Last week marked the beginning of Major League Baseball, did you know that? MLB made the announcement that the Dodgers were purchased for 2 billion dollars, by a group led by Magic Johnson. This price broke the all-time record for a franchise purchase and seemed a bit high considering they were valued at 800 million dollars last year. Oakland and Seattle got the regular season started in Japan and provided us fantasy fans with little to cheer for. With that being said, who is ready for some more projections? I have stepped into unfamiliar territory this year with fantasy baseball and decided to take a shot at some projections. Continue reading
Ever since last season when Terry Pegula purchased the Buffalo Sabres there has been a buzz surrounding the franchise. Not only has the threat of leaving Buffalo disappeared for the time being, but there was an owner in place who would do what was needed to get them back to the Stanley Cup. Last year the Sabres finished the season on an amazing run that is very similar to the run they are currently on. After a loss to the St. Louis Blues on February 18th, they finished the season 16-5-4 to make the playoffs as a 7 seed. Even though the ending was far from Cinderella, they blew a 3-2 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers, it gave them something to build on heading into this season. Continue reading
In my last blog one of the topics of focus was the importance of the KenPom ratings and how those teams were performing in the NCAA tournament. The records going strictly by the ratings on Monday after Selection Sunday, straight up and against the spread, were impressive through the Thursday and Friday games. Staying with the original ratings posted from that Monday, the against the spread record leveled off going 8-8 over Saturday and Sunday. If you combined that with the 19-12-1 record from the round of 64, overall 27-20-1 is a solid winning percentage. Straight up the teams went 12-4. Continue reading
After a favorite filled Thursday where higher seeds dominated the bracket, 14 of 16 won, Friday was a historical day for underdogs. Half of the lower seeds won with two 15 seeds advancing to the round of 32, not to mention a 13 seed sprinkled in there. A day like this has never been seen before in the NCAA tournament. Even though my bracket was busted by Missouri going down, I still wanted to dig deeper into some of the numbers I have been following over the first couple days. One thing that I mentioned in previous blogs was following the KenPom ratings heading into the tournament. After the field was announced I matched the KenPom ratings to each team in the dance and wanted to see how many higher rated teams would win their first round, aka second round games. According to these ratings on Monday, the higher rated teams won 22 out of 32 games straight up and these 22 teams went 19-3 against the spread. The 10 games the higher seeds lost, they went 0-9-1 ats, due to the fact most of them were favorites. *All ats results were found at covers.com. So if you blindly would have bet all of KenPom’s higher rated teams you would have finished 19-12-1 ats through the first 32 games. KenPom’s ratings change, so for the purpose of my research I only used the ratings right after selection Sunday and will continue to throughout the tournament.
Another interesting angle I wanted to look up was how teams performed after winning their conference tournaments. There were 27 teams that entered Thursday and Friday who won conference tournaments and 12 of them are continuing on. To be fair to these teams most of them were underdogs from mid-majors and 5 games had tournament winners facing each other. If we look at these teams against the spread they went 8-8-1, eliminating the 10 teams who were paired against each other. This angle did not prove to be as rewarding as the KenPom ratings were, but still can not be overlooked. Even though this did not bring much success ats, I do feel teams winning conference tournaments could be riding high as Lehigh, Norfolk State, VCU, Colorado and Ohio all pulled off upsets in the round of 64 as 11 seeds or higher. With big programs losing more and more players to the NBA you are definitely seeing the competitive gap closing in college basketball. Mid-Majors and non-power programs are landing big recruits and for us the fans providing some entertaining games.
As always with my blog I like to look for interesting angles or numbers to follow within the sports world. Was there anything that happened through the first set of games that caught your eye? What upsets are most likely to happen in the round of 32?
