sack Rate

Adjusted Sack Rate is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. However, it is not a contra-metric as is typical with the other Sack Rate metrics. You can blame Bill Connelly…

The UM Offense is bottom ten, and to make matters worse, the Badger Defense is top ten, which obliterates the UM Offense into nothingness. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is well below average, while the UM Defense is elite, which pummels the Wisconsin Offense mercilessly. In the end, the net matchup result still looks like a considerable advantage for Wisconsin in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Standard Down Matchups

Wisconsin captures 2 of the 4 Standard Down matchups as well as a slight edge in the overall matchup with Michigan. The Wolverines’ maintain an edge in SD Line Yards per Carry, which speaks to the efficacy of its gap-blocking power run game on offense; and the big bodies of Hurst and Mone that eat double-teams on defense and free Khaleke Hudson or Devin Bush to fly to the ball carrier.

Standard Down S&P+

The aggregate Standard Down S&P+ metric is an uninverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here, the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which knocks  UM Offense down a chunk. On the other side, the Badger Offense is also above average, but UM Defense is nearly top ten, which pulls the Badger Offense down a chunk. The net matchup result is a marginal advantage for Wisconsin in overall Standard Down S&P+.

SD Success Rate

In SD Success Rate, the UM Offense is slightly below average, but the Badger Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down. On the other side, the Badger Offense is above average, but the UM Defense is elite (ranked #2, back up from #5), making the Badger Offense also look well below average. The net matchup result ends up being a negligible edge for Michigan in SD Success Rate.

SD Explosiveness (IsoPPP)

In SD Explosiveness, the UM Offense is about average, but the Badger Defense is top ten, which pulls the UM Offense down. On the other side, the Badger Offense is below average, but the UM Defense is well below average, giving the Badger Offense a tweak. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Wisconsin in SD Explosiveness.

SD Line Yards per Carry

In SD LYPC, the UM Offense remains above average, while the Badger Defense is slightly above average, which is a drag on the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, while the UM Defense is top ten, dragging the Badger Offense down significantly. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in SD Line Yards per Carry.

SD Sack Rate

In SD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is well above average, which could not be much worse for the UM Offense. On the other side, the Badger Offense is not so hot, while the UM Defense has managed to retain its elite ways (ranked #4, down from #2). In the end, the net matchup result is still a slight advantage for Wisconsin in SD Sack Rate.

Passing Down Matchups

Last, but certainly not least, are the Passing Down matchups, in which Michigan manages to capture only one of the three base metrics, yet manages to capture the overall PD+ metric. One thing to keep in mind is that a Passing Down metrics are not measures of passing efficacy per se. These metrics are situational, in that they reflect performance in down-and-distance situations that are usually, but not necessarily, approached using passing plays. Clearly, the PD LYPC metric implies a rushing play on a passing down – and this is where UM excels - whereas PD Sack Rate would imply a drop back of some sort (a passing play or play action). Although some marginal improvement may have been seen in the Maryland game, the sample size was decidely small, and so drop backs are still a risky thing with this UM Offense. As Woody Hayes once said, “There are only three [sic] things that can happen when you throw a pass, and two of them are bad.” He wasn’t even including a potential sack in that cogent synopsis, since sacks counted as runs in those olden times.

Passing Down S&P+

The aggregate Passing Down S&P+ metric is an un-inverted metric, meaning that higher values correspond to both higher-ranked offenses and defenses. Here the UM Offense is surprisingly well above average, while the Badger Defense is above average, which knocks the UM Offense down a bit. On the other side, the Wisconsin Offense is nearly top ten, but the UM Defense is elite (climbing back to #2 in this overall metric), which sends the Badger Offense plummeting. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in Passing Down S&P+.

PD Success Rate

In PD Success Rate, the UM Offense is slightly above average, while the Badger Defense is top ten, which drops the UM Offense to below average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is also top ten, but the UM Defense is the elite-est (climbing back to #1 from #3), which also drops the Badger Offense to below average. The net matchup result is a slight advantage for Wisconsin in PD Success Rate.

PD Explosiveness

In PD Explosiveness (IsoPPP), the UM Offense is well above average, but the Badger Defense is as well, which pulls the UM Offense lower than average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense , which in turn pulls the Badger Offense down to about average. The net matchup result ends up as a marginal advantage for Wisconsin in PD Explosiveness.

PD Line Yards per Carry

In PD Line Yards per Carry (LYPC), the UM Offense is well above average, while the Badger Defense is above average, which pulls the UM Offense down to about average. On the other side, the Badger Offense is well above average, as is the UM Defense, which knocks the Badger Offense down below average. The net matchup result is a sizeable advantage for Michigan in PD LYPC.

