Penn State has been playing like a top 50 team


#1

Not my words, nor even words of some of the optimist trolls around here.

No, that’s the Big Ten Geeks who said that:

Penn State is looking like a team nobody wants to face in the Big Ten Tournament. Consider their month of February: the Nittany Lions played 7 games and finished the month with a 3-4 record. The average Pomeroy rating of their opponents (as of this morning) was 39.9, and their overall efficiency margin for the month was an even zero. It's admittedly a small sample size, but this suggests that Penn State has been playing like a top 50 team in the month of February, and they've climbed up to #88 in Pomeroy's ratings.

#2

I was actually going to comment today that PSU is up to 87th in the Pomeroy rating and 95th in the Sagarin Predictor (which Sagarin says is his best rating for predicting future results). In the Pomeroy rating, we’re ahead of teams like Charlotte, La Tech, and Akron (all on the fringes of the bubble over the last few weeks). Our NIT team of 2005-2006 only finished 117th in the Pomeroy ratings. Still have a long ways to go, but things are not quite as bad as they seem to many heading into next year.


#3

Where are we in the “unluckiest teams” ranking? We have to have moved down (or is it up?) several spots. I’m guessing that winning 3 of 4 means you were lucky instead of unlucky.


#4

Still 2nd to last in the country, just ahead of Holy Cross.


#5
[quote="mjg, post:3, topic:903"]Where are we in the "unluckiest teams" ranking? We have to have moved down (or is it up?) several spots. I'm guessing that winning 3 of 4 means you were lucky instead of unlucky.[/quote]

Still 2nd to last in the country, just ahead of Holy Cross.

Wonder what our record would look like if we were in the middle of that ranking – kinda the average of this year vs. last year.


#6

Top 50 because PSU beat a sub .500 team and a non-dancing team twice? Oh boy… ???


#7

Pomeroy numbers don’t care about who you are playing. Everything is adjusted to the level of competition.


#8
[quote="mjg, post:3, topic:903"]Where are we in the "unluckiest teams" ranking? We have to have moved down (or is it up?) several spots. I'm guessing that winning 3 of 4 means you were lucky instead of unlucky.[/quote]

Still 2nd to last in the country, just ahead of Holy Cross.

Wonder what our record would look like if we were in the middle of that ranking – kinda the average of this year vs. last year.

Not sure how the math works on that - as somebody said, we’re like 87th via his rankings. If our luck were completely average, meaning we played right about to our ranking… I guess we’d probably be a few games higher, but not sure how many off hand.


#9

People are surprised by a stat like this because they think “ohh it’s just Northwestern”. But two weeks ago Northwestern was on the NCAA bubble. Had Northwestern beat PSU twice instead of the other way around, Northwestern could be on its way to the big dance. So beating a team twice that was a bubble team is going to help your ratings. Winning a road game at Michigan is a decent win also. And the one loss is a relatively close game to a Top 10 team, which will help strength of schedule. The loss before the winning streak was to a highly ranked Michigan St game. So yeah, in the last 7 games, it’s not surprising that PSU has been playing like a Top 50 team. Considering the next two games are against highly ranked team, win or lose, PSU will still be above average in the last 9 games. (after the final two bigten games)

The thing about playing in a high RPI conference like the BigTen is that there are no gimme games like there are in mid-major conferences. So the fact that PSU is higher in statistical categories when compared to teams like Charlotte, La Tech, and Akron is because PSU has a much tougher schedule than these teams. Being tied for last place in the BigTen is like the middle of the pack in a lot of these mid-major conferences, and some of those middle of the pack mid-major teams are currently on the bubble. There’s talk that up to 5 teams from the A-10 could make the dance for example.


#10

Not exactly. 2 weeks ago (lets say right after they beat Minnesota), Northwestern was probably at the peak of their bubble capacity. However, they were still not even the “next 4 out”, AKA they weren’t in the Top 8 of teams out of the tournament. You’re saying 2 wins over bottom feeding PSU would have propelled them past 8 teams? In a normal year, not even close. But this year? They would probably be between #4-#8 of the first 8 teams left out of the field.

NW would be 20-9 (9-8), SOS 100-110 and RPI in the 70s. 1-6 vs Top 50 and 1 200+ Loss. That is not tournament worthy.

However, it doesn’t really matter what Northwestern was. They aren’t dancing this year… so the fact still remains that PSU has beaten a sub .500 team in Michigan and beat a non-dancing Sub 100 RPI team in Northwestern twice. The positives in these 3 wins were consistency and two of the wins were on the road.


