Wednesday, January 30, 2013

State of Section 2 Basketball (Girls Edition) Updated

It's time revisit the Girls Basketball leagues and conferences and see where we stand with just a couple weeks to go before sectionals.  Let's crown some league champions.  Without further adieu, the State of the Section.

Girls CHVL

With Waterford dispatching Heatly last night this league is officially wrapped up.  Waterford has had an outstanding season within the CHVL and you can't take that away from them, but the question remains how they will fare against the larger C schools from the Wasaren, WAC, Colonial and Adirondack.  It really is one of the more competitive brackets in the whole section and though I don't believe Waterford will come out on top, they are the CHVL's best chance for a sectional title.  Heatly has an outside shot in the D bracket, but Fort Edward has been doing to the Adirondack League what Waterford has been doing to the CHVL.

Girls Adirondack

I'm looking forward to the rematch of Fort Edward and Fort Ann to see if the gap has closed any.  Fort Ann played Argyle really well and Argyle played Fort Edward well, but Fort Edward blew the doors off Fort Ann the first time.  I've been noticing a lot of scores varying a great deal from the first time teams played so we'll see if it can happen again.  That game will decide the East, while Lake George is in control in the West. Their three losses were to the top three teams in the East so they should be in good shape to take the West crown.  All three of the East teams will be competing for the D sectional title against Heatly from the CHVL, while Lake George is the Adirondack's best chance to navigate it's way through the C bracket.

Girls WAC

Berne-Knox and Fort Plain have already clinched their respective divisions in the WAC and I'm interested to see how they compete against each other.  It will be another indication of how the C bracket may turn out.  As you might imagine, they are also the biggest contenders for sectionals from the WAC.

Girls Wasaren

Hoosic Valley and Tamarac are currently tied atop the standings with a loss apiece, each to each other and I don't see this changing (unless we can get them to play again).  Hoosick Falls is holding up the second spot, but having to get through Hoosic Valley in sectionals mostly eliminates them from contention.  Both Hoosic Valley and Tamarac could be #1 seeds when the committee puts out the brackets and both are legitimate threats to take the crown.

Girls Patroon

Maple Hill just clinched the Patroon title last night beating Taconic Hills so even if they have their consecutive league win streak broken, they still hold the crown.  Everyone can now start looking to sectionals where I've failed to even mention Maple Hill in the C bracket thus far.  Did I forget to mention their only loss was to Mohonasen and they've already beaten Berne-Knox?  Taconic Hills is also a threat in the B bracket and I expect them to put up a fight before bowing out.

Girls Colonial

Holy Names and Watervliet have each clinched their respective divisions.  The rest of the year will be a warm up for sectionals.  The Colonial Council is interesting because they have A's, B's and C's and contenders in each bracket.  Holy Names will be a #1 or #2 seed, same thing for Watervliet.  Mechanicville is the best C, but it's a tough road for them in that bracket as they'll probably be on the road in the first and second rounds.

Girls Independent

Albany Leadership only has two wins on the season and they won't be a threat in sectionals, but I again want to thank them for playing Section 2 teams.  At least we know where they stand.

Girls Foothills

There are currently five teams with 4 losses in the league.  This thing is still way up in the air.  The one qualifier is that Queensbury's loss to Glens Falls was in non-league action during a holiday tournament so technically they only have 3 league losses.  They are also the only team to have won all of the games they have played against the teams remaining on their schedule.  The second qualifier is that those wins were by an average of 3 points.  I'm not counting anyone out at this point to take the league title.  Unfortunately that parity probably means none of them are overwhelming threats to win sectionals especially given their competition once the tournament starts.

Girls Big 10

Albany hasn't clinched yet, but chances are pretty good they will, but it won't be a cake walk.  They beat Troy handily without their top scorer and will meet in the last game of the season with, presumably, the title or a share of the title on the line.  They also have to get through Catholic Central who is currently in third.  It doesn't seem likely they will lose both of these games let alone one, but even if they did, Amsterdam is their other remaining game and they won that meeting by 50 the first time around, so they are at the very least the #2 in the Big 10.  Either way, Albany is the best shot the Big 10 has at dethroning the Suburban from sectional dominance.  I've seen some top 5's with Holy Names ahead of Troy, but I have to think a 2 or 3 loss Big 10 school whose only losses are to the top two AA schools (one of which was only by 2 points) is better or at least equal to an undefeated Colonial team.  I think these two will meet in the final and it will be a great game.

Girls Suburban

No disrespecting Averill Park with that last comment as they are currently tied with Colonie for second in the Suburban South and the biggest and legitimate threat to Troy and Holy Names.  In the AA's no one has clinched yet, but Shaker and Bethlehem have solid leads with Shen and Colonie trailing respectively.  You would have to see a tremendous meltdown and/or a fantastic run from someone to change the standings at this point.  That also isn't to say that the second place teams are out of the sectional running either.  They are all extremely competitive and it's another packed bracket with up to 6 teams that could potentially make a run.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

State of Section 2 Basketball (Boys' Edition) Updated

We are rapidly approaching sectionals and even though I've been putting out Sectional Forecasts each of the past 5 weeks, I haven't really covered how the leagues are shaping up.  Since we are closing in on crowning some League Champions, why not revisit our exercise from early this season.  From the CHVL to the Big 10, they are all covered.  Without further adieu, the State of the Section....


Earlier in the season I thought this would be a battle between Germantown and Loudonville Christian.  Though they are the top two teams currently, aside from their first meeting, it really hasn't been that close.  LC is undefeated with 4 games left, meaning they would have to lose 3 of them to not win the league.  Considering their average victory against the teams remaining on their schedule was 21, that's probably not going to happen.  At this point the only battle for positioning is for third, with Germantown firmly in second, Heatly and Waterford each have four losses and split their meetings this year.  LC is the CHVL's best and probably only chance for a sectional champion and unfortunately they need to go through Argyle to do it.  

Boys Adirondack

This one wasn't too hard to call even back when I did the first State of the Section.  Argyle and Lake George are clearly the best teams in the Adirondack and both have legitimate if not excellent chances to win sectionals in their respective brackets.  Fort Ann, behind Argyle, and North Warren, behind Lake George, are locked in to second place.  Unless something unexpected happens North Warren and Lake George meet in their last league games to decide first place in the West.  All eyes will be on the Adirondack championship game after that to see if anyone can take down Argyle before sectionals start.

Boys WAC

The WAC South was and will not be a surprise this year despite Schoharie being only a game behind Mekeel Christian Academy.  MCA won't lose another game before they play the WAC championship.  That game is usually played after the seedings are released by the committee and while it won't effect my final seedings, it may have an impact on the prediction model.  Either way, they'll be playing Canajoharie who has outlasted the rest of the field in the WAC North and already clinched that title.  Though the final win tally has them ahead, there were a ton of close games and it's a credit to them for pulling out enough games to take the crown.
Overall, there are three schools in the WAC that have sectional eyes.  MCA, Canjo and Berne-Knox all have a chance in the packed B and C brackets.

Boys Wasaren

While I thought Greenwich and Granville might have a chance to knock someone off, the only win they could muster to date was against Stillwater who is now tied with Greenwich for third place.  Although Hoosic Valley is currently in second, they suffered an injury to their starting center and barely held off Tamarac last week without him.  With games against Schuylerville, Stillwater and Greenwich still on the schedule, HV will need to pull together to hold on second place within the Wasaren and in the C bracket.  Schuylerville has a chance to wrap this up on Tuesday, but I don't yet know the extent of the HV injury so we'll have to wait and see.  
All four of the teams at the top of the standings have a chance come sectionals.  They are all in the same neighborhood as far as comparison to the Adirondack as Stillwater and Greenwich both beat Hoosick Falls by 12, while Hoosic Valley won by 11 and Lake George by 17.  HV beat Maple Hill in the Patroon by 18.  Stillwater won and lost by 3 to Voorheesville and Mechanicville respectively in the Colonial.  HV and Berne-Knox have each beaten Duanesburg by 33 and 29 respectively, and Greenwich beat Canajoharie by 12.  This may come down to any one of 8 teams.  It'll be a fun bracket to navigate.

Boys Patroon

The Patroon looked like it was going to end in a tie after Cairo-Durham won the rematch with Catskill, but a surprise upset by Rensselaer dropped CD a game behind.  Catskill still has games against the three teams tied for third in the loss column, Hudson, Maple Hill and Rensselaer.  They beat all of them by double digits the first time through but upsets do happen as we have just witnessed.  Overall, I think the Patroon is a step behind the other leagues this year, but CD and Catskill are both quality teams and capable of making a run in sectionals.

Boys Colonial

Despite the forfeited wins and loss of a player Watervliet is still the best team in the Colonial and may even win the league outright.  It’s superficial at this point anyway.  They have the best chance at claiming a sectional title out of the Colonial with Cohoes another possible class B contender.  Mechanicville and Voorheesville are always threats when they are in the class C bracket and the parity this year may play into their favor as they may get one of the top seeds before the Civic Center.  I have another unproven theory that teams unfamiliar with large venues like Hudson Valley or SUNY Albany struggle against teams that have more experience there.  The Colonial and Wasaren teams as well as Maple Hill and Lake George have all been consistent players at the Civic Center in the past 5 seasons and that may play a significant roll again this year.

