Monday, March 6, 2017

Stanford Invite (M) - By the Numbers

Another "By the numbers" piece for the Stanford Invite. If you'd like to check out the evolution of these pieces, here is the Santa Barbara InviteFlorida Warm Up numbers and Warm Up Pool Play.

The conditions at the tournament made for some interesting results, but I think that in the end, the reasonably typical format and good seeding made this the least surprising piece I've done thus far.

I've again updated my strength of schedule formula to factor in USAU rankings rather than tournament placement finish.

The full tournament results are here.

The full numbers are at the end of the piece.

The Final Standings/Rankings

Final PlacementStrength of SchedulePoint Differential+/-
Oregon State15th13th10th-4

Strength of schedule = average opponent win/loss percentage + opponent average USAU rank

Oregon and Georgia technically tied for third as I believe this game wasn't played out.

Projecting the  Results with the Algorithm Seeding

Program reputation sways the seeds! I have absolutely no issue with how this tournament was seeded, but the reality is big, historic programs get seeds higher than they sometimes deserve (Oregon, in this case), given their current results. By the end of the season this often corrects itself and it makes sense in hindsight. Heck, USAU even adopted the exception to the "regional-finish ranking" rule a couple seasons back. But let's look at what kind of match-ups we see in the bracket if we seed purely by USAU rankings (aka math) and projected the results. 

The result projections are based on head-to-head from the actual results and final actual placement. E.g. UConn over SLO because UConn finished higher than SLO. 

Initial Seedings

PittColorado GeorgiaCarleton
Virginia TechUBCTexasOregon
Oregon StateAuburnConnecticutTufts

There's some shuffling at the bottom but the big standout situation now of course is Pool D, where Oregon is a 3 seed. 

After Pool Play

PittColorado GeorgiaCarleton
Virginia TechSLOWashingtonStanford
Oregon StateAuburnTexasTufts

Stanford comes out on the short end of this with two brutal pool-play games which leaves them with easily the toughest pre-quarters match-up in Wisconsin.

Projected Bracket


The quarterfinal participants are largely the same, we've swapped Uconn for Stanford. Who's playing who is mostly different as well. What the 'over-seed' of Oregon did in the real results relative to these projections was keep a Uconn team out of quarterfinals - a team that vastly over-performed in pool-play relative to their ranking (aka they beat 10th ranked Washington). 

This would lend to the idea that seeding Oregon at 3rd, based on program history, was fair; it gave us very competitive quarterfinal match-ups.  However, the actual quarterfinal match-ups ended up the way they did only because of Oregon was upset in pool play. In that sense, you could argue that Carleton got the short end of the stick as they should have gotten Wisconsin (had the Oregon 'upset' not happened), Connecticut or even perhaps SLO (projected pre-quarters teams) in quarters rather than Oregon. 

The last piece little bit of the rabbit-hole (straying from math into speculation here of course) is whether or not that first round bye was a disadvantage given the conditions. Two of the four one seeds have pretty confusing results in their quarterfinals losses, not because Oregon and Georgia didn't deserve their wins, but because the margin of victory seemed greater than should have been given what Saturday play had told us. Perhaps a game to get used to the fields/conditions/wind ended up being a boon for the pre-quarters winners as even the Colorado and Pitt wins were closer games than the team's previous results would suggest should have been. [EDIT - It's been pointed out to me that the pre-quarters games were played out Saturday afternoon rather than Sunday morning so this whole paragraph is completely inaccurate. That's why I should stick to MATH! Thank you TDs]

End all be all, the placement in the tournament really doesn't mean anything. Carleton may have boosted their ranking more with blowouts in the placement bracket than they would have playing out semis/finals anyway. Whether they'd prefer a shot at Pitt or Colorado I can't say, but overall, I can't imagine they're unhappy with their performance. 

Thanks for reading!

The Full Numbers

USAU RankWinsLossesWin %OpponentsOpponent WinOpponent LossOpp Win %Avg Opp Rank+/-
Pitt1601.000UBC, Texas, SLO, Stanford, Oregon, Colorado18.0020.000.47416.17+19
Colorado2510.833OSU, Tufts, Stanford, UBC, Georgia, Pitt22.0021.000.51222.83+16
Oregon15420.667Auburn, Vtech, Wisconsin, Tufts, Carleton, Pitt20.0016.000.55625.17+7
Georgia6420.667Washington, Uconn, Carleton, Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado18.0017.000.51421.00+6
Carleton7510.833Uconn, Washington, Georgia, Oregon, Stanford, Wisconsin18.0018.000.50019.83+31
Wisconsin14330.500Vtech, Auburn, Oregon, Georgia, UBC, Carleton20.0017.000.54123.17-2
Stanford9340.429Vtech, Tufts, OSU, Colorado, Pitt, Carleton, UBC26.0016.000.61923.86-7
UBC32340.429Pitt, SLO, Texas, Uconn, Colorado, Wisconsin, Stanford22.0021.000.51218.57+1
VTech36330.500Stanford, Wisconsin, Oregon, Auburn, Uconn, Tufts15.0022.000.40532.67+1
Tufts50240.333Stanford, Colorado, OSU, Oregon, Texas, Vtech18.0018.000.50021.50-16
Uconn65240.333Carleton, Georgia, Washington, UBC, Vtech, Texas18.0018.000.50019.83-16
Texas28150.167SLO, Pitt, UBC, Georgia, Tufts, Uconn19.0018.000.51427.50-16
Washington10230.400Georgia, Carleton, Uconn, Auburn, SLO14.0016.000.46726.40+2
SLO11240.333Texas, UBC, Pitt, OSU, Auburn, Washington15.0020.000.42925.50-6
Oregon State39230.400Colorado, Stanford, Tufts, SLO, Auburn13.0018.000.41923.00-4
Auburn43150.167Oregon, Wisconsin, Vtech, Washington, SLO, OSU16.0018.000.47120.83-14

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