Five to Ponder: The best games for Feb. 8-12

What are the best games coming up this week? Below we have the answer.

(Or, at least, one answer.)

What the R&D team here at CIS Blog Labs has done is gone through all the schedules — men's and women's basketball, men's and women's hockey and men's volleyball — and figured out which games feature the best (and most evenly-matched) teams, and might therefore be the best games to watch.

First, we took our RPI and SRS rankings for that sport (restricting us to those five sports above) and figured out each team's "true" winning percentage. Then we calculated the win probabilities for each team in each game. For any scheduled game, the difference in the win probabilities between the two teams was used as the "close" measure for that game, subtracting that difference from 1. If it's a 50-50 game, the difference is 0, so we give it a perfect score of 1. (The Carleton-RMC men's hoops game, not expected to be close at all, gets a 0.03.)

But it's not enough for a game to be close, because two equally bad teams aren't as watchable as two equally good teams. So we also take the average of the two teams' winning percentages, and then we average that with the "close" score from above. (Going back to Carleton-RMC: .865 for one, .010 for the other, so an average of .433, which averages with 0.03 to give us about 0.23, not very watchable.)

So the very best games, between two very good teams, will have a "close score" near 1, which is averaged with their calculated winning percentage, also near 1, to give us a total score close to 1 — or 100, actually, as we'll multiply by 100 to make these easier to read. The worst games will have a score near 0. As it turns out, the average of these game scores for all games scheduled this weekend is almost exactly 50.

If you're curious, the worst game is Ryerson at York in men's volleyball (score of 8): York's given a 95% chance of winning against a team that is nearly dead-last in every ranking category. The most lopsided game is Ottawa at McGill in women's hockey, with an overall score of 36, mostly because the Martlets are very good.

And now, here are our five guesses at the best games of the weekend:

t-4. Men's basketball: UFV at Trinity Western
Game score: 78
Thu 8:00pm PT

Nothing on the line for TWU, who will either travel to Saskatchewan or Alberta to open the playoffs, I think, but UFV could potentially finish ahead of UBC.

We'll let our Cam Charron talk more about this one: "These teams absolutely detest one another. Jasper Moedt made some "controversial" comments before their last game (not actually controversial, but Trinity's coach got mad). UFV is just bigger and meaner, so I think the last thing Trinity will want to do is play aggressively, but sports teams don't listen to me for some reason."

t-4. Men's hockey: UPEI at Moncton
Game score: 78
Wed 7:00pm AT

Nearly underway by the time you read this.

This one can be covered quite easily by our David Kilfoil, who also points out that local rivals tend to not be friends: "UPEI and UdeM hate each other. HATE. Big rivals is almost an understatement. A UPEI win would be a big moral victory and almost eliminate UdeM's shot at first place. Both teams have had a good second half, but UPEI's has been better."

3. Women's basketball: Acadia at Cape Breton
Game score: 79
Sun 2:00pm AT

A team that's won nine straight in CIS play (and 12 of 13, the one loss coming against Ottawa) and 11 straight in AUS play, against a team that's won six in a row. Any questions?

2. Men's basketball: Victoria at UBC
Game score: 81
Fri 8:00pm PT

In an earlier draft, this game was No. 1 until I realized I had forgotten to add in home-court advantage for the men's basketball games. When you do that, UBC's (slight) edge in winning percentage grows given that this game is on the mainland, and so the game is knocked down to No. 2. I debated the ethics of juking the stats just to make sure this game topped the list, but I have far too much respect for you, the reader, to do that.

Cam again: "This is definitely the more intriguing matchup, compared with UFV-Trinity. Both teams have a lot of speed and Victoria has very effective perimeter shooting, something that UBC's opponents haven't had this year. Having actually watched UBC play twice, I can say they actually do have a lot of speed on defense. I don't know exactly how Victoria moves the ball, but they get a lot of assists and three pointers, so the teams match up quite evenly. Vic also doesn't have that dominant big man who eats rebounds."

Those of us in other provinces might just have to watch this one.

1. Men's hockey: UNB at UPEI
Game score: 81
Fri 7:00pm AT

Dave again: "UPEI has had good luck against UNB, and also had the fortune to not yet play against Travis Fullerton this season. They've beat 3rd-string Matt Davis once, bad-groin Dan LaCosta once, and the Matt&Dan combo in that wild 8-7 game. So that's a factor. But unlike previous teams, this Panthers bunch doesn't fade late in the season or late in games.

"UNB and UPEI have the top two offences in the AUS this season, and UNB has the two top AUS goalies on GAA terms in Fullerton (1.90) and DaCosta (2.62). Meanwhile, UPEI's Mavric Parks is second in the league in save percentage (.907).

"This should be a great game."
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1 comment:

  1. UPEI came back three times in the game to tie UdeM, but Keven Charland answered in the third and les Aigles Bleus added an empty netter for the 6-4 win.

    UNB eliminated STU's slim playoff hopes with a 5-0 thumping Wednesday, while StFX squeaked by Dal 2-1 to hold onto the last playoff spot.