An analytical view of Uconn vs other top programs (long post) | The Boneyard

An analytical view of Uconn vs other top programs (long post)

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Ok, so it’s no secret that we’ve been incredibly successful over the past 5, 10, 20 years. So much so that the term “Blue Blood” has been raised from time to time. I have no interest in that term as it is vague and the definition changes depending on who you ask. I therefore do not wish to debate whether we are in that group (or what we have to do to get there). That being said, I am interested in assessing our performance over the years and how it stacks up relative to the other elite programs.

This topic is certainly not new. Many others have raised the question and have provided their own (sometimes insightful, other times not so much) thoughts about where we rank versus Dook, UNC, etc. It seems to me that these conversations always get sidetracked for a few reasons. First, and most importantly, there is obviously no “right” answer because this topic is subjective in nature. For example, it’s not clear what metrics should be used to define success. How much weight should national championships carry? What about final 4s, conference titles, wins, etc? The timeframe is also a subjective input into any analysis like this. Should recent past count more or does historical success count just as much (the UCLA/Indiana issue)?

I don’t have any definitive answers to the issues outlined above (nobody does), but there is another common roadblock to productive discussions on this topic: different people work from different fact bases, which makes it confusing for all involved. Well, I had some down time over the weekend, and I thought it would be interesting to create a tool to help shed some light on this topic. The attached file (I hope you can attach excel files here) allows you to set preferences and draw your own conclusions about how Uconn stacks up versus the competition.

So here’s how it works. I chose a peer set of 12 programs to compare. Besides Uconn, I included the traditional Blue Bloods (ok, last time I use that word) UNC, Dook, Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas, and Indiana. I also arbitrarily included 5 others from the next tier: Michigan State, Arizona, Syracuse, Texas, Louisville. I may have missed someone, but that’s a good start. Note I tried to include Florida, but couldn’t find win totals prior to 1996.

As for metrics indicating success, I chose (again arbitrarily) 8 of them. I don’t think they are all equally important (more on this later) but I wanted a flexible tool to accommodate differing opinions. Metrics included are
  • # of National titles: the ultimate measure of success
  • # of final 4s: another commonly used indicator of elite seasons
  • # Sweet 16s: rewards teams that are consistently “solid”, if not spectacular, in the tournament
  • # NCAA appearances: I don’t like this one for elite programs, more useful for lesser programs
  • # Tourney wins: an aggregate rather than seasonal measure
  • # Conference tourney titles: need something to balance out reliance on NCAA tourney success, though levels of competition vary by conference so this may be less fair to Big East squads
  • # Conference regular season titles: see above
  • Total # wins: another aggregate measure

The model is very easy to use and works like this – pick a timeframe (you can go back 5 years, 10 years, whatever, though my data only goes back to 1985). Then, choose what weighting you want to apply to each of the 8 metrics above. The tool will do the rest. It will rank each team according to those metrics (1, 2, 3, etc) and will create a composite score which is the weighted average of those ranks. Lowest composite score wins.

So what’s the final verdict? If you use my weightings (in the attached file), Uconn ranks in the 2-5 range depending on timeframe. Dook is consistently #1 which makes me sick, but facts are facts and the data speaks for itself. UNC is also up there. You can draw your own conclusions (I found lots of interesting things but I’ve written enough for now), but Uconn is clearly “elite” no matter what definition you use.

Final note. I’m sure I screwed some things up, and I don’t make any claims as to accuracy of this data. I relied heavily on Wikipedia, so who knows. I also could have made mistakes. There is a tab for each team if you want to dive into the details.

What do you think?
 

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Dogbreath2U

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It looks very cool, but it only shows UConn with 2 NC's and 3 FF's over the period where we have 3 and 4. Am I doing something wrong?
 
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It looks very cool, but it only shows UConn with 2 NC's and 3 FF's over the period where we have 3 and 4. Am I doing something wrong?
What timeframe did you choose? If you put 10 years, for example, it would only be 2 ships and 3 FFs. If you set it to 13+ years then the '99 title is included and the totals would match...
 
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Ok, so it’s no secret that we’ve been incredibly successful over the past 5, 10, 20 years. So much so that the term “Blue Blood” has been raised from time to time. I have no interest in that term as it is vague and the definition changes depending on who you ask. I therefore do not wish to debate whether we are in that group (or what we have to do to get there). That being said, I am interested in assessing our performance over the years and how it stacks up relative to the other elite programs.

This topic is certainly not new. Many others have raised the question and have provided their own (sometimes insightful, other times not so much) thoughts about where we rank versus Dook, UNC, etc. It seems to me that these conversations always get sidetracked for a few reasons. First, and most importantly, there is obviously no “right” answer because this topic is subjective in nature. For example, it’s not clear what metrics should be used to define success. How much weight should national championships carry? What about final 4s, conference titles, wins, etc? The timeframe is also a subjective input into any analysis like this. Should recent past count more or does historical success count just as much (the UCLA/Indiana issue)?

I don’t have any definitive answers to the issues outlined above (nobody does), but there is another common roadblock to productive discussions on this topic: different people work from different fact bases, which makes it confusing for all involved. Well, I had some down time over the weekend, and I thought it would be interesting to create a tool to help shed some light on this topic. The attached file (I hope you can attach excel files here) allows you to set preferences and draw your own conclusions about how Uconn stacks up versus the competition.