Boys Foothills

Scotia-Glenville has this Conference locked up even though they still have five conference games remaining.  Glens Falls appears to have passed their biggest test in beating South Glens Falls and should roll in at the 2 spot.  South Glens Falls would need to run the table including taking out Scotia, unless Glens Falls stumbles, to tie for second.  Ultimately it won’t matter much as Scotia is significantly better than all of them.

Boys Independents

Neither Green Tech nor Albany Academy can claim league championships, but both have a significant chance to do something special in the post season.  Only Green Tech will be playing in Section 2 however so I’m not really sure why there is so much debate on other sites about whether or not they are better than Scotia.  For starters, Section 2, the section to which they have been assigned, classed them a AA school.  In my mind they are still a AA and should be if you look at their enrollment, the talent they have and the ability to recruit top talent, there is no reason they shouldn’t be in AA. 
I really think there needs to be a standard rule for how these schools are classified.  The NYSPHSAA and all the other Independent private school organizations should all meet and come to an agreed position.  It is situations like these that give the arguments about the private schools weight.  It’s incredibly unfortunate Albany Academy decided to not participate in the sectionals again this year and I’m incredibly disappointed they won’t get to try and end CBA’s run of Championships. 
Part of the problem is how the AA bracket is seeded, either all the AA schools need to play in the Big 10 and Suburban or they should shelve the B1-S1 system (which I think they should anyhow).  As far as how they stack up against Scotia, it really doesn’t matter unless they meet in the Federation tournament.  Why don’t we all just reserve judgment until if or when it happens, and then we’ll find out.

Boys Suburban

On to sunnier topics, let’s talk about the Suburban Council.  I’ll get more into this with my Sectionals Preview, but the Suburban Council has a .308 winning percentage in sectionals AA over the past 5 seasons.  This year however, they have three very competitive teams in Bethlehem, Shaker and Shen.  That and the less than stellar season from CBA we are accustomed to gives reason to think 2013 might end differently.   I’m really looking forward to this year’s AA bracket as I believe there are six different teams that could win the whole thing.

Boys Big 10

Typically things in the Big 10 start and end with CBA, but this year Troy has built on their impressive season from a year ago and could be the one to finally take down CBA.  Unfortunately, Troy will be missing one of their starters for the rest of the year and their rematch with CBA will be coming up shortly so we’ll soon know what kind of effect that has their title hopes.  That rematch will determine the winner of the league barring unforeseen circumstances the remainder of the year.  Schenectady and LaSalle are both an enigma to me as they have both played really well at times and really poorly at times.  Either has the chance to knock off a good team in sectionals, but I just don’t think they will be able to plow through all the three Suburban teams, the two Big 10 teams and Green Tech to finish it off.  The Big 10 looks vulnerable this year for the first time in a long time.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Boys Basketball Sectional Forecast #5

Unlike in the girls' brackets, there were no changes to the model's internals this week.  Since there are significantly more games in that database there would need to be fairly substantial change in the trend for the cut off numbers to change.  Happy forecasting. Sectional Forecast #5.

Class AA

(1) Troy  11-1
(16) Niskayuna 1-10
(8) Schenectady  7-5
(9) Shenendehowa 8-2     up 1
(5) Shaker  11-2
(12) Ballston Spa  5-8     up 3
(4) CBA  11-2
(13) Colonie  6-7     down 2
(3) Bethlehem  10-2
(14) Catholic Central  5-7     down 1
(6) Columbia  8-4     up 1
(11) Bishop Maginn  6-7     up 1
(7) Guilderland  7-4     down 1
(10) LaSalle 7-6     down 1
(2) Green Tech  5-0
(15) Saratoga Springs 6-7     down 1

Unranked:  Albany, Albany Academy (not participating)

After a brief respite from #1, Troy has ever so slightly surpassed Green Tech yet again.  Both of these teams are really close and it could very well hinge on the Albany Academy games against Green Tech to settle it.  Both Troy and Green Tech are remarkably close to the finals rating, but are still shy.  With Bethlehem's loss to Shaker this week, they have dropped down quite a bit and probably no longer have a chance for a final four ranking.  At this point Troy and Green Tech are the favorites and I can see it staying that way.

Class A

(1) Scotia-Glenville  13-0
(16) Bye
(8) Queensbury  6-7     up 1
(9) Mohonasen  3-9     down 1
(5) Averill Park  5-8     up 1
(12) Bye
(4) South Glens Falls  8-4
(13) Bye
(3) Burnt Hills  5-6
(14) Bye
(6) Lansingburgh  6-6     up 1
(11) Bishop Gibbons  1-12
(7) Gloversville  5-7     down 2
(10) Amsterdam  3-10
(2) Glens Falls  8-3
(15) Bye

Gloversville had a bad week losing two games and dropping two slots to #7.  Glens Falls remains in second even though I believe Burnt Hills should be ahead of them.  Two of Glens Falls' remaining games are against Scotia and South Glens Falls, both of which were losses the first time through.  If they repeat that performance I think you'll see Burnt Hills move ahead.  In South Glens Falls' four remaining league games, excluding Scotia, they went 3-1 the first time through, but only won by a combined 8 points.  Second place in the Foothills could come right down to the wire and depending on how it falls, may be the #3 seed in sectionals.

Class B

(1) Watervliet  6-0
(16) Chatham 3-10     previously unranked
(8) Ichabod Crane  7-6     up 2
(9) Broadalbin-Perth  5-8     down 1
(5) Catskill  13-1     down 1
(12) Fonda-Fultonville  4-8
(4) Schuylerville  12-1     down 1
(13) Corinth  6-7
(3) Mekeel Academy  10-2     up 2
(14) Schalmont  6-8
(6) Cohoes  7-4
(11) Taconic Hills  6-6
(7) Ravena  9-4
(10) Hudson  8-6     down 1
(2) Cairo-Durham  10-1
(15) Tamarac  4-8

Unranked:  Johnstown, Hudson Falls, Greenville, Granville, Coxsackie-Athens, Cobleskill

Last week I said there was a chance Mekeel Academy could move into second this week and I was wrong, by .005.  They are currently in third, .004 behind Cairo-Durham.  After losing to Mayfield the first game of the year, Mekeel beat them by 20 this week to avenge one of their two losses.  That being said, they only moved into third by .005 over Schuylerville.  Before this is said and done, I do believe Mekeel will move into second and stay there and the fight will be between Cairo-Durham and Schuylerville for #3 and #4.  Schuylerville still has two tough games on their schedule in Hoosic Valley and Cohoes and given their close proximity to Catskill at #5, they could theoretically drop down with a loss or even two.  For the record I don't think they'll lose either.

Class C

(1) Lake George  12-1
(16) Waterford  6-7
(8) Saratoga Catholic  8-6     up 1
(9) Voorheesville  6-5     down 1
(5) Berne-Knox  9-4     down 2
(12) Rensselaer  7-6     down 2
(4) Greenwich  10-4     up 1
(13) Mayfield  7-7
(3) Canajoharie  13-2     up 1
(14) Maple Hill  8-6
(6) Schoharie  11-3
(11) Fort Plain  7-5     up 1
(7) Stillwater  8-5
(10) Mechanicville  7-6     up 1
(2) Hoosic Valley  13-1
(15) Hoosick Falls  5-7

Unranked:  Berlin, Duanesburg, Whitehall, Cambridge, Middleburgh, Hadley-Luzerne, Galway

This is the scariest bracket for me running a "prediction" model.  The Colonial teams are always a threat and this year may be no different, but the model isn't showing that.  Whether or not that is right we will find out, but if you look at Mechanicville and Voorheesville's schedules, I'm not sure they are as impressive as first looks might suggest.  Mechanicville's big wins are Cohoes, Stillwater and Mekeel Academy.  The last of those was early in the season when Mekeel was obviously not the same team they are now.  Stillwater is the #7 seed currently and it was a 3 point game.  They too are playing better now than they were then, as evidenced by the 17 point loss to Schuylerville early and only 8 point loss last week.  Discounting those two, you have Cohoes, which was a two point win.  There aren't too many holes to poke in this one as Schuylerville also beat Cohoes by 2 points and they beat Hoosic Valley by 20.  Schuylerville plays both again pretty soon so we'll see where we stand on that coming up.  One other note, the 3 point loss to Watevliet was coming a day after a scandal, and with Watervliet missing arguably their 2nd and 3rd best players (one of which caused the scandal).

Voorheesville's big wins were against Mechanicville (#10), Ravena (lost to Cohoes by 18) and Spa Catholic (#8).  Their two close losses to Berne-Knox (#5) and Stillwater (#7).  Neither team has won a game against anyone ranked higher than 6th in any of their respective brackets.  All that being said, it still scares me.

Class D

(1) Argyle  13-0
(16) Sharon Springs 0-9
(8) St. Johnsville  6-8     down 2
(9) Heatly 7-6     down 1
(5) Germantown  8-4     down 1
(12) Warrensburg  4-8
(4) Fort Ann  9-3     up 1
(13) Fort Edward  1-9
(3) North Warren  10-2
(14) Hawthorne Valley  1-8
(6) Hartford  6-5     up 1
(11) Salem  4-8
(7) Northville  6-8     up 2
(10) Doane Stuart  6-6
(2) Loudonville Christian  12-0
(15) Bolton  0-12

Unranked: New Lebanon

I'm having a hard time writing anything about this bracket as it seems like a foregone conclusion.  Despite what the ratings say, this feels like there will be no contest.  Loudonville Christian all but wrapped up the CHVL title beating Germantown this week so there is a glimmer of hope, but it doesn't seem likely to me.

