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    2012 conference previews, the last

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, December 30, 2011

    This is the final installment of the Monte Carlo style conference previews. The following six conferences are the most up for grabs. I am writing this while listening to a live stream of the South Carolina State/Hawaii game which tipped at approximately 1:45 AM ET, which is to say I was barely conscious and that is reflected in the quality of this post. Games played on Thursday night are not included in the calculations, but I hope you enjoy them anyway. Sometime in February, I’ll do a review of the predictions and perhaps we’ll all share a hearty laugh.

    6. NEC (Predicted champ: Robert Morris, 46%)

    Oh, admit it, you thought you’d see Wagner as the favorite here. (Or just admit you haven’t given two thoughts about the NEC race.)  Wagner is actually rated better than RMU but currently trails the Colonials by a game in the conference race.…


    2012 conference previews, part 4

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, December 29, 2011

    The is the penultimate look at the 32 Monte Carlo simulations performed on each Division I conference regular season race. This will leave us with the six remaining conferences where the favorite has less than a 50/50 chance of winning its league. For those needing further explanation of what they are about to read, please consult Monday’s post, then follow up with Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s action. Please note, and I will remind you repeatedly below, that the following numbers were based on calculations that didn’t include last night’s games.

    18. Missouri Valley (Wichita State, 58%)

    I must admit an error in omitting the Valley from yesterday’s post. This tally doesn’t include the results from last night, but you can see why Missouri State’s upset at Creighton should make Shocker fans happy.

    Wichita St. 5751 Creighton 2300 Northern Iowa 1343 Missouri St. 321 Indiana… 


    2012 conference previews, part 3

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    This is the third installment of the monte-carlo style conference previews where I simulate each conference’s schedule 10,000 times. If you’re unclear as to what’s happening, check out Monday’s post, then look back with fondness on yesterday’s effort. Today, we get into the territory where this analysis predicts that the favorite in each conference is barely better than a coin flip to win.

    20. ACC (Predicted champ: North Carolina, 59%)

    It’s no surprise that the Tar Heels are the favorite to win the ACC, but it’s a bit surprising that they are just the 13th-strongest favorite in the land. And there’s a 15% chance that the champ is not UNC or Duke. I guess that’s a lot.

    North Carolina 5941 Duke 2691 Virginia 682 Florida St. 258 Virginia Tech 248 N.C. State 72 Georgia Tech 51 Miami FL 50 Clemson… 


    2012 conference previews, part 2

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    Welcome to the second of five installments where I run 10,000 simulations of each conference’s schedule to get a sense for which teams have a viable shot at winning their conference’s regular-season title. For those late to the party, see yesterday’s post, where we learned not to hand over the Big West’s NIT auto-bid to Long Beach State just yet. In today’s edition, we see that the AP’s #4 team is also the fourth choice to win its conference’s title and that a team that won at Cincinnati has the fifth-best chance of winning the Big South.

    26. Big Ten (Predicted champ: Wisconsin, 66%)

    We shall never speak of this again.

    Wisconsin 6628 Ohio St. 2651 Indiana 549 Michigan St. 93 Purdue 73 Michigan 3 Minnesota 2 Illinois 0 Nebraska 0 

    25. Patriot (Lehigh, 63%)

    Lehigh hasn’t lost by double digits all season despite a…


    Conference previews, Monte Carlo style

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, December 26, 2011

    As done in this space last season, it’s time to look at how conference races might shake out based on what my ratings say to this point. The ground rules are similar to last year: I’ll use the current ratings for each team, simulate the conference season 10,000 times and record which team gets the one-seed for its conference tournament in each case.

