One interesting activity I’ve been doing for the last 4 years is to determine the loss of statistics a team will face due to graduating seniors. I then augment this to any underclass(wo)men that (based on the new rosters) seem to have left the program.
Below, you will find these statistics for each west region conference (plus Mills and UC Santa Cruz). Now, obviously, this isn’t a fool-proof method to determine which teams will falter (or improve) because unless you are tight with the school, you really don’t know the level of recruits coming in. You also don’t know which underclass(wo)men will step up now that they have a chance to shine.
In a future post, I’ll look into these statistics to determine how telling these statistics are once the season has played out. In the past, I’ve been wary of any program that loses 45% or more points to graduating seniors. Conversely, teams that lose 10% or less seem to do well. With that said, there are exceptions but it’s a good rule of thumb until I get to that future post.
Back to the statistics below, you’ll notice I listed the team, the 2016 record, points lost, assists lost and digs lost. The conferences are sorted on points lost (worst to best). I included assists and digs because these stats are not reflected in the points lost (kills + aces + solo blocks + (block assists / 2)). I’ve been somewhat surprised in the past that replacing assists and digs is easier than replacing the points lost. Again, future post.
|Sul Ross State||3-24||33.8%||1.9%||16.7%|
It’s a safe bet that LeTourneau will struggle again this year. It’s not often that I see 50%+ loss across points, assists and digs. UTD is the most likely consensus pick in the ASC but the loss to their hitting is a red flag for the upcoming year. I liked ETBU going into the 2016 season but significant losses will most likely keep them down this year again. UMHB and Hardin-Simmons look like they will battle it out in the ASC West this year. UT Tyler returns their hitters but I was unable to see their 2017 roster, yet. I always worry about UT Tyler as I believe that some players will elect to attend UT Austin and not continue their playing career. With that said, they have a real shot at unseating UTD this year in the ASC East.
|Lewis & Clark||5-18||1.4%||5.6%||23.1%|
I wrote a long piece on my problem with the Northwest Conference then figured I should put it in a post, which you can access here. With that out of the way, it appears the teams that finished above .500 are in better shape than the programs that finished below .500. Lewis & Clark is the exception here but this seems to indicate a bigger gulf will exist between the top and bottom teams in this conference. Some order of a top 3 finish between Whitworth, Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound seems to be in the cards again this year.
|University of Dallas||13-21||28.9%||10.1%||46.2%|
TLU has been on the outside looking in when compared against the big three – Trinity, Southwestern and Colorado College – for the past few years. These points lost will not help that problem. Colorado College loses their All-American OH. They should still be strong but this is a heavy loss. Southwestern and Trinity will surely test my research that says assists and digs are easier to replace then points.
I don’t like betting against Cal Lutheran but they have lost some serious talent the last two years. Serious losses for La Verne this year, too, which really opens the door for another team in that conference. It won’t be Caltech but Chapman seems like they could be a team that makes a step up this year. CMS would appear to have enough to win the SCIAC this year although they will have to find a replacement for their stellar graduating OH.
Independents & AACA
|UC Santa Cruz||9-13||12.5%||2.6%||5.4%|
Not holding out much hope here, but both programs should be better this year.