10,000 Sims: Robert Morris Remains the Favorite in NEC

A few months ago two projection systems pegged Robert Morris as the best team in the NEC. While the Colonials haven’t been quite as good as those results might’ve suggested, they have taken care of business and have an 8-5 record as we head into conference play. So while RMU probably won’t be historically good by NEC standards, Andy Toole’s team is the one to beat.

I simulated the NEC’s conference play 10,000 times and Robert Morris came away with the outright title about 50% of the time. Once again, I haven’t modeled LIU’s suspensions, because there’s no easy way to do it. In case you’re wondering though: Pomeroy currently gives the Blackbirds about one win from their first weekend of conference play (61% at Sacred Heart, 38% at Quinnipiac) with a “full-strength” team. So if you want to assume they’ll lose both, doc them about a win and move on.

The team that has been the most disappointing during non-conference play in the NEC might be Quinnipiac. The Bobcats played a tough schedule, but losses to American and Maine at home are real head-scratchers. Tom Moore has his team rebounding the ball really well. (What else is new?) But they can’t do much else on a basketball court. Quinnipiac has given up the most ground since the last time I ran the simulations in November, dropping about 10 percentage points in their odds to win at least a share of the title.

Here’s a look at each team’s chances of winning at least a share of the title. Their outright title percentage is in parentheses:

  1. Robert Morris – 68% (50%)
  2. Wagner – 28% (15%)
  3. LIU Brooklyn – 11% (5%)
  4. Central Connecticut – 7% (3%)
  5. Quinnipiac – 6% (2%)
  6. St. Francis Brooklyn – 3% (1%)
  7. Bryant – 3% (1%)
  8. Mount St. Mary’s – 0.2% (0.01%)
  9. Sacred Heart – 0.06% (0.01%)

The trio of Monmouth, Fairleigh Dickinson and St. Francis (PA) failed to win a title during the simulations. The biggest gains since the last time I ran the simulations belong to Central Connecticut and Bryant. Howie Dickenman is shoving all the preseason projections back in our face by running his few good players extra hard and getting good results. The Blue Devils won 620 more titles this time around. The Bulldogs have been a pleasant surprise during non-conference play and have gone from 0 titles to 326 during the 10,000 sims.

The fight for the final few playoff spots still looks like it’s going to be an absolute blast. Mount St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart and Monmouth look like they will be the three teams fighting for that eighth and final slot, but I could see CCSU (an injury away), LIU (if they don’t figure it out), Bryant (first season pressure) or St. Francis Brooklyn (point guard play) slipping down as well.

Here are the average number of wins for every NEC team during the simulations:

  1. Robert Morris – 14.0
  2. Wagner – 12.5
  3. LIU – 11.2
  4. CCSU – 10.6
  5. Quinnipiac – 10.6
  6. SFC – 10.0
  7. Bryant – 9.7
  8. MSM – 7.5
  9. Sacred Heart – 6.5
  10. Monmouth – 5.9
  11. FDU – 5.3
  12. SFU – 4.2

If you want drama for Thursday, whether LIU is able to go to Sacred Heart and win short-handed on opening night could help decide not only the final playoff spot in the NEC, but also which teams get home court advantage in the first round of the tournament. The drama starts immediately in conference play.

Notes: Robert Morris went undefeated a measly 84 times … The league ended with more than 3 teams tied for first 88 times … SHU, Monmouth, FDU and SFU combined to go winless 63 times … Bryant’s best season was 16 wins, which would be an incredible 14-game turnaround … LIU’s worst season was 4 wins, Wagner’s 6 and SFC’s 3 … RMU was the only team to win league titles by an average of more than 1 game (1.6 game lead in title situations)

6 thoughts on “10,000 Sims: Robert Morris Remains the Favorite in NEC

  1. Even though I am a diehard LIU fan I think that the Bryant LIU standings should be reversed..

    Bryant has had a fantastic start to the year..The wins against BC and Lehigh on their home courts were quite an accomplishment. and should be given the proper credit..

    The LIU model obviously does not include Boyd going down..so to me it is invalid. projection…

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    1. in terms of your final point… The model not accounting for Boyd going down. This is sort of true. Boyd has been out for the past 4 games and during that time LIU has:

      Beat Manhattan at home by 27
      Lost at St. Peter’s by 13
      Lost to Seton Hall on a neutral court by 31
      Lost at Lamar by 1

      There’s some data we’re working with here and it suggests that LIU isn’t going to be a disaster without Boyd. The problem is that they’d just found a rhythm with him before he got hurt. Now they’re searching again. I’d expect LIU to win almost all their home games. Also, the Blackbirds get a little bit of a schedule break since Robert Morris (the league’s best team) only comes to the WRAC. The Wagner game on Thursday, Jan. 10 will tell us a lot about this team.

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      1. John, I sincerely hope you are right…..but as you know Boyd’s loss was more than just a statistical one.. in that he repeatedly led LIU back from self induced second half deficits.. and closed out games that often looked unwinnable. ..His leadership and clutch play cannot be easily duplicated.

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      2. I realized that I have at least a bit of a way of quantifying what Boyd’s loss is going to mean to this team. For the first 2 weeks that Boyd was out LIU dropped 50 spots and gave up approximately 0.10 in pythagorean rating. The slide might continue a bit further because of the suspensions, but even with Boyd I can’t see LIU dropping anymore than another 0.05 (about another 25 or so spots).

        There’s too much talent on the team. That would imply a Pomeroy rating around 225, which would put the Blackbirds in position to be battling SFC and Bryant with an outside shot of catching Quinnipiac or CCSU for a home game. It’s still possible, the road is just a lot more difficult. I think LIU is about the 4th best team in the league right now and the suspensions might be the difference of getting a WRAC game or not.

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  2. If bryant won 16 league games it would be a 15 game turn around.While I don’t imagine them winning that many I feel like they could grab 13-15 league wins this year if they play how they have been recently. This is a team that is just starting to get excited and has huge upside. And while the main focus so far has been Franics, Dobbs, and Starks, I feel that Maynard could have a few 20 pt games once they get deep into league play. This team has scoring depth that it hasn’t had in the past. And a very good defense to go along with it.

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  3. Do these simulations consider previous seasons? I’m surprised Bryant is 7th in the conference in these simulations. Outside of a home loss to Yale, they haven’t lost a game they should have won (I’m ignoring the loss at Navy because Dobbs was out) while stealing a few games. More importantly they’ve shown they can win late, one-possession games, which they haven’t been able to do in seasons past. 3 percent seems low, but if you consider their record in the NEC last year, it makes a lot of sense.

    But I guess the main point of the article proves what we already know, which is that Robert Morris is the team to beat in the NEC.

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