Calculated Reactions is a new, hopefully-recurring feature that takes an hopefully-interesting look at CIS statistics, with the goal of taking the numbers and giving them greater meaning.
This week, we'll look at the men's basketball and hockey teams who experienced large weekly changes in their RPI rankings. RPI is a little odd in that teams may rise in the rankings even if they don't win. If you don't play all week, you can still move up provided that your previous opponents kept winning, and even if you play and lose, other factors could theoretically move you up a bit. However, in most cases, a significant change in your RPI ranking is a direct result of your wins and losses.
MEN'S BASKETBALL (rankings)
Last week: 32
This week: 21
L 68-65 vs. Lakehead, W 72-61 vs. McMaster
Before this weekend, Ottawa's only wins were against Bishop's (now 41st out of 42 in RPI), UQAM (31st), Dal (14th), Acadia (23rd), and Guelph (28th). The only one of those games not in October was Guelph. So it's not really the record that hurts them--though it doesn't help--but rather who they've played. Going into the weekend, the Thunderwolves were 6th and the Marauders were 20th, which helps bring Ottawa's strength of schedule up somewhat. Beating Mac gives them another boost. Still a ways to go though.
(Sidebar: Lakehead's 5th in RPI, 6th in SRS, made the Final 8 last year, yet are 12th in the poll. Let's fix that, coaches.)
Cape Breton (+6)
Last week: 10
This week: 4
W 95-79 vs. StFX
Up six? Not bad for a team that played just once. But their Wednesday night win was over rival St. F-X, who were 7th before this week. (Two wins over previously-29th UPEI helped keep the X-Men from falling past 11th.) Will this CBU win translate into more love from the voters than a mere ARVer? (Street slang for teams in the "also receiving votes" section.) Chris Cochrane hopes so.
He also wonders why the CIS poll (apparently) puts so much weight on preseason results. If only someone had produced an RPI in which more recent games are weighted more heavily (and the weight of exhibition games is further halved), meaning CBU's preseason games account for only about a quarter of their RPI ranking ... oh, well, we can dream of that another day.
Last week: 15
This week: 9
W 89-76 vs. Ryerson, W 94-85 vs. Toronto
The Hawks had a better Toronto-Ryerson weekend than their Waterloo cousins did, because they weren't down 31-6 after one to the Blues, nor did they go 2 of 19 from long range against them. But more importantly, they won both games, knocking off the then-No. 4 team in the process. Too bad the local paper decided to banish Laurier's 94-85 triumph (not that you'd know the score from reading the article) to the land of Lame Puns and Reprinted Media Releases.
Last week: 17
This week: 28
L 55-44 vs. Laurentian, L 93-75 vs. York
55 times this year, a team has held its opponent to fewer than 60 points, and 54 of those times, that team either won, or at least lost by three or fewer points.
And then there are the Guelph Gryphons, the 55th team in that set, who managed to give up 30 points in the fourth to the 22nd-ranked Voyageurs. Keen students of arithmetic will note that 55 minus 30 is 25, meaning that, yes, Laurentian outscored their first three quarters in the fourth. And nearly outscored Guelph's entire game.
And then the Gryphs lost by 18 to York, shooting 42% from the line over both games. That's just the kind of weekend it was.
MEN'S HOCKEY (rankings)
Last week: 27
This week: 13
W 3-2 vs. UNB, W 3-2 vs. UPEI
Last week: 21
This week: 11
W 6-5 vs. UPEI, W 6-3 vs. UNB
I put these two together because they both jumped from the 20s to the near-top 10 by virtue of beating UNB (who were No. 1) and UPEI (who were No. 3). I understand the V-Reds had some players out or hurting or both, but the scope of the RPI is unflinchingly narrow, caring not for a team's injuries or other game-affecting setbacks, and admiringly unforgiving in its devotion to the dictum, "a W is a W."
Last week: 23
This week: 16
L 4-2 vs. Brock, W 8-0 vs. York
Inclduing the Ravens here allows me to throw a link the way of Ravens Hockey Live, after failing to act on their friendly e-mail for nearly three weeks now. (Sorry, Eric!) Though I can't say I agree with their assertion that Carleton's absence from last week's top 10 was "puzzling" when the Ravens were in the bottom third of the RPI, and now have the third-weakest schedule. But now that the Ravens are knocking on the top-15 door (and, once through, will be in the foyer looking up the top-10 staircase), they might have a point. Especially when the Bisons, who have a worse record against weaker opponents and are 28th in the RPI, were 8th in the last poll.
Last week: 19
This week: 29
L 3-2 (SO) at Ottawa, L 3-2 (SO) at Toronto
Oh, that is not fair. Two shootout losses on the road--and they don't benefit travel-wise from being close to U of T, having played in Ottawa the previous day--and they drop all the way to 29? Shootouts are so random that it's probably better to treat them as ties in any kind of ranking system. So let's not be that hard on the Ontario Institute of University Technology; they're better than this.