The last set of ratings before the holiday break are now posted.
Once again, all the caveats about limited data still apply. Nevertheless, the ratings would still "retrodict" about 79% of debates correctly, which is actually fairly well in line with how the final ratings from previous seasons performed.
There were many notable performances worthy of acclamation. Northwestern MO's run to the finals at the Wake Forest tournament helped them move up 5 spots to #10. Vermont BL went 7-1 and had some huge prelim wins, inching them closer to the top 10. Despite losing in doubles, Berkeley SW's undefeated tear through prelims enabled them to rise to #5. Major gains were also made by Kentucky GV, Baylor BZ, WGU MS, Baylor EG, and Kentucky AM. Wake Forest AS was hurt by virtue of remaining stationary, as a couple of teams gained the points necessary to move past them. Having attended only 3 tournaments is saddling Wake with a relatively large deviation. Both Kansas BR and BiCo moved up a handful of spots to be right at the first round cutoff. Central Oklahoma HS combined a perfect regional performance with a solid showing at Wake to move up several spots. Finally, the largest jump in raw points came from Houston BR, who advanced 55 spots by picking up 139 points with their efforts at Wake.
Some may wonder why Berkeley MS still leads Michigan KM at the top of the ratings given Michigan won the Shirley (and Harvard before that). There is a lot that could be written on the subject, but I'm going to keep my comments relatively brief due to potential conflict of interest issues. The short of it is that Berkeley did little to persuade the system that its rating was too high, and Michigan didn't do enough to persuade the system that its rating was too low. Specifically, based on their previous rating Berkeley was expected to pick up about 9.2 wins against the 11 opponents they competed against at Wake. They went 9-2 and so fell short by 0.2 wins. Michigan was expected to get about 9.4 wins in their 13 rounds. They went 11-2, thus exceeding the prediction by 1.6 wins. Michigan did make a fairly substantial gain on Berkeley in terms of ratings points, but it wasn't enough to make up the balance. It probably doesn't take any fancy statistics to look at the past two tournaments and see two things about their relative performances. Michigan has more quality wins, but Berkeley has better losses. Berkeley's only losses have been to the #2, #3, and #7 teams. By contrast, Michigan lost to #1, #11, #18, and #49. On the other hand, over that same time period Michigan has 9 wins against those currently ranked in the top 10 versus Berkeley's 4. Either way, both of these teams are performing exceptionally (as are many others), and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.
The second set of ratings (which includes everything up to the Harvard tournament) are now posted.
Remember, the ratings are a self-correcting work in progress that are only as good as the available data, and right now we're still working on relatively limited data (especially in a world of a fairly divided travel schedule) that is open to large fluctuation. Also, it's important to remember that the ratings are *are not* meant to be a reflection of community perceptions of who is "the best" or even necessarily who has had the "best season." Those involve value judgments that go beyond the scope of what is trying to be accomplished here. The ratings are nothing more nor less than a system to predict future results based on past results.
There are a number of big movers in this edition of the ratings.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Berkeley MS jumps to the top spot and Harvard HS drops to 3rd. Even though they didn't win Harvard, Berkeley arguably had the best tournament of anybody there. Their only loss came to the #2 ranked team in semifinals on a 2-1 decision, and they picked up a number of big wins along the way (including one over the lone team that they lost to). Michigan KM's winning of the Harvard tournament was tempered by a mediocre 4-4 finish at the Kentucky RR. Harvard HS's rating dropped because they underperformed relative to expectations at the round robin by going 5-3. If you look closely, however, you can see that they actually still maintain a raw ratings advantage over Michigan, but the fact that they've only attended 3 tournaments drops their adjusted rating to place them slightly behind. Despite winning the Weber RR, Iowa KL dropped a couple of spots due to a disappointing Harvard. However, their actual rating didn't change much. The drop was more a function of others gaining the points to surpass them.
Michigan State ST was a huge winner, jumping 7 spots due to their excellent performance at the Kentucky RR. They managed to pick up 7 wins there despite the fact that their previous rating would have pegged them to go 4-4. A fantastic UNLV and strong Harvard tournament enabled Texas KS to jump 11 slots to number 11. Vermont BL also jumped to the edge of first round territory. Perhaps the biggest leap was made by USC SS, who gained nearly 50 spots to now sit at 18th.
Further down the list, we saw also excellent performances by Baylor BC, Georgia BR, Trinity RS, Texas CS, UNT CS, Rutgers HQ and WSU CW, among others.