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Movin’ On

Posted by cuorange on March 1, 2010

For those of you that follow this blog it’s time to let you know that we are moving on.  We’ve set up shop at Seldom Used Reserve and will be posting over there from now on, so please join me/us.

You can follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/seldomusedrsrv

I believe the new format is an improvement as is the blogs address.  We’ll still give you the same take on Clemson and other teams, just in a different location, so please bookmark it, stick it in your favorites or add our RSS Feed.  For instance here is our latest update on the College Basketball Contenders – and it makes me want to puke.

As always – if you have any ideas or comments please do not hesitate to let me know – MartyC@seldomusedreserve.com.

Thanks for following us!

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The contenders

Posted by cuorange on February 22, 2010

These stats are through games of Saturday, 2/20/2010

Here’s the criteria to reach the final four:

1. Defensive efficiency ranking of 25 or better

2. Offensive efficiency ranking of 50 or better

3. RPI ranking of 27 or better

Team O Efficiency D Efficiency RPI % Final Four % Champ
Kansas 2 3 1 100.0 83.3
Duke 1 13 3 33.3 16.7
Syracuse 14 9 2 12.5 0.0
Purdue 27 4 8 8.3 0.0
Wisconsin 15 16 20 4.2 0.0
BYU 8 19 18 0.0 0.0
Kentucky 12 20 4 0.0 0.0
Kansas State 17 24 6 0.0 0.0

The basic concept here is that though a team like Wisconsin has both the offensive and defensive efficiencies to make it to the final four, when you combine the two the chances are much less. In other words, one of the last 24 teams have had an offensive efficiency of 15 or worse and a defensive efficiency of 16 or worse.

This refining also removes 3 teams from our final four contenders – Brigham Young, Kentucky and Kansas State, that our previous formula would have included.

At this point the Final Four consists of Kansas, Duke, Syracuse and Purdue. Later this week, we’ll use Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology to put teams into regions and see if that has any effect on which teams make it to the Final Four (i.e. if Kansas and Syracuse end up in the same region only one team can advance).

The percentages don’t always add up to 100% because in this formula one team’s chances are independent of another teams chances.

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Clemson baseball finishes weekend 3-0

Posted by cuorange on February 22, 2010

Jason Stolz (.222, 0 HR, 2 RBI) went 2-4 with 2 RBI and Jonathan Meyer (0-0, 0.00, 1 SV) finished off Furman with two scoreless innings to gain his first save as the Tigers (3-0) defeated the Paladins (0-3) 8-5 on Sunday.

Mike Freeman, Jeff Schaus and Kyle Parker also had two hits apeice for Clemson.

Pitcher IP H R ER SO BB Game Score
Brady 3.1 3 2 1 1 0 49

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Bracketology and the Final Four

Posted by cuorange on February 19, 2010

Last week’s iteration had a Final Four of Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin and Syracuse. Lunardi has moved some teams to different regions this week, and coupled with Texas’ continued free fall, this has changed our projected Final Four.

Kansas wins the Midwest and Syracuse takes the West over Purdue/West Virginia. Our first non-number one seed advances in the South with Wisconsin, a projected #3, ousting Kentucky, and this is followed by projected 2 seed Duke beating Villanova.

I am one of the ones that don’t think Duke passes the eyeball test. On the other hand, the point of this exercise is to take the biases (against or for a certain team, such as Duke) out of the equation and when you do that the Blue Devils have really good numbers (like the #1 rated offensive efficiency for much of the year).

Team O Efficiency D Efficiency RPI % Final Four % Champ
Kansas 2 3 1 100.0 83.3
Duke 1 12 4 37.5 33.3
Syracuse 13 6 2 12.5 0.0
Wisconsin 14 9 14 12.5 0.0

In the semi’s it would be Kansas over Syracuse in what could be an entertaining game and Duke over Wisconsin (who they’ve already lost to this season).

The final would be Kansas over Duke.