Next week I intend to put up an update on the State of the Section for both boys and girls basketball going league by league to see where we stand in the race for league championships, so stay tuned.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Girls Basketball Sectional Forecast #5

I made a slight adjustment this week to the model.  Because I include the current season's games into the historical data, I have to re-calibrate where the breaks are with regards to enrollment variance within the expected win percentages.  It was only a slight tweak and it didn't appear to have much impact, but thought I'd let you know for full disclosure.  Happy forecasting.  Sectional Forecast #5.

Class AA

(1) Bethlehem  12-0     up 1
(16) Bye
(8) Columbia  6-7     up 1
(9) Guilderland  6-5     down 1
(5) Catholic Central  9-4
(12) Ballston Spa  1-12
(4) Colonie  10-3
(13) Schenectady  0-11
(3) Shaker  10-1
(14) Bye
(6) Shenendehowa  6-4
(11) Niskayuna  1-10
(7) Bishop Maginn  7-7
(10) Saratoga Springs  5-8
(2) Albany  10-0     down 1
(15) Bye

Here is an instance where the tweak in the model made a slight difference.  Because the greater seeds have been winning at a greater rate this year than last, Albany sacrificed some of their variance between opponent's actual win percentage and expected win percentage.  Bethlehem is now almost a full tenth better than Albany and given their rather impressive win against Shaker, I'm not sure I can forcefully disagree.  I do believe it will be these two teams in the final, with Colonie the biggest threat of upsetting either of them.  After  Catholic Central the ratings drop off quite a bit and I don't think there are any real contenders there.

Class A

(1) Troy  8-2
(16) Bye
(8) Mohonasen  5-8
(9) Amsterdam  4-6
(5) Glens Falls  7-3
(12) Bye
(4) Averill Park  10-3     down 1
(13) Bye
(3) Queensbury  9-3     up 1
(14) Bye
(6) South Glens Falls  9-4     up 1
(11) Lansingburgh  0-12
(7) Scotia-Glenville  5-8     down 1
(10) Burnt Hills  2-11
(2) Holy Names  12-0
(15) Bye

The model didn't heed my advice and stuck Averill Park right in the middle of Queensbury and Glens Falls even after they beat Shen tonight.  I don't really agree with that, but it's still really close and Averill Park will pick up some points in their opponent's expected vs. actual win percentage this week, and possibly a lot if they can win one of the games.  As of now the model has Troy and Holy Names pretty far ahead of everyone else so it may not make much of a difference.  I think this will be the final as well and much like AA I don't see a whole lot that might change that.  Perhaps the most disappointing story of this year is Scotia's drop off after losing their leading scorer.  They might have been able to make a run, but that doesn't seem likely now.

Class B

(1) Tamarac  13-1
(16) Catskill  5-8     down 1
(8) Cohoes  8-4     up 1
(9) Schalmont  8-4     up 1
(5) Greenville  7-5     up 1
(12) Johnstown  5-7
(4) Ravena  8-4
(13) Hudson Falls 5-8     up 1
(3) Taconic Hills  11-2
(14) Fonda-Fultonville  4-8     down 1
(6) Corinth  8-5     up 1
(11) Emma Willard  7-5     down 3
(7) Broadalbin-Perth  8-5     down 2
(10) Hudson  8-5     up 1
(2) Watervliet  11-1
(15) Ichabod Crane 4-8     up 1

Unranked:  Granville, Albany Leadership, Bishop Gibbons, Coxsackie-Athens, Schuylerville, Cobleskill, Chatham, Cairo-Durham

Hardly any movement here as there were hardly any games played this week.  A little bit of shuffling around but only a spot or two.  I still think Corinth is too high but maybe I'm missing something.  Every one of their losses were against good teams, though most of them are D schools.  I would probably have them 9 or 10 and just move everyone else up one.  With Tamarac's win over Hoosic Valley tonight they have cleared their last big hurdle so this may be what it looks like in 3 weeks.  Like the A and AA, according to the model, the final looks to be set between Tamarac and Watervliet.  Taconic Hills is fairly close but I don't think the Patroon matches up to the Wasaren and Colonial this year.  The biggest threat after that is Ravena but they just lost to Watervliet by 6.

Class C

(1) Berne-Knox  10-1     up 1
(16) Greenwich 6-7     previously unranked
(8) Hoosick Falls  9-4     down 1
(9) Galway  9-4     up 1
(5) Hoosic Valley  11-3
(12) Mechanicville  7-5
(4) Maple Hill  13-1
(13) Canajoharie  7-6
(3) Fort Plain  11-1
(14) Whitehall  6-5
(6) Lake George  10-3     up 2
(11) Duanesburg  7-4
(7) Middleburgh  7-4     down 1
(10) Mekeel Academy 7-6     down 1
(2) Waterford  12-2     down 1
(15) Voorheesville 5-6

Unranked:  Albany Academy, Mayfield, Stillwater, Saratoga Catholic, Berlin, Hadley-Luzerne, Rensselaer, Cambridge, Schoharie

I'm happier this week as Waterford isn't #1 anymore.  I still don't think they are #2, but at this point I don't see it changing especially with Hoosic Valley's loss tonight.  This is a really good bracket and might be the most fun to watch of all Section 2.  The first 5 teams are all really good and have good ratings and no one has a final four rating at this point.  This will be my favorite one to scoreboard watch.  Just for fun, I took out Hoosic Valley's loss to Scotia as I have contended that game is killing their rating.  They essentially lost to a team that no longer exists, but due to injury not a rules' violation like the boys Watervliet team.  Their rating increases by .052 and they move into the #3 seed.  While I still think they would beat Waterford head to head, I'd be ok with that arrangement.  I'm not sure how the Girls sectionals work and whether or not that game would be on a neutral floor but so long as it was, it wouldn't matter who was the higher seed anyway.

Class D

(1) Fort Edward  11-0
(16) St. Johnsville  0-9
(8) Warrensburg  5-6
(9) New Lebanon  4-6     up 1
(5) Germantown  6-4
(12) Bolton  2-9     up 2
(4) Heatly  10-3
(13) Sharon Springs  0-8     down 1
(3) Argyle  9-4
(14) Doane Stuart  2-9     down 1
(6) Loudonville Christian  5-5
(11) North Warren  4-9     down 2
(7) Hartford  3-8
(10) Northville 5-8     up 1
(2) Fort Ann  11-1
(15) Salem  1-11

Unranked:   Hawthorne Valley

Fort Edward remains the heavy favorite after beating Argyle tonight by double digits.  They only won their first meeting by 1 point so this is an improvement for them.  Argyle must match up really well against Fort Edward as they have lost the two games by a combined 13 points and lost to Fort Ann by 20 in their only meeting.  Fort Edward beat Fort Ann by 25 in their only meeting this year.  Argyle might be the biggest threat Fort Edward will see in the sectionals.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Basketball Games: Early vs. Late

One thing worth watching is how teams navigate their second half schedules.  There were two games tonight featuring non-league rematches.  Both games turned out much different than they did the first time around and both games provided information that is helpful in evaluating everyone's chances in sectionals.

The first of those games was on the girls side matching up Galway from the WAC and Heatly from the CHVL.  When they met in late December Galway came out on top by 10 points, but tonight jacked it up to a 34 point win.  This is significant because it is another reference point for a CHVL team that we can use to help judge where Waterford's rightful place is in the bracket.  Waterford has played Heatly once and beat them by 33.  Once you get past a certain number, MOV doesn't really mean that much and I believe it is somewhere around 28-30 points.  If you are ahead by that much you're probably playing the end of the bench so all you are really proving is that your 8-12 players are decent, but since most of the time those players won't play significant minutes in sectionals anyway it doesn't make much difference.  What we've learned is that the second place team in the WAC North is just as capable as the best team in the CHVL, which would put them somewhere in Fort Plain's range in the 3-5 range in my mind.  Now if we could only see Fort Plain play Waterford we could know for sure.  Too bad we can't until sectionals.

The other game was on the boys side and matched up Broadalbin-Perth from the Foothills with Schuylerville of the Wasaren.  The first time they met BP won by 12.  This time, Schuylerville reversed fortune and won by 14.  In my mind this puts BP out of the running in the B bracket.  They could still win a game or two, but I don't think they will be able to compete with the top couple teams in the bracket, namely Watervliet.  It also solidifies Schuylerville's spot up  near the top for the time being.  Their first game had me a bit worried about how Schuylerville really fared in the B bracket as you wouldn't think they would lose a game like that.  Going in to this week, I thought this was one of the biggest games to watch.  Schuylerville responded how they had to and for once, we actually have an answer to one of those lingering questions.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Two Games on the Books Equals Four Seeds in the Forecast

As part of my Boys Sectional Forecast #4 posted the other night I mentioned a couple games, the first being one that wasn't yet played between Averill Park and Gloversville and the second between Berne-Knox and Voorheesville.  We now know that Averill Park beat Gloversville for the second time this season on Saturday night.  We also know that Berne-Knox played and was subsequently crushed by Green Tech on Sunday afternoon.  Voorheesville also played and lost, but to an out of section team so the game was not logged into the model.

