An Early Peek at SOS – Carl

We’ve now hit March and there are two weeks in the books for the college baseball season. We are starting to see the beginning of a picture forming for how the Hoosiers will stack up to the nation’s best, and about how strong the schedule Coach Lemonis put together for this team will be.
The most important piece of any team’s post-season resume is its rank in the Rating Percentage Index (RPI). The RPI is mix of:
1) A team’s win percentage [25% – slightly adjusted for home/away]
2) The winning percentage of all opponents combined [50%]
3) The winning percentage of opponents’ opponents combined [25%]

As you can see the opponent winning percentage is half of the RPI. In the 2018 Strength of Schedule Preview (

) I predicted a Strength of Schedule (SOS) of 0.5196, mostly from a predicted opponent winning percentage of 0.5262, based exclusively on how these teams performed in 2017. With that SOS, I predicted that #iubase would need about 40 wins to qualify as an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament.

With two weekends in the books, Hoosier opponents have performed with a win percentage of 0.6250, a really great start to the season. Will this continue to hold up? That remains to be seen, but as a northern school, Indiana’s full-year opponents are also mostly northern. This time of year, the northern opponents are primarily playing southern and western competition, so this result may be showing that the Midwest will be stronger this year compared to prior years, and that may make IU’s SOS better than the initial prediction. 
Some highlights of opponent performance include an 8-0 start by Butler (IU’s B1G Ten bye weekend opponent). It also includes a 7-2 start against great competition by the Hoosiers next opponent, University of San Diego. San Diego is one of two teams the Hoosiers have 4 games scheduled with. The other is a certain B1G Ten team located between Chicago and Indy who is also off to a solid 7-1 start.
So if this a sign that these teams are better than they were last year, perhaps 40 wins for an at-large bid (and roughly 45 for regional host consideration) may not be necessary. The Hoosiers’ 6-1 start should help IU get to those targets in any case. All of this will come into much better view as we get more data in the way of more game results. I will be able to make a much better prediction of what the RPI picture looks like once conference play begins towards the end of March.

Carl James


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