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The Case for Clemson

Posted by cuorange on February 17, 2010

There is considerable angst these days among Clemson fans on whether or not the Tigers will be a part of March Madness.

At first glance there doesn’t appear to be much to worry about. The Tigers are 18-7 overall, 6-5 in the ACC, an RPI of 30, strength of schedule of 34th and have a winning record against top 25 teams (5-4). Furthermore the Tigers are 7-3 against teams ranked 1-50 in RPI and 5-2 against teams ranked 51-100 in RPI. All solid numbers that would seem to indicate there is little to worry about come selection Sunday.

However, there is a little nagging suspicion that the Tigers reputation (late season troubles, losing twice in a row in the first round of NCAA tourney) may come back to haunt.

With 5 games left in the regular season, Clemson has 3 road games (Maryland, Florida State, Wake Forest) along with home games against Virginia and Georgia Tech. For me the timing of the games is what may cause the Tigers a problem.

First, Clemson must beat a falling (2-5 in last 7 games) Virginia team at home. A loss here would be almost too much to overcome.

Next, are road trips to Maryland and Florida State (I think you now see why the Virginia game is so crucial). These are most likely two losses.

Then the Tigers final home game is with a tall, talented but struggling Georgia Tech team (lost 3 of last 4). Assuming losses in the two prior games, this becomes a crucial game for the Tigers, before they close the regular season at Wake Forest (probably a loss).

Assuming the Tigers hold court and win at home and lose on the road, they will end up 20-10 overall and 8-8 in the ACC. A first round win in the ACC Tournament would lock up a bid, but the Tigers probably get in even with a loss in the opening round (leaving them 20-11).

However, if the Tigers manage to go worse than 2-3 in their final five games I believe they will need to win at least 1 game in the ACC Tournament to advance to the Big Dance.

The selection committee is not going to choose a 19-12 Clemson team with 5 losses in their last 6 games (including ACC Tournament).

That loss to Illinois in December may haunt the Tigers yet.

Posted in ACC Basketball, Clemson Basketball | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

College Basketball Contenders

Posted by cuorange on February 14, 2010

These stats are through games of Saturday, 2/13/2010

Here’s the criteria to reach the final four:

1. Defensive efficiency ranking of 25 or better

2. Offensive efficiency ranking of 50 or better

3. RPI ranking of 27 or better

Team O Efficiency D Efficiency RPI % Final Four % Champ
Kansas 2 3  1   100.0 83.3 
Duke 1 12 4    37.5  33.3
Syracuse 13 6 2   12.5 0.0
Wisconsin 14 9 14   12.5 0.0
Kansas State 21 14 8   8.3 0.0
Purdue 23 11 10   4.2  0.0 
West Virginia 4 25 6   4.2 0.0
Brigham Young 10 21 19   0.0 0.0
Kentucky 18 19 5   0.0 0.0

The basic concept here is that though a team like West Virginia has both the offensive and defensive efficiencies to make it to the final four, when you combine the two the chances are much less. In other words, one of the last 24 teams have had an offensive efficiency of 4 or worse and a defensive efficiency of 25 or worse.

This refining also removes two teams from our final four contenders – Brigham Young and Kentucky, that our old formula would have included.

It looks like we have a Final Four: Kansas, Duke, Syracuse and Wisconsin.  Later this week, we’ll use Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology to put teams into regions and see if that has any effect on which teams make it to the Final Four (i.e. if Kansas and Syracuse end up in the same region only one team can advance).

The percentages don’t add up to 100% because in this formula one team’s chances are independent of another teams chances.

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Using Bracketology to find the Final Four

Posted by cuorange on February 10, 2010

Who won’t make the Final Four?
 
Using Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology we look at the projected top seeds and weed through which teams will make it to Indianapolis.
 
Starting in the Midwest Kansas is a no-brainer.  With offensive and defensive efficiency ratings of 2 Kansas is the prohibitive favorite as of this writing to win the national championship.
 
