Mount St. Mary’s Schedules “Winnablish” Games

80-48, 70-52, 93-54 are all typical scores for an NEC team playing a tough non-conference schedule. If fact those are scores of three losses Mount St. Mary’s suffered against power conference teams last season. This is how non-conference works; teams from the Northeast Conference and its peers take guarantee checks to barnstorm about and take on power conference teams to help subsidize a quality program. It’s an okay thing, but what if you could win one of those games? Mount St. Mary’s has a chance this season.The Mountaineers put out their schedule today and they play six games against teams that are arguably of “power conference” quality. (The one caveat being that Brigham Young plays its basketball now in the West Coast Conference.) In three of those games Jamion Christian’s team might actually have a shot. When I said as much on Twitter the response wasn’t surprising. Basically it was, “C’mon, get real NEC homer.”

Well, let’s look at this in a more mathematical way. We don’t have projections yet for how good MSM and its opponents will be in 2013-14, but we do know how good they were a season ago. Can we use that information to get a guesstimate around the likelihood of the Mount pulling off one of these upsets? Sure. In fact that’s exactly what I did. I took MSM and their six opponents’ adjusted offense and defense numbers from last season per, adjusted for the fact that all of these are going to be on the road and then calculated the percent chances of the Mountaineers pulling off the upset. Here are the results from easiest to hardest to pull off:

  1. at Texas Tech: 45%
  2. at Penn State: 21%
  3. at West Virginia: 17%
  4. at BYU: 7%
  5. at Villanova: 6%
  6. at Michigan State: 2%

Alright, so there’s almost no way Christian is taking his team into East Lansing and taking down the Spartans, but look at the top of that list. Those aren’t horrible odds. Of course the numbers will change a bit for this season. For instance, MSM is probably going to be a little better after a season under Christian’s tutelage, even after accounting for the loss of Shivaughn Wiggins. Texas Tech and Penn State will also probably be better, but is Tubby Smith suddenly going to fix everything that was wrong with a team that was ranked 244th in the nation last season according to KenPom? Probably not.

The game in Lubbock, TX is the Mountaineers’ best chance for a season-defining victory. If McNeese State can do it why can’t Mount St. Mary’s?

P.S. You know what team had approximately 6% chance of beating Villanova last season? Columbia. We all know how that worked out.

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