Bumped. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.
With what is arguably the "easy" part of our schedule behind us, let’s take a look the Bruins’ trajectory over the past few years, as well as what the season looks like from here on out. This post will contain A LOT of graphs. Consider yourself warned… (and click on any graphs to make them larger)
The basis for many of these graphs is the FEI, created by Brian Fremeau. The FEI rates how successful a team has been toward maximizing its scoring opportunities while limiting its opponents’ scoring opportunities (i.e., are we scoring when we should given our field position and the strength of our opponent, and are we keeping our opponent from scoring given their field position and strength). Efficiency calculations are based on "each of the nearly 20,000 possessions" each season.
Where we’ve been
Starting with the big picture, this graph charts our peaks and valleys over the past few years:
Rough ride. The disappointments of the Dorrel and Neuheisal era are clear; great Bruins, but unable to get U.C.L.A. where it deserved to be. Our trajectory under CJM is something I think we are all pleased with (if not expecting). I plotted something similar about this time last year, and the hope was that our trajectory would continue upward. Well, it has, and for the first time in recent memory we’ve been consistently ranked in the top 25. And, I think it’s great that it’s not just U.C.L.A. that’s improved, but the conference, as well.
With consistent strong showings from Oregon and Stanford, and the rise of U.C.L.A., Washington and Utah (wait, what? Utah’s not ranked?), the Pac-12 is a legitimate contender for the best overall conference in the nation (the FEI thinks so, anyway).
Now, let’s bring things down to a micro-view – the Pac-12 over 2013:
We’ve had a nice upward trend and have basically managed to remain in the top third of the Pac-12 since conference play began, but dropped slightly after last week’s less than dominant showing against Cal. After a slow start, Utah is getting the respect it deserves, ranking #1 in the Pac-12 south and #2 in the Pac-12 overall.
Although U.C.L.A.’s upward trajectory is long overdue, the Eye Test tempers this rise with an impartial look at how we’re performing regardless of our W-L record:
Still not an elite team, but the relative consistency seen game-over-game this season is at least an improvement. Our variability the past two seasons is enough to make one queasy.
The green line below represents the average FEI of our opponents to date. Not exactly powerhouse challengers, but the victory at Rice-Eccles is looking pretty good, especially given Stanford’s recent result. The red line shows the average FEI of our remaining opponents. This is significantly higher than what we’ve faced to date, and keep in mind that this line would be even higher (just below Washington’s week 7 ranking) if not for Colorado.
Later this week, I hope to Here, I use the FEI to compare U.C.L.A. to our next opponent, Stanford. In the meantime, any feedback or questions about the information above is welcomed. Please let me know if you any ideas on how to better present this data, or if there’s something additional you think would be interesting to see.