Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Introducing the Torvik Big Ten Thrill Quotient

One of the side-benefits of my awesome spreadsheet that lets me produce adjusted efficiency margins for Big Ten teams is that it sort of automatically creates something akin to a "game quality score." The adjusted EM figure starts with a calculation of how each team in a particular game would do against an average Big Ten opponent in that venue. If there's a game with a good road team playing a good home team, it is sometimes the case that the average home team would be expected to lose, and the average road team would be expected to lose. So, the lower the expected EM of the average team is, the better the matchup.

For example, in the Iowa at Ohio State game, the average road team against Ohio State is expected to lose by .14 points per possession and the average home team is expected to lose to Iowa by about .02 points per possession. So you get a "game quality score" of 16. This score is basically just a straight function of the quality of the teams involved. So the highest quality score of the season so far was Iowa at Michigan, because those are the two best teams right now according to Kenpom. The lowest quality game so far was Purdue at Northwestern, at -22.

This number was more or less an organic creation of my adjusted EM spreadsheet, but it gave me an idea to create something similar to Kenpom's Thrill Score. So I did, and the result is Torvik's Thrill Quotient (which is a completely different thing, and not to be confused with, Kenpom's Thrill Score). The inputs to the Thrill Quotient are: (1) game quality score; (2) expected competitiveness (closer the better); and (3) pace (cuz people love the pace).

So, in case you were wondering, here are the most fan-tasitc games remaining in Big Ten play:

I would produce a chart of the least fan-tastic games remaining, but it's more efficient to just refer you to Northwestern's schedule. Northwestern is by far the worst team in the Big Ten (on a per-possession basis) and they play slower than anyone else in the conference. So there is nothing fan-tastic about watching their games, especially given that they have likely road blowout losses awaiting them at Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Minnesota. All those games have TQs in the 20s. 

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