Monday, January 3, 2011

Predicting the MIAA Race

I like your pin. I was wondering that myself.

This season is going by way too fast. We're on the cusp of conference play, but how's it going to end?

Here's what the MIAA coaches thought before the season began:

RankTeamPoints
1Hope9 (6)
2Calvin14 (2)
3Olivet17
4Adrian28
5Albion30
6Kalamazoo38
6Trine38
8Alma49

But things have changed since then.

Hope has lost senior guard, and All-America candidate, Peter Bunn for the season due to injury, but maybe they had enough breathing room already built in. Trine has had a strong showing in the non-conference, but they've played a relatively weak schedule. Olivet has had flashes of brilliance, but they've been plagued by inconsistency.

Here's how the MIAA's teams have performed in the non-conference (sorted by W-L percentage):

TeamW L PCT
Trine 830.727
Hope 740.636
Albion 650.545
Adrian 550.500
Calvin 560.455
Olivet 560.455
Alma 460.400
Kalamazoo 380.273

Kenneth Massey takes the season's results to date, and gives each team an expected win-loss total for their remaining games based on his ranking system. Here's how he predicts the MIAA teams to fare in conference play:

TeamE[W]E[L]PCT
Hope11.382.620.813
Calvin10.013.990.715
Olivet9.114.890.651
Albion7.376.630.526
Trine6.717.290.479
Adrian5.348.660.381
Kalamazoo3.7910.210.271
Alma2.2911.710.164

It's actually not that far off of the coaches poll. Adrian is the big loser here. They've "fallen" from fourth (in the coaches poll) to sixth in the Massey rankings, and while that's only a couple of spots, sixth place in the MIAA usually means you're not a very good team. Sadly, this conference is not know for depth. Just the opposite, actually.

Trine moves up a little bit, but not as much as we might have expected given their win-loss record to date. They have eight wins, but none jump off of the page. Their best win might be the game they played at 6-5 North Park (CCIW). Their three losses (Franklin, DePauw, and Lake Forest) aren't against anyone spectacular either. Maybe they'll beat out Albion for fourth, but I don't see them challenging for a top three spot. Yet.

I think the rest of Massey's list looks like we might expect. Hope is still a pretty heavy favorite, Calvin and Olivet could have a nice fight for second, Trine and Albion will battle for fourth, Adrian's probably comfortably in sixth, and Kalamazoo and Alma will try to stay out of the basement. Alma will probably end up there.

We'll know for sure in seven weeks.

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