My final blog breaking down the numbers heading into the tourney tomorrow will focus on SOS, KenPom ratings, RPI and record vs. RPI top 50. When picking teams for the bracket we always hear two key factors used by the selection committee, RPI and SOS. The committee places a great deal of emphasis on challenging yourself during the year and winning key games. Below is a chart of all the teams seeded 1 thru 14 with their RPI, SOS and KenPom rating heading into the tournament. During the tournament I want to focus on SOS and if playing a challenging regular season schedule relates to success in the big dance. The main reason for this is every year there are teams scrutinized for not playing a hard enough schedule and either missing out on the tournament or getting punished by seed. Murray State is a good example of a team who finished 30-1 and in the top ten but received a 6 seed. The committee did keep them close to home so now they must prove they can beat better quality teams when it counts. A new stat category I have added to my research this year was the KenPom rating. I’ll admit, I am a little late to the party on this rating and it is well-respected among the college basketball community. I am not going to do anything tricky with this; I want to follow if teams with a higher rating according to him perform better than teams with a lower rating (Even though it was the biggest comeback in NCAA history, BYU was rated higher than Iona in last night’s game). In conclusion, there are endless amounts of data you can analyze when betting college basketball or simply filling out your bracket. I have described what I am going to focus on this year and hopefully something useful will come out of it.
Some notes on the chart:
- RPI, Record vs. RPI top 50 and SOS were all pulled from warrennolan.com team pages.
- KenPom ratings can be found at kenpom.com.
- Ratings are subject to change.
- Teams are in order according to seed.
|Team||Seed||RPI||SOS||KenPom||vs RPI 1-50|
|San Diego St||6||26||58||52||6-6|
|Long Beach St||12||34||123||37||1-6|
|New Mexico St||13||59||116||63||1-3|
|South Dakota St||14||43||180||55||0-0|
As mentioned in a prior blog, I am continuing on with my breakdown of key stats for the March Madness bracket. Now that the field is set I am curious to know if the numbers used to determine which teams make the tourney, their seed and location relate to success in it. This is the second part to my original neutral court success blog I published a couple of weeks ago. Instead of just naming the teams who have succeeded or haven’t on neutral courts, I put together a chart of all the teams seeded 1 through 14 with their neutral court record and neutral court power rating. Remember, the reason this stat jumped out to me, the past 2 national champions both entered the tournament with an undefeated regular season neutral court record and won their conference tournament championship.
To stay consistent with my prior blog I used warrennolan.com to put together the neutral court records. I combined regular season neutral court record with conference tournament record for the chart. In addition to this, I also used the teamrankings.com neutral court power rating. All neutral court wins or losses are not treated equal and some of the websites I researched gave credit to teams for a neutral court win or loss where others did not. Since teamrankings.com takes more factors into account than just overall record I felt cross referencing the two sites would paint a clearer picture.
I know some of these numbers might not tell a perfect story but due to the past couple years and my curiosity I feel this is an important stat to follow for the next few tournaments and track the results. Below you will see the chart breakdown, but 5 teams that jump out at me are Missouri, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Murray State, and Creighton.
Some notes on the chart:
- Chart is in order according to each teams power rating.
- Only teams seeded 1 through 14 were used.
- Only teams in the tournament were pulled from teamrankings.com.
- Harvard had no postseason tourney.
- Teams who have their conference tourney on their home court, wins/losses were not included in the power rating.
|Team||Seed||Neutral Court Power Rating||Neutral and Conference Tourney Record|
|South Dakota St||14||38||8-0|
|Long Beach St||12||50||8-1|
|San Diego St||6||58||4-2|
|New Mexico St||13||63||8-1|
Date: March 8-10, 2012
Location: Thomas & Mack Center Las Vegas, Nevada
Here in Las Vegas it’s that time of year again, NASCAR is in town for the Kobalt Tools 400 and the Mountain West Championship tips off at noon with Boise State taking on two time defending champion San Diego State. A topic of conversation always surrounding this tournament is UNLV benefiting from it being on their home court. UNLV has been a great host the past few years by only winning three games and watching other schools celebrate on their home floor. Even though UNLV enjoys the comfort of playing at home, they definitely have not taken advantage of it and hasn’t won the title since 2008. San Diego State has enjoyed the most success recently in the Thomas and Mack playing in the last three championship games, winning two of them.
Outllook: Heading into todays games you have to look at San Diego State making a fourth consecutive trip to the finals. Earning the number one seed due to a tiebreaker they will either play TCU or Colorado State in the semifinals. This game will not be easy, but unless and upset happens, UNLV and New Mexico will be paired up on the other side of the bracket and will be a much more difficult game to survive. With that being said, I do feel the best possible case for an upset this year will be Colorado State over San Diego State in the semifinals. If the Rams can get past TCU today they might find their best possibilty of advancing to finals since they won the tournament in 2003. Overall, I feel the home court does play an advantage this year and UNLV caps off an undefeated season in the Thomas & Mack.
