Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Importance of Non-League Games

My favorite part of the schedule is the very beginning and then again during the Christmas tournaments.  These are the times when most of the games being played are done so outside of a teams respective league.  No matter what means you use to evaluate teams, these non-league games are the most important.  They allow you to put into context the accomplishments of each team within their own conference.  It's the same reason that makes college football so difficult to rank.  There are over 100 teams and only 10 or 11 games, most of those in conference.  There just isn't enough data to get a good feel on which conference really is the best.

This is part of the reason they use computers to help rank the teams.  It takes a more systematic approach.  College basketball on the other hand plays 30 or so games which allows them to play a greater number of non-league games.  This gives the selection committee a greater amount of data to look at and why they don't necessarily need computer help. 

So, what is it that we can learn from the games so far and how they compare the different leagues and conferences?  Not that much yet because we don't know how good certain teams are with respect to the rest of the teams in their leagues, but there is some things we can tell.  Let's start with the large schools.  There has only been one non-league game played by either the Big 10 or Suburban and it was a win over a Foothills school.  That shouldn't be a huge shock as the Suburban schools have much larger enrollments than the Foothills.  Historically the Big 10 does slightly better than .500 mostly due to the private schools like CBA, Bishop Maginn and LaSalle play a lot of their non-league schedule outside the section (which aren't included in the calculation).  The remaining teams typically pick up their games in the Suburban so near or a little above .500 should be expected.

On the girl's side the non-league schedules vary a bit and the bigger schools tend to reach a little further down the enrollment ladder for their games.  Rarely on the boy's side will you see a Suburban school play a team from the WAC, but Duanesburg played 4 games in the Big 10 or Suburban last year on their girl's schedule.  Catholic Central seems to play the Wasaren's Hoosic Valley every year and Bishop Maginn also played Schuylerville and the CHVL's Waterford.  The boy's only had 4 games in the upper two leagues that played games that low down the enrollment ladder and they were against the same two teams. 

The Foothills and Colonial Council are the next in line and they have played a fair number of their non-league schedules so far between each other with the Foothills winning 3 and Colonial winning 4.  The top of the Foothills is typically a little better than the top of the Colonial, but the middle and bottom teams are about equal.  The opposite can be said of the girl's.

The Patroon, Wasaren and the Southern Division of the WAC are mostly B and C schools and are next in order.  The Patroon can be tough to get a read on because they play 16 of their 18 games in conference and a lot of the southern portion of the conference tends to play out of section teams.  On the boy's side, the Wasaren looks good so far going 8 and 4, but 7 of those games have come against schools smaller than themselves.  On the girl's side the opposite is true, they are 2-5, but 5 have come against larger schools.  Berne-Knox looks interesting going 3-0 for the boy's, but we'll need more information on how those schools they beat fare in their own leagues.

The WAC North, Adirondack and CHVL round things out.  On the boy's side they are a combined 6-13, on the girl's 2-4.  This is actually to be expected as almost all of their non-leagues games are played against larger schools, mostly because there are so few D schools and they are so scattered on the map it really doesn't make a lot of sense to travel to play them.  In a way, that makes it easier to compare them because you know they probably won't be as competitive.

We'll know a lot more in a few weeks when the league and conference schedules are in full swing and we can see how all these teams compare, but other than sectionals, it's still the most interesting and important part of the schedule to analyze.

No comments:

Post a Comment