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    Outliers and sleep deprivation

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    As I would do in previous seasons in the printed version of College Basketball Prospectus, I want to document a few of the perceived outliers in my preseason ratings for handy reference later in the season. This season, I’m including a breakdown of how much sleep I’ve recently lost over each team.

    1. Kentucky: The Wildcats are not really an outlier, but it needs to be pointed out that the system is a prediction of end-of-season data. It may seem a bit odd then that I use them to populate the ratings at the start of the season. In most cases, I don’t think it matters much, but a team composed almost exclusively of freshmen would expect to improve as the season progresses. So Kentucky may not be the best team in the country right now.

    I’d also point out that their current rating puts them fifth in last season’s final list. The way to interpret this is that whomever ends up being the best team in the land will have exceeded expectations. (In other words, the top team at the end will have better numbers than Kentucky’s expectation provided by the system.) And I think that makes sense in a year with so little preseason certainty at the top.
    Sleep lost: 1 minute, watching All-Access Kentucky, a personal-best for me watching any reality show besides Big Brother.


    Say hello to your Big Ten overlords

    by Ken Pomeroy on Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    I’ve rolled the site over to 2013, fresh with my stab at pre-season ratings and reasonably accurate schedules. (If you see something wrong with your team’s information, kindly drop me a line.)

    These rankings might not match what you’ve seen in any other venue. The uniqueness is due to two general reasons. First, my computer doesn’t see everything humans see, and for the most part, humans have an advantage here. I generally think humans do a good job of assimilating data this time of year, with perhaps the exception of overvaluing a long tournament run fueled by close wins or a favorable draw. Even then, it’s just a hunch on my part that people overvalue that. I could be the one undervaluing postseason performance.

    The other reason is that my computer doesn’t know what humans are thinking. This is mostly an advantage to the computer. I think the AP preseason poll is useful, but one criticism I have of it is that voters’ ballots are a bit too similar. Of this year’s ballots, in what should be a more difficult year to predict, just two of 65 voters had Indiana outside the top 3, and those two had the Hoosiers at number four.


    Memphis tops 2012-13 C-USA preseason poll

    by Ken Pomeroy on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    In 2010, Conference USA ceased issuing a preseason poll, and continues to be the only conference in America that doesn’t. The decision is questionable since it deprives the member teams and the media that cover them of a noteworthy blurb leading into the season.

    In order to fill the void, commissioned an expert panel to rank the conference’s twelve teams. The panel consisted of USA Today’s Dan Wolken,’s Matt Norlander, UW-Superior head coach Paul Eberhardt, and 23 other randoms on twitter. But anyone willing to make the effort to rank C-USA teams from 1 to 12 is someone that truly cares about the conference, so don’t disrespect the randoms.


    More fun with the preseason AP poll

    by Ken Pomeroy on Sunday, October 21, 2012

    A while back, I expressed my support for the pre-season AP poll. A refresher: During the season I have no use for the polls because nobody really knows what they represent. But before games are played - and voters minimize the importance of scoring margin, game location, and schedule strength - everyone is trying to rank the best 25 teams in the country.

    As I prepare to release my own preseason ratings (in about a week), built strictly from a formula, I again wondered about the pre-season AP poll and how useful it is as a forecast tool. Not just for the team ranked at the top as was examined in the previous piece, but for teams ranked at each spot in the poll.


    Creative vs. opportunistic scorers

    by Drew Cannon on Monday, October 15, 2012

    A while back, I wrote this article describing a new way of understanding positions in basketball, the focus being separating offensive responsibilities from defensive responsibilities. Another guy in the basketball office and I were arguing recently about whether a specific player deserved to be termed a “scorer.”

    The argument basically went like this: He said (correctly) that this player couldn’t create his own shot, and wondered how anybody like that could be described as a scorer. To which I responded (correctly) that you didn’t need to create your own shot to score and score effectively. Our eventual compromise was to create a subscript to the “scorer” designation with a descriptor that the scorer was either “creative” or “opportunist.” (This does, admittedly and unfairly, make it sound like the creative scorer is a genius and the opportunist scorer is a thief – that’s not the intention.)