Odds to win Mountain West Conference tournament:
- UNLV +140
- New Mexico +180
- San Diego State +300
- Colorado State +1000
- Wyoming +2000
- TCU +2000
- Boise State +4000
- Air Force +10000
*Numbers from LVH Superbook
- 12:00 p.m. Bosie State vs San Diego State
- 2:30 p.m. TCU vs Colorado State
- 6:00 p.m. Air Force vs New Mexico
- 8:30 p.m. Wyoming vs UNLV
All-Time Conference Tournament Record:
- UNLV – 20-8 .714
- San Diego State – 16-8 .667
- Colorado State – 7-11 .389
- New Mexico – 7-11 .389
- Wyoming – 7-12 .368
- TCU – 2-6 .250
- Air Force – 2-12 .143
- Boise State – First Appearance
For more Mountain West Tournament hitsory click here.
With my new blog I have been experimenting a little on what subjects to focus on and write about for the upcoming year. As mentioned on my about page, since fantasy is centered on stats and numbers there will be many blogs dedicated to the world of fantasy sports. My day is full of fantasy sports research but I have kept the blogs to a minimum for the time being. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) participation has grown over 60 percent the past four years and there are almost 30 million fantasy sports players in the United States alone. There are countless stats on the industry but one sport I want to focus on in this blog is basketball and my experience.
Most of my fantasy sport blogs will breakdown player stats and recommendations of players I am focused on, avoiding or trying to trade. This blog I am highlighting fantasy basketball as a whole. With the playoffs right around the corner and this season being my first time participating I had some interesting findings. According to the FSTA, fantasy basketball leagues currently sit fourth in popularity behind football, baseball and auto racing. That being said, there are still close to 6 million people participating.
The two styles of leagues I participated in were a yearlong rotisserie style scoring format on ESPN, and a head to head formatted league on Yahoo. As an avid fantasy football player I was automatically attracted to the head to head league through Yahoo. Comparing it to football where your focus is scoring the most points overall, the head to head category match-up is a great format that forces you to focus on all player attributes, strengths and weaknesses. Even though ESPN’s rotisserie league has the same format of stat categories, without the head to head match-up it was hard to stay focused without providing me any gratification of winning or losing at the end of the week. With all the daily fantasy games available online it seems to me the focus on fantasy sports is starting to push towards instant gratification. Overall I have enjoyed the basketball leagues I am participating in and look forward to its growth in the future.
Every major sports league from NBA to NASCAR understands the importance of fantasy sports and its popularity among its fans. Week in and week out it provides someone the opportunity to get involved in a sporting event that their favorite player or team is not involved in. Where do you see the fantasy sports industry going and what sports will be in the forefront in the upcoming years?
The Murray State Racers (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP)
A national ranking for most of the year, 30-1 record, and OVC title are all great accomplishments for this mid-major program. The purpose of this blog is not to criticize their accomplishments but to dig deeper into the numbers behind Murray State. I will also point out that this is the second time in the last three years that they have put together a 30 win season. Back in 2010 they finished 31-5 and upset Vanderbilt in the first round of the tournament.
Come March 11th I’m excited to see where Murray State falls on the bracket. Some of the key stats used to determine seed and location for the tournament may prevent Murray State from the respect they want. Their strength of schedule for the year was 164 and opponents winning percentage was .500 (source: warrennolan.com). Even with a 30-1 record and high national ranking, they are only coming in at 20 on the RPI and KenPom has them ranked 47 with a non-conference strength of schedule at 63. They did however finish the season with an undefeated neutral court and against the top 50 RPI record, which will also be used on selection Sunday.
Now saying all that, almost completing a perfect season heading into the tournament is not something that happens often. They should be shown some respect from the committee but my prediction is that Murray State will be a 5 seed and wind up being on the opposite side mid-majors have grown accustomed to being on in the dreaded 5 vs 12 matchup. In the end, these are all just numbers and the only thing that counts is how you perform in the big dance. Is this team second weekend material? We will soon have our answer.