NCAA Sweet Sixteen Volleyball Predictions

by Glenn on December 11, 2014

I don’t know what it’s like on the inside of competitive NCAA Division I volleyball, but out here it’s remarkably unhyped. Football in all its glory and/or drama is inescapable, but volleyball is a bit like the cult classic film—you’ve got to know where to look to find anything like commentary or predictions.

A preview of the NCAA tournament can be found here. The writer has an interesting system of metrics for predicting wins. He calls it a “Conference-Adjusted Combined Offensive-Defensive (CACOD) Metric,” which he describes here. You have to do some computing to figure out the rankings for the balance of 16 teams playing this weekend.

I found a sweet sixteen prediction here. The writer seems to take a more intuitive approach to who will win.

And then I heard a sports essayist on NPR the other day hold forth on the subject of college football rankings. As I recall, his suggestion was that the ranking committee should include someone from Las Vegas, as they seem to have pretty good handle on who will win and lose games. To that end, I think I found a Las Vegas Opinion on the NCAA sweet sixteen: Live Lines, NCAA Volleyball.

(Note: I don’t recall ever gambling on sports, except once, when I was young my Uncle Linc—short for Lincoln and not a real uncle, but an incredible man—placed a bet for me on a jai alai match. I recall being upset because I won but didn’t get the full winnings because I didn’t quite understand the fact that he had fronted me the initial bet. Anyway, I do not gamble on sports and, further, understand that it is illegal to gamble on college sports.)

If I understand the betting lines correctly, on the spread, a negative number means if you bet that amount, you would win $100. A positive number means if you bet $100, you would win that amount. Whether that’s true or not, the higher negative number on the spread does indicate the predicted winner.

So, here are the predictions in table form:

Competitors Metrics Deb Kniffin Las Vegas
Ohio St./Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin Wisconsin
Colorado St./Texas Texas Texas Texas
Oregon St./Stanford Stanford Stanford Stanford
UCLA/Penn St. Penn St. Penn St. Penn St.
BYU/Florida St. BYU* Florida St. Florida St.
Oregon/North Carolina North Carolina Oregon North Carolina
Illinois/Florida Florida Illinois Florida
Nebraska/Washington Washington Washington Washington

*If I have calculated correctly, BYU’s .279 hitting/opponent’s .142 hitting results in a .196, which is better than the .165 that the Metrics creator has for Florida St. Would there be a penalty for BYU’s weaker schedule? Don’t know. Hitting alone may not be the best predictor.

The important thing is that Stanford is supposed to win tomorrow. One game at a time, though. Serve well. Pass well. Set well. Kill it. Go Cardinal!