2020 Rankings Comparison

This was not a contest.  The TeamBrunnhilde LMpts rating correctly picked 21 of 23 games on regional Friday and didn’t look back.  LMpts finished 212-64, 76.8%, the highest accuracy for any ranking in these competitions since the current tournament formats were introduced in 2017.  LMpts finished 17 games ahead of 2nd place LMwl (similar to LMpts but just considering wins and losses).  MaxPreps, a close second in 2019, was 22 games behind in third place.  WIAA RPI was 30 games behind and 9 games behind their performance in 2019.

LMpts had 6 champions.  Next best was Captured WL with 4.  MaxPreps, the two RPI rankings (WIAA RPI and TeamBrunnhilde RPI) had 3, as did the composite.  King’s boys who LMpts had #1 in what looked like a mistake before the tournament,ran the table winning all five games on their plate.  This was similar to the Foss boys in 2017 who also had lost four out-of-state holiday games before winning five state games to become 2A champion that year (20th in WRPI and 1st in LMpts).  So maybe that mistake isn’t.  Or maybe I just notice when the mistake isn’t fatal.

Every year LMpts has been the best ranking method since I began this exercise in 2015.  It is not a ranking that could be used for seeding for several reasons.  But it does represent a benchmark showing the degree of accuracy than can be obtained from a well understood standard numeric algorithm.  No fiddling required.  Full results.

2020 Pre-Tournament Rankings

Time for the TeamBrunnhilde yearly Tournament.  That is the tournament of rankings.  Each year I take several rankings for the 192 teams in the twelve state tournaments and determine which ranking gets the most games correct.  This year the four-time defending champion TeamBtunnhilde “Points” rating is back, along with eight others, employing a variety of algorithms to create their ranking.  New is a ranking based on the results of the district tournaments, kind of a throwback to when the WIAA seeded the tournament, albeit for just the first game, based on district tournament results.  The list of teams with ranks is here.

Washington v the World

Now that the holiday tournaments are past, the bulk of the out-of-state games have been played.  A few dozen games are left and several games played are still to be reported.  Washington girls are 110-103 against other states, provinces, and countries.  The boys are 116-148.  The main competitors are Oregon, Idaho, and California.  The girls are 34-27 against Idaho, 49-42 against Oregon, and 8-19 against California.  The boys are 21-36 against Idaho, 35-52 against Oregon, and 32-24 against California.  Note that Hermiston, although in the Mid-Columbia Conference, is counted as an Oregon team.

2019 Ranking Comparison

The results are in!  No I’m not talking Eastlake, O’Dea, or Washougal.  It is the 2019 ranking comparison.  Once again the Team Brunnhilde Linear Model Points rating was the champion.  Going 40-8 on Thursday had me thinking I could hit 75%, which is a gold standard for picking tournament winners.  Going into the twelve championship games a 9-3 record would suffice, but losing all three 7PM games scuttled that.

In summary, the final standings are: TeamBrunnhilde LM Points 205, MaxPreps 199, TeamBrunnhilde RPI 193, Composite at 190 (but a higher percentage due to unpicked games), WIAA RPI and LM won-loss tied at 191, Evans at 188, Captured WL at 187 and Won-Loss at 173 (with 7 unpicked games).  Unanimous picks hit 81.2% correct.

The details are here.

WIAA RPI is the ranking of interest since that is how the tournaments are seeded.  I don’t suggest using the TeamBrunnhilde LM Points or MaxPreps ratings.  For different reasons neither is suitable for seeding the tournament.  However the comparison with TeamBrunnhilde RPI is germane.  TB RPI, albeit with a slightly different database (I think more accurate) and different set of games in-scope, does not use OOWP.  WIAA RPI uses OOWP.  WIAA RPI also puts in fake data for out-of-state teams for OOWP.  Maybe OOWP should just be dropped.  It doesn’t seem to make more accurate rankings.

