10,000 Sims for the Big East and CAA

The Big East is wide open this season! Every team can at least claim to have a chance in the new 10-team league. While Creighton, Georgetown and Marquette appear to be the class of the league, their grip on the top is tenuous at best.

According to KenPom the Big East is the second best conference in the land to start the season and a lot of it has to do with the depth. All 10 teams are ranked in the Top 85 in the country with No. 10 DePaul coming in at 84th overall. It’s that impressive depth that is going to make every night a must-win type game.

It’s also why 10,000 sims isn’t really enough to sort out the Big East. All you get when you do is a bunch of mush. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Name Solo Win % Tie % Avg. Margin Avg. Wins
Creighton 23.8% 14.2% 1.9 11.4
Georgetown 22.6% 14.2% 1.9 11.4
Marquette 12.5% 10.7% 1.8 10.6
Villanova 9.3% 8.4% 1.6 10.2
Providence 2.6% 3.7% 1.4 8.8
St. John’s 1.6% 2.6% 1.5 8.4
Butler 1.1% 1.8% 1.4 8.1
Xavier 0.7% 1.4% 1.3 7.6
Seton Hall 0.4% 1.1% 1.5 7.3
DePaul 0.1% 0.2% 1.1 6.0

Sure the Bluejays have the best percentage chance of winning a league title, but they won the outright title less than a quarter of the time and at least shared a title on only about 38% of sims. The same can be said of Georgetown. These are Top 15 KenPom teams to start the season, but it’s not enough to save them from the Big East bloodbath.

What might be most impressive are those numbers at the bottom. Sure they might seem small, but every team won at least one outright league title in the simulations. (Actually, every team won at least seven!) Also, in an 18-game season every team in the Big East except DePaul won at least 15 games once.

This makes me think that eventually someone is going to rise above the pack in order to take home the crown. Going undefeated (four total times) or winless (also four times) will be near impossible but it’s going to probably take 15-18 wins to win the league. Also, good luck to the committee sorting out the mess come NCAA tournament time.

The CAA is nothing like the Big East, though the league does have a new look. According to Ken Pomeroy’s projections it also has a dominant team in the Drexel Dragons. Bruiser Flint’s team won the league title 43% of the time and shared it another 18%, a sweet 61% chance of taking home the title.

This seems a bit unrealistic, even if you accept the thesis that the Dragons will improve this season. Towson appears to be pretty underrated by Pomeroy’s metrics – most likely because until last season the Tigers were pretty bad. The conference newbie, Charleston, won the outright league title in 8% of simulations and tied for the title in another 9%. They’ll at least have a shot.

Here’s the full CAA simulation results:

Name Solo Win% Tie % Avg. Win Margin Avg. Wins
Drexel 43.0% 17.6% 2.1 11.3
Delaware 10.7% 10.4% 1.7 9.6
Charleston 8.1% 8.5% 1.6 9.2
William & Mary 5.1% 6.2% 1.5 8.7
Towson 4.3% 5.9% 1.5 8.6
Northeastern 3.3% 4.4% 1.5 8.3
James Madison 1.3% 2.3% 1.5 7.5
Hofstra 0.0% 0.0% 1.0 4.3
UNCW 0.0% 0.0% 0.0 4.5

Note that average wins column. If you believe Pomeroy’s ratings there are six awfully similar teams lurking right below the Dragons. This helps Drexel a lot because they beat up on each other, which often leaves the top school acting like a bored New Yorker casually watching a fight on the subway. Another team will have to break away from the pack to seriously challenge Drexel supremacy. Who will do it?

One final note: Hofstra won one outright title in the 10,000 sims. That’s about as unlikely as you can get. There’s just not much UNCW and the Pride can do to be competitive this season according to these numbers.

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