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04/12/2011 - 9:07pm Yost is what college hockey crowds should be.

Of all the college hockey arenas I've been to, the only one that even comes close is Mariucci. I wish the crowd at Munn was half as good.

03/13/2011 - 9:38pm Colorado was always going to get left out.

The committee weighs non-conference strength of schedule fairly heavily; it you go out and play seven teams rated #294 or worse like Colorado did, you'd better absolutely blitz your conference because the committee is going to look for any excuse to leave you out. Just ask 2010 VT, 2009 Penn State, or 2008 Arizona State. You can argue whether that's fair or not, but it's been stone obvious for years and any coach who schedules like that knows (or should know) that he just punched his ticket to the NIT.

VT seems like the only serious snub to me, although you could make an argument for Harvard or St. Mary's.

03/13/2011 - 4:09am Pay no attention to his seeding

Lunardi really isn't that good at this, for a guy whose only job is to make the bracket. Of those the Bracket Project tracks, he's 23rd out of 32 "regulars" (last year and two of the four previous), and just slightly below average even if you count the one-year guys who give it a shot and then find out they really suck. He also seems to very strongly overreact to whatever the last thing that happened was (jumping us from last-in to a 9 on beating Purdue, for instance).

His educated guess probably isn't much better than anyone who's put more than an hour into it. I've been doing a series of bubble posts over at The Only Colors, and for what it's worth I have Michigan and Michigan State both in the 10-11 range (two of the three immediately above "last four byes" along with Marquette).

03/13/2011 - 4:00am Hockey uses the Pairwise pretty strictly.

So they don't really need to exile anyone for discussions because it's all objective and they don't need much discussion. (Whether it's the right objective method is another matter entirely.)

03/12/2011 - 2:04am You can get a vague idea of it

But the difference between what the advanced metrics predict and what actually happens isn't all luck. I think bad luck in basketball has a tendency to correlate very strongly with bad free throw shooting; certainly the least "lucky" team I've ever seen (2008 Illinois, had three overtime losses and four more by 4 points or less) fit this profile, as they blew at least three late leads (and opportunities to win another game) by bricking free throw after free throw (notably, Pruitt had two free throws with less than 5 seconds left in regulation and a tie game against Indiana and bricked both, then same thing happened in the first OT).

03/11/2011 - 2:06am The committee doesn't weigh head-to-head much

If it comes down to the last spot and we're the only two teams in consideration, maybe. But they focus more on the overall resume - and MSU has the better wins, slightly less bad losses, and better strength of schedule.

I do think you'll make it even if Illinois beats you (though it will be a very nervous Sunday). But head-to-head counts for little when we're two teams among 15 fighting for those last 10 or so spots.

03/11/2011 - 2:02am I'm honestly not sure it does.

If there's one way to get the committee to look for excuses to leave you out, it's by having a 300+ non-conference SOS. Virginia Tech learned that to their sorrow last year, as did Penn State in 2009.

Honestly, if they don't beat Kansas I don't think they get in over Illinois, MSU, or Michigan regardless of Big Ten results tomorrow.

03/04/2011 - 6:33pm Certainly not terrible losses.

Those were all the losses outside the Kenpom top 50 for both teams (and PSU is not too far from the top 50 either).


03/03/2011 - 11:43pm Most bubble teams have a wart or two on their resume

It's why they're on the bubble.

It'll count against you, but if it were enough to disqualify you on its own there wouldn't be enough eligible teams to select 37 at-larges. I think you need one more decent-or-better win (MSU or a quarterfinal win over Wisconsin/Purdue) to make it.

03/03/2011 - 11:37pm I'm not sure

Maybe I'm looking at it through green-tinted glasses, but even if Michigan wins that game it looks to me like the two resumes would be pretty similar. MSU would have the better wins overall (your sweep of us would probably be your two best wins in that scenario) and fewer bad losses (@Iowa, @PSU vs. @Ind, @NW, Minn, UTEP); head-to-head would probably pull you even but not noticeably ahead going into the B10 tourney.

My best guess: If MSU wins, MSU is a lock and Michigan needs at least two in the Big Ten tournament (may have to get to the final, depending on number of surprise auto-bids). If Michigan wins, both teams are probably in barring a bad loss in the first round of the B10 tourney (which Michigan would avoid by virtue of not playing in that round). Right or wrong, the committee tends to look for excuses to put a team with a strong non-conference schedule in, and 9-9 in a very deep Big Ten plus a win over Washington would be such an excuse, so I don't think it's really a must-win for MSU's tourney chances.

