The Importance of WAB

usa_today_10733971.0.jpgPhoto Credit: Roll Bama Roll

You probably have never heard of WAB, which stands for Wins Above Bubble. This is a college basketball metric that does not measure how good of a team you are, rather it measures how good your resume is.  Wins Above Bubble is defined as, the number of wins you have minus the number of wins an average bubble team would expect vs. your schedule. For example, if a bubble team would have a 70% chance of winning a game, and our actual team wins, it is +0.3 wins above bubble. Over the course of 10 games, it would be expected to go 7-3.

This is important for mid-majors who do not get many opportunities for Quadrant 1 games which games at home with teams ranked 1-30 in the NET; games at neutral sites with teams ranked 1-50 in the NET and games away against teams ranked 1-75 in the NET. This makes up only 21% of NCAA teams where you can get quality wins against. Mid-major conferences just do not get the same amount of these opportunities that power conferences get. Where the Quadrant System goes wrong is homes games against teams ranked 161st and above fall into Quadrant 4 which the committee basically ignores. Thus home games against more than half of NCAA Division I are basically ignored by the committee, except when you lose. Arizona State, who is nearly a lock for the tournament went 6-2 against Quad 4 teams, while UNC Greensboro, who will likely be snubbed went 17-0, which is impressive.

Wins Above Bubble takes into account a team’s entire schedule instead of just games against just 21% of the NCAA. UNC Greensboro WAB is 1.3 which means it has 1.3 more wins than an average bubble team would except against UNC Greensboro’s schedule. UNC Greensboro’s 1.3 WAB is ranked 32nd in the nation. The First Four out according to Bracket Matrix are Texas, Indiana, Creighton, and Belmont. UNC Greensboro’s WAB ranking is much higher than all of those teams. Texas is 54th (-0.56 WAB), Indiana is 42nd (0.64 WAB), Creighton is 57th (-0.97 WAB), and Belmont is 51st (-0.08 WAB). Using this metric UNC Greensboro should be in the conversation for an at large bid. Although they played a weak schedule their 28-6 record should still be considered and they outperformed an average bubble team.

Source for WAB

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