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OVC Ball Ratings Explained

For the 2015-16 season, OVC Ball unveiled the first of it’s kind statistic-based ratings system. We’ve updated it for the 2016-17 season, using more data to create stronger ratings, and to be even easier to understand.

This page is for those who want to know how exactly we end up with these ratings. While I can’t go through the exact formula, (I currently use no fewer than 14 different spreadsheets just to calculate everything) I hope this page will give you a greater insight as to how they’re calculated.

Basic Principles

  • Our ratings are completely statistic-driven, driven heavily by the Four Factors. More on those can be found in our Tempo-Free Stats Primer
  • The ratings are calculated by comparing them to teams from Ohio Valley Conference past. No comparison is made to teams outside the OVC.
  • While the formulas do have some outside influence (i.e. weights for individual seasons or categories) they’re created in a way so that they cannot be manipulated to give any one team an advantage over another.

2016-17 Changes

  • Rating categories have been simplified from four to three: Offense, Defense, and an Overall rating.
    • Separate ratings for non-conference and conference play have been removed, and replaced with a weighted system:
      • Away games are worth more than home games, (this is similar to how RPI is calculated)
      • Conference games are worth more than Non-Conference games
      • While games against non Division-I opponents count, they hold little weight in the final scale. (Less than 1% overall)
      • A team’s last five games are also given extra weight, as a means of counting a team’s ‘momentum’
  • The “Overall” category will be on a ‘grade’ system, determined by comparing a team’s rating to teams dating back to 2002. The grading is done on a curve, with the top/bottom 15% historically given an ‘A’ or ‘D’ grade, and only the top/bottom 2% given an ‘A+’ or ‘D-‘
  • The “Offense” and “Defense” categories will retain the 60-100 rating system used last season, only the numbers have been normalized along a similar curve. The top and bottom 2% historically will have scores of 100 and 60 respectively.
    • Why use grades for one category and ratings for others? We originally developed a system that used grades for both, but found too many teams wound up with the same grades in offense and defense, so we switched those categories back to numerical ratings. We chose to keep the easier to understand grades for the “Overall” category.
  • The number of historical statistics used in calculations has been doubled since last year

What statistics are used in calculating ratings?

The following team statistics are used:

  • Field goals made / attempted
  • Three-point field goals made / attempted
  • Free-throws attempted (made free-throws are not used in any four-factor calculations)
  • Offensive / Defensive rebounds
  • Turnovers

These are all the standard statistics used in calculating the following tempo-free statistics:

  • Effective Field Goal percentage (eFG%)
  • Offensive Rebounding percentage (OREB%)
  • Turnover percentage (TO%)
  • Free Throw Rate (FTR)

Both offensive and defensive statistics in all the above categories are used. Statistics are currently entered manually (there are checks in place for common errors, but minor errors are possible) from the final statistics provided by teams.

So how do we get from those numbers to the final grades?

Here’s where all the math comes in.

  • For each one of the four-factors, we calculate a baseline scale. Each season is weighted (with more recent seasons getting heavier weights, due to the constant changing of rules in college basketball) and we use it to create a minimum (60 score) and maximum (100 score) for each category.
  • A team’s performance for this season is then compared to that baseline scale, to create a base rating. If a team is historically good or bad, they can exceed that 60-100 scale, but we cap it at 50 and 110 respectively.
  • Those base ratings are then weighted themselves, using the weights provided by the creator of the Four Factors. eFG% gets the most weight, while FTR gets the least. This gets us our weighted rating.
  • The weighted ratings are then compared to the ratings for teams dating back to 2002, and given a final grade.

Have a specific question?

Use the ‘Contact Us’ link in the menu to send it to me.

OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall


Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19


UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24