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College Basketball Report Card grading process

This is an attempt to come up with a college basketball ratings system that is easier to follow and understand than some of the popular ratings out there. Everyone went to school and received a report card (right?) and we all broke a sweat when we looked at our grades enough to know what an "A" meant and what a "C" meant. Of course, you have the number grade meaning to the A,B,C,D,and F grades and you have descriptions of each grade that can vary. Here is one description:

A = Excellent

B = Good

C = Fair

D = Unsatisfactory

F = Fail

Giving teams a letter grade allows you to label a team clearly! You don't have to figure out what quadrant a team is in and you can quickly measure your favorite team's opponent! So you may be wondering what are the ranges for the letter grades because there are many of those out there in the world. Here are the number ranges for this Report Card:

A = 90 to 100

B = 80 to 89

C = 70 to 79

D = 60 to 69

F = less than 60

Each game your favorite team plays will be binned into one of these letter grades kinda like the NCAA NET ratings where they add up a team's record vs. Quad 1, vs. Quad 2, vs. Quad 3 and vs. Quad 4 teams. So instead your team will know how they did vs A, vs B, vs C, vs D and vs F teams. In effect adding one more bin of games to judge a team by.

At some point school boards added the plus-minus system to these number grades so those students that did well but scored a "89" could be rewarded somehow instead of being put into the same group of those that scored "84" or "80". I thought about adding a plus-minus system to all letter grades above but that would create 15 bins to put games into (A+, A,, A- and so on). There are only 30 some odd games in a basketball season, so that wouldn't work. But I thought it could add meaning and also easily define how good a team is based on their report card grade with the plus-minus system. So I do have a column that gives the team grade using the plus-minus system. Here are the number grades for those in this Report Card:

A+ = 97.5-100.0

A = 92.6 - 97.4

A- = 90.0-92.5

B+ = 87.5- 89.9

B = 82.6-87.4

B- = 80.0-82.5

C+ = 77.5- 79.9

C = 72.6-77.4

C- = 70.0-72.5

D = 60-69

F = less than 60

Note I didn't use the plus-minus system with the D and F letter grades. I thought it was overkill and really all ratings are used to measure teams to see if they can make a post-season tournament, right? There are 32 automatic bids via the conference tournaments and some of those may be teams with a grade of D or even F in this Report Card. Of course, when March Madness rolls around it is all about which at-large teams will make into the Dance, which teams are #1 seeds, last 4 in, last 4 out, etc. You get the point. There is no need to distinguish a D+ team vs. a D team or a F+ team vs. F team for all of these tourney questions. The plus-minus system I believe over time may more easily define who the at-large teams should be at least to this particular ratings system. For example, it is highly likely that every year a team with a B+ grade will get into the Dance even if they didn't win their conference tournament. We can debate each year which number grade will get into the Dance. Will it be 85, 86 or 87? The potential #1 seeds in the Dance will likely need to have a grade of A+. If your team is headed for the NIT, perhaps all teams not in the Dance with a grade of B or B- will be in the mix for that tournament. Anyway, the plus-minus system will come in handy in multiple ways with this Report Card. Another way it is used is in the Strength of Schedule (SOS) number grade. The SOS grade is on the far right of the Report Card and once again gives you a quick way to measure the difficulty of your favorite teams schedule. More on the SOS later.

Most basketball team ratings systems do try to reward a team more if they beat a team on the road vs. if they beat the same team at home. This Report Card is no different. If your favorite team goes on the road and plays a team with a grade of 88 and wins, this Report Card will put that down as a win vs. an A team. Similarly, if your team beats a team with a grade of 90 at home that will only go down as a win vs. a B team. If you follow the NET rating system, this will all sound familiar, but I believe this Report Card makes it easier to figure out what type of game (vs B team? vs C team?) your favorite team is getting ready to play. Why will it be easier you say? Because all you have to do is add to or subtract one number from your opponents grade and you know what letter grade bin it falls in immediately! If your team is on the road, add 5 points to your opponents grade. If your team is at home, subtract 2.5 points from your opponents grade. If your team is on a neutral court, just use your opponent's grade with no changes. That's it! Lets do some examples below:

EXAMPLE 1: Your favorite team is playing on the road vs. an opponent with a number grade of 86. Add 5 points to your opponents grade to get 91 which is means your team is playing a game that will fall into their "vs A teams" bin.

EXAMPLE 2: Your favorite team is playing at home vs. an opponent with a number grade of 81.5. Subtract 2.5 points from your opponents grade to get 79 which is means your team is playing a game that will fall into their "vs C teams" bin.

Of course, all of your favorite team's opponents grades will change just about every day as the season unfolds. Thus, the above binning of all of the games for each team will need to be recalculated each time the grades are updated. So, an early season game that is defined as a "vs. A teams" game can end up being a "vs. B teams" game at the end of the season and vice versa.

The SOS is calculated by using the number grade of each opponent with similar math as above used to give different grades for home and road games. So, if a team has 31 games in a season there will be 31 number grades for a team's opponents with the home/road points implemented (+5 for road game, -2.5 for home game). These 31 number grades are divided by the total number of games (31) to get the average opponent grade for each team. There is a sliding grade scale tweak done after computing htis average opponent grade that involves a secret formula that only the teacher (me) knows about to get the final SOS number grade.