After posting yesterday's BubbleGrid, I received a comment wondering whether I'd forgotten Illinois from the list. Unfortunately, I hadn't. The Illini were the 12th team out and below the threshold I used to generate the list. (I have since expanded the list.)

Illinois is a great example of a team that causes big problems for the CtD model. (Teams with significant injuries, like Purdue, Ohio State, and Wisconsin this year, are also trouble.) The Illini have some very good wins (four in the RPI Top 27 with two on the road), but an otherwise blah resume. A dichotomous profile like this means that each of the ten members will have to decide which parts of the profile they consider more important. Our model tries to analyze what selection commmittees of the past have done with teams of all kinds of profiles and predict how they will handle this year's crop.

Even with replicas of the team sheets, it's hard to look at the profiles or two teams and compare the quality of their wins and losses. How can we make it easier to do this?

One possibility is match up each team's best win, second best win, etc. and look at the RPI rank of those opponents. We can do the same with losses, but instead compare their worst loss, their second worse loss, and so on. For example, here's a look at Illinois compared with Washington, another bubble team.

First, the wins:

Illinois Washington
AvgRPIOpponentScore AvgRPIOpponentScore Diff
1818AWisconsin63561010HTexas A&M73648
2225HMichigan St.78732855HArizona St.7956-6
2327AClemson76744283HWright St.7469-19
72154HWestern Michigan885373141HBelmont9678-1
85191APenn St.776781148AOregon86724
95191HPenn St.545388151HUCLA97688
105197HIowa594294152HSan Jose St.807011
112197AIowa574999161AWashington St.595213
120209HBoise St.8477104161HWashington St.926416
140261HNorthern Illinois8061118181AOregon St.827023
151324HPresbyterian9448121181HOregon St.767030
126207HPortland St.11155
131210HSan Francisco8671
137250HCal St. Northridge8876

The Avg column represents the average opponent RPI rank over all games up to that point. For example, over the Illini's first four best wins (#18 Wisconsin, #23 Vanderbilt, #25 Michigan St., and #27 Clemson), their average opponent rank was #23.

After calculating the Avg column for each team, we can calculate the differences. The Diff column for each line is the difference between each team's avg opponent rank for that line. So again, looking at each team's four best wins, Illinois had an average opponent rank of #23 while Washington's opponents averaged a #42 rank. (A negative difference means the average opponent rank for the team on the left is better, while a positive difference means the opposite.) Advantage Illinois.

By comparing the quality of each teams best wins, best 2 wins, best 3 wins, and so on, across their whole profile (wins and losses), we can get a general idea of how their profiles compare without picking arbitrary boundaries (e.g., record vs. RPI Top 50 or their two best wins) that aren't meaningful.

Let's do the same for each team's losses, but instead we'll put their worst loss first.

Illinois Washington
AvgRPIOpponentScore AvgRPIOpponentScore Diff
125105NBradley6872137113HSouthern California6467-13
11897NGeorgia6770131113ASouthern California6187-14
9839NMissouri688111476ATexas Tech9299-16
8937NGonzaga838510655AArizona St.5168-17
8229AOhio St.57739520ACalifornia8193-13
7629HOhio St.53728614NGeorgetown6674-10
7125AMichigan St.6373

So what do these tell us? Well, they don't by themselves answer the fundamental question of which team's profile is better. Each committee member has to make that decision on their own based on their subjective preferences. If we have our own idea about how to compare two teams (e.g., I might care more about how their very best wins compare), this helps us easily identify those differences much more easily than the team sheets.

This is not perfect, of course. The numbers don't explicitly separate home/road results, but the coloring helps visually identify trends. For example, it makes it easy to see that Washington's best eight wins were at home, which some committee members might not like. It also doesn't explicitly account for different numbers of wins or losses. However, it does visually emphasize when one team has more wins or losses than the other.

Here are similar tables comparing Illinois and Rhode Island:

Illinois Rhode Island
AvgRPIOpponentScore AvgRPIOpponentScore Diff
1818AWisconsin63563030NOklahoma St.6359-12
2225HMichigan St.78735072HNortheastern7976-28
60133AMichigan514472106ABoston College8069-13
72154HWestern Michigan885377109HDuquesne7567-6
85191APenn St.776783128HQuinnipiac83742
95191HPenn St.545387130HProvidence86828
105197HIowa594292137HStony Brook755813
112197AIowa574996140HGeorge Washington726616
120209HBoise St.8477100146ADrexel807920
126213HIndiana7270104165ALa Salle908322
140261HNorthern Illinois8061113179HSaint Joseph's877627
151324HPresbyterian9448117179HSaint Joseph's1017434
135273HHoly Cross9275

Illinois has better wins over their eight best, but the balance switches to Rhode Island after that.

And losses:

Illinois Rhode Island
AvgRPIOpponentScore AvgRPIOpponentScore Diff
135122ANorthwestern6873161153ASt. Bonaventure7481-27
125105NBradley687213584ASt. Louis5762-11
11897NGeorgia677011867AVirginia Commonwealth8082-1
8229AOhio St.57736917ATemple567813
7629HOhio St.5372
7125AMichigan St.6373

The takeaway here is that Illinois has 5 more losses, and while Rhode Island's first three losses are worse, after the Rams' remaining losses are even if not slightly better.

Questions? Comments? Requests?

And here's today's grid. With Illinois.

1-251-501-1001-200RoadGood road winsBad home losses
Louisville20-1122-49-164-7#4 Syracuse
#59 Connecticut
#118 W. Carolina
California21-900-460116-6#55 Arizona St.#151 UCLA
St. Mary's25-50307379-2#31 Utah St.
Nevada Las Vegas22-72407369-3#6 New Mexico
#85 Arizona
#147 Utah
Marquette19-1023-48045-5#54 Seton Hall
#59 Connecticut
#64 Cincinnati
#73 St. John's
#104 N.C. State
Virginia Tech23-703-16186-5#44 Georgia Tech
Notre Dame21-1033010343-6#14 Georgetown
#60 Marquette
#63 South Florida
#183 Loyola Mmt.
Washington20-92207284-6#113 Southern Cal
#148 Oregon
Old Dominion26-811-38159-6#14 Georgetown
#57 William & Mary
Florida20-1123-58-245-5#56 Mississippi
#98 Alabama
#212 South Alabama
Georgia Tech18-1114-47-223-8#77 Charlotte
#82 North Carolina
Memphis23-802-37257-4#40 UAB
#62 Marshall
#69 Tulsa
San Diego St.20-812-34-278-7#99 UC Santa Barbara
UAB23-711-45-189-4#62 Marshall
Rhode Island22-802-260108-6#48 Dayton
#94 Akron
Wichita St.24-911-39495-7#92 Indiana St.
#93 Missouri St.
Mississippi21-912-36-236-4#97 Georgia
#98 Alabama
#142 Arkansas
Siena27-600-46189-5#80 Fairfield
#87 Iona
Seton Hall19-1113-56-515-6#50 Cornell
#73 St. John's
Cornell24-400-22-1912-3#73 St. John's
#98 Alabama
Arizona St.22-901-44-375-5#85 Arizona
Kent St.22-801-16179-5#88 Morehead St.
#94 Akron
#110 Wisc. Green Bay
#187 Bowling Green
South Florida20-1123-16-424-7#14 Georgetown#192 Central Mich.
Connecticut17-1523-48-5-12-9#11 Villanova
Mississippi St.21-1001-37135-6#56 Mississippi
#89 South Carolina
#138 Rider
Virginia Commonwealth22-91316126-7
Illinois17-1334-45-5-16-4#18 Wisconsin
#27 Clemson