10,000 Sims: America East a Two-Horse Race

Back when we first looked at simulating the America East Conference in November the Vermont Catamounts were a heavy favorite. After a 7-5 non-conference schedule that included losses to Rhode Island and Towson, John Becker’s team is the fourth team in a four-team race as we enter AE play. Stony Brook and Boston University have risen up. Though only SBU is even eligible to make the postseason.

The Seawolves and Terriers look to be in a two-horse race at the top. One of them won the outright league title 70% of the time. Considering 22% of the 10,000 sims ended in ties, many of which involved SBU or BU, it’s apparent those are the two teams to beat. Vermont’s title chances dropped more than 50% during conference play.

Some of that drop though has to do with Stony Brook and Boston University playing better than expected. With their win over Manhattan on Tuesday evening the Seawolves moved to 9-4, the team’s best start ever in Division I. Steve Pikiell’s team has six true road wins and played a number of major conference teams tough. They’re sitting right inside the Top 100 in Pomeroy’s rankings. If SBU hadn’t lost to Sacred Heart even more people would be talking about them right now. BU is 6-7, but Joe Jones’ team has gotten hot lately, winning six of their past eight games. What BU lacks though is a real strong win. Though all seven losses are understandable. Both teams have gained about 27% in the sims.

Including ties, here is the percentage of times a team finished in first place:

  1. Stony Brook – 57% (38% outright)
  2. Boston University – 52% (34%)
  3. Albany – 8% (3%)
  4. Vermont – 7% (2%)
  5. Hartford – 2% (0.5%)
  6. New Hampshire – 0.3% (0.08%)
  7. Maine – 0.05% (none)

Neither UMBC nor Binghamton managed to even tie for the title. The Bearcats went winless 13% of the time. Due to the parity in the league at the top it was almost impossible for a team to go undefeated in league play. It happened just 225 times (SBU led with 122 of those). Stony Brook’s worst season was just seven wins. I highly doubt that’s going to happen. Here is the average number of wins each team had.

  1. Stony Brook – 12.5
  2. Boston University – 12.4
  3. Albany – 9.9
  4. Vermont – 9.8
  5. Harford – 8.4
  6. New Hampshire – 7.1
  7. Maine – 5.9
  8. UMBC – 4.2
  9. Binghamton – 1.8

Is Vermont underrated now?

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