Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fun With My Ivy Games Database (Back to 1980)

Having recently completed my update to the Ivy Games Database, dating back to the 1979-1980 season (the start of College Basketball Reference's Simple Rating System "SRS"), I have decided to share some of the more interesting nuggets here.

From looking at the data, it is undeniable that the Ivy League is at its strongest point since the 1970s - and by a considerable margin, I might add.

Speaking of the 1970s, the Massey Ratings for college basketball extend all the way back to 1950, so my next project will be to add those 30 seasons to the database to provide for the first true comparison of league strength from the glory years to today. Even those incredible years where Penn finished in the top five of the ratings, the league as a whole still had no luck cracking the stranglehold of the top conferences that still dominate the top of the ladder today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Luck-Adjusted College Basketball Scores: (Or How I Intend To Take Most of the Fun/Mystery/Excitement Out of Sports)

As many of you have noticed, I've been working on a new pet project recently.

It's no secret that I am an ardent opponent of attributing all of an outcome to skill when it is partially (or sometimes mostly) driven by luck. My vociferous opposition has nothing to do with a desire to argue for argument's sake, nor is it because I want to be the annoying pebble in the shoe.

The reason I care so deeply about separating luck from skill is that what I find interesting about sports is the predictive pursuit. Once you know what is luck and what is skill, you can account for both in your predictions in different ways, but failing to admit that much of what happens on the playing surface is driven by luck is essentially conceding any ability to predict outcomes with a reasonable level of accuracy.