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February 28, 2011, 12:30 AM ET
Let log5 season begin

by Ken Pomeroy

Both the Big South and Horizon play first round games tomorrow, and thus tournament time is upon us. At the Prospectus compound that means it’s also time to begin publishing a series of tables containing the probabilities which describe the prospects for each participant’s future.

For the uninitiated, probabilities are computed using the log5 equation popularized back in the day by Bill James, and adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies. (For the nerds out there, I’m using an exponent of 11 to compute each team’s pythagorean winning percentage, instead of the 11.5 used to create the values on my site. This provides more reliable percentages.) Tables will be posted more or less daily through next Wednesday on the day before each conference tourney begins.

A word of caution: These aren’t predictions. We are not saying that Coastal Carolina is going to win the Big South tournament. In fact, we are saying there’s a 33 percent chance they won’t do so. Use the information accordingly.

The numbers in each table represent the chance in percent of a team advancing to the round in question.

Big South
March 1, 3, 5 (First round/finals at higher seed, semifinals at Coastal Carolina)

Coastal Carolina ran away with the regular season race, and is the heavy favorite to win the conference tourney on its home floor. The Chants, however, found themselves on the wrong end of one of the biggest upsets in the land this season, losing to Gardner Webb at home on February 15th, which improbably ended a 22-game winning streak. (Stun-wording approved.) The two teams hook up again in Conway in round one.

                     Semis   Final   Champ
1 Coastal Carolina    93.2    80.5    67.1
3 UNC Asheville       77.7    53.8    17.2
2 Liberty             87.3    32.2     7.0
4 VMI                 70.5    12.9     4.7
6 Charleston Southern 22.3    12.3     2.1
5 Winthrop            29.5     4.5     1.3
8 Gardner Webb         6.8     2.2     0.4
7 High Point          12.7     1.7     0.1

Horizon
March 1, 4, 5, 8 (First round/finals at higher seed, second round/semifinals at UW-Milwaukee)

Milwaukee took the one-seed and home-court advantage after escaping last-place Youngstown State in overtime on Saturday, but they’re actually rated as the sixth-best team in the league. If such odds existed, you could have got pretty good ones around New Year’s on the Panthers getting the auto-NIT bid. It’s unclear whether Butler or Cleveland State is the class of the league, but the penalty for losing the three-way tiebreaker for the Vikings is being forced to play two extra games to punch their dance ticket. That alone propels Butler back to the favorite role in this event, although their chances aren’t nearly as overwhelming as last season, due to the lack of home-court advantage and that they aren’t as dominant as the 2010 team.

                       Rd1   Semis   Final   Champ
 2 Butler              100     100    63.8    42.8
 1 UW Milwaukee        100     100    60.0    24.2
 3 Cleveland St.      90.5    61.7    26.4    16.7
 4 Valparaiso         91.1    55.3    24.9     8.8
 6 Wright St.         74.2    28.8     8.1     3.3
 5 Detroit            64.0    27.2     9.4     2.5
 8 Loyola Chicago     36.0    15.6     5.5     1.3
 7 UW Green Bay       25.8     7.7     1.5     0.5
 9 Youngstown St.      8.9     1.9     0.2     0.02
10 Illinois Chicago    9.5     1.8     0.1     0.01

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