I’ve been doing a lot of work investigating how “luck” happens. Most of what I’ve found is that it’s really hard to predict. Some people would claim that it comes from experience. Well, here’s a graph that should put that argument to bed. It’s Luck vs. Experience in 2012.
As you can see, this graph comes with some awesome local angles. While Hofstra was relatively experienced last season (55th nationally), the Pride were the unluckiest team in Division I. Also, as you go even further up the experience chain you find teams like NCAA Cinderella Norfolk St., but also an underperforming Lamar team that eventually got a 16 seed and lost to Vermont in the play-in game even though it was the most experienced team in the country.
On the other side, the results of the inexperienced teams are just as varied. St. John’s, while being relatively youthful last season, performed above expectations in terms of luck. Part of me wonders if that has to do with Mike Dunlap’s coaching and end-game awareness, but it probably doesn’t as the Steve Lavin coached Red Storm are 41st in luck this season with a team that’s only the slightest bit more experienced. Then there’s Mike Rice’s Scarlet Knights. Who were young and did stupid things and lost close games. (Even though they pulled a few notable upsets along the way.) Two other teams with exactly as much experience as Rutgers – Boston College and Niagara – had good luck. So what happened?
It’s hard to say. If this amorphous blob doesn’t convince you that luck and experience aren’t correlated, I’m not exactly sure what will.