Explaining my NCAA Basketball relative grading systems

In order to evaluate the relative strength of a college basketball team, it is imperative that you adjust for schedule.  The NCAA has 300 some Division I basketball teams, and teams in different conferences will often play schedules of wildly varying strengths.  So you must account for that.

I account for schedule in each of my grading systems using “comparative predicted winning percentages”, which I explain below.

COLUMN ONE:  MARGINAL WIN SCORE comparative winning percentage

The first system is called “Comparative Marginal Win Score”.  In that system, I grade each team according to the predicted winning percentage its Marginal Win Score would produce compared to the predicted winning percentage the rest of the country achieved against the same schedule.  Let’s take the Michigan Wolverines as an example:

Michigan produced a Team Win Score of 31.5 and an Opponent Win Score of 22.5.  Putting those together, one would expect Michigan to produce an expected winning percentage of 0.673 (or 20.8 wins, Michigan actually has 23 wins).  Against the same competition, the rest of the country achieved a Team Win Score of 26.1 and an Opponent Win Score of 35.2.  Putting those together, the opponents of Michigan’s opponents have produced an expected winning percentage of 0.348.  Subtracting that amount from the earlier amount and you get a “Comparative Marginal Win Score” for the Wolverines of 0.325.

COLUMN 2: POINT VALUE OVER AVERAGE comparative winning percentage

Point Value over Average (“PVOA”) compares the number of points scored and yielded per possession to the number of points their opponents would have been expected to yield and score in the same number of possessions.  The Michigan Wolverines were scoring roughly 103.6 points per 100 possessions and yielding something like 93.7 points, for an expected winning percentage of 0.817, whereas the opponents of Michigan’s opponents were scoring 96.4 points per 100 possessions and yielding 100.3 points, for an expected winning percentage of 0.376.  The PVOA comparative winning percentage for Michigan was therefore: 0.440.

Combination Score

For the final column, I simply combined the two comparative winning percentages into a “Combination Score” and ranked the teams accordingly.

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