TBRW Predictions: 1999

And now, the TBRW? prognostication system turns its attention to this year's ECAC.

Our usual ECAC predictor, Pred, has Cornell in deep trouble.

Place	Team		  Pred
  1	Yale		    34
  2	Clarkson	    30
  3t	RPI		    26
  3t	Vermont		    26
  5	Harvard		    25
  6	St. Lawrence	    24
  7	Brown		    22
  8	Princeton	    19
  9	Dartmouth	    16
 10	Cornell		    15
 11	Colgate		    14
 12	Union		    12

Here is how we have compared historically to the ECAC Coaches Poll. Below, two scores are compared: the sum of the absolute value of the difference between each team's actual and predicted finish, and a comparable sum of the squares of the difference between each team's actual and predicted finish. In each measure, a lower score indicates a more successful predictor.

Year	Sum of ABS:TBRW-Coaches		Sum of SQ: TBRW-Coaches
1996		19-28				 49- 89.5
1997		38-38				156-150
1998		35-35				198-192
This year we also debut a new predictor, RPred, which takes into account the statistical effect regression to the mean. In some cases over the past few seasons, Pred has failed to predict a big move in the standings for one team or another. In many cases, this has been a failure to predict a traditionally strong team returning to form after a few lean years. In other cases, it has been a traditional also-ran which has fallen dramatically, after one or two seasons in the sun, which has foiled our predictor. RPred factors in the historical strength of each ECAC team over the entire history of Div. I ECAC play (since 1963). Effectively, the Pred stat is pulled or pushed half the distance back towards the lifetime winning percentage of the program (there are some normaliziation effects which we need not go into here). The results of RPred for 1999 are as follows:
Place	Team		 RPred
  1	Clarkson	    31
  2	Harvard		    27
  3	Yale		    26
  4	RPI		    25
  5	Vermont		    24
  6	St. Lawrence	    23
  7t	Brown		    22
  7t	Cornell		    22
  9	Colgate		    18
 10	Princeton	    17
 11	Dartmouth	    16
 12	Union		    13
The statistical breakdown of this stat will also be included in the "Never Apologize..." discussion below.

"Never Apologize, Never Explain"

The TBRW? predictions are based on each team's previous year's performance, modified by off-season roster changes.

Each team starts with its previous regular season standing RS.

The number of post-season upset wins or losses PS is then added.

Finally, added to this score is a function of the following modifiers:


5pct	Conference winning percentage in 5 seasons previous to past season.
1/2	Second-half improvement, previous regular season.
RetG	Percentage of previous season's goals scored returning for current season.
RetD	Percentage of previous season's defenseman games played returning for current season.
RetM	Percentage of previous season's goaltender minutes played returning for current season.
The coefficient multiplier for the sum of the modifiers helps balance the effects of roster changes and also generates Pred, the final score which signifies the number of points a team should finish with.

Finally, comes the newest cast member of our statistical stage, RPred. RPred is easily derived from Pred when you have the career records of each team in conference play, EPct.

The average of EPct is slightly different from .500, owing to changing in the length of the schedule and conference membership over its history. Therefore, we also compute MEPct, a modification of EPct that pulls the average EPct back to .500. MEPts is just MEPct * 44. In other words, the number of points you would get with the MEPct over a 22 game slate.

Finally, RPred is then derived from simply averaging the old stat, Pred, and the historical measure, MEPts. RPred = (Pred + MEPts)/2.