28 January 2015

Is Northwestern Improving?

In our last post we found there was scant evidence that Northwestern has been improving in B1G play.  Since that time NU played valiantly on the road at Maryland -- a game in which NU led nearly wire-to-wire but ultimately succumbed to the all-too-familiar black hole that invariably gnaws at fans, players, and coaches alike.  NU lost in heart breaking fashion to #13 Maryland 68-67.

The end result notwithstanding this game was undoubtedly felt like the best NU performance to date.  Time will tell whether this performance is a sign of enduring improvement in this team.  That said we were still curious what the data say about how this single game performance portends for the future.  Our CCR analysis sheds some light on the topic.

The solid purple line shows NU's game-to-game performance overall.  Notice that the Maryland game is the peak B1G performance to date.  This was helped by the second straight strong performance by the NU offense, but more importantly the NU defense held Maryland's offense to its average B1G performance.  Lo and behold our eyes telling us this was a good NU performance do not deceive us!

More germane to the subject of this post the dotted line shows the trend based on this overall performance.  Whereas the trend was slightly down prior to the Maryland game (chart is in our last post) the trend is now moderately upward with a game-to-game performance of 0.02 PPP.  

For now the data show that NU is improving in B1G play.  Of course this is subject to change as new data become available, but at least this is a nice silver lining to that gut-punch of a loss on Sunday.