The idea is to smooth out individual game performance to see the general direction a team’s performance seemed to be moving in at a given point in the season. Intuitively, this should tell us whether a team is on the upswing or downswing as the regular season ends–although I can’t definitively say the method is predictive. I should also note there are a couple flaws in this approach:
* It doesn’t account for quality of opposition–an upward trend could represent a grouping of weak opponents on the schedule (or vice versa).
* It doesn’t account for home/away game. Other than the occasional three-game bunch of home or away games for a particular team, though, the home/away factor should be smoothed out by the trendlines in most cases.
As expected, the Badgers come up with the best graph:
Essentially, if your team is improving, you'll see that blue line start trending up and the red move down. And does it ever in the Badgers' case! KJ is careful to note that this may be misleading, as the Penn State and Northwestern massacres are likely pulling those curves apart artificially, but any time you can get a Spartan fan to call your team's performance "frightening," you're definitely getting somewhere.
What they're saying about the Big Ten Tournament: Obviously the time for prognostication is upon us. Here are some selected takes:
So what's really going to happen during the Big Ten Tournament? Glad you asked; my picks are up in the comments at Spartans Weblog where I am going to win a sweet frickin' t-shirt:
DAY FOUR: TITLE GAME