After recently hitting the 40 turkey leg threshold, this is my first forum discussion topic. I am by no means a basketball statistical guru, but do have the interest and know-how to import and organize data from the KenPom and NCAA NET ranking websites. The graphic below summarizes the game results and provides opponent KenPom rankings (Overall, Offense, Defense, Strength of Schedule) and NET rankings (including Quadrant #). All data is through Jan 9th games. Note that the Quadrant descriptions are provided in the lower-right corner as a reference. Virginia Tech's current rankings are in the upper-left along with a current tally of wins and losses by Quadrant.
There's lots to look at in the graphic and of course these numbers will change daily from now to the end of the season, but based on the current data, here are a few interesting notes:
1. Opponent Top 25 Metrics: I have all opponent metrics that fall in the top 25 highlighted in orange. As Brian Marcolini mentioned in his post this morning, the Hokies' two closest games thus far this season were to Penn State and Georgia Tech, which are the only opponents with top 25 defenses. Furthermore, those were the only two true road games. The Hokies play eight more games against top 25 defenses. Four of them are on the road. Of the 8 games, four teams also have a top 25 offense to go with their top 25 defense (as do the Hokies currently). Hold on tight, we are on the cusp of some tough match-ups!
2. Selection Committee Quadrants: The wins and losses are tallied by quadrant on the upper-right portion of the graphic. Currently, the Hokies have one Quadrant 1 win (Purdue), three Quadrant 2 wins (Ball State, Washington and Georgia Tech), and the sole loss is in Quadrant 2 (Penn State). While this doesn't seem to be glowingly positive, many opportunities lie ahead.
3. Discretionary Opponent Scheduling: I define discretionary opponents as those that are not part of a special event (Charleston Classic, Boardwalk Classic, ACC/Big10 Challenge) or league game. That leaves seven home games to Gardner-Webb (#173), St Francis PA (#263), Central CT State (#287), VMI (#327), SC State (#337), NC A&T (#308) and MD Eastern Shore (#352) with an average ranking of #292 (out of 352 teams) and a 35 point average margin of victory. I fully recognize that Buzz not only wants to schedule warm-up games and also that one can't accurately predict an opponent's future competitiveness. That said, it seems that there's room to schedule marginally higher quality opponents (say targeting teams historically ranked #150-250) to better prepare for ACC play and give fans a more appealing experience. There may also be some value in scheduling a true road game as part of the discretionary slate. These suggestions wouldn't move the 'quadrant' needle much but would perhaps provide an elevated physical/mental challenge for the team before diving into ACC play.
As a parting note, I have this information in a spreadsheet that automatically imports and updates the information with a click of a button, so it would be very easy to re-post here weekly or even after each game if there's interest.