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Archive for March, 2009

Sean Forman Sims the NCAA Tournament

16th March 2009

Sean Forman of makes a guest appearance to present the results of his annual NCAA Tournament simulation. --JK

As I've done for the last six years, I've relied on a little bit of computer science to fill out my NCAA tourney pool. I have two young kids at home, a baseball site to worry about, and I've watched zero NCAA basketball games this year, so using my own scouting and intuition is obviously out.

What I do instead is rely on a rating service and simulation to compute the best (in this case, most likely) bracket to occur. Invariably, this leads to a boring bracket, but you'll find in the long run that better teams win more games in the NCAA tourney. Doing the simulation also provides some interesting answers to questions like "Which low seeds are most likely to make the Sweet 16?", and it presents it all in terms of probabilities.

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Posted in NCAA | 3 Comments »

March Madness, By the Numbers

16th March 2009

It's time for the NCAA Tournament again, and if you're anything like me, that means filling out your brackets, crossing your fingers, and just hoping for the best. I mean, I'd like to think I'm some kind of great prognosticator on the basis of my correctly picking the two title-game participants in 6 of the last 10 years (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008), but I always neglect to remind myself that I correctly picked the winner only twice in that span (2001, 2008). In the early days of my braket career, I strictly picked from the gut (this was before I knew about APBRmetrics -- or SABRmetrics, for that matter), and in 2001 my intuition was spot-on... but it has also led me astray more times than I care to recall.  So in recent years, I've gone with a more scientific approach to filling out my bracket, with decent results (I have to say that the amazing has really aided me in that venture).

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Posted in Analysis, NCAA | 13 Comments »

Layups: Ken Pomeroy’s Ratings

16th March 2009

That's right. I'm just linking directly to his ratings page, because it's the "must-visit 200 times a day" site this time of year. I would imagine most of readers already know about KenPom, but if not... Use this page when making your picks. Use it early, use if often. You'll thank me later. Seriously.

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Layups: 25 Things Henry Learned at MIT

16th March 2009

TrueHoop's Henry Abbott made the trek to Boston two weekend ago to cover the annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference ("Dorkapalooza," as Bill Simmons lovingly termed it), and here are some things he learned during the trip.

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What Happened to the McDonald’s All-Americans? (Part II – 1977-1980)

13th March 2009

Picking up where we left off, we're going to look at the classic McDonald's All-American teams to see which players fared well -- and which ones never made it. Using Win Shares, I'll break each class into 4 groups: those with good careers (>11.0 WS), those with typical careers (>0.5 WS), those with fringe careers (<0.5 WS), and those who never played in the league. And along with those who never made it, I'll try to fill in as many gaps as I can on what happened after they failed to live up to the lofty expectations set for them as high schoolers. And by all means, if you know more about what happened to some of these guys, tell us in the comments!

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Posted in History, Prospects, Win Shares | 7 Comments »

Layups: What if… Grant Hill, the Sequel

13th March 2009

This past week, I collaborated with Eddy Rivera of the Orlando Magic blog Third Quarter Collapse for an extension of my earlier post about what Grant Hill's career would have looked like if it had not been decimated by ankle injuries. I found that the Magic would have been a 50-ish win team with a healthy Hill, and a pretty good threat to win the East in most seasons; compare that to where they are now with Dwight Howard (a 60-ish win team with a very good chance to do damage in the East), and it's possible that the Hill injury and T-Mac trades were actually the best things for the franchise in the long run.

Posted in Layups | 4 Comments »

What Happens to the McDonald’s All-Americans? (Part I)

11th March 2009

I have to say that I'm fascinated by old high school recruiting lists. There's something about looking back with the benefit of hindsight at the talent scouts' evaluations of teenage players that's always been very compelling to me -- mainly because I usually end up asking the question, "How did they get it so wrong?" or, "Whatever happened to that guy?"

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Posted in History, Prospects | 7 Comments »

Layups: Name the Block Leaders

9th March 2009

These Sporcle quizzes are addictive... The newest one asks you to name the NBA's all-time leaders in blocked shots, which is a little misleading because the stat wasn't tracked until 1973-74 (thus precluding Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain from cracking the list), but it's a fun quiz nonetheless.

Posted in Layups | 2 Comments »

The Top 10 Power Forwards of All Time (*according to statistical +/-)

9th March 2009

Continuing our series from last week, today we're going to look at the top 10 power forwards ever by the "statistical plus-minus" method. If you don't remember what it's all about, it's basically a linear regression formula that tries to predict adjusted plus-minus using just the conventional stats you'd find in the box score. I don't think it's the ideal player rating metric or anything, but at the same time it doesn't seem to be the worst I've ever seen, either, so we're going to keep giving it a test drive by using it to rank the all-time NBA (& ABA, forgot to make that completely clear last time) players at each position. Here's what it has to say about the top 10 power forwards ever -- again, in alphabetical order:

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Posted in Analysis, History, Statistical +/- | 10 Comments »

Layups: NBA and NCAA Champions

8th March 2009

Can you name those select players who have won both an NCAA and an NBA championship in their playing careers? Sporcle can.

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