Thursday, March 13, 2008

SOS and Tourney Preview

Let's start with strength of schedule. This year (unlike last year) I made a home-road adjustment. I split each team's games up into home games and road games, measured points and possessions for each, and based my adjustment off that. So, for example, only Wake's home games count toward Duke's strength of schedule, only Maryland's road games count toward UNC's strength of schedule, etc. For reference, here are the home/road numbers:

Home Efficiency Margin
UNC - 18.88
Duke - 18.27
Clemson - 13.47
Virginia Tech - 9.53
Wake Forest - 9.37
Boston College - 5.29
Miami - 4.51
Maryland - 3.16
Georgia Tech - 2.49
Virginia - -0.74
Florida State - -3.41
NC State - -4.68

Road Efficiency Margin
UNC - 9.79
Duke - 8.77
Clemson - -0.66
Georgia Tech - -4.32
Maryland - -5.56
Florida State - -6.76
Miami - -7.20
Virginia Tech - -7.75
Virginia - -9.82
Wake Forest - -15.60
Boston College - -19.22
NC State - -22.83

UNC and Duke clearly dominated the league - they were the only teams with positive margins on the road. Teams with notable home/road splits are Wake and BC (although both splits are influenced by BC's shellacking of Wake early in the year), and the most "road immune" team (in terms of difference between home margin and road margin) was, surprisingly, Georgia Tech.

So as I said, this year SOS was calculated using the site-based efficiency numbers above, rather than just the overall numbers. Here's what everyone's schedule looked like.

Offense (ranked from hardest opponent defense to easiest)
NC State - 103.18
North Carolina - 103.75
Virginia - 103.83
Miami - 103.87
Duke - 104.14
Boston College - 104.19
Maryland - 104.23
Georgia Tech - 104.41
Wake Forest - 104.88
Florida State - 104.99
Clemson - 105.02
Virginia Tech - 106.39

Defense (ranked from hardest opponent offense to easiest)
Virginia Tech - 105.87
Miami - 105.47
Georgia Tech - 105.13
Duke - 104.83
Florida State - 104.65
NC State - 104.38
Wake Forest - 103.97
Maryland - 103.91
Virginia - 103.82
Clemson - 103.49
North Carolina -103.66
Boston College - 103.49

Overall (using efficiency margin, ranked from hardest to easiest)
Miami - +1.59
NC State - +1.21
Georgia Tech - +0.72
Duke - +0.69
Virginia - -0.02
North Carolina - -0.09
Maryland - -0.32
Florida State - -0.34
Virginia Tech - -0.52
Boston College - -0.70
Wake Forest - -0.91
Clemson - -1.31

Miami had to play the 6 toughest road teams this season, and travel to 5 of the 6 toughest home courts. That makes for a tough conference schedule. Clemson, on the other hand, got to host 6 of the 7 weakest road teams and traveled to the 6 weakest road teams. Those two squads had almost polar opposite schedules, which could (in part) explain why one went 10-6 and the other 8-8. Overall, however, there's much less schedule-based adjustment in the standings this season than last season. The seeds tracked efficiency margin remarkably well - here's the unadjusted margin standings, with the ACCT seed in brackets:

UNC (1)
Duke (2)
Clemson (3)
Virginia Tech (4)
Georgia Tech (7)
Maryland (6)
Miami (5)
Wake Forest (8)
Florida State (9)
Virginia (10)
Boston College (11)
NC State (12)

When you factor in the adjustments, Miami leapfrogs all the way past Virginia Tech, and Virginia and FSU swap places. And that's it.

ACC Tournament

Here are the odds for each team progressing through the tournament. Not surprisingly, Duke and UNC are heavy favorites to make it to the finals, and nearly 90% of the scenarios feature one of the two teams winning. Their odds would be even closer, except that UNC has (by virtue of the 1 seed) a slightly easier path.

Quarters Semis Finals Win
1 North Carolina 100.00% 92.71% 80.53% 47.56%
2 Duke
100.00% 88.84% 71.28% 40.53%
3 Clemson 100.00% 74.71% 21.07% 6.62%
4 Virginia Tech 100.00% 55.03% 9.44% 1.99%
5 Miami
84.09% 42.41% 7.37% 1.58%
6 Maryland 68.97% 20.37% 3.13% 0.56%
7 Georgia Tech 66.29% 8.74% 3.49% 0.70%
8 Wake Forest 54.39% 4.26% 1.55% 0.21%
9 Florida State 45.61% 3.03% 0.99% 0.12%
10 Virginia
33.71% 2.42% 0.63% 0.08%
11 Boston College 31.03% 4.92% 0.40% 0.04%
12 NC State 15.91% 2.57% 0.12% 0.01%

These numbers reflect just how much the league properly sorted itself out this year. Georgia Tech is the only team (at the expense of Maryland) whose odds of winning are better than a higher seeded team.

Wake Forest-Florida State
Wake has taken both games from the Noles this year - the first by 17 in Winston-Salem, and the second by 8 at FSU. That latter win is Wake Forest's only road victory on the season. Without Isaiah Swann around, FSU will have trouble matching backcourts, and Chas MacFarland has played extremely well against the FSU front-court. Wake has shot 50% from beyond the arc against the Noles this season - Florida State will have to improve on that if they hope to spring the mild upset.

Miami-NC State
Miami was in the 5-12 game last year as well, but as the 12, rather than the 5. However, as with last season, the 12 seed won the only matchup between the two teams, as NC State held on for a 79-77 overtime victory at the RBC back in January. Miami was victimized in that game by extremely hot shooting from NCSU -11 of 18 from 3. The Canes are in a dangerous place - teams are desperately trying to play themselves off the bubble, and a frst-round loss to a last place NC State team would leave Miami at 8-9 in ACC play.

Georgia Tech-Virginia
Each team has taken a contest on the other's home court in thrilling fashion, with the Jackets needing overtime to win at the JPJ and Virginia knocking in a last-second shot to return the favor in the leak-free Thriller Dome. Although Georgia Tech is the higher seed, the two teams are trending in opposite directions. Georgia Tech has an e-margin of -5 over its last 8 games, while the Cavaliers post a positive 4.8 over their last seven (since Lars the Lithuanian returned). If Virginia could have maintained that over the whole season, it would place them 4th in conference play.

Maryland-Boston College

Way back when, these two teams opened the conference season with BC recording a win at Maryland (on the back of 25 more free throw attempts than the turtles). Maryland returned the favor (without the dramatic free throw advantage) back in February. The Terps hope they can get the rubber match and begin salvaging hope of an NCAA bid after dropping back-to-back contests to Clemson and Virginia (and losing 4 out of 5 on the whole). Maryland was able to neutralize Ty Rice in the last contest, holding him to just 13 points, his lowest output of the conference season. They'll have to try for similar results tomorrow.

For the sake of making myself look foolish, predictions: Wake Forest, Miami, Virginia, Boston College.

1 comment:

Paul Rugani said...

Off to an 0-1 start already. And that loud "gulp" you hear coming from Chapel Hill is Tar Heel fans thinking about Tyler Hansbrough having to go 35 minutes against an FSU team with nothing to play for and a legitimate head-case in Ryan Reid.