Lots of Awards to Hand Out

NYC area mid-majors had a relatively strong week and it was represented today as leagues handed out weekly awards and many of their players were amongst the honorees. Here is a quick rundown of all the honors that were garnered.

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10,000 sims: Great West

Everyone’s favorite parlor game, 10,000 sims, is back for another season. What we do here is take advanced stat projections, crunch the numbers, run 10,000 simulations of a conference’s regular season and tell you who won. If it sounds like tons of fun, well it is! We’re starting with potentially the craziest race – because it only has five teams – the Great West. Continue reading “10,000 sims: Great West”

BU’s move gets everyone thinking… again

Boston University is leaving America East for the Patriot League in July of 2013. That’s almost exactly a year from now and it’s going to make for one interesting final season. The biggest problem though is that it’s dragged America East right back into the conference realignment conversation. Is Stony Brook going to jump to the CAA now that BU is leaving? I don’t know, but my guess is that this move doesn’t actually change much. What it should do though is make America East very nervous.

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Great West Tourney Predictions

What to say about the Great West? There’s only five teams competing this season because host Chicago State’s APR is too low to qualify for postseason play. That makes this a true neutral site tournament,  a first for the GWC, which has had Utah Valley host in years past. Of course hosting hasn’t helped the Wolverines in the past anyways. Now departed South Dakota won in 2010 and North Dakota won the tournament title, and the automatic CIT bid that goes with it, in 2011. Utah Valley’s two losses in those two tournaments came by a combined five points.

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Beat the Machine contest

Starting next week I’m going to be running 10,000 sims for each of the conference tournaments. As the brackets are decided I’ll be running simulations for the six conferences that this blog covers that have tournaments (oh Ivy League). This is fun because it requires me to program a whole bunch of options into my tournament simulator. You’ve got everything from straight neutral site events (MAAC), to all on home court (NEC), to single host (Great West), to a mix of both (America East). Plus there need to be slight home adjustments for the CAA schools playing their tournament in Richmond, VA. That’s a lot of variables and it’ll certainly make things interesting, but I know what’s up.

But doing all this work with no reward isn’t any fun. Thus I’d like to propose a contest. Let’s play “Beat the Machine”. Here are the rules:

  • For each simulated conference tournament the computer will get a decimal of the winner. For instance, if Iona wins 67% of the simulated MAAC tournaments and wins the real life tournament the computer gets 0.67 points.
  • I’ll also simulate a team’s chances of getting to the final. The computer will get the decimal value for those teams as well. Iona was 89% to make the final the computer adds 0.89 points. Manhattan was a 30% chance. The computer gets 0.30.
  • Humans either get 1 point (predicting the winner / finalists) or 0 points (miss). Thus you can earn up to 3 points per conference.

Thus the maximum number of points for either side would be 18. My guess is that a number of humans will be able to guess the finalists, but it should still make things exciting for the short term. What do you think? Too easy? Want to play? Contact me via the form or leave a comment on this post. You want prizes? Let’s see how many people sign up and then maybe I’ll think of something fun.

Catching up with the Great West

After a non-conference schedule spent barnstorming the country, the Great West schools toil in obscurity during their conference season. For a while there was a nice weekly update from Storming the Floor about the conference, but currently it’s tough to find any information about what’s going on. The winner of the conference tournament (which will be held in Chicago this season) gets an automatic bid to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Since I’ll be tracking all the bids to both the CBI and CIT this Selection Sunday it’s time to take a refresher course on the six-team conference.

Where we stand right now:

1. Utah Valley — 7-0
2. Texas-Pan American — 5-2
3. NJIT — 4-5
4. North Dakota — 3-4
5. Houston Baptist — 2-5
6. Chicago State — 2-7

If you’re interested about conference only statistics the Wolverines are a really safe bet to take home the title. First of all, they’ll get a bye to the semifinals. Secondly they’re No. 1 in the conference in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Utah Valley has won a school record 11 games in a row, including two games against non-Division I opponents. Of course, not every win has been easy. UVU needed double-overtime to defeat NJIT, 99-97 in 2OT in the GWC game of the season thus far. Also, Chicago State put up a fight last time out, so if the Cougars were able to survive the first round of the conference tournament, you never know.

The tournament runs March 8-10. Who are some key players to watch out for?

  • Isiah Williams (Utah Valley) — 18.1 PPG
  • Isaiah Wilkerson (NJIT) — 17.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG
  • Ardarius Simmons (CSU) — 16.0 PPG, 4.3 APG
  • Jeremy Robinson (CSU) — 15.0 PPG, 9.1 RPG
  • Geddes Robinson (UVU) — 11.1 RPG (only guy average 10+ rebounds in conference play)

Simmons is a great story. He played in 30 games, but started just eight during his junior season at CSU. Now he’s playing 39.1 minutes per game in conference play and is the driving force behind an aggressive defense that leads the GWC in steal percentage. Williams is UVU’s first ever All-American, he received Honorable Mention honors after last season. He’s earning that spot again.

What happens next? Well there will be a conference tournament and then the GWC is going to be on some shaky ground. North Dakota and Houston Baptist aren’t the premiere programs in the league, but they’ll both be leaving at the end of the season. Can the other four schools find homes in other conferences? It seems like NJIT would be a decent fit with Stony Brook in America East, but I can’t find anything that suggests that could happen. The same is true for Utah Valley and the WAC. Then where would UTPA and Chicago State go? (No idea.) It seems like even post conference tournament the GWC is one to watch as the off season unfolds off the court in college basketball.