These two new games in the database caused a four seed swing in the forecast.  As I have previously stated the model isn't a tool to tell you who would necessarily win a  head to head meeting, nor does it even tell you who is better.  Its goal is to tell you who is most likely to win sectionals.  So, even though Averill Park had previously beaten Gloversville prior to the last forecast, it wasn't unheard of for them to be ranked one spot ahead.  Sometimes on the floor match-ups are more favorable than the numbers give them credit for.  I have never claimed I can break down x's and o's and since this isn't my full time job, I don't have time to watch very many games.  That being said, Saturday's game cleared up that problem for me as the Averill Park has moved ahead of Gloversville in the model and while the scores still remain close I'm optimistic it will stay that way.  Of the 6 remaining league games Gloversville will play, they were 2-4 against those teams the first time through.  Averill Park was 1-4 the first time through the teams remaining on their schedule with one against Shen they haven't met yet.  If that holds, both teams would fare one game worse than historically expected as Gloversville has a 3.240 expected win total and Averill Park has a 2.073 expected win total.  It's still too early to run a forecast assuming the winners of the remaining games, but I expect this to remain close with Averill Park finishing slightly ahead.

The other game between Berne-Knox and Green Tech resulted in a two spot drop for Berne-Knox from #3 to #5.  Voorheesville remained the same at #8, but now the double OT game between the two has brought them to within .052 of each other in the model.  This lies just outside the mean square error which makes me feel a lot better about it than two days ago.  It's also a lot closer to what you might expect right now.  The reason Berne-Knox lost so much ground was because of how the model evaluates the private schools and where Green Tech is in relation to Berne-Knox in enrollment.  Typically when a private school plays a public school and they are relatively close in enrollment the public school has been more likely to win.  That is mostly due to who the private schools are, i.e. not CBA.  Not only did the public school lose, they lost by 53 points so their scores against expected win percentage and against expected MOV took huge hits.

Finally, there was a change I did not expect and that is Green Tech moved ahead of Troy in the AA bracket.  They now lead Troy by .013 and that is due to the exact opposite reason Berne-Knox took such a large hit to their score.  This is still really close and honestly, they probably should be, but again, we'll know a lot more with each in-section game Green Tech plays, and after Troy plays CBA again.  For now though, it's amazing how much havoc can be created from just two games.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Boys Basketball Sectional Forecast #4

The big bit of news this week is that Albany Academy will not be participating in sectionals this year.  For the sake of this forecast I have removed them entirely.  It doesn't do very much good showing where they would be when they aren't going to be.  I have kept them in as a Section 2 team so all of their games are counted as in-section games because they are technically a Section 2 team.  In case you were wondering, they would be the #3 seed in AA and #2 in A.  Happy forecasting. Sectional Forecast #4.

Class AA

(1) Troy  10-1
(16) Niskayuna 1-9     previously unranked
(8) Schenectady  6-5     up 2
(9) LaSalle 7-5
(5) Shaker  10-2
(12) Bishop Maginn  6-7     down 1
(4) CBA  10-2     up 2
(13) Catholic Central  5-6     up 1
(3) Bethlehem  10-1     up 1
(14) Saratoga Springs 6-6     up 1
(6) Guilderland  7-4     up 2
(11) Colonie  6-6     up 2
(7) Columbia  7-4
(10) Shenendehowa 7-2     up 2
(2) Green Tech  3-0
(15) Ballston Spa  4-8     up 1

Unranked:  Albany, Albany Academy (not participating)

Troy put a little bit more distance between themselves and the rest of the field, not enough at this point to make them a lock for #1 even with another loss.  CBA moved up two spots this week, one from the departure of Albany Academy from the rankings and one from Shaker's loss to Colonie.  Shaker actually didn't lose any seeding remaining at #5, but they did lose .089 from their ranking leaving them only about 50% of the way of having a score high enough for a second round win.  The most interesting thing to me about this field is that no one to date has separated themselves from the others.  With the exception of Green Tech (who has only played 3 in-section games, but have also lost out of section), each contender has lost a game they should have or could have won.  They all have flaws that have been exposed.  This bracket as much as any will probably come down to match-ups and how they final bracket looks.  You could very well see some first round upsets from this group and I don't believe it would be all that shocking.  I could easily see neither of the top two seeds making the final.

Class A

(1) Scotia-Glenville  12-0
(16) Bye
(8) Mohonasen  3-9     down 4
(9) Queensbury  5-7     down 2
(5) Gloversville  5-5     up 1
(12) Bye
(4) South Glens Falls  7-4     up 1
(13) Bye
(3) Burnt Hills  5-6
(14) Bye
(6) Averill Park  4-7     up 3
(11) Bishop Gibbons  1-11
(7) Lansingburgh  5-6     up 1
(10) Amsterdam  2-10
(2) Glens Falls  7-3
(15) Bye

You should re-read last week's assessment as virtually nothing from it has changed.  I still think Burnt Hills should be the #2 and just might get there if Glens Falls drops a game they shouldn't .  Burnt Hills' expected win percentage will go down as they have a few of the bigger schools still to play, but I think they'll need to play better than .500 from here on out to overtake Glens Falls if they win their winnable games.  Also, Averill Park was scheduled to play Gloversville tonight but that score isn't in the calculation as I don't have it yet.  The model right now says Gloversville is better, we'll see if it's right.

Class B

(1) Watervliet  5-0     up 1
(16) Greenville  3-9
(8) Broadalbin-Perth  5-6
(9) Hudson  7-6     up 4
(5) Mekeel Academy  8-2
(12) Fonda-Fultonville  4-7     up 2
(4) Catskill  13-1     down 3
(13) Corinth  6-6     down 2
(3) Schuylerville  10-1
(14) Schalmont  6-7     down 2
(6) Cohoes  6-4     up 1
(11) Taconic Hills  6-6     down 1
(7) Ravena  8-3     down 1
(10) Ichabod Crane  6-6     down 1
(2) Cairo-Durham  10-1     up 2
(15) Tamarac  4-7

Unranked:  Johnstown, Hudson Falls, Chatham, Granville, Coxsackie-Athens, Cobleskill

I was wrong about the Catskill, Cairo-Durham game with CD taking the win and moving up 2 spots in the process.  Watervliet moved into #1 and their destiny is now in their hands.  Even with a loss to Albany Academy I think the model will keep them ahead if only slightly.  Their score moved up almost a full point and are now over a full point ahead of 2nd place.  Catskill's score dropped by .050 off of their loss so we'll see how that plays out.  There is the potential for Mekeel Academy to move into 2nd place next week.  That would be a big jump, but seeds 2-5 are extremely close and two more wins would move their winning percentage and correspondingly their variance of win percentage to expected win percentage up over another .100.  That just might be enough to push them past everyone but Watervliet.  Cohoes, Ravena and Broadalbin-Perth scare me a bit because they are all quality teams that can play with any one of the top 5 if not beat them.  Lots of chances for upsets in the first half of this bracket, meaning in the second round.

Class C

(1) Lake George  11-1
(16) Waterford  5-7
(8) Voorheesville  6-4  
(9) Saratoga Catholic  7-6     up 3
(5) Greenwich  9-4
(12) Fort Plain  6-5     down 2
(4) Canajoharie  12-2
(13) Mayfield  6-6     up 1
(3) Berne-Knox  8-3
(14) Maple Hill  8-6     down 1
(6) Schoharie  8-3     up 1
(11) Mechanicville  6-6
(7) Stillwater  8-4     down 1
(10) Rensselaer  7-6     down 1
(2) Hoosic Valley  11-1
(15) Hoosick Falls  4-7

Unranked:  Berlin, Duanesburg, Whitehall, Cambridge, Middleburgh, Hadley-Luzerne, Galway

I just wrote an entire paragraph on how Lake George locked this thing up because their scores barely moved this week with Hoosic Valley only picking up .011, they are still sitting .078 behind Lake George.  The reason for this?  Lake George played Argyle who is undefeated, so their opponents expected win percentage went up .118 offsetting the loss.  But as I looked back at the model, I'm not so convinced anymore and I'm starting to think it may come down the wire and tighten as the games go on.  Lake George only plays one more team with a winning record the rest of the year while Hoosic Valley plays three so even the a loss to Schuylerville might not be as detrimental as I originally thought.  This bracket remains interesting with perhaps the most telling game of the week coming tonight.  The current #8 Voorheesville played and lost to the current #3 Berne-Knox by 4 points.  Everyone, including myself, always says how you should watch out for the Colonial C's, but they had their chance tonight and lost.  I know it was very close, but I'm not as worried about the model having them #8 with 4 really good teams between them and the team they just lost to by 4.  These teams are still pretty close in the model so there is a chance for some more movement between them before it's said and done.

