If you are interested in golf, you are aware that Tiger Woods just won his fifth Masters, and if you are not interested in golf I dare you to keep reading. The most famous Masters prior to this year was in 1986 when Jack Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket. I barely remember it so I decided to go back and watch the final round though the miracle of YouTube and see how the coverage compared to 2019. Since it occurred in my lifetime, I was expecting a low-tech version of the way golf is covered today. It was barely more than 30 years ago, how much could have changed? It turns out quite a few things. Please join me on this wild ride through history. (more…)

With Purdue and Auburn in the Elite Eight, there’s a lot of talk about how far they’ve come from the depths of their season. But those depths are fabrications of the AP poll. To illustrate let’s look at each of the teams in the Elite Eight by their worst ranking in the AP poll since 12/31 and compare that to the worst ranking in my system on the same days that the AP poll was released. (I’m using my ratings by any respectable power rating will do.) (more…)

It was not surprising to see coaches and ex-players universally defend Tom Izzo’s treatment of freshman wing Aaron Henry last week, nor was it surprising to see most of college basketball’s non-coach/player media either stay silent or support Izzo. This is a college sports tradition. In this case, the most common defense seems to be that Henry himself didn’t object to the treatment, therefore criticism should be off limits.

I would guess Henry is sincere here. After all, his path to an NBA career can be greatly helped by Tom Izzo. And having complete faith that his coach knows what he’s doing is understandable given Izzo’s track record. But it’s also true that is would be career suicide to publicly criticize a legendary head coach in the middle of the NCAA tournament. So even if Henry has second thoughts, he really doesn’t have a choice but to be supportive given that Tom Izzo is one of the most powerful men in basketball and Henry is, well, not. (more…)

