I had a coach wonder about the West Region’s out-of-region records this past season and whether it was at all reflective as to the strength of our region. This is something I actually kept in 2017 but didn’t find it too useful, which was more a failing of my record keeping methods than anything else. Anyway, I decided to pull out my failed record keeping method (circa 2017) and calculate some records for this past season.
To start with, I went through all of the West Region teams and separated out their win totals on a per region basis with an extra “Others” category thrown in to handle the NAIA, DII and DI teams. When I was done, the West Region record should be at 0.500 but unfortunately my hand count was a little off as I ended up 448-444. So, as you go through this data, know that it’s slightly flawed. As you read this article, know that the writer is also slightly flawed.
Before I get to the other regions, I wanted to look at the conferences and see how they did. The ASC went 143-136 against West Region teams (this includes within their own conference, too). The NWC went 93-88, which actually surprised me a bit, but they did pretty good as a group outside the region this past season. The SCIAC went 103-85, which wasn’t too surprising but a cold clammy sensation came over me as I realized there were a number of losses that weren’t accounted for amount the conferences, yet. Surely, the SCAC wasn’t a -30 in the win/loss totals? Well, the SCAC did come in negative with a record of 105-115, which left the other losses to UC Santa Cruz (-6) and Mills College (-10). Oh, and my accounting error which went (-4). By the way, if anyone needs me to do their taxes this year, just send me the data. I’m sure I’ll get better at this counting thing with enough practice. I guess this does mean the SCIAC is the deepest conference in the West Region since they finished +18.
Let’s take a look outside the West and, as a whole, our region finished 93-74 (0.557) against the “lesser” regions. This was mainly due to a 17-5 record against the New York Region as the 6 other regions played us close. The West went 11-12 against the Central; 8-5 against the Great Lakes; 13-10 against the Mid-Atlantic; 25-21 against the Midwest; 4-5 against New England; 15-16 against the South. Overall, really not a dominating year by the West Region as a whole.
I flagged a number of the better teams in the West Region (14 in total) to see how they did and things improved dramatically. Their out-of-region record was 53-21 (0.716), which should be expected I guess. This included a 15-5 record over the Midwest and a 6-1 record over the Great Lakes. I then looked at the 6 West Region NCAA Tournament teams and found that they had a record of 26-8 (0.765) with a 12-2 mark against the Midwest really standing out. Not really sure what to make of this data since I would have to do the same type of calculations for the other regions to see whose top teams played the best during the season. I’m almost to the point that we should just have a tournament at the end of the year and take the conference tournament champions and some at-large teams with the bulk coming from the New England Region. We could then break up the West teams and give the New England Region more chances to advance by also making sure they don’t play other region’s teams until the last possible moment. Just a thought.
Another thought I had while I was riffing above was that I wanted to look at our bubble teams that didn’t get in – La Verne and UT-Dallas. La Verne played 6 matches out of region and went 4-2. The wins included NCAA Tournament teams Franklin & Marshall and Nazareth while the losses included JWU (RI). UT-Dallas also played 6 matches out of region and ended up with the same 4-2 record. Their wins included NCAA Tournament team DePauw and their two losses were WUSTL and national champion Emory. Again, not sure what we can make of any of this but these two teams did what they should have out of region. They just got tripped up by really good West Region teams. It also didn’t help that La Verne had 3 losses to CMS while UT-Dallas had 3 losses to UMHB.
If anything, this exercise sort of backs up what I wrote about “Playing a New England Schedule”. The easiest (and most expensive) path for more NCAA Tournament teams out of the west is to reduce the conference schedules to just one match against each team and play more matches out of region.
In closing, here were some ancillary items that jumped out at me. Concordia, you have to play more than just one out of region match. UMHB, you should play more than 3 but congrats on winning them all. McMurry went 4-0 out of region. UTT went 5-0 in their last DIII season. George Fox was another 4-0 team, which means they only won 3 in region. Just strange. Lewis & Clark tied UTT with the best out of region record at 5-0. Pacific Lutheran went 4-0 and you can start to see how well the NWC did this year outside the west. Colorado College played the most out of region matches and finished 9-1 (Santa Cruz also played 10 but went 3-7). Southwestern only played one out of region match and that’s something that needs to change.
I was actually in New York for a couple of days this week and on the flight there I watched “Juliet, Naked”. Calm down, the title freaked me out a bit, too. Anyway, part of the story includes a man that has a blog site about a reclusive singer and later actually meets him only to find out that all of his thoughts were wrong. Fiction, right? Not something that actually happens? Just in movies. I mean Jan Gentry (NCAA) and Moira Long (New England RAC Chair) aren’t going to show up at my door and intelligently explain all of my errors the past 2 years? Someone hold me.