Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pomeroy Looks Ahead at the Big East and Other Conferences

Before Things Get Interesting
One of the more interesting blog posts from the past couple of days is the conference projections from Ken Pomeroy's blog. Using his rating system and looking at the conference schedules for all 338 conference-affiliated D1 teams (346 - 7 independents), Pomeroy ran 10,000 simulations to develop a profile of each of the 31 conference races. He then ranked the conferences according to the projected "competitiveness" of the conference race.

Pomeroy acknowledges the methodology has some problems. He uses the most current ratings, those that are least likely to reflect results of conference games (though some teams/conferences have mingled conference and out of conference opponents since early December), and his simulation assumes the ratings will not change during conference play. This is clearly not the case (as Pomeroy himself asserts...)

"...The count listed for the favorite is going to be somewhat inflated since it assumes that the team’s current rating will remain constant for the remainder of the season. But everyone’s level of play is going to change, and it’s more likely that one of the three or four contenders in each conference will improve than it is for the favorite itself to improve..."

The value of the exercise? To identify potential contenders (and pretenders), and to get a sense of the "competitiveness" of each conference race. And certainly to stimulate discussion. The least competitive conference race is the ACC of course. The margin of "won simulations" between Duke and next-in-line North Carolina is staggering, as the Blue Devils won nearly 94% of the simulations to North Carolina's 2.8%. Ouch. At one time the ACC was Duke, UNC and the 10 Dwarves, now it appears to be Duke and the Lilliputians.

The Big East is rated the 4th most competitive race (most competitive goes to the MAC), with Pittsburgh "most favored" winning 44% of the simulations, closely followed by Syracuse (28%), Louisville (! -- a surprise to me...9.9%) and Villanova (9.57%). The next three on the list, Georgetown, Cincinnati (! -- the Bearcats warranted a few comments from Pomeroy) and Notre Dame all winning >2% of the simulations.

I embedded links to both parts (less competitive and more competitive) in the post, but have listed them below as well...

Less Competitive Conferences and Introduction
More Competitive Conferences and Concluding Notes

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