Class D

(1) Argyle  12-0
(16) Sharon Springs 0-8     previously unranked
(8) Heatly 7-4
(9) Northville  6-7     down 3
(5) Fort Ann  8-3
(12) Warrensburg  4-7
(4) Germantown  7-3
(13) Fort Edward  1-8
(3) North Warren  9-2
(14) Hawthorne Valley  1-7
(6) St. Johnsville  6-4     up 1
(11) Salem  4-8
(7) Hartford  6-4     up 2
(10) Doane Stuart  5-5
(2) Loudonville Christian  10-0
(15) Bolton  0-11

Unranked: New Lebanon

I honestly don't see how anyone can beat Argyle in this field and probably in the C's either.  Joey Lufkin is just ridiculous and I don't think anyone in this bracket will be able to stop him or the rest of the Argyle team. The battle for runner-up should be interesting though and I could see a couple of the lower seeds making a run.  The good thing about this bracket as it is currently situated is that all of those teams are in the other side of the bracket from Argyle so at least there should be some good games along the way.  If there was one game I would want to watch in this bracket it would be the #3, #6 match-up in the second round.  Both North Warren and St. Johnsville have been competitive all year and I think it could be the best game in the D tournament.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Girls Basketball Sectional Forecast #4

There was a bit more stability in the larger schools this week with only a few moving parts, but the small schools continue to test my patience.  I have to keep reminding myself I only have one year's data in the Girls' model.  That lack of data is continuing to show its ugly head in the B's and most notably the C's.  I would hold my breath for it to change, but I'm liable be dead before it happens.  Regardless, a lot more games this week and more useful information for the model.  Happy forecasting.  Sectional Forecast #4.

Class AA

(1) Albany  9-0
(16) Bye
(8) Guilderland  5-5     up 1
(9) Columbia  5-7     down 1
(5) Catholic Central  8-3
(12) Ballston Spa  1-11     down 1
(4) Colonie  9-3
(13) Schenectady  0-10     down 1
(3) Shaker  10-0
(14) Bye
(6) Shenendehowa  6-3
(11) Niskayuna  1-9     up 2
(7) Bishop Maginn  7-6
(10) Saratoga Springs  5-7
(2) Bethlehem  11-0
(15) Bye

Colonie took a big hit with their loss to Shaker but maintained their #4 ranking.  In fact they only lost .003 to Shaker at #3 and .007 to Catholic Central at #5.  Things have really stabilized with the first 7 seeds holding their slots.  Unless Bethlehem or Shaker lose to someone other than each other the top six probably won't have much movement.  One interesting note here is that if you line up all the teams by winning percentage, they would be in exactly the same order.  That obviously doesn't separate the undefeated teams, but that's what the model is for.  Most of the AA schools play most of their schedules against other AA's so there isn't a great differentiation in expected win percentages.  That means, at this point in time, there isn't much for the model to tell us differently from their records.

Class A

(1) Troy  7-2
(16) Bye
(8) Mohonasen  4-8
(9) Amsterdam  4-6
(5) Glens Falls  7-3     down 2
(12) Bye
(4) Queensbury  8-3     up 1
(13) Bye
(3) Averill Park  9-3     up 1
(14) Bye
(6) Scotia-Glenville  5-6     up 1
(11) Lansingburgh  0-12
(7) South Glens Falls  8-4     down 1
(10) Burnt Hills  2-10
(2) Holy Names  11-0
(15) Bye

Averill Park moved ahead of Glens Falls into #3, though it only took one Glens Falls loss not the 2 or 3 I said last week.  This could very well flip right back next week as Averill Park faces Shen next Friday, Bethlehem the following Tuesday and Colonie three days after that.  Depending on how Glens Falls and Queensbury finish out their schedules, Averill Park will probably need to win one if not two of those games to be the #3.  I would have them at #3 regardless of the model because the Foothills teams are all so closely matched you can't very well stick Averill Park in the middle of them and come up with a solid justification for it.  It's hard enough finding a rationale for putting South Glens Falls, Queensbury and Glens Falls in any order  at all.  I couldn't even begin to tell you who is the best of those three and I'm pessimistic it will be sorted out by the end of the year either.  The only thing I can tell you for certain is that Scotia should be behind all of them due to injury.

Class B

(1) Tamarac  12-1     up 1
(16) Ichabod Crane 4-8     down 2
(8) Emma Willard  6-5
(9) Cohoes  8-4     up 2
(5) Broadalbin-Perth  7-4     up 1
(12) Johnstown  5-6     up 1
(4) Ravena  8-4     up 1
(13) Fonda-Fultonville  4-8     down 1
(3) Taconic Hills  11-2
(14) Hudson Falls 3-8     previously unranked
(6) Greenville  7-5     down 2
(11) Hudson  8-5     down 2
(7) Corinth  8-4     up 3
(10) Schalmont  8-4     down 3
(2) Watervliet  11-1     down 1
(15) Catskill  5-8     up 1

Unranked:  Granville, Albany Leadership, Bishop Gibbons, Coxsackie-Athens, Schuylerville, Cobleskill, Chatham, Cairo-Durham

This one surprised me a bit with Tamarac overtaking Watervliet.  This is almost entirely due to Tamarac's edge in MOV.  Last week Watervliet had the edge in expected win percentage from MOV by .088 this week, Tamarac has flipped that and is leading Watervliet by .024.  The amazing thing about this bracket is that seeds 4 through 11, with the exception of Emma Willard all have 7 or 8 wins.  Cohoes has moved up 5 spots in the last two weeks.  I'm a bit disappointed that both Emma Willard and Corinth are above a couple of the Colonial teams.  I would certainly not put an 8-4 team from the Adirondack ahead of two 8-4 teams from the Colonial.  Still 4 through 12 are extremely close and I would expect a bit more movement before it's over.

Class C

(1) Waterford  11-2     up 1
(16) Schoharie 5-6     previously unranked
(8) Lake George  9-3     down 2
(9) Mekeel Academy 6-5     up 2
(5) Hoosic Valley  11-2
(12) Mechanicville  7-5     up 1
(4) Maple Hill  12-1     down 1
(13) Canajoharie  7-5     down 1
(3) Fort Plain  9-1     up 1
(14) Whitehall  5-5     up 1
(6) Middleburgh  7-3     up 1
(11) Duanesburg  7-4     down 2
(7) Hoosick Falls  8-4     up 1
(10) Galway  8-4
(2) Berne-Knox  8-1     down 1
(15) Voorheesville 5-6     up 1

Unranked:  Albany Academy, Mayfield, Stillwater, Saratoga Catholic, Berlin, Hadley-Luzerne, Rensselaer, Cambridge, Greenwich

This bracket is starting to upset me a little bit.  Waterford has taken over the top spot almost entirely on their expected win percentage from MOV.  This is the sort of thing the model is supposed to correct, where a team pounds bad teams into submission but doesn't face any tough competition, or loses to those it does face.  There are two things that are keeping Waterford ahead right now, the one is their MOV, the other is that no other team in the CHVL is very good so their expected win percentages are all roughly where they should be.  So even though they are playing poor competition, the model isn't picking it up, whereas Hoosic Valley is being hurt by their loss to Scotia early in the season prior to Scotia's big injury.  Since Scotia is now under-performing to historical standards, that loss looks worse than it actually was.  The only positive is that Waterford is almost maxed out on their score and the next four teams are fairly close, so things could turn around.  I'm not optimistic but you never know.  Without the model I would go Hoosic Valley, Maple Hill, Berne-Knox, Waterford, Middleburgh, Hoosick Falls, Lake George.

Class D

(1) Fort Edward  10-0
(16) St. Johnsville  0-8
(8) Warrensburg  4-6     up 1
(9) North Warren  4-8     down 1
(5) Germantown  6-4
(12) Sharon Springs  0-7
(4) Heatly  9-2
(13) Doane Stuart  2-8
(3) Argyle  9-3
(14) Bolton  1-9     up 1
(6) Loudonville Christian  4-5     up 1
(11) Northville 5-7     down 1
(7) Hartford  3-7     down 1
(10) New Lebanon  4-6     up 1
(2) Fort Ann  10-1
(15) Salem  1-10     down 1

Unranked:   Hawthorne Valley

The only notable item here is that Fort Edward's score dropped a ton, so Fort Ann is a lot closer than they have ever been to this point.  I believe Fort Edward plays Argyle this upcoming week so that should increase things a bit, unless of course they lose.  Fort Edward's opponents expected win percentage took a nosedive which caused their total score to drop.  Even with that, they still are a huge favorite and I don't expect that to change.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Two Area Basketball Teams Rebounding for Sectionals

There are times things happen in basketball that numbers simply can't explain.  We have seen a few instances this year like Saratoga Catholic's 47 point blow-out of Fort Plain and Schenectady's recent collapse.  Neither of these could have been predicted by the previous games they had played leading up to the events.  There are two teams in particular that have overcome similar events, the Mekeel Christian Academy boys and Colonie girls basketball teams.  Both teams lost two games within the opening weeks of the season and neither have lost since.

For Mekeel Christian Academy, it was their first two games of the season.  The first was a one point loss to cross-division WAC opponent Mayfield, the second a two point loss to the Colonial Council's Mechanicville.  Both teams are currently 6-5 and both have been extremely competitive in their losses.  Mekeel Christian Academy managed just 77 combined points in those two games.  It was not the impressive start we are accustomed to seeing from this team.  They followed that up with 75 points in a five point win over WAC rival Berne-Knox almost matching their previous two game totals.  They entered the fourth quarter of that game trailing by two.  To date, that fourth quarter was the turning point of their season.  They scored 27 to Berne-Knox's 20.  Since that point their trio of Caleb Stewart (20.6 ppg), Spencer Bath (13.7 ppg) and Courtney Penson  (11.4 ppg) have helped deliver wins averaging 32 points over their last six in-section games including a 39 point drubbing of Schoharie, the team that authored Berne-Knox's only other in-section loss.  