2019 Rankings Comparison

This year’s version of the TeamBrunnhilde state tournament rankings comparison has eight rankings.  The same seven as last year and a return of a TeamBrunnhilde RPI.  There is again a composite ranking included.  The TeamBrunnhilde linear model for points has always won this comparison, but I sometimes wonder.

This year for the third year in a row Cashmere is my 1A girls #1 team.  The previous years that looked good until Lynden Christian came around.  So I wonder again.  This year Lynden Christian girls lost three games in four tries in the last two weeks of January.  Before that, it was three losses in 87 games.  So maybe it is Cashmere’s year.

In Boys 2B, Odessa is the consensus choice for second place.  Sorry.  Not what they want.

For the 96 regional games, 59 are picked unanimously.  Last year it was 57.  The Girls 3A tournament regionals would be entirely unanimous but for Hudson’s Bay being ranked higher than Roosevelt in Win-Loss.

The full comparison is here.  To be updated as the tournaments progress.

What was that score?

Every day it occurs. Several times. The score of a game is reported differently in various sources. On Thursday, out of 94 games, 12 were reported with a variety of scores.

An example. Thursday’s Ridgefield v Columbia River boys game. WPAN has 67-41 (just a bare score); MaxPreps had 65-39 (with a line score and a play-by-play reporter who ends with a 67-39 score); Vancouver Columbian has 65-41 with a consistent boxscore and a detailed story written by a journalist actually at the game. I’m going with Vancouver Columbian. But they’re unofficial. It’s also two votes for 65 and two votes for 41.

It could be just typos. I do that too. That’s why I try to get multiple sources for a score. I discover a lot of my mistakes that way. But finding multiple scores for the same game occurs too often for just fat fingers. I’m thinking that most of the score differences stem from the score reporters. Sometimes I see a score revised from score A to score B. One team scorebook keeper is clobbering the report by other one. How hard can it be to report the score that was on the scoreboard when the game ended? Maybe the scoreboard failed in the last second and missed a three-pointer to change from 65-42 to 65-45. That actually happened this season. I saw it. But that is a first for me, after ~1500 high school basketball games seen.

HEY! Scorebook keepers! Do a little checking. Check with your opposite keeping book for the other team. Agree on the score to report. And then make sure the quarter scores, if you’re reporting those, add up to the final score. They should.

Let it Snow

It snowed nine inches at my house on February 1, 1990. That was before I was going to high school basketball games. But with the research I can see just how disruptive that was to local basketball tournaments. In 1990, the league Liberty was a part of, the Seamount, had three full weeks from the end of the season until the WIAA ‘draw date’. So tiebreakers, the league tournament, and the district tournament could spread across three weeks. Even as late at 2010, Kingco 3A likewise had three full weeks, 19 scheduleable dates (not counting Sundays) for tiebreakers, league, and district tournaments.  Snow was not a problem.

In 2019, Kingco 3A (which is Liberty’s league but Liberty is not part of for tournaments), cut a full week away from the schedule decades ago. Instead of three weeks, the pre-state playoffs must complete in with 13 scheduleable dates.

In 2018 on the ‘bigweekend’ of district tournaments—Friday and Saturday—there were106 boys games and 111 girls games (a few league games in there). Some on Monday too. With the snow early last week, games were already being pushed toward the ‘big weekend’. Losing Friday, Saturday, and a lot of Monday, the deficit grows. Instead of 217 games only 37 games were played this year on the big weekend. Every district lost some district tournament games, even in districts where the tournament was able to continue. Big districts like Southwest,saw games in Ilwaco, where the weather was probably ‘nice enough’, canceled. Teams, and fans, couldn’t make the trip.

By last Friday, many district tournament had four days of games required to complete their tournament. Unless they can get in games today (Monday) there will be only one unused day left before the WIAA deadline. It isn’t a draw date anymore. No matchups to pull out of a hat in a roomful of anxious coaches. So no real need to complete by Sunday the 17th. The WIAA could relax their grip on the last two weeks of February and let district tournament games slide into the beginning of regional week.