PD Sack Rate

In PD Sack Rate (a contra-metric), as everyone should know by now, the UM Offense is well below average, while the Badger Defense is well above average, which pushes the UM Offense sack rate over 1 in 6. On the other side, the Badger Offense is about average, while the UM Defense is top ten, which degrades Badger  Offense to about 1 in 10. Still, the net matchup result is a significant advantage for Wisconsin in PD Sack Rate.

Conclusion

Well, it was fun while it lasted, but the days of seeing matchup charts that are predominantly and overwhelmingly maize-and-blue-colored has come to an end.

The efficiency and success rate matchups alone suggests we can expect to witness a slobber-knocking sludge-fart of a game. Scoring will be low, and the intangibles like turnovers, hidden yards, penalties and weather may factor significantly in the outcome. That said, execution will be critical to avoid the adverse effects of such elements of this game we call Football in general, and Big Ten Football in particular.

So how can Michigan sneak out of Mad-town with a victory? The LYPC advantages for Michigan are largely attributable to the power and gap-blocking schemes in its rushing offense. If UM chooses to reverts to zone-blocking as it did against Maryland, this advantage will be lost, as evidenced by the chart. Michigan has the bodies and the proficiency to make this work. The uptick in OL performance actually began with the MSU game, and the trend in LYPC (as Mathlete pointed out a couple weeks back IIRC on the podcast?) is steady and consistent … until Maryland, when zone-blocking was for some inexplicable reason given a new emphasis. Phooey on that. UM needs to stick with its Power, Iso’s and Counters.

Should Michigan attempt to pass, step one will be to minimize the Badger pass rush. In other fancy stats, the Badger Defense currently ranks #1 in Overall Havoc (UM is #2), as well as #1 in LB Havoc, #1 DB Havoc and #1 in PD to INC. It also ranks #3 in regular old sacks. Therefore, failing step one, steps two and three will be…

So, this might suggest more of the same of what was seen in the Maryland game. An emphasis on the blocky-catchy types and heavy sets – particularly multi-TE/H-backs - and the tackle-over has worked on occasion as well. These sorts of things could be effective to keep the Badger defense guessing as to who’s blocking or running a route. Also, continued use of the waggle, with its pulling protection, may work as far as keeping Peters clean while buying time to take a shot or two downfield - preferably on first down or second-and-short situation. This also might also be a good time to resurrect that shovel pass UM ran once at IU that got whistled before it went anywhere. Let’s not forget the mesh, either, should UM persuade the safeties to back off. It’s high time to run a couple or three of those.

So, that concludes this week’s Five Factors Matchup Analysis!

Yours in football, and Go Blue!

Comments

Mongo

November 16th, 2017 at 11:50 AM ^

Wind gusts to 35 mph and possible wet conditions from early rain. Turnovers will dictate this outcome and possibly the kicking game - both punts and FGs.

funkifyfl

November 16th, 2017 at 10:02 AM ^

Agreed with the conclusion that for UM to win this one, execution will have to be top notch, TO luck has to our way, and the elements will likely play a factor. As for gameplanning, before I even got to the conclusion I thought that keeping 2 blocky-catchy types on the field at most times would be the key. This would be a great game to really get the FB (cough, Hill, cough) involved and keep the defense honest and defending the edges as well as the gaps.

GordonG

November 16th, 2017 at 10:36 AM ^

yes, Hornibrook is key....

he will need to throw at least 2 INT's for us to have a chance...

..I believe he is up to this challenge !

Go Blue !

Mich... 17

Badger... 13

Blue since BO

November 16th, 2017 at 1:01 PM ^

As much as I would love to see Michigan put it all together on offense and take it to Wisconsin I just don't think we have the talent to do it.  UM and Freshmen don't get the benefit of the officials, Gary won't get holding called against him and DJP won't get the interference.  I see our defense playing like the last play of the OSU game last year....just nobody getting through.  It will take one hell of a game plan on both sides of the ball to get the win.

gremlin3

November 17th, 2017 at 1:25 PM ^

Wisconsin and Michigan have played three common opponents: Purdue, Maryland, and Indiana.

When narrowing the analysis to these games, I would say:

  • Wisconsin has a significant advantage in explosiveness.
  • Wisconsin has a slight edge in efficiency.
  • Michigan has a significant advantage in converting scoring opportunities (and allowing them).
  • Michigan has a slight edge in field position.
  • Michigan has a sizeable advantage in turnover margin.

Basically, don't give up the big plays that have been the only real concern with our defense, and I like our chances.