Monday, February 20, 2017

Warm Up: A Florida Affair (M) - By the Numbers

I ran my first "By the Numbers" piece after the Santa Barbara Invite. I believe final placement within a tournament isn't the most accurate indication of the quality of the team overall as upsets, awkward seeding etc, can lead to varying paths to tournament success. I was pretty happy, based on the results at President's Day, that a lot of the numbers analysis from my SBI piece seems to have held up. 

I was also excited to run the numbers for Warm Up because unlike SBI I'm doing this completely blind. I wasn't in attendance; I haven't seen any of these teams play this year with one or two exceptions. This analysis is simply the results. It's not about anecdotal "this person was hurt; this team had a bad game etc," it's simply numbers. 

I've tweaked a few things slightly since my previous piece to make the categories more accurate, but I'm always open to suggestions as I'm largely doing this by the seat of my pants. I have opted to include BYU's results this time around and placed them finishing overall 4th given what I think is a fair final projection for them had they played out Sunday; this makes everyone ranking different from the final placement on USAU. 

Here is the full schedule.

I pulled my numbers late Sunday night so the point differential has likely changed a bit as scores get tweaked for accuracy. 

The Final Standings/Rankings

Final PlacementStrength of SchedulePoint Differential+/-
Texas A&M5th2nd11th-5
Central Florida10th7th12th-5
Florida State11th5th10th-3
Auburn 12th15th9th+1
South Carolina17th8th19th-36
Arizona State18th19th15th-15
South Florida19th18th18th-31

Strength of schedule
= average opponent win/loss percentage + opponent average final placement

My Takeaways

Northwestern likely isn't as good as their 3rd place finish at a tournament of this caliber would suggest. They had a reasonable point differential but took advantage of an overall easy schedule and a quarter finals match-up against a Texas team that also rode a pretty easy schedule to their final placement. 

Their only losses were to 2nd place finisher Minnesota (twice), but that was by a combined 12 points, and they didn't run into Carleton or Wisconsin, both teams with extremely strong numbers other than final finish. 

Their two signature wins were against Texas in quarters and A&M in the 3rd place game, but Texas had that weak schedule as well and A&M was only in the bracket after replacing BYU. 

I was big on Northwestern two years ago at MLC when they overcame a tough draw in the format for some great results, but didn't get much love because their final placement wasn't spectacular. I'd love to see them continue to have success this year; but for this tournament their numbers unfortunately don't appear to hold up. 

The North Central is deep. Carleton and Wisconsin finished 8th and 9th (7th and 8th technically), but there's no reason to panic. They both had tough schedules and excellent point differential. Carleton even notched a win vs Minnesota. Between those two teams and Minnesota's strong weekend (which I'll get to below), I think that looks like, at the very least, a three bid region. 

Pitt and Minnesota were the best two teams in attendance. Their are no holes in their numbers. They had the top two point differentials and had the fourth and first hardest schedules respectively.

If you take away the loss the Minnesota, Pitt's numbers are actually pretty jaw-dropping. A max score versus Wisconsin and a max score versus Minnesota in the finals are going to be huge as the first round of USAU rankings come out. I'd be shocked to see anyone else at #1. 

Minnesota had some tighter games and the loss to Carleton, but also had, by far, the toughest schedule of any team. The average final placement of their opponents across the weekend was 5th and their average opponent win percentage was just under 70%. The only game on their schedule not consistent with the rest of their numbers was be the finals blow-out vs Pitt. 

What to make of the Texas teams? It's hard to gauge Texas and Texas A&M's success by their numbers. A&M had a brutal schedule (second only to Minnesota) but only made bracket play after BYU dropped. Texas did well in pool play, but it was against weaker competition, then lost in quarters to Northwestern.

A&M just doesn't have consistent numbers. They beat the lower-end teams; got beat handily by the best teams at the tournament, but for whatever reason seem to have a solid Florida team's number and happened to draw them in quarters. 

Texas played well in some close games, with their most impressive win being vs Wisconsin, but then lost 15-10 to Northwestern in quarters, which would be their least consistent result relative to the rest of their weekend.

Based just on the numbers I'd say A&M looks like an inconsistent team with a high ceiling and Texas is likely a middle-of-the-pack solid squad. I have some non-numbers opinions on this, as I know both these teams pretty well, but I'm biting my tongue and sticking to just what the scores tell us. 

There's plenty more analysis to be done, but I'll leave some it up to other's imaginations Thanks for reading and feel free to check out the full numerical values below. 

The Full Numbers

FinishWinsLossesWin %OpponentsOpponent WinOpponent LossOpp Win %Avg Opp Place+/-
Pitt1810.889A&M, Wisc, Carleton, USF, FSU, Minn, UCF, A&M, Minn43.0038.000.5317.89+39
Minnesota2720.778Ark, BYU Carleton, UCF, NuT, Pitt, A&M, Nut, Pitt57.0025.000.6955.33+25
Northwestern3820.800FSU, Ark, Corn, South C, USF, Minn, Nova, Tex, Minn, A&M38.0051.000.42710.40+16
BYU4620.750Minn, A&M, Auburn, FSU, Nova, South C, Texas, Wisc33.0038.000.4659.63+18
Texas A&M5550.500Nova, Pitt, BYU, Auburn, Florida, South C, Minn, Florida, Pitt, NuT57.0031.000.6486.90-5
Texas6530.625South C, ASU, UCF, Wisc, BYU, Brown, Auburn, NuT34.0037.000.47911.13+5
Florida7620.750Nova, Brown, Wisc, Ark, A&M, Cornell, Carleton, A&M33.0041.000.44610.63+13
Carleton8630.667FSU, Minn, Pitt, Auburn, Brown, UCF, Forida, FSU, Wisc44.0033.000.5718.78+22
Wisconsin9540.556ASU, Pitt, Brown, Florida, Texas, Cornell, BYU, UCF, Carleton43.0034.000.5589.33+17
Central Florida10440.500South Carolina, Arkansas, Minn, Texas ASU, Carleton, Pitt, Wisco38.0033.000.5359.25-5
Florida State11350.375NuT, Carleton, Ark, BYU, Pitt, South Florida, ASU, Carleton41.0031.000.5699.25-3
Auburn 12540.556BYU, Brown, Carleton, A&M, South C, Ark, Texas, Nova, Cornell35.0045.000.43810.89+1
Cornell14360.333ASU, USF, NuT, Nova, Brown, Wisco, Florida, Ark, Auburn36.0045.000.44412.44-29
Arkansas13450.444Minn, NuT, UCF, FSU, South C, Florida, Auburn, Cornell, Nova39.0040.000.49410.11-16
Villanova15270.222A&M, Florida, Cornell, BYU, USF, ASU, NuT, Auburn, Ark40.0041.000.49410.56-15
Brown16360.333Florida, Wisc, Auburn, Cornell, Carleton, Texas, USF, ASU, South C,34.0045.000.43012.22-5
South Carolina17180.111UCF, Texas, NuT, Ark, BYU, Auburn, A&M, USF, Brown41.0039.000.5139.78-36
Arizona State18270.222Cornell, Wisc, USF, Texas, UCF, Nova, FSU, Brown, USF27.0051.000.34613.22-15
South Florida19180.111Cornell, ASU, Pitt, NuT, Nova, FSU, Brown, South C, ASU32.0049.000.39512.56-31

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