02/20/2011 - 11:25pm "Ethics Are For Losers and Vanderbilt"

Redundant statement is redundant. (For football, anyway. Vandy's actually not completely useless at basketball, somehow.)

02/20/2011 - 11:09pm I don't think multiplying is what you want to do.

A replacement-level guy on offense who is ridiculously good on defense (or vice versa) is worth a lot more than a guy who's replacement level on both ends. I think what you want is additive, maybe something like:

DPORPAG = (avg pace) * %Min * (%Blk/2 + %Stl - 2.45%)

as an estimate of the number of points saved on defense per game played at some average pace (every block, on average, saves half a point since the offense gets half of them back and averages one point on those possessions; steals save a full point since they by definition don't get it back). Then add this to the offensive number.

The other problem, of course, is that there is much more to defense than just blocks and steals; forcing difficult shots, taking charges, rebounding (though that would have to be adjusted on account of position), avoiding fouls are all components of defending well and aren't really accounted for. I don't know a good way to do so, though, so we may be stuck with the simpler version above for now.

02/01/2011 - 11:47pm That's still an improvement.

At least then they know they need to look for a spot elsewhere - and it's more of a risk for Saban & Co. to boot kids before they have an official commitment from a recruit because 1) the kid could change his mind, and 2) you don't get to watch them compete at spring practice before deciding who to "encourage" to transfer.

As for grayshirting, I don't think it's bad as long as the kid knows up front (and not in the "sign here, great, oh BTW you might not get the scholarship for the first year" sense, but more of a "we don't know yet if we'll have room, you can sign on for next year if you want or we can wait until we know there's a spot"). I think it would help if there were separate LOIs for normal recruits and grayshirts - normal ones guarantee a scholarship starting that year (revokable by the school only in case of academic ineligibility, failure to meet admission requirements, or criminal acts by the recruit), grayshirt LOIs can be revoked by the student at any time prior to the next year's signing day if they do not play (if they do play that year as a walk-on, it's as with a normal LOI except that the guarantee of a scholarship is postponed to the next year). A school can "upgrade" their offer from a grayshirt to an immediate LOI if a spot opens but cannot do the reverse (hence, the 85 cap applies at all times, not just in-season).

12/18/2010 - 11:59pm That was just as big a joke.

Don't blame us for the Freep's vendetta against you.

12/18/2010 - 11:16am Recently added rule

Mostly in response to coaches like Bill Self hiring a player's dad as "director of basketball operations", that player coming to Kansas ... and then the player's dad "resigns" as soon as his kid leaves for the NBA or graduates.

Repeat offenses have to be within five years and/or on probation to get hit harder. And even then if it's not an offense of a similar nature you won't always get much extra. And secondary violations (which this is) never get anything more than a slap on the wrist.

12/17/2010 - 9:10pm Honestly, I think what got

Honestly, I think what got you guys hammered hardest over that is the fact that the tracking forms were about as far from "timely" as possible. That remains ridiculous, as does this incident (from the few details we have; if it comes out that it was a parent of a player that ends up at MSU and there was any sort of understanding that this was a prerequisite for their commitment, then I will have to revise that conclusion).

12/17/2010 - 9:07pm I don't think any details have come out.

And the NCAA release on the topic said that the "individual associated with a prospect" was not in contact with the prospect while at the camp and was not accompanied by the prospect.

Given the extreme vagueness of the rule regarding who counts as an IAWP, I would be very surprised if it's a close relative or coach of the player in question. Those are too obvious, and the quotes coming out indicate a disagreement over interpretation of the rules.

12/17/2010 - 9:00pm "Vague" doesn't begin to describe it.

Who qualifies as an "individual associated with a prospect"? (This is apparently where the issue occurred; Izzo didn't think whoever the camp worker in question qualified and the NCAA disagrees.) Does it have to be someone associated with a prospect you're actively recruiting?

If this is the interpretation that the NCAA is going to use, every summer basketball camp is pretty much permanently ended now; you can't hire AAU or high school coaches even for camp unless there's absolutely no chance they'll ever be coaching a player you might want to recruit.

