As analytics creeps more and more into sports one of the best ways to look at a team’s success is to study their RPI. One of the best sites covering all sports is the Massey Ratings (http://www.masseyratings.com/) who uses a computer logarithm to rank all the NCAA Softball Teams.
Here are the 5 things we take away from looking at the final 2016 Massey Ratings for the Southeast Region Schools.
The Peachbelt Reigns Supreme in Southeast.
When looking at the ratings the Peachbelt conference posts a staggering 0.63 rating while the South Atlantic (SAC) trails with 0.34 and Conference Carolinas (Carolinas) is left in the dust posting a 0.07. Even in Strength of Schedule (SoS) we see the Peachbelt again dominate with a 3.32 with the SAC trailing with a 1.96 and Carolinas with a 0.91.
We saw these trends play themselves out in the National Tournament with the Peachbelt receiving 5 bids, SAC with 2 bids and Carolinas with 1 bid (Tournament Champion). In the Regional round the Peachbelt racked up a 8 wins while the SAC and Carolinas each had 2.
The Best Two teams met in the Super Regional
The #1 North Georgia and #2 Armstrong State met up in a battle for the Super Regional. In the ratings we see that both teams are the only teams with a higher than 1.00 rating in the Massey Ratings. North Georgia posted the highest with a 1.41 (4th overall in DII) and Armstrong State with an equally impressive 1.17 (9th overall in DII).
Armstrong State ended up taking the Super Regional 3-2 after going 0-2 in regular season against North Georgia. One unique point, Armstrong State had the hardest schedule in the Southeast, a 4.29. Flagler was the only other school above 4.00 with a 4.03.
Who was the Biggest Snub in the Regionals?
For the most part the Regional seedings went with the Massey Ratings. The lowest rated team in the Regionals was USC Aiken with a 0.59 (tied 9th in Southeast with Flagler) which ended up going 0-2 in the regional round. The only team in the top 8 of ratings who did not make the regionals was Wingate (7th with 0.72).
While Wingate would be considered the biggest snub, the committee used the conference tournament results in their decision which saw USC Aiken (7th seed in their tournament) losing in the Championship game but defeating #2 Armstrong State and #3 Young Harris on their way. Wingate on the other hand fell twice to the #5 seed Queens (18th in Southeast Ratings), with the second loss in the Quarterfinals.
What teams need to step up?
Often we look at the top teams, deservedly so, but let’s look at who needs to step up and be more competitive. Seven team logged a negative rating. King -0.02, Barton -0.05, Coker -0.08, Southern Wesleyan -0.11, Brevard -0.20, Lees-McRae -0.38, and the lowest with Converse -0.75.
We knew Converse was going to struggle being a first year program. Converse also posted 0.01 strength of schedule and was ranked 277 out of 295 DII programs. Lees-McRae improved going 10-36 this past year while going 6-40 in 2015. The biggest surprise was Coker who was 24-27 in 2015, in 2016 the team ended up going 15-32-1 and finished last in SAC play.
Overall the bottom seven saw 5 of the 12 Carolinas teams and 2 of the 12 SAC teams. The lowest seeded Peachbelt team was Montevallo which was 25th of the 37 southeast teams. Below Montevallo was 8 Carolinas teams and 4 SAC teams.
Georgia is the Softball Heavy State.
The Southeast has 37 teams with 12 in North Carolina, 11 in South Carolina, 8 in Georgia, 4 in Tennessee, 1 in Alabama and 1 in Florida. The average ratings per Georgia team is 0.65 related to 0.34 for North Carolina teams and 0.02 for South Carolina teams. The average of the 6 teams combined in Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida is 0.19.
The state of Georgia produced the top 4 of the top 10 teams with all 4 being in the top 6 (1, 2, 4, & 6). North Carolina matched the 4 in top 10 (3, 5, 7, & 8). Flagler the 1 Florida School came in at 9 and USC Aiken was the top South Carolina school at 10.
Below is the Massey Ratings sorted by Rating (highest to lowest). To see more go to www.masseyratings.com