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T-Rank: College basketball is back!

And so are the Friday Facts. You’re welcome.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Creighton
Greg Gard is back, and so am I.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, college basketball is back. That means its time for the Friday Facts.™

Week 1 in Review

The Badgers are off to a 2-1 start, which is not surprising. Their road game at Creighton is one of the toughest tests faced by any team in college basketball last week, and although the final score was a double-digit loss, it was a close, hard-fought battle for most of the game.

What is surprising is that they’ve looked a bit more ragged out of the gate than we might have expected for a team bringing back everybody. Hopefully they’ll get it together in Maui next week.

Here are the top 10 games from the Big Ten last week:

Date Confs. Matchup T-Rank Line TTQ Result
Nov 14 BE at B10 3 Villanova at 14 Purdue Villanova -1.6, 78-76 (55%) 91 Villanova, 79-76
Nov 15 B10 at BE 8 Wisconsin at 28 Creighton Wisconsin -2.6, 74-71 (59%) 85 Creighton, 79-67
Nov 11 B10 vs. B12 21 Indiana vs 7 Kansas Kansas -6.1, 80-74 (69%) 82 Indiana, 103-99
Nov 17 B10 vs. BE 26 Michigan vs 38 Marquette Marquette -1.2, 75-74 (54%) 80 Michigan, 79-61
Nov 17 BE at B10 39 Seton Hall at 63 Iowa Iowa -2.1, 78-76 (57%) 80 Seton Hall, 91-83
Nov 11 P12 vs. B10 12 Arizona vs 35 Michigan St. Arizona -2.5, 75-73 (58%) 78 Arizona, 65-63
Nov 15 SEC vs. B10 4 Kentucky vs 35 Michigan St. Kentucky -5.5, 77-71 (68%) 73 Kentucky, 69-48
Nov 15 B10 at BE 49 Maryland at 48 Georgetown Georgetown -6.9, 77-70 (72%) 70 Maryland, 76-75
Nov 17 BE at B10 58 Providence at 40 Ohio St. Ohio St. -6.1, 74-68 (71%) 65 Ohio St., 72-67
Nov 16 B10 at BE 62 Northwestern at 29 Butler Butler -8.5, 76-67 (77%) 60 Butler, 70-68

The big storylines here are:

  • Michigan State is 0-2. Yes, the Spartans played the toughest schedule of anyone, and yes they played an Alonzo Trier-less Arizona team right down to the wire. But they got beat badly by Kentucky, scoring just 0.654 points per possession—their lowest output since at least 2008. They have more tough games coming up in the Battle 4 Atlantis and the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (at Duke). It’s not atypical for a Tom Izzo team to play tough schedules and lose some early games, but this is a team led by four freshmen. Will they get through this alive? Probably. But here’s a BOLD PREDICTION: Michigan State will be fighting for a bid come March.
  • Indiana got a marquee win over Kansas. Indiana was a divisive team this off-season, as people tried to figure how losing a star of Yogi Ferrell’s magnitude would affect the team. So far so good. Thomas Bryant really looks like a man among boys who should be playing at the next level.
  • Michigan looks like a tournament team. This was another team that divided preseason prognosticators. But they destroyed Marquette in Milwaukee last night, picking up a nice win. one of the season’s better road wins so far.

Week 2 Preview: Holiday Tourneys!

I won’t even bother listing this week’s big games in the Big Ten, because most of them happen in later rounds of the holiday tournaments that have actually already started. (E.g., Michigan plays SMU Friday night in the finals of their tourney.)

The Badgers are of course back in Maui. They start off against Tennessee, which has already dropped a home game to Chattanooga. Rick Barnes is not off to a great start, and this is a game the Badgers should win.

Their second-round game will be against either Georgetown or Oregon. Oregon is reportedly expecting to have preseason All-American Dillon Brooks back from his foot injury for the tournament, so it may be a different team than the one that lost handily at Baylor last week. Georgetown, meanwhile, blew a home game against Maryland and then suffered the season’s worst upset: a home loss to Arkansas State.

On the bottom of the bracket there’s Connecticut (which has already lost two home games to bad teams), Oklahoma State (which has been scoring in bunches under new coach Brad Underwood against awful competition), Chaminade and North Carolina. The Tar Heels have been cruising so far, but haven’t faced any real strong competition. Losing to anyone but UNC on this side of the bracket would be a disappointment for the Badgers.

Improvements to T-Rank

While we’re at it, I made a bunch of improvements to the T-Rank site over the summer:

Player stats: Filters and leaders since 2010

One of my projects this summer was to backfill T-Rank, and it now goes back to the 2008-09 season. This includes advanced player stats, though only to 2009-10.

On the Player Finder page, you can look for leaders in various categories in various years, or all-time. But the coolest thing (IMO) is the ability to filter out by stat, so that you can look for, say, freshmen in high-major conferences who had a steal rate of at least 4 percent, and offensive rebounding rate of at least 10 percent, and a defensive rebounding rate of at least 20 percent:

It's Ethan. Just Ethan.

Once this season goes live, the 2017 player stats will update in real time.

Game stats: Filters and leaders since 2009

Similar to the Player Finder, the Game Finder allows you to look for games matching basically any tempo-free criteria you can imagine. For instance, want to know which Big Ten teams have scored at least 1.5 points per possession in a Big Ten game since 2009? Here they are.

Team stats

There's also a specific new page for looking at team leaders in the Four Factors and a few other statistical categories. This, too, is backfilled to 2009. For example, wondering which team had the lowest turnover rate in 2015?

You probably weren't—it was obviously Wisconsin.

These stats can also be filtered by conference and by conference-only stats.

Generate conference championship odds T-Rank WinMatrix in real time.

On the conference pages, you can press the “show odds” button, and T-Rank will simulate that conference’s season 50,000 times and show you the results. You can also go the separate Conference Odds page to do the same thing and get a linkable result.

NCAA tournament stats

Want to compare tourney results since 2002 by team, by coach, or by conference? T-Rank has you covered.

Generate adjusted efficiency rankings over specific periods or against specified quality of competition

You already knew about the H-Rank (ranking of every team by their performance over the past 10 games) and Q-Rank (ranking the teams by their performance in “tournament quality tests”). But now using the T-Rank Slice page you can specify your own periods of time to look at—here's last year’s results starting at Jan. 1—or by specifying your own cutoff for quality games—here’s a look at last year's results against top-25 competition. You can even combine them!

T-Ranketology returns

I tediously overfit T-Ranketology to last year’s results. So this year you’ll get a full season of tracking your team’s tourney chances in real-time. Or you can even tweak the inputs and create your own T-Ranketology!

T-Rank Time Machine

This is actually pretty fun. The T-Rank Time Machine lets you go back and look at T-Rank on a specific day during the past two seasons.

For example, here’s Wisconsin on Jan. 12 of last season, when things were looking bleak. If you click through to the conference page, it will even let you run the conference odds as of that day. Notably, T-Rank gave Wisconsin less than a 0.1 percent chance of continuing its top-four steak at that moment. Do you believe in miracles?

So there you go, lots of fun stuff to play around with during the 2016-17 college basketball season!