Frankly, it's an absolute joke that Izzo is getting more of a punishment for this than Calipari has for getting entire seasons wiped off the record books at two different schools. This is as overblown as the excess stretching at Michigan (not getting the forms in in a manner that could be considered even remotely "timely" might have brought the hammer down harder on you, but the actual violation seemed a difference of interpretation only).

12/14/2010 - 11:46pm We're not a football-only conference.

I wouldn't put the football in there (versions of it that could be used for different sports could each have their own sport represented there, but the main conference logo shouldn't single out any particular sport).

Otherwise, I like.

12/13/2010 - 11:29pm Think you need to pull the

Think you need to pull the two lower left stars further to the left. But that's still at least 32,768 times better than the pile of crap they chose.

12/13/2010 - 11:26pm Dump the 12 and it's perfect

Really, we don't need to hit people over the head with that.

12/13/2010 - 11:10pm Big difference between a penalty and a goal.

I'm one of those who thought the Suarez "save" in the World Cup quarterfinals should have been an automatic goal (blatant intentional handball to clear a ball that is obviously going in), and I see this as the same (and would regardless of which team was involved). It has to be something where it's obviously going in (if there's any doubt make it a penalty shot, as I believe it's supposed to be for intentionally dislodging the net if the puck is in the crease at the time), but there was no doubt that puck was going in.

Would it have mattered? I doubt it. We have one line worthy of a tournament-level team, and that ain't gonna get it done against anyone good (which Michigan certainly is). But it's still a royal shafting that the net got knocked loose a nanosecond before the puck crossed the line.

12/13/2010 - 1:13am Holy cow, you're right.

I hadn't even noticed that the first half-dozen times I watched. I can't even imagine being in there and all of a sudden hearing the roof groaning and watching it sink down. That'd be terrifying enough without the snow suddenly pouring through in an avalanche where the roof failed.

12/13/2010 - 1:08am Wasn't arguing that it was wrong by the rules

I was arguing that the rule itself is dumb. By the rule, they got the call right. A horrible break for MSU (would it have swung the game? I doubt it, we'd have had the momentum for a little bit but that can only do so much when your second line would be a good match for the opponent's fourth), but if anyone outside of the teams involved is at fault it's the rules committee, not the referees who got the call right according to the letter of the law.

12/13/2010 - 12:59am RPI is the biggest joke known to mankind

Purely adding up records of opponents (as the RPI does) tells you little. Going 12-0 against a schedule with four 11-1 teams, four 6-6 teams, and four 1-11 teams is much harder than doing the same against 12 6-6 teams, but RPI says the strength of schedule is the same. (On the other hand, going 0-12 against the varied schedule would be much worse than doing so against 12 average teams. The latter says you can't beat average teams; the former says you can't even beat awful ones.) How bad your cupcakes are shouldn't matter much at all; the difference between facing a team good enough to beat you one out of three times and one that would win one out of four is probably ten times as significant as the difference between playing one you would beat 99% of the time and one you would beat 99.99% of the time.

For what it's worth, I've been running the Bradley-Terry method (KRACH) this year and it puts Oregon's SOS at #12 and TCU's at #39. For teams with high winning percentages, your toughest opponent or two are the largest factors (and at the opposite end, teams that lose a lot are defined largely by their weakest opponents) because the win probability for that game is by far the most sensitive to changes in your rating. Oregon's is Stanford, TCU's is Utah. That's a pretty big difference. Even if you look at the lower games (which are really less significant):

  • USC v. Baylor - slight advantage Oregon
  • Arizona v. Air Force - very slight advantage TCU
  • Washington v. SDSU - about even
  • Oregon St v. Oregon St - even
  • Arizona St v. BYU - advantage Oregon
  • Cal v. SMU - advantage Oregon
  • Tennessee v. Colorado St - huge advantage Oregon
  • UCLA v. Wyoming - advantage Oregon
  • Wazzu v. UNLV - slight advantage Oregon (though at this point, does it really matter? both are going to get absolutely railed)
  • 1-AA v. 1-AA - even

Part of the difficulty, admittedly, is the recursive sort of nature of these judgments. SDSU finished two games better than Washington, but did so against a vastly weaker schedule themselves, so they come out about even. (The bottom of the MWC is so bad that beating them counts for almost nothing; BYU was SDSU's fifth-toughest opponent and Washington's ninth-toughest. And Washington's weakest opponent, Wazzu, would be favored against half of SDSU's schedule.)

