Ivy League Adjusted Efficiency Margins: Week Two

By John Ezekowitz

After another eventful weekend in the Ivy League, its time to check back in with the new Efficiency Margins to see how teams are performing on a tempo-free basis. The rational and computations behind Efficiency Margins, and the Strength of Schedule adjustment I make, are detailed in last week’s post.

As teams have now played at least four games (everyone except for Penn and Princeton have played six), the EM’s now have more weight behind them. Here are the numbers, with analysis below:

Team Record PPP PPP-Allowed Efficiency Margin
Princeton 4-0 1.1 0.94 +0.16
Penn 3-1 1.07 0.93 +0.14
Harvard 5-1 1.08 0.95 +0.13
Yale 4-2 0.98 0.96 +0.01
Columbia 3-3 1.04 1.03 +0.01
Cornell 1-5 1.03 1.09 -0.06
Brown 1-5 0.97 1.06 -0.09
Dartmouth 1-5 0.83 1.05 -0.22

These are the raw EM numbers. Below are the expected EM numbers for the teams along with the difference from the actual EMs:

Team Exp. PPP Ex. PPP-Allowed Exp. EM EM Difference
Princeton 1.06 0.91 0.15 +0.01
Penn 1.03 0.95 0.08 +0.06
Harvard 1.1 0.95 0.15 -0.02
Yale 0.99 0.96 0.02 -0.01
Columbia 1.01 1.05 -0.04 +0.05
Cornell 0.99 1.03 -0.04 -0.02
Brown 0.98 1.05 -0.07 -0.02
Dartmouth 0.88 1.06 -0.18 -0.04

As you can see, the big mover this weekend was Penn. The Quakers’ 30+ point drubbing of Dartmouth and double overtime thriller with Harvard  boosted their Efficiency Margin by 0.07 points to 0.14. Interestingly, all of that increase came on the offensive side: Penn’s PPP-Allowed remained constant at 0.93. When Penn travels to Princeton tonight to renew their rivalry, it will be a matchup of the teams with the two best Efficiency Margins in the conference.

A look at Princeton’s numbers reveals that while the Tigers have outperformed expectations so far on offense, they have underperformed on defense.

Despite turning in a disappointing 0-2 mark on its road swing at Brown and Yale, Columbia continues to outperform its expected EM by 0.05 points per trip. Here, though, the Efficiency Margins offer little solace: at 3-3 in conference, Columbia is essentially already out of the race for the Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament bid.

Finally, it is still a bit early to make definitive conclusions, but the league appears to have an upper tier of three teams: Princeton, Harvard, and Penn. Yale’s defense is equal to those above three, but their struggles on offense are holding them back.

Here is a helpful plot of the expected vs. actual EM’s so far. The line represents playing exactly to expectations. Teams above the line have outperformed expectations, while teams below it have underperformed.

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