Men's College Basketball

GLVC point ratings system has its flaws

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 6, 2018 12:01 am

Some victories mean more.

Coaches have claimed that since ... well, since games started being played.

Now, thanks to a decision made collectively by the Great Lakes Valley Conference men's and women's basketball coaches, the league is experimenting with a way to quantify how much certain victories actually do mean.

The league has devised a point rating system which will be used to determine the eight teams that qualify for each of the postseason tournaments. Victories against top competition, especially on the road, are weighted more than victories against lesser competition.

The same holds true for losses, with setbacks against the top teams in the league earning more points.

Such a move was necessitated by the loss of Saint Joseph's College, which closed its doors in May. It left the GLVC with 15 teams and forced the league to ditch the two-division format it had been using.

The men's and women's basketball teams compete this season in three five-team divisions. It was generally assumed the league would award each of the division champions a spot in the postseason tournament with the rest of field filled with the teams with the best records.

That isn't happening.

The league plans to honor the division champions, but none of the three will receive an automatic berth into the tournament. Theoretically, a division champion could miss the postseason tournament if it doesn't win enough games against top competition or even play enough top competition.

Therein lies possibly the biggest drawback to this system. The point system isn't equitable.

Points are awarded for GLVC games only, with the most points awarded for a victory on the road against a team with a .750 winning percentage or better. No points will be awarded for a loss at home to a team with less than a .250 winning percentage. Every victory and loss in between has a point total attached to it.

So for going on the road in November and losing at William Jewell, which was undefeated in league play at the time, Quincy University earned two points. Had that game been scheduled for February and William Jewell had fallen below .500, such an outcome would be worth one point or possibly half a point.

Furthermore, not every team is playing the same schedule.

The league stayed with an 18-game schedule despite the loss of Saint Joseph's. Each team plays its divisional opponents twice and the other 10 league teams once.

However, teams in the East Division each get to play No. 3-ranked Bellarmine twice. Should the Knights keep winning -- they are 12-0 overall and 3-0 in the league -- the East Division opponents are guaranteed no less than 2.5 points for a loss and as many as seven points for a victory.

The same would hold true against Southern Indiana, which is 3-0 and tied for the East lead with Bellarmine.

Now look at the Central, where no team is above .500 in league play. Maryville, which is tied atop the Central Division with Missouri-St. Louis at 2-2, comes to Pepsi Arena on Saturday. Quincy would get five points with a victory and two with a loss. However, Maryville can get just 3.5 points with a victory and just .5 points with a loss.

Those two teams play again Jan. 15 at Maryville, and with the Hawks playing just once more before that matchup, the points available won't change.

That makes it difficult to gain ground if you are outside the top eight. It doesn't guarantee the best team ends up on top of the pile at the end of the season.

Maybe the system will work flawlessly.

It's a wait-and-see proposition, and the concept is as interesting as it is head-scratching.

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