12/12/2010 - 4:04pm Head-to-head is ALWAYS the first tiebreaker

If Michigan went 11-1 with a beatdown at the hands of Indiana as the only loss and Ohio State went 11-1 with the only loss a close game to Michigan, I guarantee you not one person here (or anywhere else) would be arguing that Ohio State should go to the Rose Bowl over Michigan.

This wasn't perfectly analagous because of Ohio State's involvement in the tie, but it's not really analagous to the 2008 Big XII South situation where somebody had to be ahead of a team that beat them either. There was a way to order the teams that made perfect sense with head-to-head.

(Honestly, Wisconsin jumping us doesn't even bother me as much as Ohio State doing so - partly because BREATHE IF YOU HATE OHIO STATE and partly because they don't have a single win over an end-of-season ranked team. At least Wisconsin has that.)

12/11/2010 - 5:32pm As a State fan

Our top line can compete with Michigan, but we have absolutely no depth and you can't get away with that in a sport where you're changing lines every 40 seconds.

12/11/2010 - 5:14pm Honestly, it's been our defense more than him

Hagelin was camped out on the doorstep with nobody on him. First goal of the game was deflected off a defender's stick.

12/11/2010 - 4:35pm I'd guess all the mods are at

I'd guess all the mods are at the game. I know I would be if I didn't live over 1000 miles away.

12/11/2010 - 4:30pm I really hate that rule.

Puck was clearly going in, the goalie knocks the net loose (and I don't think he was pushed into it by an offensive player, could be wrong as I wasn't exactly paying attention to that part of the video), no goal.

I know it's the right call by the rules, but DAMMIT.

11/22/2010 - 1:48am Iowa struggled with a lot of mediocre teams last year.

Reality didn't set in until this year.

I'm as surprised as anyone, but even when things have looked ugly it's worked.

11/22/2010 - 1:45am MSU would bring a lot more fans than Stanford

And that might be the deciding factor, especially with the Fiesta not an option (realistically, they're going to get nothing the Big East champion and like it). The Big Ten draws too many eyes for an 11-1 at-large candidate to get passed over, particularly for the Pac-10 equivalent of Northwestern (in terms of "tiny private school that doesn't travel particularly well") and an eastern bowl game.

I'm pretty much resigned to the Citrus at this point, win or lose; Wisconsin's on too much of a roll for me to think Northwestern has any prayer, and Tressel doesn't lose to Michigan. Not that MSU's in any position to look down on the Citrus, but as a reward for an 11-1 season (should that happen) it's a bit underwhelming.

11/17/2010 - 10:42pm Ugh.

723 shots of the band during the game? DO NOT WANT.

11/17/2010 - 10:41pm OH GOD NO


11/15/2010 - 10:05pm Our two best wins: Wisconsin

Our two best wins: Wisconsin (9-1, #8), @Michigan (7-3 but unranked)

Ohio State's two best wins: Miami (7-3, #25), Penn State (6-4)

If OSU beats Iowa, I would move them ahead. For now, though, MSU has the better resume.

11/15/2010 - 10:00pm Massive strength of schedule difference

Admittedly, I think it's borderline criminal that Boise's probably going to go unbeaten and yet again have no chance at the title, but that's another argument. VT-Hawaii-Oregon State isn't even in the same neighborhood for difficulty of top three games so far as Auburn-Alabama-Miss St.

For me, you have to have a huge gap in strength of schedule to make up for one loss and jump an unbeaten. LSU has enough of a lead there that it's at least arguable, though with Fresno and Nevada ahead Boise may close that gap.

11/15/2010 - 9:51pm I won't argue Wisconsin

I won't argue Wisconsin (personally, I could see a case for either but getting axe-murdered in Iowa is probably going to be the deciding factor for most people), but what's Ohio State's best win? 6-4 Penn State with a freshman QB? Miami, who's 7-3 but in the awful ACC and probably overrated at #25? If they win at Iowa, by all means, put them ahead, but for now their resume just doesn't stack up.

11/15/2010 - 9:44pm Against wildly differing competition

LSU's offense would look good against those wonderful WACtacular defenses. Probably not top-10 good, but good.

Raw stats mean little when there's so much variation in strength of schedule.

