Madness Explained: A Comprehensive Overview of Why Teams Make the Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four

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Bryan Fuller / MGoBlog

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

NOTE: THIS STUDY IS ACCOMPANIED BY AN EXCEL SPREADSHEET LISTING ALL FINAL FOUR TEAMS FROM 2002-2016.

First and foremost, the only teams listed in this study and its accompanying spreadsheet are teams that made the Final Four (the champions are in bolded text in the spreadsheet). The figures of “Efficiency Margin” (EM), “Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (AdjOE)”, “Adjusted Defensive Efficiency” (AdjDE), “Luck”, “Adjusted Tempo (AdjTempo)” and “3PA/FGA” are all pulled from the database of Ken Pomeroy. Here are links both to his website and to an explanation of what the aforementioned statistics measure:

Ken is a preeminent mind in the field of basketball analytics and has created tempo-free and opponent quality-adjusted formulas that measure team quality in Division I Men’s Basketball. Unless otherwise stated, the teams in this particular study range from 2002-2016 exclusively because those are the only years in his database. All of the data used (except for Luck and 3PA/FGA, which were unavailable) was recorded pre-NCAA tournament and thus provides a valid analog to the numbers we will use in March to fill out our brackets.

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Harbaugh vs. Romer II

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Patrick Barron / MGoBlog

(You should probably read the prior installment of this series before this one in order to understand the context and motivation of this article.)

I collected the data on Jim Harbaugh’s fourth-down decision making for the 2016 season and the results were staggering enough that I had to have the co-founder of this site check my work. We ultimately came up with a “success rate” of 91.1%, counting decisions that didn’t follow the Romer chart but were deemed correct by yours truly given the larger context of the game. If you went purely by the Romer chart, our success rate is 76.8%. Using either metric, this is a substantial improvement from last season.

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Harbaugh vs. Romer

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Patrick Barron / MGoBlog

I’ve always subscribed to the theory that success in college football requires four ingredients, all of which are necessary but not sufficient for success — in other words, to win the type of games Michigan has the intention of winning under Jim Harbaugh, we’ll need excellence in all four: recruiting, player development, scheme, and in-game coaching.

Michigan has recruited at a high-level under Harbaugh and will continue to do so. The program’s foremost recruiting analysts attribute this to the combination of the staff’s ability to sell the university’s greatest assets (academics, tradition, Ann Arbor, life after football, etc.) while at the same time constantly putting the Block M in the national spotlight. Be it with the Jordan brand contract, Signing of the Stars, or having Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, and Charles Woodson all on the Big House field during the team’s home opener. When you combine Michigan’s resources with Harbaugh’s incredible work ethic, it isn’t hard to imagine more prospects with a stature similar to Rashan Gary’s pledging to the Wolverines.

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Evaluating Michigan Baseball Through Advanced Statistics

Entering last season’s three-day, double-elimination Big 10 Championship as the number five seed, Michigan Baseball was in the midst of a transition year of sorts.

With starting second baseman Jacob Cronenworth, third baseman Travis Maezes, catcher Patrick Kendall, centerfielder Jackson Glines and designated hitter Kevin White all having departed, there were holes to fill up and down the roster.

While the 2015 team went on to win the Big 10 Tournament as the number three seed and make an NCAA appearance, the 2016 incarnation of the team was not quite as lucky.

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