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Every year we start discussing this, often in other threads until we have so much info being lost into those threads that someone like myself or Anthem kicks up a proper discussion thread. I know somewhere a few weeks ago I did the breakdown of W-L records adjusted for road vs home and I'll have to go dig it up and move it to here as well.
For now I just wanted to get this kicked off and going so we have a repositore of this kind of info/discussions.
To start it off I wanted to continue to address the "easiest schedule" talk, like MAS Tweeted the other day because I think the raw totals are more impacted by playing some very bad teams rather that playing nothing but weak teams.
So when we look at Hollingers rankings (his SOS, margin of win, Points For/Against, etc formula based auto-rankings - no opinion, CPU just churns out the numbers) we can find the top 14 teams (not including the Pacers which sit at 12th). Of those teams, here are the games the Pacers have played and have left to play:
DONE (Pacers ROAD / Pacers Home) LEFT (Pacers Road / Pacers Home)
LAC 0/0 - 1/1
SAS 1/1 - 0/0
OKC 1/0 - 0/1
MIA 0/0 - 1/2
DEN 0/1 - 1/0
MEM 0/0 - 1/1
HOU 0/0 - 1/1
NYK 1/0 - 1/2
LAL 1/0 - 0/1
MIN 1/0 - 0/1
GSW 1/0 - 0/1
ATL 1/0 - 1/2
CHI 1/0 - 1/2
UTH 0/1 - 1/0
Pacers have played 8 road games and 3 home games against the top 14 teams. They have 9 road games and 15 home games left against this same group of teams.
So in their first 34% of their games they've already played 47% of their "elite" road games, but only 16% of their "elite" home games. Therefore they've done more than their share of road work and are yet to benefit from much of their home schedule against these same teams.
They have a total of 35 games against elite teams out of 82 total, 43% of their schedule. This is due to more West teams being top 14 than East teams. Of those 35 games they have played 31% of their total "elite" games, just a tad under their overall games completed. However the game tonight vs Chicago will change that to 34% elite vs 35% overall - dead on track for elite completion rate.
This means that they haven't had it "easy", they've had a normal amount of good teams vs bad teams up to this point. They have NOT played a schedule lopsided to bad teams and will not be facing a lot more MIA, SAS, OKC and LAL types the rest of the way. They really won't be seeing that many more on the road.
In fact by the time they finish game 46 (56% of their schedule) they will have played 71% of their elite road games (12 of 17) and 57% of all their elite games (20 of 35). As a reminder, game 46 is the end of a 4 game road trip that finishes in Denver.
WHY DOES THAT MATTER?
Well it marks the beginning of 10 of 12 home games with the 2 road games being in PHI and in DET, and both with the next night off (ie, they will fly home after each game). Both are the 2nd night of back to back, but the Detroit game is a home and home set so both teams play in Indy the night before. Also this is the time frame for Danny's return.
So the Pacers look to be ahead of the curve in terms of challenging games, especially tough road games, just when they get a star player back and hit a very favorable stretch of schedule.
In other words, don't like the raw crappiness of WSH or NOH records skew the Pacers SOS. WSH may be awful, but does that mean the Pacers are in trouble if they play MIL or PHX in Indy? The Pacers will be favorites in a lot of remaining games even if they aren't against Toronto or Charlotte. At some point bad is just bad and the degree of awful doesn't drastically change the Pacers' (or any team's) chances of winning the game.
By the way, the Pacers have 2 home games left against - CHI, MIL, DET...plus 1 against CLE. In other words, basically all their home games vs Central opponents are still left to play. If they are better than the division then they'll have a shot to prove it.
Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 12-26-2012 at 02:40 PM.