#11
[quote="mjg, post:3, topic:903"]Where are we in the "unluckiest teams" ranking? We have to have moved down (or is it up?) several spots. I'm guessing that winning 3 of 4 means you were lucky instead of unlucky.[/quote]

Still 2nd to last in the country, just ahead of Holy Cross.

Wonder what our record would look like if we were in the middle of that ranking – kinda the average of this year vs. last year.

Not sure how the math works on that - as somebody said, we’re like 87th via his rankings. If our luck were completely average, meaning we played right about to our ranking… I guess we’d probably be a few games higher, but not sure how many off hand.

It’s simple. Luck is defined as the difference between what you efficiency ratings say your winning percentage should be and what it actually is. Pomeroy says we are -.134. Since our actual winning percentage is 11-17 or .393, Pomeroy is saying it should be .393 plus .134 or .527. So according to our efficiency ratings our record should be 14.75-13.25 or rounded to 15-13.


#12
[quote="mjg, post:3, topic:903"]Where are we in the "unluckiest teams" ranking? We have to have moved down (or is it up?) several spots. I'm guessing that winning 3 of 4 means you were lucky instead of unlucky.[/quote]

Still 2nd to last in the country, just ahead of Holy Cross.

Wonder what our record would look like if we were in the middle of that ranking – kinda the average of this year vs. last year.

Not sure how the math works on that - as somebody said, we’re like 87th via his rankings. If our luck were completely average, meaning we played right about to our ranking… I guess we’d probably be a few games higher, but not sure how many off hand.

It’s simple. Luck is defined as the difference between what you efficiency ratings say your winning percentage should be and what it actually is. Pomeroy says we are -.134. Since our actual winning percentage is 11-17 or .393, Pomeroy is saying it should be .393 plus .134 or .527. So according to our efficiency ratings our record should be 14.75-13.25 or rounded to 15-13.

Thanks, I knew it couldn’t be too confusing - just wasn’t willing to put any thought or research into it.


#13

They aren’t dancing this year because PSU swept them. Had they won the two PSU games, Northwestern would be right on the bubble with 20 wins and a chance to finish 10-8 in conference. They would be right square on the bubble had they won the two games versus Penn St.

Not true. Michigan was 13-12 when they played Penn State. That’s above .500. Prior to the PSU game, Michigan was on a 2 game winning streak with wins on the road at Minnesota and at Iowa. Since the PSU loss, they lost 2 more consecutive games. The loss to PSU could have single-handedly kept Michigan from the NIT. They play Minnesota tonight so we’ll see if they can stop the bleeding. But Michigan had a winning record over when they played PSU with a chance to get to 500 in BigTen play (7-7, they were 6-7 at the time). Those are the facts.

Northwestern is a non-dancing team single-handedly due to the two losses to Penn State. Had Northwestern won those two games, Northwestern would still be in contention for the NCAA tournament. noobd, there’s no reason to downplay the wins that PSU had. It’s not like PSU beat Iowa and Indiana, teams with worse overall records than PSU. Penn State’s victories over these teams changed the course of Michigan’s and Northwestern’s seasons. That’s just the way it is, and there’s no way around that.

Agreed. But the teams PSU beat did not have losing records. The teams PSU beat won big games this season. Michigan beat Ohio State and UConn in January. Michigan was a tournament team last year and was on their way to the NIT. Now that is in serious jeopardy due to the loss to PSU.

The positives were consistency and road wins, but it was also against teams who had big wins on their resume this season and teams that were on their way to the postseason.

If PSU would have beaten Indiana twice and Iowa once instead of Northwestern twice and Michigan once, the wins wouldn’t have been as significant.


#14

Well I guess we disagree. My last post outlined that Northwestern still wouldn’t be in the tournament if they beat PSU twice. I mean they could win a few more games in a row and then yes, they would be in the tournament, but at this point they aren’t.

What I’m trying to say is that Northwestern is NOT a tournament because of the fact that they lost to PSU twice. If they had beaten PSU, in your statement they would be tournament material, fair enough. HOWEVER, PSU wouldn’t have beaten Northwestern twice and this discussion wouldn’t even be happening… follow?

Same goes for Michigan. They lost to Illinois and @OSU after PSU. Do you really think they can win those games more than half the time? It wasn’t because they lost to PSU that they lost those two games. They are a sub .500 team. Even if they were 14-15 right now, the fact that they are bad enough to lose to PSU means they deserve to be sub .500. If they won the game, this conversation wouldn’t be happening…

Its hard to explain what I’m saying, hopefully you can follow it.


