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Wednesday, January 05, 2005
 
%@#!*&^!
Thank you Midwest winter. My flight home, originally scheduled for today, early enough to get me back for Iowa's Big Ten opener against Michigan, got cancelled due to the weather. Now I get to wait until Thursday for another attempt at flying home. This will be my third missed home game over break - that's almost 20% of the home schedule! I knew I was going to miss two of the games when I planned this trip, but I felt that since one of the games was against St. Louis and since I'd get to see an Oregon game in MacArthur Court, my absence in Iowa would be justified. But missing the Big Ten opener? This vacation has been great, but I'm ready to trade in the scenic views and (slightly) warmer weather for a few days at home and some Big Ten basketball.

Today's reading assignment - The Big Ten Wonk provides a "State of the Team" address for all 11 Big Ten schools.

For today's Fun With Numbers contribution, I want to take a numerical look at the toughness of each team's conference schedule. I took a rudimentary first stab at this during my first week of blogging. This time, rather than weight each team by their position in the conference (a method fraught with obvious flaws), I'm going to weight each team according to their Pomeroy rating. Higher is better on the Pomeroy scale, so the team who has the lowest cumulative opponents' Pomeroy rating will have the easiest Big Ten schedule. Click here to view the current ratings of each Big Ten team.

And the results...(drumroll please).

TEAM...........OPP. POMEROY TOTAL...........AVG OPP.
Illinois........................913.43................................57.09
Michigan State..........916.25................................57.27
Minnesota.................936.45................................58.53
Indiana......................943.93................................59.00
Michigan...................944.71................................59.04
Iowa..........................950.25................................59.39
Wisconsin.................958.76...............................59.92
Ohio State.................960.37...............................60.02
Northwestern.............968.99...............................60.56
Penn State.................985.38...............................61.59
Purdue.......................994.12...............................62.13

Note - Like last time, I didn't make an adjustment for the added difficulty of road games. Cut me some slack, I'm on vacation.

The strength of Illinois really determined where teams ended up in this list. Illinois plays themself 0 times (obviously), and the teams with the next four easiest schedules are the teams that play Illinois only once. The difference between Illinois and Michigan State (79.54 to 65.14 Pomeroy rating) is about the same as the difference between Minnesota (middle of Big Ten) and Penn State (worst team). Clearly they're tough, and unfortunately, Iowa has to play them twice. At least they have the easiest schedule of any team who does go home and away with the Illini, as they only play Michigan State and Wisconsin once each.

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