After tonight's rematch 7 point win over Berne-Knox they face two more tests before sectionals.  Next Wednesday they'll have the opportunity to avenge their season opening loss to Mayfield and on February 2nd they match-up with Gloversville from the Foothills.  Regardless of how their regular season ends, they have completely turned their season around from the brink of an 0-3 start, changing a difficult climb to the top of the WAC South into a cake walk.  Anything can happen come Sectionals, but the Mekeel Christian Academy boys' basketball team is making a run for a prime position come mid-February.

The Colonie girls basketball team started their Class AA Championship title defense with a 1-2 record.  After defeating Mohonasen, they lost two games to Averill Park by 3 points and to Bethlehem by 2 points.  Neither of these losses were unforgivable, Averill Park owns a 8-3 record while Bethlehem is 11-0, but the caliber of team Colonie puts on the court night in and night out it was certainly shocking to see these losses back to back.  Led by their own big 3, Sydnie Rosales (15.1 ppg), Jaclyn Welch (13.3 ppg) and Nicole Riddick (10.4 ppg) they have rebounded to win their last 8 games by an average of 20.1 points.  

Colonie still faces a long road to winning the Suburban Council with rematches against Averill Park and Bethlehem and a cross division game against 11-0 Shaker.  If they can maintain their momentum, and with a little luck, they can shake off the memory of their disappointing one bucket early season losses and be set up for another deep run into March.

The heart of a champion is not shown or earned in blow-out victories night after night.  Contenders earn that title by showing what they can do after they've been knocked down.  Neither of these teams are exactly where they wanted to be at this point in the season, but they have shown that giving in when things get tough is not what they are about.  In Sectionals, your record and scores are what they are.  The numbers can't tell you who wants it more.  They may not win when it's all said and done, but they aren't going down without a fight, and a fight is what they are about to get.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Boys Basketball Sectional Forecast #3

There wasn't a ton going on in terms of changes, but there were a ton of games as there should be every week from this point forward.  We are now to the point where we can start looking into how the schedules play out and where teams might end up.  There is a bit of this and some point differential analysis below.  Enjoy Sectional Forecast #3.

Class AA

(1) Troy  8-1     up 1
(16) Ballston Spa  3-7     down 1
(8) Guilderland  6-3
(9) LaSalle 7-4     up 2
(5) Shaker  9-1
(12) Shenendehowa 5-2
(4) Bethlehem  8-1     down 1
(13) Colonie  5-5
(3) Albany Academy  2-0     up 1
(14) Catholic Central  4-5     down 4
(6) CBA  8-2
(11) Bishop Maginn  5-6     up 5
(7) Columbia  7-2
(10) Schenectady  5-5  down 1
(2) Green Tech  3-0
(15) Saratoga Springs 5-5     down 1

Unranked:  Albany, Niskayuna

Troy has overtaken Green Tech as the #1 seed but not by much.  The top 9 seeds' ratings all went up this week but still no one has a rating above finals level.  Green Tech has actually hit a bit of a wall and that has to do with having maxed out two of the four variables.  With two games against Albany Academy this might be their high water mark.  If that's the case it's just going to be a matter of whether or not Troy can stay on top of them.  That means they will probably have to run the table.  Shen continues to look under-ranked but even without the model I might only move them up 2 spots.  There is another issue at work in this bracket and that is the crumbling of Schenectady.  Since their decent performance against Troy and near win versus CBA they have lost 4 of 5 and none have been particularly close.  I'm not sure what's behind the sudden lack of competitiveness but if it keeps up then Green Tech's 31 point win over them may not look as impressive especially given how they have now lost to LaSalle by 26 and Bishop Maginn by 24.

Another interesting angle in this equation is how the committee handles Green Tech and Albany Academy.  Since the AA bracket is split between the Big 10 (1-8) and Suburban (1-8) instead of straight seeding like I've used.  I've never liked that method but I understood it for a time.  Now that two teams are independent I think they should switch it up, or realign the leagues (a topic for another post).

Class A

(1) Scotia-Glenville  10-0
(16) Bye
(8) Lansingburgh  4-5     up 1
(9) Averill Park  2-7     down 2
(5) South Glens Falls  5-4     up 1
(12) Bye
(4) Mohonasen  3-7
(13) Bye
(3) Burnt Hills  4-5
(14) Bye
(6) Gloversville  4-4     down 1
(11) Bishop Gibbons  0-10
(7) Queensbury  5-5     up 1
(10) Amsterdam  2-8
(2) Glens Falls  5-3
(15) Bye

Burnt Hills is the only one in this group that has any chance to take out Scotia and I believe they should probably be the 2nd seed.  Whether or not they can overtake Glens Falls remains to be seen, but they aren't that far behind and a big win in their conference would do a lot.  Glens Falls is currently enjoying the benefit of their smaller enrollment which is keeping them ahead of the other Foothills teams.  In reality there isn't much of a difference between them and the teams 4-8.  Only four of the teams are performing better than historical trends would suggest and other than Scotia, Glens Falls is the only one whose differential is greater than .100.  This remains the weakest bracket in the section and probably will be for the remainder of the year.

Class B

(1) Catskill  12-0
(16) Greenville  3-7
(8) Broadalbin-Perth  4-5     up 2
(9) Ichabod Crane  6-4     down 4
(5) Mekeel Academy  6-2     up 3
(12) Schalmont  6-5
(4) Cairo-Durham  8-1     down 2
(13) Hudson  6-6
(3) Schuylerville  8-1
(14) Fonda-Fultonville  3-7
(6) Ravena  7-2     up 1
(11) Corinth  6-4
(7) Cohoes  5-4     down 1
(10) Taconic Hills  6-5     down 1
(2) Watervliet  3-0     up 2
(15) Tamarac  4-6

Unranked:  Johnstown, Hudson Falls, Chatham, Granville, Coxsackie-Athens, Cobleskill

Two blowout wins do a lot for your ranking in this model and Mekeel Academy is reaping the benefits.  They increased their score by .173 and moved into fifth place in the bracket.  They also still have some room for improvement as every win not only increases their winning percentage, it will most likely increase their margin vs their historical expected average.  This is one of the tighter brackets in the section with the top two only .005 apart and the distance from first to fourth is .052.  Mekeel Academy is .095 back at five.  I can see Catskill finishing undefeated taking their second from Cairo-Durham in the process.  It may not be enough to stay ahead of Watervliet however.  Vliet has two tougher games on their schedule and they seem to have rebounded from their vacated wins, but Albany Academy is more than likely a loss.  If they finish out 10-1 and maintain a fairly large MOV they could move ahead.  Schuylerville's toughest game is arguably Cohoes out of league, but they can't take their remaining games in the Wasaren lightly.  There are a couple tests there as well.  I see them finishing third as long as they hold things together.  A loss to Cohoes could drop them.  If Cairo-Durham loses to Catskill they will probably finish 5th as I think Mekeel Academy will crush everyone in their league from here on out.  I'm still baffled by their first two games, both losses to Mayfield and Mechanicville and it gives me a little cause for concern regarding their sectional chances.  We'll see how that plays out.

After that I don't see any real threats with a bunch of teams from the Colonial piled together with a scattering second tier Patroon teams.  The only team I'm really interested in there is Broadalbin-Perth as they always seem to have a little something extra come sectional time.

Class C

(1) Lake George  10-0
(16) Waterford  5-6
(8) Voorheesville  4-3    
(9) Rensselaer  6-5     up 2
(5) Greenwich  8-3
(12) Saratoga Catholic  6-6     down 2
(4) Canajoharie  10-2
(13) Maple Hill  6-6
(3) Berne-Knox  6-2
(14) Mayfield  5-5     up 1
(6) Stillwater  6-4     up 1
(11) Mechanicville  5-5     up 3
(7) Schoharie  7-3     down 1
(10) Fort Plain  6-4     up 2
(2) Hoosic Valley  10-1
(15) Hoosick Falls  4-5     down 6

Unranked:  Berlin, Duanesburg, Whitehall, Cambridge, Middleburgh, Hadley-Luzerne, Galway

The top two are nearly identical from last week in their ranking scores.  Unless someone has an unexpected loss along the way, Lake George's matchup with Argyle and Hoosic Valley's with Schuylerville will be the deciding factors.  Berne-Knox dropped some from their loss to Mekeel Academy and Canajoharie improved so they are now only separated by .002.  Stillwater and Schoharie flipped spots, but they too are extremely close only .001 apart.  The biggest threats here are the two Colonial teams and I'm actually starting to fear the model is underrating them a bit.  They are upsets waiting to happen at their current spots.  Mechanicville has already beaten Stillwater, with whom they are currently matched.  I have a feeling the Prediction model is going to have this a bit different.  I can't wait to run that one.