    Many conferences have already played a few games and those games are included in the simulations. Since conference tie-breaking logic is largely random, I don’t make any effort to break ties in the simulations. If there’s a tie in a single simulation, the tied teams are each given a fraction of the conference title. The results of all of the simulations are listed for each conference and if a team is listed having won zero simulations, that means it…


    A trip to Scobey, Montana

    by Ken Pomeroy on Thursday, December 22, 2011

    There are places in America where you can’t just go to a college basketball game on a whim. A trip must be planned, time off must be taken from work, and you need to get someone to watch the dog for a few days. No town has Scobey, Montana beaten in this regard. According to Google Maps, it’s a seven hour and 49 minute drive from Scobey to Max Worthington Arena in Bozeman. It takes seven hours and 58 minutes to make the trip to the Betty Englestad Sioux Center in Grand Forks.

    Basically, it involves a lot of work to see Division I college basketball in person.  Scobey is the farthest from D-I basketball of any town in the lower 48.

    Few, if any, college hoops fans know what this degree of isolation is like. And I’m guessing…


    The untrained eye: Baylor v. BYU

    by Ken Pomeroy on Monday, December 19, 2011

    Baylor beat BYU 86-83 on Saturday in the game of the weekend as determined by FanMatch. I was there. Here is what I saw.

    Perry Jones is good at playing basketball
    The best thing about the game-watching experience was witnessing Perry Jones. Some games, he is more potential than production. In this game, he was productive as well, to the tune of a career-high 28 points. He made two three-pointers, his first long-range makes of the season, and he showed off some post moves in the second half. Jones still struggles in the rebounding department, and this was a factor in this game as well. In fact, it’s a pretty big issue for Baylor as a whole right now. Even playing a weak schedule, they haven’t rebounded well on either end of the floor.

    The first 14 rebounds went to BYU
    You watch enough games and you see…


    A graph of substitution patterns

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    I have 828 play-by-plays from last season where the final margin was single-digits and for which the play-by-play has clean substitution data. “Clean” meaning that according to the play-by-play there were five players on the floor at all times. (This does not necessarily mean it’s accurate. There are probably some glitches as the curiously low figures immediately after halftime indicate.) Below is a graph of the average starters per team that were on the floor in those games, and the percentage of time that the entire starting five was on the floor.

    There’s been a lot of research on lineup construction in baseball, but to my knowledge there isn’t much going on in terms of how to best deploy one’s players in basketball. It’s a given that your best players will start the game, and it makes sense to distribute a player’s time on the…


    Murray State and the quest for the Holy Grail

    by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, December 11, 2011

    The Murray State Racers went to the FedEx Forum and beat the Memphis Tigers 76-72 yesterday. It was a nice upset, the kind that will give the Racers at-large cachet, but the bigger story now is the rest of Murray State’s schedule. They play in the Ohio Valley Conference, a league that is never terribly strong, but his season it is worse than usual, sitting 27th in my conference rankings, a ranking that includes the fact that Murray State is pretty good. Austin Peay (at 2-9 no less) is the second highest-rated team in the league at 184th.

    In addition to a slate of 16 league games, they have remaining non-conference contests against 216th-ranked Lipscomb and 204th-ranked Arkansas State, both at home. The Racers have no less than a 70% shot to win any single remaining game.…


    Moribund Fascination: The Utah Runnin’ Utes

    by Ken Pomeroy on Friday, December 9, 2011

    The Utah Utes basketball program currently ranks 12th in the country in all-time wins. They were in the 1998 championship and actually led Kentucky at the half. They play in an arena that hosted arguably the most famous game ever played.

    But this season, their basketball team is bad. Not bad in the way that DePaul basketball is bad, but bad in a way that could be truly historic for a program of such prominence. While I’d still put it in the “extremely unlikely” category, the Utes have an outside shot at rolling through 30 games against Division-I teams without a victory.

    Larry Krystkowiak is in his first season as head coach, and his arrival in Salt Lake City didn’t go so well. In the spring, Krystko lost the services of Will Clyburn (Iowa State), Shawn Glover (Oral Roberts), and J.J. O’Brien (San Diego State), who all decided…


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