[Original version posted March 9, 2010; updated since then where noted.]
This post serves as a companion piece to the 2010 Final 8 At-A-Glance handout, available online here for the women's tournament and here for the men. If you aren't reading that handout, feel free to disregard this entirely.
The purpose of this handout is to have a one-pager that explains, at a glance, the rankings of the team and their offensive and defensive characteristics. Each row is explained below.
The probability that each team will win this tournament. These probabilities are based on RPI and SRS, two rankings that measure the relative performance of a team. Both are explained below.
Each team's rank (out of 43 CIS schools nationwide) in Ratings Percentage Index, the widely-used measure that ranks teams based on their win/loss record and strength of schedule. RPI gives more credit to teams that win on the road, but less credit to teams that consistently win by large margins.
Each team's rating in Simple Ranking System, a measure that adjusts each team's average margin of victory based on the average margin of victory of its opponents, and produces a "points above/below average" number for each team. SRS ignores home/road wins, but explicitly gives more credit to teams who win by a lot.
The win-loss record of each team, including regular season and playoff games, but not exhibition games. [EDIT: this category now includes all games against CIS opponents.]
The next section includes the Four Factors of Basketball Success, which are weighted based on their importance: Shooting (40%), Turnovers (25%), Rebounds (20%), Free Throws (15%). In other words, Shooting is about as important as Turnovers and Free Throws put together.
Also in this section are Offensive Rating and Defensive Rating, labelled as OFFENCE and DEFENCE. These statistics measure points scored (or allowed) per 100 possessions [EDIT: was per-100 on the 2010 sheets; has been changed to a per-game amount since]. The reason we don't just use points per game is that some teams play a higher-tempo game and therefore score more often than slower teams even though there's nothing inherently better about being a faster team. You can subtract DEFENCE from OFFENCE to get Net Efficiency, another solid measure of a team's overall quality.
Returning to the Four Factors, each team gets a grade (A-D) for each factor (both offence and defence), where A+ represents the best in the country, A is well above-average, and B is above-average. C and D represent below-average factors.
The specific measures used for each Four Factors category:
Effective field goal percentage: a modification of field-goal percentage in which three-pointers are worth more than two-pointers.
Turnover percentage: an estimate of turnovers per 100 plays.
Offensive Rebound Percentage for offence, Defensive Rebound Percentage for defence. Both measures count how often the team gets rebounds on the offensive or defensive half of the court.
For offence, free throws made per field-goal attempts: a measure of how often the team gets to the line and how often they make their foul shots. For defence, it's similar: how often their opponents get to the line and how often they make their free throws.
And the actual calculation for letter grades is based on quartiles: those in the top get an A, the second-highest quartile get a B, and so on. The CIS leader receives an A+, and the CIS trailer receives an F.