Texas Tech professor Alan Reifman uses statistics and graphic arts to illuminate developments in U.S. collegiate and Olympic volleyball. [For archives of this blog and extensive links to other volleyball sites, please click the three-line icon in upper-right corner.]
My last posting, on the Final Four teams' success rate this season in five-game matches, turned out to be useless for the semifinals, as neither match went the distance. Maybe tonight's final will... Things haven't exactly gone as expected. The vaunted Big 10 conference (abbreviated B1G), which had the three highest national seeds -- Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin -- has no finalist. Also, this year will be the first in the six years I've compiled my Conference-Adjusted Combined Offensive-Defensive (CACOD) measure that a national title winner will be below a score of 1.94 . The two finalists are close though, Stanford at 1.91 and Texas at 1.79. I found Stanford's four-game semifinal win over Minnesota surprising, but the Cardinal had defeated the Gophers, also in four, way back on August 28 . My reaction to the other semi, which also involved a rematch from the regular season, was: What the hell happened? Defending national champion and this year's
There seem to have been a lot of five-game matches this year, both in the regular season and in the NCAA tournament. Some of the Final Four teams went five in roughly a quarter of their matches this season. Here's how the remaining teams fared in five-game matches: Texas: 4-3 overall; 2-1 home; 2-2 road Nebraska: 4-1 overall; 2-0 home; 2-1 road Stanford: 4-4 overall; 1-3 home; 2-1 road; 1-0 neutral Included in Stanford's record is a win over visiting Cal Poly . How did the Cardinal even let Cal Poly take the match to a fifth game? Minnesota: 5-3 overall; 4-0 home; 1-3 away Interestingly, the Gophers closed B1G conference play with four straight five-game wins , all at home.
With this year's NCAA women's tournament getting underway today ( brackets ), I'm back with my Conference-Adjusted Combined Offensive-Defensive (CACOD) measure to forecast teams' success. The CACOD simply divides a team's own hitting percentage during the regular season by the overall hitting percentage it allowed its opponents, and then multiplies the resulting ratio by an adjustment factor to reward being in stronger conferences (details here ). Teams that hit well and don't allow their opponents to do so will get the highest CACOD scores. I have been calculating the CACOD for the past five years. The following table (which you can click to enlarge) shows scores for all teams making the Elite Eight during that time frame. Again, CACOD scores are based entirely on regular-season play (i.e., NCAA-tourney games are not factored in), so they can be judged for their prognostic efficacy. The table tells us three main things, in my view: No team below a CA