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.

In the initial calculation — made before Monday’s games — the MaxLax OC Boys Lacrosse Power Rankings have then-undefeated Trabuco Hills on top. That likely will change next week after Foothill beat Trabuco on Monday. The Knights, though, are a bit further down after early losses to Santiago and San Clemente, both ranked outside the Top 10 in this calculation.

Notable in the power ranking is Santa Margarita Catholic at the No. 7 spot. The Eagles’ 1-5 record has come against what the algorithm rates as the toughest schedule on the list, and their ranking reflects that.

Also notable is Yorba Linda (5-1), which was No. 8 in MaxLax’s preseason Top 20 but is rated as a Top 5 team by the algorithm.

The complete MaxLax OC 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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Editor’s Note: MaxLax is a community- and subscription-supported website whose mission is to spotlight lacrosse, its teams and its players in Southern California. This post is available to the public, with no subscription required. If you follow lacrosse in SoCal and enjoy our coverage, please consider supporting MaxLax with a subscription.


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