Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Revisiting Northwestern

Long-time readers may remember my claim that Northwestern was the luckiest team over the last decade. Well, now I get some validation from an independent source. The Iowa-centric blog Black Heart Gold Pants published an article today highlighting the luck of Big Ten teams since 2002. It's a great article, and I highly recommend reading the whole thing. However, one particular quote stood out to me:
In every year included in this study, Northwestern had a positive overall pythagorean margin, and in all but one the LOLcats had a positive margin in conference play. Their gigantic lead in the chart above isn't due to one season; it's consistently winning a game to a game and a half more than expected. Northwestern's nine seasons are all within the top 30 overall (eight are within the top 20), and all but 2002's 1-7 Big Ten mark are within the top 22 in conference play. Once may be a random occurrence, and twice a coincidence, but if three is a trend, nine is gospel. Northwestern wins close games.
Clearly, Northwestern continues to exceed expectations, despite its academic pedigree and talent gap.