PennStateHoops.com Discussion Forum

Nate Silver on rating the Big East

Big East overrated?

One of the times that I am happy about the numerical illiteracy among sports people. If they want to say the Big East is overrated based on this past weekend, who am I to argue? :slight_smile:

“The search term Big East basketball returns more than twice as many press hits in Google News as the same search for Pac 10 basketball. The league also gets 50 percent more media coverage than the Big Ten.”

Based on this scientific empirical evidence, I quit reading. Did I miss anything important in the rest of the article?

Stat geeks make my eyes bleed. Blaah-bluh-blaah-bluh-blaah…

Ok, 50% more coverage, but how many more TEAMS tdo they have??? That’s the thing that always gets me. Just because they have more teams in total doesn’t make them a better conference.

I’ve been screaming how overrated I think this conference is for years now, just based on the fact that they don’t win as many titles or make as many final fours as some other conferences (specifically the big10) yet get all the press and reputation it seems.

If you want to tell me they have more teams in the 10-50 range than other conferences (most years), fine. But that’s mostly just a matter of size right now. Big freaking deal. If that’s your definition of the best conference than i guess you’ve found it. It’s not mine, however.

Although, in watching a lot of games very closely these past two weeks I’ve noticed quite a few conferences that apparently just don’t play defense whatsoever… and meanwhile, the big10 continually gets hated on for being “slow” or low-scoring, yet it’s amazing how many of these “high-scoring” squads from other conferences don’t look quite so high powered against a real defense.

A team like UNC should be embarrassed of their defensive performances this past weekend, just completely ashamed. I have no idea what they were doing out there.

Roy brings in McD all-americans every year. They stay for a year or two, then off to the NBA. This kids are all scorers of the highest pedigree… Roy’s big challenge is to get them to play “D”. The years he gets through to them, they are unstoppable. The years he can’t, they play AAU-style ball and that’s enough to get them to the regionals just on their ability to outscore people.

I used to laugh at Dean Smith’s record of consecutive sweet 16’s. Yes, it was quite the feat, but it was also a factor of getting a 1 or 2 seed every year and never having to play anyone higher than a 7 seed to get to the sweet 16 every year.

[quote=“Tom, post:2, topic:2225”]“The search term Big East basketball returns more than twice as many press hits in Google News as the same search for Pac 10 basketball. The league also gets 50 percent more media coverage than the Big Ten.”

Based on this scientific empirical evidence, I quit reading. Did I miss anything important in the rest of the article?[/quote]

Did you realize that the PAC 10 has only had 1 team in the Sweet 16 for each of the past 3 years?

That is a conference on a downhill slide.

"The search term Big East basketball returns more than twice as many press hits in Google News as the same search for Pac 10 basketball. The league also gets 50 percent more media coverage than the Big Ten."

Based on this scientific empirical evidence, I quit reading. Did I miss anything important in the rest of the article?

Did you realize that the PAC 10 has only had 1 team in the Sweet 16 for each of the past 3 years?

That is a conference on a downhill slide.

True, but what’s that have to do with how Google News serves up result? You get different numbers if you show by “relevance” and by “date”. Google news includes message board posts, blogs and other fan-based reports. It includes duplicate stories (ie, AP wire stuff). And the fact the Big East has several more teams certainly affects the web-based coverage, too.

Google’s “count” for Web searches is famously bad. For example, searching for something like “DVD” can result in fewer results than searching for “DVD movies”, which should be a subset of the first search. If Google news does it the same way, then the count is meaningless.

I don’t know that Nate Silver follows the ins and outs of SEO/SEM geekdom, but the rest of his stuff is on point.

I posted something similar in regards to the Big East on FOS.

I think the reason the Big East gets billed as the best conference is because of the depth of the conference. They had 11 NCAA Tournament teams this season, and you cannot argue with the competition. Here is where the media/fans/analysts make their mistake though. They confuse with the most competition as having the most great teams. When in fact, they could be just a bunch of good teams who aren’t very different from one another.

Look at the two Big East teams in the Sweet 16: 11 seed - Marquette, and 3 seed - UConn, and who did they beat to get there? Big East teams. Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, St. John’s, and Georgetown all lost to teams seeded 10th or higher. They don’t get beaten up by their “treacherous” run through their Conference Tournament, and Regular Season. The truth is that the teams just aren’t as good as advertised.

IMO, the only Big East team that I really thought could make a Final 4 run was UConn. They are still in it, and I think have a decent chance to get there with San Diego State, and a much more maligned Duke than last season [even though they are still pretty great].

Is it overrated? Yes. But that’s the media’s fault. It’s clear that coaches, and players from other conferences aren’t afraid of the Big East, so why are they put on this pedestal? The SEC is NOT overrated in football, and that’s easily shown by their success rate come bowl season. Whereas, the Big East has only won one national title since 2004 [“only” isn’t meant to demean their championships, but just point out it’s not as dominant].

ESPN is mainly the ones to blame for the Big East’s hype, and that will likely continue as long as they [the Big East] continue to draw them good ratings.

The Big East was very good this season. I’d say it’s the best conference (with the Big Ten close behind), however they underperformed in March. I wouldn’t use this small sample size though as some absolute proof that the Big East wasn’t that good or was “overrated”. They got 11 in the dance and deserved 11 in the dance, simply because 10 team from that conference were part of the 37 best at-large teams available.

Throw out “media bias” and “ESPN” and all that stuff, and you’ll see a conference that ended up #1 in the RPI, #2 in Pomeroy, and #2 in Sagarin. I’d say they’re properly rated as a very good basketball conference.

Another thing with the Big East is that the bottom of it is really atrocious. The 5 teams that didn’t make the tournament (Seton Hall, Rutgers, Providence, South Florida, and DePaul) went 6-56 against the 11 that made the tournament. That’s a .091 winning percentage. The bottom four were 3-46 or .061. So on average the tournament teams had only a half a loss against the bottom 5 and only a quarter of a loss against the bottom 4.

For comparison, the four Big Ten teams that didn’t make the tournament (NW, Minn, Iowa, IU) went 8-40 or .167 against the 7 teams that made the tournament. That was an average of 1.14 losses per tournament team.

This isn’t saying that the Big East doesn’t have a lot of good teams. It’s just that the winning teams records are a little inflated because the bottom teams aren’t really competitive at all.

Often stats get used to bullet something that could be stated as obvious. At that point, the question “why?” is relevant.

I think the Big East DID deserve 11 bids and IS a really deep conference. Remember in its current form it is essentially a merger of the old Big East with the top layer of Conference USA.

Still, the way some people talk about the Big East it would have to be the NBA Western Conference to NOT be overrated. Sorry Dave, but here are some numbers (just a couple, though). On a percentage basis, the Big East bids (11/16 = 68%) were not much different from the Big Ten (7/11 = 64%), yet one is “historic, amazing, etc.” and the other isn’t even worth mentioning in the media.

Journalists and numbers are not on speaking terms. Remember, we evolved to be “just good enough.” You can still sell a lot of papers and get paid a lot of TV $$$ and not have the slightest inkling of numbers.

I am not a statistics guy (but I hire them!), but it is doubtful that the tournament results really tell us anything definitive about the Big East. But as I said, for purposes of Schadenfreude, I will overlook the ignorance now during the Big East bashing period.