HomeCollege BasketballIntroducing the College Basketball Game Grade Forecast Rating

    Introducing the College Basketball Game Grade Forecast Rating

    Steve Makinen reveals his newest strength rating used to handicap college basketball games.

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    A New Statistic to Handicap College Basketball Games

    Using my four sets of strength ratings to fill out my 2023 NCAA tournament brackets, it occurred to me that the Power Ratings and Effective Strength Ratings were similar in terms of which teams were strongest for the season. It’s understandable since one plays a formidable role in developing the other. They are also “body of work” ratings. This thought led me to develop a new statistical metric for measuring teams by rendering GAME GRADES for each team’s board games throughout the year. Using a baseline for the fewest board games for teams throughout the country (24 games this year), I employed a simple forecasting technique by analyzing those grades, including relevant opponent strength, location, and injury variables, which I track regularly.

    This new metric produced an expected performance level for the next game or set of games. To clarify what was being calculated, I decided to call this new strength rating the MAKINEN GAME GRADE FORECAST. Those on VSiN during the conference tournaments may have noticed the acronym GGF on the conference strength ratings charts. I decided to wait until the NCAA Tournament to officially introduce it in this piece, hoping that the figures below could give you another indication of which teams are most/least ready to make a run this year. I think the GGF gives a better idea of how teams are currently playing or how specifically they can be expected to play in their next game(s) using a sound statistical method.

     

    With the method and reasoning for the new metric explained, here are the GGF’s for the tournament’s 68 teams, ranked in order of strength. I will be analyzing the results this year, and if proven reliable, I will begin employing them routinely in my work for VSiN in various sports. These are similar to my other strength ratings in that you can determine a team’s relative strength against an opponent by comparing the two numbers and adding any home or road court points to determine a point spread. I have applied NEUTRAL/ROAD court ratings on top of their raw GGF figures to get a more accurate projection for the tournament.

    For instance, the top-ranked team, UConn, has a GGF 8.3 points higher than its Effective Strength Rating as a reference point to how this number differs from the Effective Strength Rating. As you can see, the top 3 teams are all from the East Region.

    2024 Tournament Teams ranked by Game Grade Forecast

    1. CONNECTICUT (EAST #1): 30.8
    2. IOWA STATE (EAST #2): 25.4
    3. AUBURN (EAST #4): 24.3
    4. MARQUETTE (SOUTH #2): 22.3
    5. GONZAGA (MIDWEST #5): 20.7
    6. ST MARY’S-CA (WEST #5): 20.3
    7. HOUSTON (SOUTH #1): 20
    8. ARIZONA (WEST #2): 19.3
    9. TENNESSEE (MIDWEST #2): 18.6
    10. CREIGHTON (MIDWEST #3): 18.2
    11. NORTHWESTERN (EAST #9): 17.8
    12. COLORADO (SOUTH #10): 17.4
    13. DUKE (SOUTH #4): 17
    14. PURDUE (MIDWEST #1): 16.5
    15. BAYLOR (WEST #3): 16.5
    16. NEBRASKA (SOUTH #8): 16.3
    17. NEW MEXICO (WEST #11): 16.3
    18. ILLINOIS (EAST #3): 15.8
    19. NC STATE (SOUTH #11): 15.6
    20. KENTUCKY (SOUTH #3): 15.4
    21. FLORIDA (SOUTH #7): 15
    22. TEXAS A&M (SOUTH #9): 15
    23. TEXAS (MIDWEST #7): 14.7
    24. WASHINGTON STATE (EAST #7): 14.5
    25. WISCONSIN (SOUTH #5): 14.5
    26. NORTH CAROLINA (WEST #1): 14.4
    27. MISSISSIPPI STATE (WEST #8): 14.3
    28. BOISE STATE (SOUTH #10): 14.1
    29. SAN DIEGO STATE (EAST #5): 13.3
    30. NEVADA (WEST #10): 13.1
    31. MCNEESE STATE (MIDWEST #12): 12.2
    32. TEXAS TECH (SOUTH #6): 11.7
    33. SOUTH CAROLINA (MIDWEST #6): 11.6
    34. TCU (MIDWEST #9): 11.3
    35. BYU (EAST #6): 11.2
    36. DUQUESNE (EAST #11): 11.2
    37. YALE (EAST #13): 11.1
    38. COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (WEST #13): 11.1
    39. KANSAS (MIDWEST #4): 11
    40. JAMES MADISON (SOUTH #12): 11
    41. DRAKE (EAST #10): 10.5
    42. GRAND CANYON (WEST #12): 10.5
    43. COLORADO STATE (MIDWEST #10): 9.8
    44. UAB (EAST #12): 9.6
    45. VIRGINIA (MIDWEST #10): 9.5
    46. OREGON (MIDWEST #11): 9.3
    47. CLEMSON (WEST #6): 8.9
    48. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE (EAST #15): 7.8
    49. ALABAMA (WEST #4): 7.7
    50. WESTERN KENTUCKY (SOUTH #15): 7.1
    51. FLORIDA ATLANTIC (EAST #8): 7
    52. MICHIGAN STATE (WEST #9): 7
    53. DAYTON (WEST #7): 6.3
    54. UTAH STATE (MIDWEST #8): 5.9
    55. VERMONT (SOUTH #13): 5
    56. COLGATE (WEST #14): 4.9
    57. OAKLAND (SOUTH #14): 4.7
    58. MONTANA STATE (MIDWEST #16): 4.6
    59. LONGWOOD (SOUTH #16): 4.6
    60. SAMFORD (MIDWEST #13): 4.3
    61. MOREHEAD STATE (EAST #14): 2.1
    62. LONG BEACH STATE (WEST #15): 1.3
    63. ST PETER’S (MIDWEST #15): 0
    64. AKRON (MIDWEST #14): -2
    65. GRAMBLING (MIDWEST #16): -2
    66. STETSON (EAST #16): -4.5
    67. HOWARD (WEST #16): -4.7
    68. WAGNER (WEST #16): -5

    Steve Makinen
    Steve Makinen
    As one of the original founders of StatFox, Steve Makinen has been in the business of sports betting and data analysis for almost 25 years now. In his time in the industry, Steve has worked in a variety of capacities on both sides of the betting counter, from his early days of developing the StatFox business, to almost a decade of oddsmaking consulting for one of the world's leading sportsbooks, to his last seven years as Point Spread Weekly and Analytics Director with VSiN. Steve has always believed that number crunching and handicapping through foundational trends and systems is the secret to success and he shares this data with VSiN readers on a daily basis for all of the major sports.

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