There are more pre-state tournament games nowadays also. In 1990, with four classifications there were fewer district tournaments. Nearly 100 fewer playoff games before state for girls: 343 for 1990, 434 for 2018. So with only two weeks instead of three, the ‘density’ of tournament games is getting close to double what it was in 1990. Also in 1990 there were only two referees per game, now there are three, so the number of referees required is about three times what it was 29 years ago.

2016-2017 was an awful year for postponements. The southern third of the state had week after week of storms. The rest of the state had lots of postponements as well. The Northwest Conference season was curtailed. That happened to the Whitman County League back in 1988-89.

The State of Journalism, 2018

… As it relates to high school basketball.

Last year saw the Bellingham Herald drop most of its local high school sports coverage. Just the big stories are left. That is, the story that can be written without a particular deadline and run whenever available column inches allow. That followed similar exits from day-to-day coverage by the Kitsap Sun, Seattle Times, and others. It looks like the Tri-Cities Herald is going the same route this year.

I don’t understand. For the Seattle Times, the local sports teams ARE the Seahawks, Mariners (unfortunately), Sounders, and Huskies. But for smaller markets, what do people expect to see in their local papers? The local sports! There are zillions of places to check NFL statistics in order to make fantasy sports draft picks. Where do you get to see your kid’s name in agate type? In the Bellingham Herald (well, not anymore), the (Longview) Daily News, the Walla Walla Union Bulletin, the Quad-Cities Herald. Maybe it is cheaper just to pick up syndicated content from elsewhere, about sports elsewhere. But as a reader, I can just go elsewhere and get that content directly. Lots of it. Why should I look in the Abedeen Daily World for the latest stories on the NBA? There’s a daily show on ESPN with just that. If I want to see just how Montesano fared against Elma, well it’s ONLY in the Aberdeen Daily World. Protect your monopoly!

At least the Seattle Times is still offering on-line high school data. How’re they doing? Not well. Today’s (December 7, 2018) database is typical. It’s a really nice looking database front end. Probably looks great on an iPhone X. The content is mostly missing. And what content there is too often wrong. I take the opposite view. My website is clunky. But the html is tight, with high signal to noise ratio, and the data is right: not perfect, but I check and make corrections.

Here’s from the boys basketball part of ScoreBook Live, the Seattle Times’s outsourced data provider. The Seattle Times wishes that somebody live-update the game for them (gee thanks, what do I get paid? Nuttin’). The Lakeside v West Seattle game didn’t get very far: 2-0. But what is the game? Lakeside Girls v West Seattle Boys. Come on, man!

There is a spiffy map to show the location of the game. Here for Nathan Hale at Cleveland.

Is that right? Just go east on I-90. Way east.

Or this map. Really useful, huh?

Game is being played somewhere in the world. Don’t need to ask Elon Musk for a ride.

They’ve even got a choice for games from defunct leagues.

The screen caps are from the boys portion of the database. But that doesn’t mean the girls aren’t participating:

They do know that Edmonds-Woodway boys played Kamiak boys on Friday, although I bet it wasn’t at 11:15 during first lunch. Edmonds-Woodway apparently had a double header according to the Seattle Times. No, that’s the girls game. It wasn’t in the girls section of the database. Here’s another:

Yeah. The girls game. But at least there is content, even if it is wrong.

For girls games on Friday December 7, the Seattle Times has no games for Cascade league(right!); no games for Emerald City (there were four); five games for Kingco 3A/2A with no results–there were four games; six games for Kingco 4A with no results–there were six games, so there were at least the right number of empty spots; seven for Metro with two results, and that boys v girls game ended at 2-0 again; and finally for Wesco three games spread across the two choices with no results,there were actually nine games. (Phew, that sentence was an arduous journey).  So two results for 30 games. Impressive!

