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Activity Number: 578 - Bayesian Methodologies in Sports Statistics
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, July 31, 2019 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Sports
Abstract #306972 Presentation
Title: Ranking NCAA Women's Volleyball Teams Accounting for Scoring Inequities
Author(s): Scott Grimshaw* and Gil Fellingham
Companies: Brigham Young University and Brigham Young University
Keywords: Home Court Advantage; Coin Toss; Best of Five

The top four seeds in the NCAA tournament have the opportunity to play on their home court until the Final Four. Seed selection is made by committee and the four criterion from the NCAA guidebook are rating percentage index (RPI), common opponents, head-to-head matchups, and significant wins and losses. RPI has many flaws, but in volleyball it ignores two major inequities. Home court advantage is a well-documented phenomenon that frustrates coaches and players because playing on the road should be similar to playing at home in a sport with small crowds, but there is overwhelming empirical evidence of an advantage to the home team. This paper shares that another important advantage goes to the winner of the coin toss in matches going to a fifth set. The Bayesian score-augmented win-loss ranking of Murray (2017, JQAS) is modified to apply to volleyball. The results for 2017 and 2018 indicate seeding would be improved if the committee avoided win/loss and instead used scoring detail to summarize the small differences between top teams. To reduce the impact of a coin toss between two near equal teams in a five set match, volleyball should abandon fifth set first to 15 scoring.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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