Why Is My Team's Rating Wrong?

The ratings are entirely mathematically determined (no judgment by a person or committee is involved), so it is highly unlikely that they are "wrong" in that sense.  However, apart from receiving or entering incorrect scores, it is possible for ratings to seem unfair or incorrect under certain circumstances.  Please consider the following possibilities before "venting your spleen" on us overworked volunteers.
  • It is early in the season and teams have played (or we have received scores for) relatively few games.  The ratings under these conditions are not particularly stable (e.g., the outcome of one game can have a large effect), and it simply takes more games before the ratings settle down.  In other words, you have to be patient and wait for "the cream to rise to the top."  When we have power ratings from prior years, we are sometimes able to use these to make the early-season ratings more realistic.

  • A team may have a terrific record and not have as high a power rating as one might expect because its strength of schedule (SOS) is not especially strong.  See the SOS pages to examine this possibility.  Victories against low-rated teams do not help a team's standing in the power ratings much and may in fact hurt.  Conversely, a close loss to a high-rated team would likely help a team's standing in the power ratings.

  • Another reason that a team may appear to suffer in the power ratings has to do with how it performs in games relative to the expected goal differential.  For example, if Team A beats Team B 9-8, but the power ratings and home field advantage suggest that it should have won by 8 goals, Team A's victory could actually lead to a lower power rating.  We should quickly add, however, that "running up the score" doesn't help.  The power ratings program has a "diminishing returns" factor that greatly reduces the effects of large goal differentials.

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Dr. Laurence Feldman, Executive Director
Dr. Robert Kroshefsky, Director of Men's Lacrosse
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