#15
the fact that they are bad enough to lose to PSU means they deserve to be sub .500.

This logic makes no sense.


#16

PSUChamp08 is trying to discount Michigan’s loss to PSU and blaming the loss to PSU for their two losses to Illinois and @OSU. HOWEVER, the fact that they DID lose to PSU means that they deserve to be below .500. If they lose to a bottom dweller such as PSU, how can one simply discount the game?

Losing a game to PSU is the ingredient that makes them sub .500. Of course out taking the ingredient that makes them a sub .500 team will help their statistical case to be .500. But even then they they aren’t above .500. Isn’t PSUChamp basically saying besides 3 losses, Michigan is a .500 team? Well a lot of teams would be if we look at it that way.

I just don’t really know a good way to explain this… LOL. I mean it really shouldn’t even matter. With or without the win against PSU they are below .500 and I just checked their schedule and they beat a non-D1 opponent, so technically they are actually 12-15… right? With games against Minnesota and @MSU they will probably end up 12-17 or 13-17 if you want to look at it that way. Either way I see it, Michigan is NOT .500.


#17
Losing a game to PSU is the ingredient that makes them sub .500

But this makes no sense. If PSU upsets Purdue and Michigan State this week, that doesn’t mean both those teams are now deserving of sub .500 records.

You’re basically punishing PSU for beating teams by saying that if they’re bad enough to lose to us, they can’t be very good teams to begin with. That doesn’t make any sense - good teams lose to worse teams all the time. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the winning team is better on the whole, or worse on the whole as a result of just that one game.


#18

But this makes no sense. If PSU upsets Purdue and Michigan State this week, that doesn’t mean both those teams are now deserving of sub .500 records.

You’re basically punishing PSU for beating teams by saying that if they’re bad enough to lose to us, they can’t be very good teams to begin with. That doesn’t make any sense - good teams lose to worse teams all the time. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the winning team is better on the whole, or worse on the whole as a result of just that one game.[/quote]

I think I am more stupid for having read this thread.


#19

noobd, you stated that “PSU has beaten a sub .500 team in Michigan” That’s not true because when PSU played Michigan, Michigan was 13-12, an above .500 record. So PSU didn’t beat a sub .500 Michigan team. PSU in fact beat an above .500 Michigan team. Now Michigan lost a few more games and happens to be sub .500. But, to say that PSU beat a sub .500 team is not accurate and makes the PSU win look worse than it actually was. When the game was played, Michigan was not a sub .500 team. To say that takes away from the win PSU had and is not accurate.

I am not trying to discount Michigan’s loss to PSU. It seemed like you were trying discount PSU’s win over Michigan by saying PSU beat a sub .500 Michigan team. 13-12 is above .500, therefore PSU clearly beat an above .500 Michigan team.

By saying this, it seems like you are basically belittling PSU’s win, and it doesn’t make sense to me why you would say that. Stating that any team that loses to PSU deserves to be below .500 doesn’t make sense. By saying this you are taking away PSU’s accomplishment, making it sound like PSU beat the scum of the earth and it doesn’t matter. Even though Michigan is sometimes referred to as scUM, they were an above .500 team when they played PSU and could have got to 500 in the conference with a win over PSU. This suggests that Michigan was a middle of the pack BigTen team in a top RPI conference, hardly a walkover opponent. They beat teams like Ohio St, Minnesota, and UConn, teams that are contending for the tournament.

You are the one who seems to be discounting the game by by stating that PSU beat a sub .500 Michigan team. They have become a sub .500 team only after they lost to PSU. The team PSU beat was clearly an above .500 overall team in the middle of the pack of the BigTen.

Losing a game to PSU is just one game in the season. It isn’t any more or less important than any other game when it comes to a team’s record. A .500 record is an average of wins vs losses. Northwestern lost to PSU twice and they are still an above .500 team. Virginia lost to PSU and they are still an above .500 team. So yeah I guess it’s an ingredient, but no more or less than any other game when it comes to being below, above, or at .500.

The games that determine whether Michigan is a .500 team or not after the PSU game has been their subsequent two losses. Had they won those games, they’d be above .500. Had they won one and lost one, they’d be at .500. But it still doesn’t change the fact that when PSU played Michigan, Michigan was an above .500 team. To say PSU beat a sub .500 Michigan team isn’t accurate. They may be sub .500 now. Judging by the point differential of their last two games, the loss to PSU may have hurt Michigan’s confidence. So indeed perhaps losing to PSU was a large ingredient to them currently being sub .500. But that’s more of a result of the collateral damage in terms of confidence and morale then anything else. And these things are indeed harder to quantify than wins and losses. This is why I said that loss changed the course of Michigan’s season and likely prevented them from playing in the postseason.

