This past weekend, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) announced the winners of the Men’s Basketball Player of the Year (POY) award. The LUSAG would like to congratulate Philip Scrubb of the Carleton Ravens (East Division) and Lien Phillip of the Windsor Lancers (West Division).
OUA administers a voting process among coaches to select its POY recipients. How accurate are the opinions of these basketball coaches at selecting the best player in the league?
In 2010, a correspondent for Bleacher Report outlined a new formula for predicting the most valuable player in the NBA. This formula, called the MVP Rating, outperformed the conventional assessments of a basketball player’s on-court value by examining that player’s offensive statistical production (OSP) and his team’s number of wins. A full breakdown of the formula can be found in the Bleacher Report article.
Just how accurate was this new formula? The MVP Rating formula correctly predicted 21 of the previous 33 NBA MVPs (64%). Furthermore, actual NBA MVPs coincided with the top two players produced by the MVP Rating formula 27 times (82%).
Being more than passive fans of OUA, we noticed a glaring lack of POY trackers for OUA men’s basketball. Employing the MVP Rating method, we looked at the past 10 seasons (including 2012-13) of men’s basketball statistics from www.oua.ca. The results were as follows:
In the past 10 seasons there have been 20 POY awards given to OUA men’s basketball players (1 to an OUA East player and 1 to an OUA West player per season). The MVP Rating formula correctly predicted 14 of these selections (70%) and was correct within one player 15 times (75%).
It’s important to realize that an MVP predictor formula need not be right 100% of the time. This is because the actual winners are chosen by a panel of coaches that combine both objective statistics and their subjective opinion to select the MVP. The outcome of an ideal MVP formula will most likely differ from actual award winners when giving a definitive and objective selection.
Curious to see how the OUA’s top players measured up against Philip Scrubb and Lien Phillip?
Below is a chart and table outlining the OUA’s top twenty players in terms of MVP Rating. The bolded names in the table represent the highest-ranking players in each division (both Josh Collins and Lien Phillip are bolded because their ratings were so close that selecting either player as the POY would not be considered a discrepancy).
* Wins = the number of projected wins in a 21 game season. This season, teams in the East division played 20 games, while the West division teams played 21. Without the adjustment, the MVP Ratings, calculated as the player’s portion of the team’s OSP multiplied by the number of wins, would be skewed in favor of West teams.
The biggest discrepancy between the player with the highest MVP Rating and the recipient of the POY award occurred in 2008-09.
Josh’s MVP Rating was 27% higher than Stuart’s, yet Stuart was awarded the POY award for the East division. It’s difficult to say why this happened. It could be that in this particular year, the coaches subconsciously overvalued wins in their selection of the league’s POY (Carleton had 21 wins, while Ottawa had 19).
Josh Gibson-Bascombe, if you’re feeling as bitter as we are about you being robbed of the POY award in 2009, we would be happy to support you in an appeal to the OUA. To many, using advanced statistics to argue the recipient of a university basketball POY from four years ago may sound ridiculous, but we at the LUSAG believe in justice.