2012-13 Season Analytical Writings

The SEC Mid-Term Evaluation

What now seems like a distant past, as the Cats turned the corner from non-conference to SEC competition, I provided a forecast of the SEC based on the performance of all 14 members' non-conference play. The SEC season is at the mid-point, and it is time to take stock and see how things have changed over the last 5 weeks.

Things have changed, and the surprise would occur only if things had played out precisely as forecast over the first 63 SEC games. There have been 16 upset outcomes so far, for an upset rate of 25.4% as compared to the national upset rate of 25.0%. However, the change from predicted final records to the current projected final records, incorporating the upsets that have already occurred, and the change in predicted outcomes based on changes in a team's NGE value over the last 5 weeks is rather subtle. Three of the 14 teams have no net change in the number of projected SEC wins for the season. Eight teams have a shift of one game, either one more or one less wins for the SEC season. Three teams, Missouri (-2), Auburn (+2), and Georgia (+2) are the only teams to shift their projected number of wins by more than +/-1.

At the mid-season turn, Florida still has the inside track to the championship. Mississippi and Kentucky are still well positioned to earn one of those SEC Tournament Byes into the quarter final round. However, I had Missouri penciled in for the 4 th bye at pre-season, but their drop of two games coupled with Alabama's 1 game gain put them into a projected tie breaker for that 4 th bye. Since Missouri beat Alabama in their only meeting, Missouri holds that tie breaker between them.

The competition to stay out of the bottom four spots has heated up. In early January, it appeared that South Carolina, Mississippi State, Auburn, and Vanderbilt would be in those bottom spots, with Tennessee knocking on the door depending on its tie-breakers with Vanderbilt. Those same five teams are at the bottom, but Tennessee has moved into the group, and Auburn has pulled up even with Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt beat Auburn in their first meeting. However, Auburn is projected to return the favor at Auburn in the second half, and Auburn has the tie breaker over Vanderbilt with its win over Alabama at this time.

All of the projections of individual game outcomes are based on the Adjusted NGE values of each team. Adjusted NGE is not static. It changes as teams play more games. Generally, the adjusted NGE values are not highly volatile by the time conference play begins, but each season there are a few teams that show significant improvement or decline in their play after SEC games begin. This year is no different. Of the 14 teams, 9 teams have adjusted NGE values at mid-season that is substantially the same as their pre-SEC values. The five teams that are changing are Florida (Up), Kentucky (Down), Missouri (Down), South Carolina (Up), and Mississippi State (Down).

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


Submitted by Richard Cheeks


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