No, that’s not what I said. All I said was that when PSU played Michigan, Michigan was 13-12. So to say PSU beat a sub .500 Michigan team is not only not accurate, but also makes PSU’s win not worse than it actually is. They may be sub .500 now, but the team PSU beat in Ann Arbor was a 13-12 team with wins over Ohio St, Minnesota, and UConn.

Heh. noobd, I appreciate your comments. I think it’s hard to explain because PSU didn’t beat a sub .500 team but rather an above .500 team. It’s basically semantics that we differ on. (their record when PSU beat them vs their record now) It is true that Michigan is currently now below .500. I felt it important to point out that Michigan was on a winning streak when PSU beat them and they were at the time 13-12. Michigan has been hovering around .500 all season and that suggests that PSU’s win over UM was a decent to above average road win at the time. (considering that Michigan had a decent conference record at the time and beat some potential NCAA teams throughout the season)

It was like last year when PSU beat Georgia Tech on the road in the non conference. At the time, no one knew how good Georgia Tech was going to be. They had a pretty good non conference record even though they didn’t play anyone of note. Then Georgia Tech lost a lot of close ACC games and had one of their worse conference records in a long time, and then the bracketoligists discounted PSU’s win over Georgia Tech since by the end of the season Georgia Tech had a sub .500 record, and as a result, that was one of the factors that resulted in PSU not getting selected for the tournament. This year, Georgia Tech has been having much more success in conference and has been ranked in the Top 25 throughout the season. At the time PSU won at Georgia Tech, it was a statement win for PSU. Just like PSU’s win at Virginia this year was a statement win for PSU. This is a flaw in how a lot of the expert’s evaluate teams. They fail to really take the time to analyze in detail the quality of the wins when they happen since teams can get better or worse as the season goes on and it’s hard to predict such things going into the season. (DeChellis has stated this many times when asked about the non conference schedule. This year, for example, PSU played a slighty tougher non conference schedule, which satisfied many people who criticized PSU’s non conference schedule last year. But when the BigTen season started, PSU had already been in a few wars, lost some tough games against quality teams and ended up losing 12 straight BigTen games before finally getting their confidence back. This is why it’s very difficult to create a schedule when you are an up and coming team in a major conference)

Like to say Northwestern isn’t that good of a win because they aren’t a tournament team fails to take into account the fact that had Northwestern won those games they’d still have a chance to be what you say they aren’t. (a tournament team) It’s true that a basketball season is cumulative and if this happened or that happened we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but the losses to PSU that Northwestern suffered were a tipping point in their season. On the flipside, those wins kept alive PSU’s chance to improve it’s BTT seed from an 11 seed to a 10 seed, or possibly the 9 seed. It kept alive PSU’s chance to get out of last place in the BigTen and into a better seed for the BTT. It remains to be seen whether PSU can indeed improve this seed just like it remains to be seen whether or not Michigan can win tonight and give themselves a chance to get into the NIT. Keep this in mind though. Lets say PSU was playing Iowa and Indiana a second time this week instead of Michigan St and Purdue a second time. If that were the case, then I think most would agree that PSU would have a good chance of winning one or both of those games and would control their own destiny to get the 9 seed. Instead, PSU has to play two teams tied for 1st place in the BigTen. It’s just the luck of the draw as BigTen schedules are decided before the season started.

Michigan may be a .500 team now, but the team that PSU beat was an above .500 Michigan team. They were 13-12. This is a fact. And there’s no way to know whether or not Michigan would have won one or both of their last two games had they found a way to beat PSU. We’ll never know. To your point, noobd, losing to PSU could have demoralized Michigan and affected their ability to beat Illinois or Ohio State. Michigan did beat Ohio State by 9 points on January 3rd, so there could be some truth to this. Ohio State has been on a roll so their morale is higher then Michigan’s at the moment.


#20

I’m sure this won’t settle anything but, for the record, when Penn State’s opponent’s records are calculated for inclusion in the formula for figuring out PSU’s RPI, Penn State’s games against those opponents will be backed out of the calculation (as will their games against non D1 schools).

So, for Penn State’s RPI purposes, Michigan is considered to have a 13-14 record and NW is considered to have an 18-9 record.