Class D

(1) Argyle  10-0
(16) New Lebanon 0-7     previously unranked
(8) Heatly 5-4     up 1
(9) Hartford  4-4     down 2
(5) Fort Ann  6-3
(12) Warrensburg  3-6
(4) Germantown  5-3
(13) Fort Edward  0-7
(3) North Warren  8-1
(14) Hawthorne Valley  1-6
(6) Northville  6-5
(11) Salem  4-6
(7) St. Johnsville  4-4     up 1
(10) Doane Stuart  4-5
(2) Loudonville Christian  9-0
(15) Bolton  0-9

Unranked: Sharon Springs

There isn't much to say here as there wasn't a ton of movement from anyone.  Argyle is now officially ranking above the finals threshold and is closing in on a score above champion.  As with the Girls, no one in the Adirondack has played anyone in the CHVL so until they meet it's difficult to say for sure how this stacks up.  There is one point of comparison that I can mention but it's a bit of a stretch.  Duanesburg has lost to both Loudonville Christian and Northville, the former by an average of 23 points, the latter by 17.  Doane Stuart has also lost to both by 17 and 6 respectively.  That equates to Loudonville Christian being 8.5 points better than Northville.  That's not a bad sample and fairly robust considering how far apart these schools are.  Now I bring you the stretch.  Northville lost to North Warren by 15.  From an indirect score you can then calculate North Warren to be 6.5 points better than Loudonville Christian.  While I wouldn't read too much into that, it does give a pretty good indication why Argyle is and should be the heavy favorite in class D.

Although I don't take too much stock in an analysis like this it's fun to see how these teams match up even when they haven't played.  There is so much more that goes into a game than the statistics, but looking at the statistics and game data can give some insight.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Girls Basketball Section Forecast #3

We see a bit of stabilization this week which is probably a good thing.  Though I'm not sure I agree with where things stand at the moment, we are only a little bit past the half way point so a lot can still happen to change things.  There are some signs of separation however and the top spots are pulling away from the lower seeds.  Sectional Forecast #3.

Class AA

(1) Albany  7-0     up 1
(16) Bye
(8) Columbia  5-5
(9) Guilderland  4-3
(5) Catholic Central  7-3
(12) Schenectady  0-9
(4) Colonie  8-2
(13) Niskayuna  1-7
(3) Shaker  8-0
(14) Bye
(6) Shenendehowa  4-3     up 1
(11) Ballston Spa  1-9  
(7) Bishop Maginn  7-4     down 1
(10) Saratoga Springs  4-6
(2) Bethlehem  9-0     down 1
(15) Bye

Albany leapfrogged over Bethlehem with a convincing win over Troy earlier this week.  They did so without their best player and leading scorer who was out with an injury.  This is definitely a good sign for Albany because Troy played and lost to Bethlehem by only 2.  I had a feeling, and was starting to believe Albany should be ranked above Bethlehem and the model agreed.  This change represents a very real threat to the Suburban's consecutive AA championship streak.  I would even go as far as to say that Albany is the favorite at this point.  I don't always agree with the model as you will see in later classes, but I believe I agree with this one maybe even all the way up to number 11.  The biggest question I have at this point is whether or not Colonie has regained their composure after two early season losses.  They still have a game apiece against Bethlehem and Shaker and could put some heat on Albany if they run the table and may turn themselves into favorites to repeat.

Class A

(1) Troy  6-2
(16) Bye
(8) Mohonasen  3-8
(9) Amsterdam  4-5
(5) Queensbury  7-2
(12) Bye
(4) Averill Park  7-3     up 1
(13) Bye
(3) Glens Falls  5-2     down 1
(14) Bye
(6) South Glens Falls  8-3     up 1
(11) Lansingburgh  0-10
(7) Scotia-Glenville  5-4     down 1
(10) Burnt Hills  2-8
(2) Holy Names  9-0     up 1
(15) Bye

For the time being I agree with the top two in this bracket although there is a decent chance Holy Names passes Troy in the end.  Holy Names should finish unbeaten in the Colonial while Troy has to play Albany again and given how the first one turned out I'm guessing they end with 3 losses.  Troy is ahead in the ranking by .035 currently so it's feasible.  Without the assistance of the model I would have Averill Park #3.  It will probably take 2 or even 3 more losses from Glens Falls to get there, since they may have 2 or 3 more of their own (albeit against stronger AA competition).  I'm still in limbo on the ordering of the Foothills teams, but that should take care of itself once they each play each other twice.  After the seventh seed there is a significant drop off but you may see some upsets from seeds 5 through 7 regardless of seeding.  I don't think there is that much separation between them.

Class B

(1) Watervliet  9-1
(16) Catskill  4-8     down 1
(8) Emma Willard  5-4     down 3
(9) Hudson  7-5     up 3
(5) Ravena  6-4     up 2  
(12) Fonda-Fultonville  3-7     down 1
(4) Greenville  7-3
(13) Johnstown  3-6
(3) Taconic Hills  9-2
(14) Ichabod Crane 4-6     up 2
(6) Broadalbin-Perth  6-4
(11) Cohoes  7-3     up 3
(7) Schalmont  7-3     up 1
(10) Corinth  6-3     down 1
(2) Tamarac  10-1
(15) Cobleskill  4-6     down 5

Unranked:  Granville, Albany Leadership, Bishop Gibbons, Coxsackie-Athens, Schuylerville, Hudson Falls, Chatham, Cairo-Durham

While there were no changes in the top 4 this week, there was still significant movement.  The top three are now only separated by .015.  Taconic Hills probably has the worst odds of making up the difference by seasons end as they arguably have the toughest game on all three schedules against Maple Hill.  Tamarac faces no easy task against Hoosic Valley either, but at least it's at home and their 1 point differential in the first game was much closer than Taconic Hill's 13 point loss to Maple Hill.  There is a pretty large drop down to #4 and after that there are a half a dozen or so teams fighting for home court advantage in the first round.  Cohoes is the one that is a bit confounding to me, as they have almost identical variables as Schalmont, but seeds 5-11 are extremely tight.  Cohoes does however have the worst score when it comes to how well their opponents have performed against historical expectations.  I'm hopeful this sorts itself out in the next couple weeks.

Class C

(1) Berne-Knox  7-1
(16) Voorheesville 4-5
(8) Hoosick Falls  8-3     up 1
(9) Duanesburg  6-3     down 1
(5) Hoosic Valley  9-2
(12) Canajoharie  6-5     up 3
(4) Fort Plain  9-1     down 1
(13) Mechanicville  5-5     up 1
(3) Maple Hill  11-1     down 1
(14) Greenwich  5-5     down 2
(6) Lake George  8-2     up 1
(11) Mekeel Academy 4-5
(7) Middleburgh  6-3     down 1
(10) Galway  6-4
(2) Waterford  9-2     up 2
(15) Whitehall  3-4     down 2

Unranked:  Albany Academy, Mayfield, Stillwater, Saratoga Catholic, Berlin, Hadley-Luzerne, Rensselaer, Cambridge, Schoharie

In general, I disagree with this bracket in almost every way.  I actually thought it was start working itself out by now to be more in line with my feelings, but it's not even close and might even be getting worse.  There's still time, but I'm becoming pessimistic.  Without the model, I would have Hoosic Valley at #1.  Even though they haven't played any of the other top teams, their losses have been to Catholic Central, currently #5 in the AA bracket and Scotia, currently #7 in the A bracket but was playing with their injured star at the time they played Hoosic Valley.  The only point of comparison is Stillwater's 6 point win over Hudson.  Hoosic Valley beat Stillwater by 23 and Maple Hill beat Hudson by 10.  That would work out to Hoosic Valley being 27 points better than Maple Hill.  While I don't think that's the case (maybe 10 points), I do think Hoosic Valley should be ahead of Maple Hill. In the same line of thought, Maple Hill beat Berne-Knox by 4 so they are roughly equal.  Then there is Waterford.  Waterford is pummeling the CHVL by an average of 47 points, but in their two non-league games, both losses, they are minus 13 losing by 11 to Duanesburg and by 2 to Taconic Hills.  This is actually good because both Duanesburg and Taconic Hills have played and lost to Berne-Knox and Maple Hill respectively by 13 each.  My top four would be Hoosic Valley, Maple Hill, Berne-Knox, Waterford.

After that, Fort Plain, Lake George, Middleburgh, Duanesburg and Hoosick Falls all have good records, but I don't think any of them will get to the finals as they will most likely have to go through one of the top four if not two.  Five through nine would be Lake George, Fort Plain, Hoosick Falls, Middleburgh and Duanesburg.

Class D

(1) Fort Edward  8-0
(16) St. Johnsville  0-5     down 1
(8) North Warren  3-6
(9) Warrensburg  3-5     up 1
(5) Germantown  5-3     up 1
(12) Sharon Springs  0-5     up 3
(4) Heatly  7-2
(13) Doane Stuart  1-8
(3) Argyle  7-2
(14) Salem  1-8     down 2
(6) Hartford  3-5     up 1
(11) New Lebanon  3-6
(7) Loudonville Christian  4-3     down 2
(10) Northville 4-6     down 1
(2) Fort Ann  8-1
(15) Bolton  0-8     down 1

Unranked:   Hawthorne Valley

There was almost nothing of interest in terms of movement in this bracket.  Fort Edward dropped below 1.000 for the first time and Fort Ann increased their ranking by over .100 this week, but Fort Edward still owns a 25 point win over Fort Ann so I see no reason to think anything is going to change.  The only potential here is that the CHVL is being underestimated.  There are no games between the two leagues so there isn't really any points for comparison.  I wouldn't be terribly shocked if Heatly or Germantown were to beat Fort Ann or Argyle, but I still think Fort Edward is clearly the heavy favorite.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Albany Academy's Place in AA

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to watch the Shen-Shaker games either in person or on TV, but I did see the boys game was a close game and was successful in raising some money for a good cause.  The loss does more harm for Shen than good for Shaker.  Shen continues to play in close games and even though they had a 16 point win over Mohon earlier in the week I don't think it is going to do much for their standing in the AA bracket when this loss is taken into account.