                     Qtrs Semis Final Champ
  1S  Virginia       81.9  55.0  37.0  22.1 
  1W  Gonzaga        74.0  44.7  26.1  15.2 
  2E  Michigan St.   74.6  41.5  21.8  11.7 
  1E  Duke           66.2  37.3  19.5  10.5 
  1MW North Carolina 64.5  36.6  17.0   7.8 
  2W  Michigan       54.9  26.4  13.4   6.8 
  2MW Kentucky       58.4  30.2  13.2   5.8 
  3S  Purdue         51.3  20.6  10.3   4.3 
  3W  Texas Tech     45.1  19.3   8.8   4.0 
  2S  Tennessee      48.7  19.0   9.3   3.7 
  3MW Houston        41.6  17.7   6.4   2.3 
  4E  Virginia Tech  33.8  13.7   5.0   1.9 
  5MW Auburn         35.5  15.5   5.2   1.8 
  4W  Florida St.    26.0   9.5   3.2   1.1 
  3E  LSU            25.4   7.5   2.1   0.6 
 12S  Oregon         18.1   5.4   1.6   0.3 
                             Rd2   Swt16  Elite8 Final4 Final  Champ
 1S  Virginia                97.7   85.1   66.7   48.5   34.5   21.4   
 1W  Gonzaga                 99.1   84.5   67.3   44.3   26.3   15.5   
 1E  Duke                    99.0   85.2   62.9   39.6   22.8   12.9   
 2E  Michigan St.            97.0   75.2   58.0   33.1   18.4   10.3   
 1MW North Carolina          98.7   80.9   57.6   36.7   17.9    8.5   
 2W  Michigan                93.3   68.5   43.4   22.2   11.3    5.8   
 2MW Kentucky                93.2   65.5   42.4   23.0   10.5    4.6   
 2S  Tennessee               91.6   67.2   40.0   17.1    9.1    3.9   
 3W  Texas Tech              89.1   63.1   32.7   15.0    6.7    3.0   
 3S  Purdue                  88.0   59.0   33.1   13.7    7.1    2.9   
 4E  Virginia Tech           85.0   54.1   20.4    9.3    3.7    1.6   
 5MW Auburn                  72.0   44.9   18.5    9.2    3.4    1.2   
 5S  Wisconsin               68.3   43.4   14.2    7.0    3.1    1.1   
 3MW Houston                 85.3   48.1   22.0    9.3    3.3    1.1   
 4W  Florida St.             79.8   51.6   16.7    7.0    2.4    0.8   
 6MW Iowa St.                65.9   35.7   15.8    6.3    2.1    0.6   
 4MW Kansas                  77.1   38.3   13.5    5.8    1.8    0.5   
 3E  LSU                     79.3   46.2   15.2    4.9    1.6    0.5   
 7MW Wofford                 68.0   26.1   12.9    5.0    1.6    0.5   
 4S  Kansas St.              72.8   35.1    9.5    4.0    1.5    0.4   
 7E  Louisville              65.8   18.5   10.1    3.3    1.0    0.4   
 6E  Maryland                69.4   37.3   11.9    3.7    1.1    0.4   
 5E  Mississippi St.         71.1   33.8    9.9    3.7    1.2    0.4   
 6W  Buffalo                 75.5   29.5   10.8    3.4    0.9    0.3   
 6S  Villanova               52.3   20.5    8.1    2.3    0.8    0.2   
 5W  Marquette               62.6   28.9    6.9    2.2    0.6    0.2   
11S  Saint Mary's            47.7   17.7    6.6    1.8    0.6    0.2   
10W  Florida                 48.4   14.8    5.7    1.6    0.4    0.1   
 7W  Nevada                  51.6   15.5    6.0    1.7    0.5    0.1   
 7S  Cincinnati              52.6   17.2    6.6    1.6    0.5    0.1   
 8MW Utah St.                57.8   12.1    4.9    1.7    0.4    0.09  
 8W  Syracuse                52.4    8.4    3.6    1.0    0.2    0.06  
12S  Oregon                  31.7   14.4    2.9    0.9    0.2    0.06  
 9S  Oklahoma                50.9    7.5    3.0    0.9    0.3    0.05  
10S  Iowa                    47.4   13.7    4.8    1.0    0.3    0.05  
 8S  Mississippi             49.1    7.0    2.7    0.8    0.2    0.04  
11MW Ohio St.                34.1   13.3    4.0    1.1    0.2    0.04  
 8E  VCU                     52.5    7.8    2.9    0.7    0.2    0.04  
 9E  UCF                     47.5    6.8    2.4    0.6    0.1    0.03  
 9W  Baylor                  47.6    7.0    2.7    0.8    0.2    0.03  
12MW New Mexico St.          28.0   11.1    2.4    0.7    0.1    0.02  
10E  Minnesota               34.2    5.9    2.3    0.4    0.08   0.02  
 9MW Washington              42.2    6.8    2.3    0.6    0.1    0.02  
12W  Murray St.              37.4   13.0    2.1    0.4    0.07   0.01  
10MW Seton Hall              32.0    7.2    2.3    0.5    0.08   0.01  
12E  Liberty                 28.9    8.4    1.2    0.2    0.03   0.007 
11E  Belmont                 19.9    7.3    1.3    0.2    0.03   0.006 
13MW Northeastern            22.9    5.6    0.8    0.2    0.02   0.006 
13S  UC Irvine               27.2    7.2    0.9    0.2    0.03   0.005 
11W  Arizona St.             15.1    3.2    0.7    0.1    0.02   0.005 
14W  Northern Kentucky       10.9    2.5    0.3    0.03   0.004  0.001 
14MW Georgia St.             14.7    2.8    0.4    0.04   0.003  0.001 
13E  Saint Louis             15.0    3.7    0.3    0.04   0.002  0.001 
15W  Montana                  6.7    1.3    0.1    0.01   0.002  0.001 
13W  Vermont                 20.2    6.5    0.7    0.1    0.02   <.001 
11W  St. John's               9.4    1.7    0.3    0.04   0.007  <.001 
14S  Old Dominion            12.0    2.9    0.5    0.05   0.006  <.001 
14E  Yale                    20.7    6.0    0.7    0.07   0.005  <.001 
11E  Temple                  10.6    3.1    0.5    0.05   0.004  <.001 
15S  Colgate                  8.4    1.9    0.3    0.03   0.004  <.001 
15MW Abilene Christian        6.8    1.2    0.2    0.01   <.001  <.001 
16S  Gardner Webb             2.3    0.4    0.05   0.002  <.001  <.001 
16MW Iona                     1.3    0.2    0.01   0.002  <.001  <.001 
15E  Bradley                  3.0    0.4    0.05   <.001  <.001  <.001 
16E  North Dakota St.         0.9    0.1    0.008  <.001  <.001  <.001 
16W  Prairie View A&M         0.4    0.03   0.004  <.001  <.001  <.001 
16W  Fairleigh Dickinson      0.6    0.06   0.003  <.001  <.001  <.001 
16E  North Carolina Central   0.09   0.008  <.001  <.001  <.001  <.001 

