Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Basketball Wednesday

I'm experimenting with theme days for the blog, like other bloggers have. This week is Judgment Week on ESPN, where we start condemning teams to a post-season outside the NCAA tournament. For #1 Tennessee, Judgment Week meant they had to play in Nashville, which is like playing in hell, and so they were judged "unworthy" of being #1 any longer.

In honor of Judgment Week, I thought I'd post Kentucky's RPI progression from the last time I posted it, as calculated by Ken Pomeroy. I keep a spreadsheet updated with all the Pomeroy team stats, ratings, RPI and Sagarin ratings that I update the morning of and after every UK game. I'm the only person I know that does this.

The RPI wouldn't be so bad if they'd change their weights. You can be a team with very few road wins and still have a decent RPI simply because you played those road games.
Kentucky was blown out at Vandy, but saw their RPI increase by 4 points by virtue of having played a good team on the road. It jumped 12 points by beating a terrible LSU team on the road.

Click to enlarge. Going into the Ole Miss game, Kentucky's RPI is 65, and Strength of Schedule is 12. Given that Ole Miss has a good overall winning %, the win should bump us up about as much as the Arkansas win did.

RPI matters to the Tournament Selection Committee. The DanceCard website is run by some statisticians to predict who the committee will select, and is 93.3% accurate. They use the old RPI formula in their calculations (why?), with which Kentucky is rated #46.

DanceCard is updated weekly. On February 3rd, DanceCard rated Kentucky the 83rd most tournament-worthy team, giving them slim chances of making the tourny. The improvement has averaged about 10 spots a week, and Kentucky is now considered the 43rd most-worthy team. Removing the teams that will receive automatic bids, Kentucky is now considered IN the tourny by DanceCard.


Matt McKee said...

I thought it was Sign Wednesday not Basketball Wednesday. . . I think it is hard to imagine Kentucky making it to the tournament unless they win the SEC tourney. I know that the numbers may say different. I would love to see it but I don't expect it.

JTapp said...

We're on our way to 11 or 12 wins in the SEC, and a top-3 overall finish in conference. No team with 10 wins or more has ever not been invited. Being the #2 or #3 team in the conference will merit the bid.

If we get those 11 wins, we'll have beaten several other teams trying to get in ahead of us. We can almost eliminate Florida by beating them at home. A loss at UT will boost our RPI considerably as well (and a win would probably knock us up another 15 spots).

It's not done yet, we could still tank. But, 2 more wins should get us in.

TaylorW said...

with all that said: WILL WE MAKE THE TOURNEY?

JTapp said...

If we don't lose at home (meaning we beat Florida), then I think we're definitely in. I think we have to win @South Carolina too. That will lock us, 100%, in with 12 wins in conference. If a 12-win team in any of the Big 6 conferences gets shut while 7-win teams make it in then something is seriously wrong.