Lunardi projected Georgetown as the second seed in the Midwest and while the Hoyas have had their moments (beating Duke and Villanova) they aren’t a serious threat to the Jayhawks.
 
In the West Regional Lunardi projects Villanova at a 1 seed and Michigan State as the number 2.  Last week we detailed the case of Villanova and their defensive struggles.  The Wildcats then promptly went out and gave up 101 points to Georgetown in a loss.  An about face earlier this week against West Virginia in which Villanova held the Mountaineers to 75 points has improved the Wildcats defensive efficiency ranking to 55th, and improvement of 7 spots over two games.  The Wildcats will have to improve significantly before I feel safe including them in my Final Four projections, but their offense is championship caliber, make no mistake.
 
Michigan State is currently sitting at defensive efficiency ranking of 39 and an offensive efficiency ranking of 26.  Not Final Four material either.
 
At this point we would project Texas, who Lunardi has as a 3 seed, to win this region as it is currently projected.  Georgia Tech is another team to keep an eye on here, though they have some work to do.
 
Over in the South, we would project Syracuse over Duke.  Kansas State is also in this region, but we’ll stick with the balanced attack of the Orange to edge Duke in the South final.
 
The East bracket appears to be the deepest as currently projected with Kentucky (1), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (3) and Brigham Young (4) projected as the top 4 seeds in the region.  As of today all of these teams have the offensive and defensive efficiencies to make it to the Final Four.  The question is which one is the most likely to do so?
 
It turns out that as the numbers stand right now Wisconsin has a 16.7% chance of reaching the Final Four, West Virginia a 4.2% chance and Kentucky and BYU a 0.0% chance.  Therefore, we project Wisconsin as the second #3 seed to make it to the Final Four based on Lunardi’s projections of February 8.
 
That leaves us with a Final Four of Kansas, Texas, Syracuse and Wisconsin.  Two number 1 seeds and two number 3 seeds.
 
The semi-finals would be Kansas over Texas and Syracuse over Wisconsin.  The final would be Kansas over Syracuse.
 
These projections can and will change as Lunardi changes his projections, the season plays out and the actual teams, region placement and seedings are finalized. 
 
It’s important to note that games played in the NCAA tournament will count in the efficiency rankings and therefore a team not included as a potential Final Four team prior to the tournament could potentially be included as the tournament progresses.

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Projecting the Final Four and Champion

Posted by cuorange on February 7, 2010

To this point we have been projecting possible final four teams and a champion based on historical trends of offensive and defensive efficiencies. This week we are adding a percentage for each team to reach the final four and win the championship. After all, a team like Texas with an offensive efficiency of 32 and a defensive efficiency of 12 meets the criteria for the final four, but their chances are less than say, Syracuse with an offensive efficiency of 11 and a defensive efficiency of 7.

These stats are through games of Saturday, 2/6/2010

Here’s the criteria to reach the final four:

1. Defensive efficiency ranking of 25 or better

2. Offensive efficiency ranking of 50 or better

3. RPI ranking of 27 or better

Team O Efficiency D Efficiency RPI % Final Four % Champ
Kansas  1  100.0  100.0 
Wisconsin 5 15  16.7  0.0 
Syracuse 11 12.5  0.0 
Duke  1  23  4.2  0.0 
Kansas State  17 4.2 0.0 
Purdue  22 17  11   4.2  0.0 
Texas   32  12  21    4.2  0.0
West Virgina  4 22    4.2  0.0 
Brigham Young  12 24  23    0.0  0.0 
Kentucky  13 21    0.0  0.0 

The basic concept here is that though a team like Texas has both the offensive and defensive efficiencies to make it to the final four, when you combine the two the chances are much less.  In other words, one of the last 24 teams have had an offensive efficiency of 32 or worse and a defensive efficiency of 12 or worse.

