When the popular LaxPower website shut down last offseason, MaxLax undertook a project to create our own mathematical formula to compare teams in order to give fans — and coaches and players — an additional method of comparing teams.
One team, though, is in a remarkably different place in the power ranking than in the coaches poll: St. John Bosco. The undefeated Braves (5-0) are ranked No. 12 in the coaches poll but No. 7 by the algorithm. Notable, though, is that the algorithm also rates Bosco’s schedule strength as the lowest among the first 32 teams in the mathematical ranking.
Newbury Park, West Ranch, St. Francis and Peninsula are among the other teams ranked higher by the algorithm than by the coaches poll. Palisades, Crespi, Thousand Oaks and Village Christian are among the teams whose mathematical ranking is lower than their coaches poll rankings.
The complete MaxLax LA Boys Lacrosse Power Rankings are available here, with a MaxLax subscription.
Developed by Michael Traub (Aliso Niguel ’13, MIT ’17), the algorithm processes the final scores of completed games to calculate a rating based on each team’s goal differential in competitive games.
The objective is to determine what each game outcome teaches us about a given team, then reflect that in a numerical rating. An expected blowout that actually ends as a blowout is non-competitive and teaches us nothing. An expected blowout that winds up being close, or competitive, teaches us something.
For these reasons, the algorithm relies heavily on the concept of competitive games, defined as those in which the score was close or was expected to be close based on each team’s relative power rating. These games reveal a team’s true quality and have much more influence over the ratings than non-competitive games.
To hedge against teams receiving credit for running up the score in non-competitive games, the algorithm also evaluates how much a particular game should influence the ratings by calculating a “competitive factor” (CF). Games with a high CF influence the power ratings more than a game with a low CF.
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