So here’s how it works. I chose a peer set of 12 programs to compare. Besides Uconn, I included the traditional Blue Bloods (ok, last time I use that word) UNC, Dook, Kentucky, UCLA, Kansas, and Indiana. I also arbitrarily included 5 others from the next tier: Michigan State, Arizona, Syracuse, Texas, Louisville. I may have missed someone, but that’s a good start. Note I tried to include Florida, but couldn’t find win totals prior to 1996.

As for metrics indicating success, I chose (again arbitrarily) 8 of them. I don’t think they are all equally important (more on this later) but I wanted a flexible tool to accommodate differing opinions. Metrics included are
  • # of National titles: the ultimate measure of success
  • # of final 4s: another commonly used indicator of elite seasons
  • # Sweet 16s: rewards teams that are consistently “solid”, if not spectacular, in the tournament
  • # NCAA appearances: I don’t like this one for elite programs, more useful for lesser programs
  • # Tourney wins: an aggregate rather than seasonal measure
  • # Conference tourney titles: need something to balance out reliance on NCAA tourney success, though levels of competition vary by conference so this may be less fair to Big East squads
  • # Conference regular season titles: see above
  • Total # wins: another aggregate measure
The model is very easy to use and works like this – pick a timeframe (you can go back 5 years, 10 years, whatever, though my data only goes back to 1985). Then, choose what weighting you want to apply to each of the 8 metrics above. The tool will do the rest. It will rank each team according to those metrics (1, 2, 3, etc) and will create a composite score which is the weighted average of those ranks. Lowest composite score wins.

So what’s the final verdict? If you use my weightings (in the attached file), Uconn ranks in the 2-5 range depending on timeframe. Dook is consistently #1 which makes me sick, but facts are facts and the data speaks for itself. UNC is also up there. You can draw your own conclusions (I found lots of interesting things but I’ve written enough for now), but Uconn is clearly “elite” no matter what definition you use.

Final note. I’m sure I screwed some things up, and I don’t make any claims as to accuracy of this data. I relied heavily on Wikipedia, so who knows. I also could have made mistakes. There is a tab for each team if you want to dive into the details.

What do you think?

I think you need to include Final 8s
 

Dann

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add a sucess rate post school side to it
-# of players drafted in lottery
-# of players drafted outside of lottery(rest of draft)
-# of players to make nba rosters if not drafted + europe/overseas pros
-# of nba all star games for all players(total)

something like this^
 
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Good ideas. I'm happy to add categories. Does anyone know where to find data on NBA stuff?
 
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can someone post a power point please i no its random its for my computerr
 
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I never understood the point of view some people take by saying Uconn wont be real elite status until they have success with another coach. That makes no sense at all.
 
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Ok, here is a pdf printout of the rankings by category. Note that this is based on 15 years of history. The excel file I posted allows you to toggle the # of years.

Note that the numbers reflect the relative rank by category, not the statistic in question. For example, for # of NCs it will show Uconn as 1 because we are the top ranked team in that category over the past 15 years (3 NCs, more than anyone else). For # of final 4s we are 3rd because UNC and Mich St have had more. The composite score is the weighted average of category ranks based on the weightings shown at the top of the page. The excel file also allows you to toggle those weights.

For those wondering how to post microsoft files, you have to zip them. The board only allows certain file types, and zip is one of them.
 

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For those of you who can't open attachments, here is where Uconn ranks by category over the past 15 years:

# NCs: 1st
# Final 4s: 3rd
# Sweet 16s: 5th
# Tourney appearances: 8th
# NCAA tourney games won: 3rd
# Conference tourney titles: 4th
# Conference reg season titles: 3rd
Total # wins: 4th

Composite score based on my weightings: 3rd
 

EricLA

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pretty good stuff. i really think the most recent NC put us up in the upper echelon. not surprising we are 3rd. as a side note, you can go over to the duke board and every year they have a NBA fantasy league report for pros by college. a few years back UCONN was #1, but the last few years i think they have been #2 to Duke. another indication of the success and elite status of our team.
 

fleudslipcon

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Good job. And you openly admit the weightings are arbitrary. I like that. Most people have an opinion, weight things to fit the opinion and are unable to admit they do this.

I guess I'm strange in that I'm content with the way things have played out and don't find it necessary if UConn is validated or not by the rest of the world in order to be happy. Inclusion or exclusion into the "Blue Blood group won't matter one bit for me. It is an arbitrary egocentric process that is independent of the game. NC's, BE tournament championships and BE regular season championships are the only thing that relates to UConn's accomplishments. Comparing UConn's achievements with other teams achievements is a fun endeavor. But they are just opinions and not something that has been played out in the arena. They are more about us than the actual games.
 
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Some of the best and most straightforward analysis I've seen on this subject. Thanks!
 

Dann

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nice job tk. i was suprised to see Indy make that list. now add us with another ship:)
 
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I couldn't agree more. I don't really care what the rest of the world thinks, and the term Blue Blood is just plain arrogant and stupid. That being said, I do get a feeling of pride when I look at the data and it tells me, unequivocally, that Uconn's success on the court compares favorably to every other program out there over the past ~20 years (except maybe Puke - wrote it small so as to minimize the pollution to this thread)
 
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By request, I added a few categories to the file: # Elite 8s, # of NBA draft picks, and # of 1st round draft picks.

I also attached the overall rankings in PDF format for the past 10, 15, 20, and 25 years. Uconn's composite rank for those periods is 2, 3, 4, and 5 respecitvely.
 

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  • 10 Year Rankings.pdf
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  • 15 Year Rankings.pdf
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  • 20 Year Rankings.pdf
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  • 25 Year Rankings.pdf
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