Monday, May 11, 2009

Factoid that Might Only be Interesting to me and Peter King


I'm not much of a betting man, but I do like to try and observe trends. Thanks to the upa site listing past champions, I wanted to look and see if what has happened in past years can help predict who can win this year.

A simple listing of past champions and the top four teams tells us a very very small piece of the puzzle. However, a very interesting trend emerges on the men's side:
  • Since 2000, only two teams (Florida 06 and Stanford 02) have ever won the title without finishing in the top 4 at the previous year's finals.
On the women's side, we see a similar set of trends
  • Only one team (UC Davis Pleiades in 2004) was able to win a Finals title without being in the top 4 the previous year.
What does this suggest? It very weakly suggests that although a team can walk into the finals and win on both sides of the bracket, the teams that win (as of 2000) are usually knocking on the championship door year(s) prior to their victory.

It also suggests that despite Ottawa's talent and Canada's high hopes, they might have the odds stacked against them to win it. UC Santa Barbara, UCLA and Washington all experienced the final four last year and return this year. In fact, the two teams with the highest RRI (Oregon and Wisconsin) have lost games to Washnington and UCSB. These teams have experience and they are winning big games this year going into the finals.

On the men's side, Carleton College, Wisconsin and Colorado all made the final four last year and are back in 2009.

The game is changing at the college level and we all see it when we look at the athletes. It really isn't a sport where a team can be assembled and win it all in one season. That means the ability of a school to plan and commit to a multi year recruit and development program is much more vital. I find that exciting and look forward to better approaches from teams that help develop the game.

So, who is your pick to win the open and women's crowns and why?


Bill Mill said...

> they might have the odds stacked against them

Having "the odds stacked against you" means either that somebody is cheating or you're playing in an intrinsically unbalanced game.

Neither of these conditions are present in this case, so I believe that it is false to say that the odds are stacked against them.

Sport Management Steven said...

I'm no expert in colloquial phrases.. even the ones I use... so I'll have to trust you on that.

My meaning was simply that Ottawa may be less likely to win than Washington UCLA or UCSB. In the last 10 years, 88% of the winners this decade were in the final four the year before. So, maybe we should temper our expectations for Ottawa.

I'd like to be wrong on this and think any of the 20 teams going in can win this year, and that they all have the same odds of winning. But, for reasons of talent and experience, that's not the case.

lank89 said...

On the Womens side i think UCSB is the most likely to win. They have a very similar roster to the one that made finals last year and took half against UBC.

Open side i'm not so sure about. I have a good feeling about Colorado this year. But we will definitely hear from the Central Region before the weekend is over. Also interested in seeing how Virginia does after take the AC.
I know i'm really going out on a limb here... but the point of this article is that the top teams are usually going to stay there for a while.