15 January 2011

Analyzing conference play - first trimester report card

Back in December we dissected the conference schedule and projected what we thought might happen in NU's run to the NCAAs. This projection included a grouping of games into four categories including predicted records within the groups as well as a 9-9 record overall. With a 10-1 non-conf schedule and a first round big ten tourney win we remain optimistic that would land NU on the right side of the bubble.

Well six games are in the books so we have a full trimester of results to analyze. So without further delay here is a look back at the predictions with a summary of where things stand and how NU performed in its first trimester.

Projected: 4-1
Actual: 1-0 (W: Indiana; L: none)
Difference: 3-1 (Michigan, Iowa, Penn St, Minnesota)

Low Hanging Fruit
Projected: 2-1
Actual: 1-0 (W: at Iowa; L: none)
Difference: 1-1 (at Michigan, at Penn St)

Projected: 2-2
Actual: 0-1 (W: none; L: Michigan St)
Difference: 2-1 (Wisconsin, Illinois, at Indiana)

Projected: 1-5
Actual: 0-3 (W: none; L: at Purdue, at Illinois, At Michigan St)
Difference: 1-2 (Ohio St, at Minnesota, at Wisconsin)

First Trimester Grade: C

The first thing that jumps out is that 4 of the 6 games NU has played are in the Bling or Wheaties groups.

The second thing to note is that NU has taken care of business in the Egg and LHF categories so far, but we still expect at least a couple of missteps among the 6 remaining games (cough, Penn State)

The front loading of the schedule means that it is not surprising NU is 2-4 at this point. In fact it was to be expected so we gave NU a "C" for its efforts so far.

From here on out the schedule is pretty balanced with six games of Bling or higher and six games of Low Hanging Fruit or lower. NU must go 7-5 in these games so there is work to be done. The good news is that this team has shown the potential to just that over the last few games.

Make it so.