Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

Posted on: January 25, 2010 9:37 am
Edited on: January 25, 2010 9:40 am
 

Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Northwestern ranked but not UConn. Seriously?

-- Jeff


I knew ranking Northwestern while not ranking Connecticut in this week's Top 25 (and one) would get a lof of attention, which is why I thought long and hard about it and I looked at every possible detail before I did it. Now, I'm ready to share those details. And though you might still disagree when I finish, you won't be able to say that I couldn't make a case for what I did.

First, the overall records ...

Northwestern: 14-5
Connecticut: 13-6

So Northwestern has more wins and fewer losses, but that doesn't matter to me. You should know by now that I don't care about the number of wins and losses as much as I care about good wins and good or bad losses. It's why didn't rank Northern Iowa last week or Vanderbilt this week, because when I looked below the surfaces I concluded there wasn't much to the Panthers' and Commodores' gaudy records.

Anyway, let's compare Northwestern and Connecticut.

The Wildcats and Huskies have two common opponents -- Notre Dame and Michigan. Both schools beat Notre Dame (UConn did it at home, Northwestern on a neutral court), and both played at Michigan. Northwestern won at Michigan. Connecticut lost at Michigan. So in games against common opponents, the edge goes to Northwestern.

Now let's look at the wins ...

Both Northwestern and Connecticut have a win over a team ranked in the top 10 of the Top 25 (and one) -- Northwestern over No. 7 Purdue, UConn over No. 5 Texas. So that's pretty much a wash. In all, Northwestern has six wins over teams ranked in the top 80 at KenPom.com (No. 8 Purdue, No. 50 Illinois, No. 60 Michigan, No. 65 N.C. State, No. 79 Iowa State, No. 80 Notre Dame) while UConn has just four wins over teams ranked in the top 80 at KenPom.com (No. 5 Texas, No. 51 Seton Hall, No. 74 Harvard, No. 80 Notre Dame). So I believe Northwestern has better wins than UConn.

Now let's look at the losses ...

Both Northwestern and Connecticut have four losses to teams I have ranked ahead of them in the Top 25 (and one). Northwestern has lost to No. 6 Michigan State, No. 17 Ohio State, No. 18 Wisconsin and No. 25 Butler while UConn has lost to No. 1 Kentucky, No. 9 Georgetown, No. 10 Duke and No. 15 Pittsburgh. I admit, UConn's top four losses are better than Northwestern's top four losses. But Northwestern's only loss to a team I don't have ranked is a loss at Illinois, and that's a loss the Wildcats avenged Saturday. Meantime, UConn has two losses to teams I don't have ranked. One, as previously noted, came at Michigan (a place Northwestern won), and the other came at Cincinnati. So not only does Northwestern have fewer overall losses than UConn, Northwestern has fewer losses to teams I have unranked, which is why I concluded that Northwestern's losses as a whole are better than UConn's losses as a whole.

So let me bottom line it for you: Northwestern has a better overall record, better wins, better losses, and a better record against common opponents. Thus, I ranked Northwestern but not UConn, and I think I got it right.
Comments

Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: January 26, 2010 2:54 am
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

Jesus...  UCONVICT fans cry way too much.  Gary will you finally be happy when the NCAA comes to their senses and cracks down on them like they are to USC?  Then you wont have to worry bout not ranking them 26 cause they wont be able to play in the tourny anyway



Since: Jan 25, 2010
Posted on: January 26, 2010 12:06 am
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

I was going to craft a response to this but I honestly can't. This is easily the dumbest thing I've ever read. How did you manage to get an AP vote? No wonder no one gives a crap about the rankings until March 10th.



Since: Dec 9, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2010 8:40 pm
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

Fine say Parrish is wrong on who has stronger losses (his logic made sense to me, but whatever)...that still leaves NW with stronger wins, a better record and stronger in common opponents...that would make it 3-1 NW anyway. 



Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2010 4:33 pm
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

I didn't say it was hard to understand. I understood it perfectly. i said the logic was ridiculously bad.

Your definition of worse losses is bad.

Why?

Because for you a loss to Kentucky is the equivalent of a loss to New Mexico or Butler. A loss to Cincinnati is equal to a loss to NJIT. You need a LOT more discernmenrt than that to make qualified rankings, and I'd say the coaches and writers voting today are collective proof of the differences between a considered ranking system and one that uses faulty logic.

UConn has the toughest schedule in the country.



Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2010 3:34 pm
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

Who cares? Your arguing whether or not your crappy team belongs at #26 or not.  We're talking about #26, not top 10. 



Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: January 25, 2010 3:32 pm
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)


Not sure what's so hard to understand.

Northwestern has one "bad" loss.

Connecticut has two "bad" losses.

(As long as you define "bad" losses as losses to teams currently unranked.)

They both have four other losses to teams I currently have ranked, which gives Northwestern a total of five losses and UConn a total of six losses. What part don't you understand? I think Northwestern's body of work is better than UConn's right now. Might be different by Sunday. If so, I'll change. But right now, I think I've got it right.





Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2010 1:28 pm
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

Gary, read your sentence quoted below again. It seriously makes no sense. The logic is strikingly bad.

"One, as previously noted, came at Michigan (a place Northwestern won), and the other came at Cincinnati. So not only does Northwestern have fewer overall losses than UConn, Northwestern has fewer losses to teams I have unranked, which is why I concluded that Northwestern's losses as a whole are better than UConn's losses as a whole."

Presumably, a team could lose 5 games to Kentucky, Texas, Syracuse and Villanova, as well as a Cincinnati team once ranked in the top 25, and because of that Cincy loss, you would call those worse losses than, say, another team's 4 losses to New Mexico, Butler, Florida State and Georgia Tech?

Really?



Since: Jan 26, 2009
Posted on: January 25, 2010 1:18 pm
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

Gary, I am 100% sure that NW will not make the tournament this year and pretty sure you know that too. They will no doubt be 3-6 in conference play after this week. Most likely a couple of double digit loses this week. They will finish the year with just 1 win over teams that will make the tourny. They are nowhere near one of the top 26 teams in the country and no matter however you spin the numbers they are not better than Conn. At least after this week you won't have any reason to rank them again for the rest of the year.



Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: January 25, 2010 12:53 pm
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)

I think the more "top 80 wins" criteria comes from the group of teams with the most reasonable shout for getting into the tournament. Obviously some teams outside the top 80, such as low major conference winners, will get in, but the pool of teams vying for the field of 64 will likely come down to roughly 75 teams. Using a stat like Top 80 wins seems pretty reasonable to me



Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: January 25, 2010 12:50 pm
 

Dear Gary (on ranking Northwestern but not UConn)


You want to do Top 10 wins?

Top 25 wins?

Top 50 wins?

Top 75 wins?

None of them work in UConn's favor.

I was just giving a large sample size.


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