Figured I’d throw together a quick player ratings comparison between these two teams, on very limited three game data for each team. Team quality is based off of Sagarin ratings, which I believe are regressed some to last season since it is so early in the season.
So, Sagarin has Arizona at a 90.11 rating, which for now is a bit lower than the last two seasons (not surprisingly with the early season regression). By these ratings, if last season’s Arizona team played this season – the expected final result would be something like 70 to 65 last season. I think that might be a tad low for this team, but that’s ok – we’ll still get solid player ratings from it.
Anyway, Northwestern State is a 68.12 by Sagarin. Pomeroy has Arizona winning 96-73. Using that expected total point outcome, my conversion for the Sagarin ratings would have Arizona winning 99 to 70 (actually 99.22 to 69.78, so around an expected 29.5 spread). Note my conversion for the Sagarin ratings is a little different than straight Sagarin rating ratios – using 19 college seasons of point differential data related to the historical Sagarin ratings.
But, there is an important player out for the season Northwestern State – Jalan West, their star. That will impact the final score. But, how much.
First, let’s just look at the player rating comparisons for this season, for fun. Ranked by HnI, with regular per game stats:
Note again, Jalan West is out for the season, I just included him to show how much he dominated their first game – he has been their star two years running, a legit D1 stud.
So, 8 of the top 9 players in this game will be Arizona Wildcats. Zeek Woodley has put up some gaudy stats, and in this three game sample has been about as good as Arizona’s top players.
OK, the same group, but by their ratings broken down into subsets – included an “average” player for these two teams for context:
Sorry, I won’t be going into details on all this, it’s sort of self explanatory. Higher number, the better. Top scorer by rating is Woodley, scoring from 2pt is Ristic, from three York, from the line Trier, rebounding Ristic, ball handling (assists & turnovers relative to pace, etc.) Hall, defensive “stops” (including personal fouls) Anderson. I highlighted the worst in light blue.
So, if this three game sample is indicative of what we can expect from players – then the only three point threat for NSU is Woodley. They also don’t have a rebounder anywhere near the quality of Ristic, Anderson, or Tarczewski. Heck, they don’t really have much of a scorer outside of Woodley.
Finally, the REAL prediction. If we take Hall completely out of the equation – the NSU’s team rating drops almost 10%. The final prediction then becomes:
Northwestern State 66.22
Without Jalan West, the spread goes from 29.5 Arizona to 36.5.