While tables of numbers have their place, no fan should have to scroll to see their team’s rating. For that reason, I have been spending the past few weeks building a handy visualization called D-I Universe. It’s probably a little different than anything you have seen before, but I think it’s the best way to visualize my ratings and other stats. Not only do you not have to scroll (on some devices) to see the entirety of D-I, but you don’t have to click through to different pages to get some quick insights on teams and conferences.

The typical chart relating offensive and defensive efficiency uses the x-axis for offense and y-axis for defense. This is good enough as far as it goes, but it’s not always obvious which team is the best in terms of net rating on such a chart, and to me, that should be the most obvious thing. For instance here’s what the Big 12 looks like last season. (more…)

One of the more curious nuggets to come from the NCAA’s release of the NET was its decision to ignore scoring margin in overtime games. Any use of ‘artificial intelligence’ would have revealed that overtime scoring margin is just as useful for evaluating team strength as regular season scoring margin.

The simplest way to demonstrate this is to look at all overtime games where the teams met again during the season. (The other meetings need not be after the overtime game but nonetheless will be referred to as rematches for simplicity.) The correlation between scoring margin in the overtime game and scoring margin in the rematch (adjusted for home court) is 0.16. (more…)

Who likes it when players get into foul trouble? Well, maybe nobody, but it’s one of the most interesting strategic aspects of college basketball. While people have been thinking about ways to eliminate the individual limit on personal fouls, I’d feel very strongly about preserving the five-foul limit if officiating were perfect.

Mainly because I don’t like fouls and of all the deterrents to fouling, the personal foul limit is the most important. One can look at how the foul rates of reserves change when they become starters to get an idea of that. Almost surely, any softening of the individual foul limit will result in more fouls being committed. Which leads to more free throws and a slower-paced, less-entertaining game. (more…)

There are a few ways to analyze something but using the wisdom of the crowd is one my favorites. Of course, it depends on the particular crowd. Me, I’d prefer to use the crowd that bets money on things. Anyone can make predictions but history shows the best ones are made by people that put something tangible on the line.

Unfortunately, the types of things I really care about, like who is the best team at any given moment, are not something such money-risking people will tell us directly. Mike Beouy helpfully publishes betting market rankings based on game point-spreads that tries to assess this. But even then, if I want to know the third-best team in the Patriot League according to the crowd, I am out of luck. (more…)

Hey coaches! Need a hand filling out your schedule for the the 2018-19 season? I can’t play matchmaker but I can provide you a spreadsheet with a first cut of expected ratings for every team next season. These ratings use the same method that has produced the preseason ratings on my site in previous seasons. The projections are mostly based on the quality of returning players, incoming transfers and previous team performance, but there is more discussion about the ingredients here.

Data provided will be a list of all 351 D-I teams with overall ranking, and national rankings in offense, defense, and tempo. In addition, for those of you that are into gaming the RPI, teams are ranked by projected conference winning percentage so you can identify opponents which may rack up plenty of wins but be relatively easy to defeat. This data can assist you in finding the type and quality of opponent you want to fill out your schedule for the upcoming season and will not be shared with anyone outside the coaching community until October. Please send a message to ratings at kenpom dot com for more details and pricing.