I’m sure the Seattle Times sports editors would say that if nobody reports the results it’s not their problem. Besides, they’re all too busy writing the next 1-10 rating of greatest Seahawk what-ever thingy that they can figure up a list for. They fired all the high school sports writers. The old old old (three iterations ago) Seattle Times database is still around, just not linked from the Seattle Times website. But if you want to compare, here it is (until they take it down out of sheer embarrassment at the comparison). Note that the Seattle Times actually covered high school sports from Pierce to Whatcom county.

Go, Go, Sammamish!

Once upon a time, Sammamish girls basketball was good. Regularly stately; four of six years between 1990 and 1995. Then the coach retired or was otherwise replaced (I really don’t know the circumstances).

I recall a brief conversation with Lorinda Flikkema, the new coach, before a Liberty @ Sammamish game in 2001. Teresa Eliott, a 6-2 pretty good senior center but also national-class rower had been dropped from the roster. I noted the absence and asked Lorinda. “Teresa is not on the team.” I persisted a bit until “TERESA is NOT on the TEAM!!” I understand. It is of what we do not speak.

By 2004, Sammamish was playing with six varsity players. A seventh was on the roster but only as an emergency promoted JV in case of dire need. Although only six players, they easily made the league tournament (not a terribly difficult task). For league, at Bellevue Community College, Lorinda dressed NINE players. ‘Good’, I thought. ‘Build for the future even from the crumbs you have.’ Sammamish held close to Newport through the first half, but in the third quarter the bottom fell out. Soon down by 30 points. A Sammamish senior fouled out. In goes girl #6. Lorinda commiserates with the DQ’d player. No, mostly it looked like a girl chat from across the floor–fhe three varsity wannabees ignored at the end of the bench. Somebody yells across the court, ‘Clear your bench!’ No. Lorinda just kept her back on the others. The next day she quit. Good riddance!

It was a hard row to hoe that she left. An absolutely empty roster. A losing streak that reached 110 league games, But in 2015, Sammamish made state and advanced into the quarter-finals. Now in 2018-2019, on December 3,2018; no Kingco 3A/2A girls team has won a game. No (0) wins. Sixteen (16) losses. It is up to Sammamish on Tuesday. Highline is a low bar, and Sammamish hasn’t carried the Kingco Banner for 30 years.  But at this point, Kingco 3A/2A girls need whatever they can get. “Just Win, Baby!”

New (Old) Data

I’ve posted additional years for 1986-1987 and 1987-1988 girls teams. With the addition of Walla Walla Union-Bulletin archives now available to me, via the King County Library System, I’ve also updated 1988-1989 and 1989-1990 for girls teams.

Three pointers

While researching I came across an article in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin describing the Walla Walla girls’ game of January 21, 1989. Wa-Hi beat Eisenhower 52-38, not a surprise. The noteworthy thing about the game was that Angie Zagelow made the first three-point basket in Wa-Hi girls history. I don’t know when three pointers are added to the high school game.  The Spokesman Review added them to boxscores in 1987-88.  That might be it.  So in the 37th game, a Wa-Hi girl hit a three pointer.

That doesn’t appear to be that unusual for the times, though. Many GSL and Frontier boxscores in the Spokane newspapers list no three pointers made. A list of GSL girl high scorers (1987-1988) had 18 girls above 10 pts/game. Among those 18 girls, there were a total of 36 three-point baskets made; and one girl–Kristin Noe of Rogers–had 31 of them. I suspect there were GSL girls teams with nary a three pointer all season. Hard to imagine, nowadays, even a mediocre team without a couple of girls who can make threes.

RPI revisions

After some calculations to determine an ‘optimum’ RPI (whatever that is), I’m dropping OOWP from my RPI. The new weights will be 0.40 for WP and 0.60 for OWP. Previous seasons have been recalculated with this formulation. Further discussion.