This refining also removes two teams from our final four contenders – Brigham Young and Kentucky, that our old formula would have included.

Three of the final four look pretty strong.  The question at this point who will be the fourth team.

Posted in College Basketball | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Overrated?

Posted by cuorange on February 4, 2010

Villanova (20-1, 9-0) has become the darling of the college basketball media.  I’ve seen them projected as a number 1 seed.  I’ve heard them talked about as a final four team.  Some have even said they are the best team in the nation and have a shot at winning it all come April.
 
Villanova may wind up with a number one seed.  They won’t win it all and they won’t make the final four.
 
How do I know?  Defensive efficiency.  The Wildcat’s are ranked 62nd in that category through the first 21 games of the season.  No team in the last 6 years has made the final four with a defensive efficiency higher than 25.  No one.  Not even George Mason in 2006 (18th). Zero for 24.

Team O Efficiency D Efficiency RPI
Villanova 3 62 3

 
The Wildcats are demons on offense, with an efficiency ranking of 3, national championship caliber.  But when push comes to shove they won’t be able to stop a team somewhere along the line in the tournament and will bow out prior to the final four.
 
Nine games plus the conference tournament still remain for the Wildcats to get to the magic 25 number in defensive efficiency (plus games in the NCAA tournament).  The chances of them making it are slim.  There are no more Fairleigh Dickinson’s, Penn’s, Drexel’s or Fordham’s left on the schedule.

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College Baseball – Finding a champion

Posted by cuorange on February 2, 2010

Since we are a little more than two weeks out from the beginning of college baseball, I thought I would slip in a post on the subject. In previous posts (and years) I have delineated the importance of defense in football and basketball. To recap – 9 of the last 10 BCS Champions in football have had top 10 ranked defenses and top 10 run defenses. In basketball, over the last 6 years the worst defensive efficiency rating of the national champion was 16.

The table below shows that 7 of the last 8 baseball national champions finished in the top 17 in fielding. Five of the 8 finished in the top 8, and 4 of the 8 finished in the top 5.

If you add in the fact that 7 of the last 8 baseball champions also finished in the top 22 in ERA an obvious pattern presents itself, with the exception of 2008 Fresno State of course.

Year Team Batting Slugging Fielding ERA
2002 Texas   99   65  5  2
2003 Rice  41  103  2  2
2004 Cal State – Fullerton   9  56  17  22
2005 Texas  80  74  3  4
2006 Oregon State  85  95  8  14
2007 Oregon State  162  129  2  11
2008 Fresno State  125  102  52  56
2009 LSU  78  34  16  9

Only one team finished in the top 10 in batting and won the championship (Fullerton in 2004). The highest rated slugging team was last years LSU coming in at 34th.

What this tells us is that pitching and defense are much more important than offense in college baseball today.

In many cases highly ranked offensive teams rolled into Omaha and left on the losing end to a better pitching and fielding team. Some examples: In 2002 Texas came in with the lowest batting average and second lowest slugging percentage of the 8 teams in Omaha. Yet, with a fielding percentage that was 5th in the nation and the 2nd ranked ERA they left as champions. In 2006 Oregon State had the lowest batting average and slugging percentage of the 8 teams in the World Series. However, the Beavers also came in with the second highest defensive rating of the 8 teams and an ERA that ranked 14th nationally. It was the first of two consecutive championships for the defensive and pitching minded club.

LSU finished the 2009 season with a 78th ranked batting average, but a 16th ranked fielding average and a 9th ranked ERA. They left as champions.

It’s important to note that the other team in the finals last year also met the criteria based on defense (8th) and ERA (2nd). However, Texas was such an anemic hitting team (206th in batting average) you understand why I predicted LSU to win the title.

So when judging the ability of your team to compete use these markers:
1) Defense = top 17 or better
2) ERA = top 22 or better
3) Batting and Slugging = top 100 or better

The numbers are compelling. Offense sells tickets while defense (and pitching) wins championships.

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