2014 will see a new representative for Canada as Calgary's Cheryl Bernard was ousted in The Pre-Trials (aka Road to the Roar). A tough loss for Bernard over Val Sweeting, also from Alberta, after stealing two in the 8th end to go up 7-5, a deuce in 9 and steal in 10 sent them home. Three of the 8 teams are from the Wild Rose province, indicating its depth in Women's curling. 7 of the top 20 teams on the Tour's Order of Merit are from Alberta, but only heather Nedohin is in the top 12 (5th).
Because of the smaller sample size, I've added a new statistic. Using Bill James Pythagorean Theorem, I've calculated the Predicted Winning Percentages against the field. For curling, the exponent of this formula is 2.72 and you use the ratio of PF/PA because there is no set amount of games played in a season for all teams. For the Men the Pythagorean was not a surprise, Howard (67.4%), Martin (57.5%) and McEwen (54.3%) were the only teams with an expected winning percentage over .500. Interesting that Stoughton and Epping have lower expected wins based on this formula. Stoughton drops from 3.4 to 2.98 and Epping drops from 3.66 to 3.24.
The caveat is that our calculation on P/G (points per game) do not adjust for 8 and 10 ends games. This may sway the numbers slightly.
A good team that beats good teams consistently, shocking they haven't been to the Scotties since 2009 (and 2005 before that). Perhaps this will be the event.
- Lawton has a winning record against everyone in the field (6-6 against Nedohin is only .500 mark).
- 51-29 (64%) against this field and 31-16 (66%) since the 2010/11 Season
- 16-8 (9-2 since 10/11) vs Jones and 4-3 against Homan.
- Lawton's scoring ratio of 1.2 is highest with Jones far behind at 1.13 (trust me, it's farther than it looks). 5.96 PF/G versus 4.99 PA/G, the only team that surrenders less than 5 pts per game (depending on which digit you round up).
- The highest scoring team at this event generating 6.17 PF/G. This is likely skewed by more play in the Scotties and hence more 10 end games, but it's still no surprise.
- Lawton is the only team that gives them fits (see above), and a surprising 5-2 against Homan since 10/11 is a small sample but still of interest.
- Jones is 51-42 (54.8%) historical and 30-25 (54.5%) since 2010/11 against this field.
When this team plays it's best there are many who think they cannot be beat by anyone. This is more because of their style than their actual record. Teams that appear to stop other teams from scoring (see Kevin Martin when up 2 points) just seem more dominant than those that score more (see Howard, Jones). Having said that, they are a great team that dominated at the 2013 Scotties and were a whisker form being in the World final, and only going to get better.
- Homan is 4-7 against Lawton and Jones since 2010/11 but still 22-17 (56.4%)overall against the field.
- Their 5.5 PA/G and 1.06 Scoring Ratio is not as great as many might have guessed. Homan is great against good teams, but against this field they appear to actually be mortal.
- Remove Sweeting from their record and they are 19-17 since 2010/11.
The 2012 Scotties Champion is 5th on Order of Merit and the lead contender of the remaining teams. They are the only other team with a winning record against this field.
- 32-26 (55%) since 2010/11 against this field.
- Scoring Ratio of 1.03
- Losing records: 2-6 against Homan and 2-4 against Middaugh
The other home town hopeful (Jennifer Jones being the other), Carey is 8th on the Order of Merit and defends enough to win. Can they score enough is the question.
- 23-31 (43%) against this field since 2010/11
- Scoring Ratio of .97 is solid and shows they can battle these teams close.
- 5.32 PA/G is 2nd to only Lawton, but their 5.15 PF/G is is second last and a full point behind their provincial rival.
- 4-12 against Jones since 2010/11. Remove Jones and Carey is nearly a .500 team against the rest of the field. But they will have to play Jones at least once during the week.
Like Lawton, they experienced a crushing and unexpected defeat in their 2013 Provincial finals. They were hands down the best team at the Road to the Roar, rebounding from their A Final loss to Scott by winning the B event and beating her in the 1st Qualifier 12-4. Can they contend for this event?
- 11-16 (40.7%) since 2010/11 against this field and 18-28 since 2003.
- Can win against every team at the Trials. Only 2-5 record against Nedohin of late jumps out.
- Scoring Ratio of .86 will have to improve.
- Middaugh is 28-35 (44%) against the field since 2003 but only 10-18 (36%) since 2010/11 Season
- Scoring ratio of .84 is second from the bottom, and it includes all games. If we looked since 2010/11 I expect it is worse.
- Has no record against Sweeting. Winning record against Nedohin and can beat every team there.
- Lawton appears to be her nemesis with a 5-11 record and 0-4 since 2010/11.
If Kelly Scott had won the last qualifier, I expect she would be ranked higher. But she didn't. Team Sweeting once again surprised in an event she was unexpected to win (see 2010 Alberta provincial).
- 9-19 since 2010/11 against the field is only one victory different from Sherry Middaugh.
- A dismal 4.81 PF/G against this field and a Scoring Ratio of .79 are both well below the competition at this event.
- No wins against Lawton (0-4), Homan (0-3) and 2-5 against provincial rival Nedohin. Those numbers will have to head in the other direction if Sweeting is to make a run.
As mentioned, sample sizes are much smaller than the mens as these teams simply don't play as often against each other. Let's look at Expected Wins based on both Record against the field since 2010/11 (EWR) and Points for/against , using Pythagorean theorem (EWP).
Lawton: EWR/EWP = 4.73/4.55
Middaugh: 2.52/2.61 (would be 3.26 based on record from 2002/03)
Despite their lack of success on the big stage, Lawton is the team to beat statistically. In 2009 they lost in a tie breaker at The Trials. Perhaps this year will be different?
In 2009 there were 3 teams at 4-3 and I expect several again this time. Bernard's 6-1 was a phenomenal run and I also wouldn't be surprised if one of the favorites manages a similar feat to secure a spot in the finals. Late in that week, there was also a chance that of a 5 way tie at 3-4 and 7 teams making the play-offs. Wouldn't that be something?
Look for favourable odds on Lawton and watch for poor odds on Middaugh based on her historical numbers.
Two evening draws during the Round Robin for the women with Wednesday being the Big Night with Nedohin vs Lawton and Homan vs Jones. The four teams we should expect in the play-off, but stranger things have happened in the past.