11/14/2010 - 11:05pm I thought the Fiesta got last

I thought the Fiesta got last pick this year. That could be really bad news for Boise; the Sugar would probably want a Big Ten team with the first pick (whether OSU if Wisconsin is in the Rose or MSU if OSU is and Wisconsin loses a game), and the Orange wouldn't want Boise in a rematch with VT.

On the other hand, they wouldn't really want Stanford and the small fan base and lack of national following (Boise has that at least due to BCS-busting a few times). They might persuade the Sugar to swap and take Boise (LSU-Boise would be a great matchup, the Mad Hatter against the tricksters from Boise), leaving a Big Ten team for the Orange. Either way, the Fiesta gets boned.

11/14/2010 - 6:03pm There is for at-larges

But not for conference champs, sadly.

11/14/2010 - 6:01pm Iowa's going to be really

Iowa's going to be really pissed off after the Northwestern game. I would not be at all shocked if they beat OSU.

But I think you're right about MSU's chances of going to a BCS bowl ahead of OSU if they're both 11-1.

11/14/2010 - 2:09pm They were also on their 9th-string QB.

I don't know what sort of conclusions you can draw from that other than "hey, maybe this defense is salvageable against MAC-level offenses".

11/14/2010 - 1:48pm Strange.

The only other place I'd known of where they had shared priority in the pick order was the SEC with the Outback and Cotton, and there the way they do it is that the Cotton gets priority if it's a West Division team and the Outback gets priority if it's an East team.

11/14/2010 - 12:59pm Source?

I've seen them marked as 4/5 in a few places, but everything I've seen even in those places suggests that's simply that they trade off from year to year if it gives any further detail.

11/14/2010 - 12:55am I thought they alternated

I thought they alternated first pick from year to year; this year the Gator gets to pick before the Insight and they flip it next year.

11/14/2010 - 12:53am 11-1 in the Big Ten will get an at-large.

1) It's not possible for a Big XII at-large contender to have only one loss (only two are left, and if they both win out they'll meet in the title game). An 11-1 Big Ten team will get the nod, period.

2) Big Ten fans travel better than Stanford.

3) Selection order works against Stanford this year. The Rose can't take them unless the title game is Oregon-TCU/Boise, the Fiesta gets last pick (aka whichever Big East team sucks slightly less than the rest), and the Orange and Sugar aren't likely to be thrilled with a West Coast team for travel purposes (particularly the Orange, and they get first pick).

11/14/2010 - 12:52am Read it more carefully

That applies ONLY if the team that's #3 or #4 is in a BCS conference. (Why I have no idea, but the rule says "... and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 3 in the final BCS Standings ..."; emphasis mine.)

11/13/2010 - 6:12pm That video is twelve kinds of

That video is twelve kinds of awesome.

11/12/2010 - 10:47am For home/away, I think the

For home/away, I think the right way to handle it (if at all) is probably as an adjustment to strength of schedule - count your opponent's rating as maybe 1.5x for a road game or 2/3x for a home game. Haven't tested it, might over the summer.

My intuition is that the basic system does a great job of rating teams on what they've achieved over the season but the score-based one is a little bit better predictively and gives sane results earlier in the season. Best of both worlds might be with a different victory-point formula that's discontinuous near zero (so there's a big jump from winning a close game to losing a close game, but margin still matters beyond that).

For 1-AA, it's a little bit of a problem, but getting clean rankings of 1-AAs relative to 1-As is just about impossible with so little overlap and most of the little tricks I'd thought of to try such a thing would probably make the ratings fail to converge. For top-level teams I don't think it matters much; if it's a 99.5% chance of a win instead of a 99.99% you're really not going to see any difference (which is one area I like this _much_ better than RPI). It might have a little effect on mid-tier teams, though.

11/11/2010 - 1:08am I've been running them too this year

plus a modified version which takes into account margin of victory and is geared more toward prediction. The basic version has some minor differences from yours (mostly because I count 1-AA games, with all 1-AA teams lumped into a single entity) but on the whole matches up well. (One notable difference: OSU jumps the SEC trio that's right ahead of them in your version because of Ole Miss's loss to a 1-AA, and the bottom falls out on Virginia Tech as well - they drop to #27, just ahead of Michigan and PSU.)

You can see them at ; I've also been posting projections of the Big Ten standings based on both versions at Off Tackle Empire.