There was another interesting game however with Albany Academy beating Albany by 29.  Albany is a good measure because they have played both Troy and CBA losing both games by 30 and 27 respectively.  Although I don't advise using one game to do a full analysis, this does give some indication that all three teams are roughly on the same level.  The thing that is throwing me off is that there is a full .100 between each of these teams in the model last week, with Troy .100 ahead of Albany Academy and Academy .100 ahead of CBA.  I don't think they are that far apart and I'm hoping after a pretty full week of games we'll start to see them move back toward each other.  Fortunately we still have a hand full of games that should decide things a bit.  Green Tech and Albany Academy will meet twice, CBA and Troy will show down again and Bethlehem and Shaker have yet to play.  There are also a few other Suburban games with Guilderland, Shen and Columbia that will have an impact.

The top six teams in this bracket are all pretty good and other than the potential for Green Tech to show they have the edge with their games against Albany Academy it could come down to how they match-up in sectionals.

On the girls side tonight there were a few games in the CHVL and Foothills.  Waterford is still clearly the team to beat and there isn't going to be much drama.  The Foothills is exactly the opposite with four of the teams with either 1 or 2 league losses to date.  Tonight didn't make things any clearer.  I've heard Scotia has a big injury they are dealing with so we'll see how that plays out in the long run.  Playing time is good for everyone and could give them a deeper and more experienced bench if and when their player comes back.  They may not win the league, but could be a plus come the third week in February.

I huge slate of games tomorrow night with nearly 80 in total.  If I see anything worthy I'll post something, otherwise, since it's been a packed week for me (meaning not much time for posting) I'm going to concentrate on the newest forecast and regroup and get back on track for next week.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Boys Basketball Sectional Forecast #2

This was a pretty quiet week despite a bunch of unexpected results from Friday with Shaker, Bethlehem and Schenectady all losing games they probably should win.  This year seems to be the most wide open class AA I can ever remember.  Every time a team steps up and wins a huge game they follow it up with a bad loss.  Despite that the brackets didn't show much movement and that actually makes me glad after just going through the Girls brackets where almost everyone did.

Class AA

(1) Green Tech  3-0
(16) Bishop Maginn  3-6     down 2
(8) Guilderland  4-3     up 2
(9) Schenectady  4-4  down 1
(5) Shaker  7-1
(12) Shenendehowa  4-1     up 1
(4) Albany Academy  1-0     down 2
(13) Colonie  4-4     down 4
(3) Bethlehem  6-1
(14) Saratoga Springs  4-4     up 2
(6) CBA  7-2
(11) LaSalle 5-4     up 4
(7) Columbia  6-1
(10) Catholic Central  4-3     up 1
(2) Troy  6-1     up 2
(15) Ballston Spa  3-5     down 3

Unranked:  Albany, Niskayuna

After the games on Friday I still think this looks about right even though there are a few changes.  Green Tech and Troy are above final four ratings and Bethlehem and Albany Academy are border line, though when the latter plays Green Tech this will change quite a bit for one of them depending on who wins.  CBA held steady at 6, but they are still the most feared 6 seed I can think of regardless of their rating.  There were a number of downward drops, but the three that beat Shaker (Guilderland), Bethlehem (Shen) and Schenectady (LaSalle) all went up at least 2 spots with Shen moving up 1.  Last week I mentioned how Shen looked really low at 13 and at 4-1 with a win over Bethlehem they still look low at 12.  The reason for this is their incredibly low MOV.  In their 5 games, they have a total MOV of 6 points (and a 4 point MOV in 6 games if you include their out of section game).  The good news for them is it can't really get any lower and still win games so they have potential for significant improvement.

Class A

(1) Scotia-Glenville  8-0
(16) Bye
(8) Queensbury  3-5
(9) Lansingburgh  3-4     down 2
(5) Gloversville  3-3     down 2
(12) Bye
(4) Mohonasen  3-5     up 2
(13) Bye
(3) Burnt Hills  3-4     up 6
(14) Bye
(6) South Glens Falls  4-3     down 2
(11) Bishop Gibbons  0-8
(7) Averill Park  2-5     down 2
(10) Amsterdam  2-6
(2) Glens Falls  4-2
(15) Bye

What can I tell you other than only three teams are above .500.  Burnt Hills moved up 6 spots to the 3 seed and increased their rating by .146.  They still aren't rated as winning a first round game, but only the top two are so what are you going to do.  One thing I usually look for here is how the Suburban A's do against the Foothills A's.  The teams in the Suburban usually have worse records because they are playing greater competition and can over perform their record in sectionals.  This year, even though they are 2-0 against the Foothills they weren't by large margins and certainly no where near what Scotia has been doing.  If someone other than Scotia wins this it would be a huge upset and would probably come from the Suburban.

Class B

(1) Catskill  10-0     up 1
(16) Greenville  2-6
(8) Mekeel Academy  3-2     up 6
(9) Taconic Hills  6-3     down 1
(5) Ichabod Crane  6-2
(12) Schalmont  5-4     down 2
(4) Watervliet  1-0     down 3
(13) Hudson  4-5     down 2
(3) Schuylerville  6-1     up 1
(14) Fonda-Fultonville  3-5     up 1
(6) Cohoes  4-3
(11) Corinth  5-3     up 1
(7) Ravena  6-2
(10) Broadalbin-Perth  3-4     down 1
(2) Cairo-Durham  6-1     up 1
(15) Tamarac  4-4     down 2

Unranked:  Johnstown, Hudson Falls, Chatham, Granville, Coxsackie-Athens, Cobleskill

The impact to Watervliet for giving up their 3 in-section wins dropped them down to #4 which seems fair at this point.  Unfortunately, I still do not know which player was ineligible for Watervliet but do know that it wasn't their best scorer and since he represents 40% of their offense and no one else is more than 12% so it may not hurt them that bad going forward.  The other notable team here is the big 6 spot jump for Mekeel Academy.  They finally won a game by a huge margin and it increased their MOV significantly.  I thought that would happen, just not so quickly.  We may see them move up another couple spots though they are still a ways back from the breaking into the top 5.

Class C

(1) Lake George  8-0
(16) Waterford  4-6
(8) Voorheesville  4-3     up 1
(9) Hoosick Falls  4-3     down 1
(5) Greenwich  6-3
(12) Fort Plain  5-3     down 5
(4) Canajoharie  8-2
(13) Maple Hill  5-5     down 3
(3) Berne-Knox  5-1
(14) Mechanicville  4-5
(6) Schoharie  6-2
(11) Rensselaer  5-5     up 1
(7) Stillwater  5-3     up 4
(10) Saratoga Catholic  5-5     up 5
(2) Hoosic Valley  8-1
(15) Mayfield  4-5     down 2

Unranked:  Berlin, Duanesburg, Whitehall, Cambridge, Middleburgh, Hadley-Luzerne, Galway

A couple big movers here with Fort Plain dropping 5 spots and Saratoga Catholic improving by 5 spots.  This is a pretty deep bracket as with the Girls, but not as packed up top.  Lake George increased their lead over Hoosic Valley and Berne-Knox cut into their deficit to Hoosic Valley.  I still think Greenwich will slide a bit after they play Schuylerville twice and Hoosick Falls, Voorheesville and Saratoga Catholic will tick up a couple more spots before it's all said and done.  Also, I looked into home court advantage.  Over the past 3 seasons, the home teams wins by an average of 2.5 points so you're basically giving the home team a 3 pointer before the game even starts.  If you adjusted Lake George's win downward to 14 and Hoosic Valley's up to 10 they are nearly identical.  I may start tracking this more carefully and if the trend holds up may start including it into the model at some future date.

Class D

(1) Argyle  8-0
(16) Sharon Springs  0-4     down 1
(8) St. Johnsville  2-4     up 1
(9) Heatly 4-4     down 1
(5) Fort Ann  4-3     down 1
(12) Warrensburg  3-5
(4) Germantown  4-3     up 1
(13) Fort Edward  0-6
(3) North Warren  7-1
(14) Hawthorne Valley  1-4
(6) Northville  6-4
(11) Salem  3-5
(7) Hartford  4-3
(10) Doane Stuart  3-4
(2) Loudonville Christian  8-0
(15) Bolton  0-8    up 1

Unranked: New Lebanon

I am still in complete agreement with this one.  Although I'm surprised Argyle hasn't run away with it like Fort Edward has in the Girls' bracket.  They are still a pretty good favorite, but not as much as I would have thought given their current dominance.  Germantown and Fort Ann flipped home court advantage in the second round as did St. Johnsville and Heatly in their opening round game.  If there were a true dark horse in this bracket I would say it's St. Johnsville.  They beat Saratoga Catholic and have played almost everyone really close.  I don't see them beating Argyle in round 2, but if they can manage to move up a couple spots you could see a potential run for them.

There was a minor adjustment made to the model in how to calculate the expected winning percentage based on MOV, but overall it had a very limited impact.  I had used a different methodology for that variable than I did for all the others and for matter of consistency I made the change.  The change was not made to the Girls' brackets so that will be updated for next week's run.  There's a big slate this week as we move back into full swing so I'm looking forward to another week of upsets and changes to the brackets.