Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Holding Myself Accountable: Reviewing The Predictions

On January 2nd of this year I posted conference predictions.  While other voters have to make those votes before the out of conference season starts, I wait until the conference season is about to kick off, which is cheating already.  That still doesn't make it easy as CAA teams play schedules of very different difficulty levels out of conference.  That one team went 7-4 and another went 3-8 tells us very little actually.  Since that effects both counting and rate stats as well, those can be thrown out the window as well.  What we're left with is Kenpom, Sagarin, Vegas and maybe even the RPI, but after only 11 games even that data has limited accuracy.  And so it goes.  Here was the results of the 10 Beers of the CAA preview:

1) Northeastern
2) William and Mary
3) Hofstra
4) North Carolina Wilmington
5)  Drexel
6) College of Charleston
7) Towson
8) James Madison
9) Elon
10) Delaware

The Hits

With the exception of the Dukes, the top and bottom halves of the conference shook out pretty well.  The UNCW pick was probably the most daring of the group and that played out nicely.  A couple of important notes and hints for tomorrows tourney preview regarding those top two teams.  But first, one of the notes from the preview:

Outside of the first week of the season when every team must play 4 games in 8 days (necessary evil to get every team to 18 games) there are 10 times this season that teams play on both Thursday and Saturday.  In those 20 instances (10 games x 2 teams per game) 15 times the teams are playing the Saturday game on the road.  We've seen over and over again that teams traveling on one days rest underperform.  By having those teams play on the road so often, the league schedulers (outsourced by the league office, the CAA offices will refuse responsibility for this even though they could have intervened) have changed the competitive balance of the league.  Northeastern is particularly hurt by this with 3 short rest road games, while William and Mary only has 1.  If W&M wins the league by a game, they should send flowers to the league offices.

William and Mary tied for the league title, so...

Northeastern lost 3 games in their 4 Thursday/Saturday back to backs, all on the road.  William and Mary only had 2 such Thurs/Saturday scenario and lost 2 of those games.  What is very interesting here is that the Tribe lost the front end, not the back end, of those short turnaround games, and they did so against bad teams (Elon and Charleston).  A similar look ahead mentality entering the CAA tournament could make their Saturday game very interesting.  If I'm Tony Shaver, I'm praying to play Elon since they Phoenix have already beaten the Tribe once and his team can focus on revenge.

The Misses

I forgot them.  They reminded DU fans twice.  So far.

So the Dukes.  The good news is that both Alan Boston and I caught on fast, noting immediately after they cut Andre Nation that they would be just fine, and possibly improve, without him.  They came around with abandon and a team that I said had to prove it to me, threw it right back in my face.  Over the past three years I have very much adjusted my views on Matt Brady upwards, and it seems that he has his team ticking right now, winning 6 of 7 as we head into tourney time.

All season long, the other big miss for me has been Towson.  I expected Timajh Parker-Rivera to explode this year, and it never happened.  The Tigers are as good as it gets on the offensive glass and getting to the line and with that kind of physicality and interior dominance, along with Four McGlynn's shooting, their poor season is just baffling until you remember one thing.  They don't have a point guard.  The biggest reason why Drexel went from laughingstock to competitive this season even while losing a body a week was that their point guards developed.  At Towson, it never happened.  Flint 1, Skerry 0.  The Tigers have beaten Elon twice this year, a team that doesn't have a point guard either, and with the home floor in Baltimore, maybe we pick them one more time.  Or I could learn from my mistakes.

The Middle

I predicted Delaware to suck.  They sucked.  I give myself no credit, because there was no risk in that pick.  Delaware always sucks.

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