One of the sites that I use extensively during basketball season is kenpom.com. Ken Pomeroy calculates the RPI for every Div 1 basketball team and displays the information on his website. He updates the page daily throughout the basketball season and provides a lot of other interesting stats as wellâ€¦such as breaking down where each teamâ€™s wins came from (top 50, top 100, etc), Strength of Schedule (SOS), Out of Conference SOS, as well as providing a summary of each teamâ€™s schedule and the results of each game. Ken also has the RPI data displayed back through the 1999 season.
Ken states that his main purpose is to provide something useful. He accomplishes this goal with a ton of room to spare. I just can’t do justice to how much useful information that Ken has available…you will just have to check it out for yourself. If you are a college basketball junky, but are not into crunching numbers, then Ken’s blog is the place for you. I have so many things to say based on the information that Ken provides, that I will have to break it up into several entries. Let’s start with the OOC strength of schedule information from 1999 thru last season.
I compiled this information from Kenâ€™s site and any mistakes in the translation are mine. Any such mistakes were unintentional and if you find one, please post it in the comments section. I donâ€™t intend to compile this stuff from scratch again, so I want it to be correct.
OOC SOS is often a hot topic when the schedules are released and at the start of the season. I find these discussions a little silly, because it is somewhere between hard and impossible to judge the SOS when no one has played. However using the data compiled by Ken, it is easy to look back and see what has happened in the recent past:
The good news is that State doesnâ€™t have the worst OOC schedule in the conference over the last seven seasons. In the nine-team conference, Clemsonâ€™s is usually worse. And in the 11/12-team conference, Clemson and Virginia Tech rank behind Stateâ€™s. NC State has only had two seasons where the OOC schedule ranked in the top-200 and only one in the top-100. Thatâ€™s pretty bad no matter how you spin it.
On one hand, the OOC schedule didnâ€™t really matter. State made the NCAA tournament the last four years, so the schedule didnâ€™t hurt, even if it didnâ€™t help. In the previous years, State was not even on the NCAA bubble, so the schedule didnâ€™t affect anything then either.
There are a number of different situations where a weak OOC schedule would affect a teamâ€™s chances of making the NCAA tournament, but State hasnâ€™t had one of those years yet. (UVa had one several seasons ago and VT’s weak schedule certainly hurt them last year.) The real problem for State fans would probably have to be the season-ticket holders that are paying good money to watch State consistently play one of the worst OOC schedules in the country.
We all know how much Lee Fowler enjoys hearing himself talk. Maybe someone in the main-stream media will take the opportunity sometime to ask him about NC State’s record of misearable OOC schedules. If he drags out the well-worn excuses about balancing budgets or the difficulty in scheduling respectable programs, then maybe someone could ask how Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Maryland, and even Florida State have managed to consistently play a tougher OOC schedule than NC State while still balancing the athletic department budget. A truthful and complete answer would be most interesting.