How Accurate Are The ITA Women's Rankings?

How Accurate Are The ITA Women's Rankings?
Photo: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

How Accurate Are The ITA Women's Rankings?


It is more difficult to use the ITA Rankings to predict the final Top 10 teams and the NCAA Champions because teams like Stanford and (sometimes Florida) don't play Indoors. This skews the numbers on the women's side and makes it tougher for the Pac-12 schools to get a correct rank and seeding heading into the NCAA tournament.

SEC teams, on the other hand, get into the higher rankings after indoors and only play each other in conference. Since the rankings are based on a team's 10 best wins, this doesn't give the Pac-12 teams a chance to get high ranked wins because they don't play these SEC teams. Stanford did, however, schedule an early out of conference match against this year against both Florida #1 and Vanderbilt #6, (Stanford beat #6 Vanderbilt). Stanford is has reached and held the #4 position but most years they don't get those extra out of conference matches against high ranked teams and Stanford's ranking (along with the rest of the Pac-12 teams), suffer from it. All of the men's teams play Indoors so their rankings are more accurate when used to predict the NCAA Champions.

Knowing all of that about the ITA Rankings, we still wanted to see how accurate the beginning and mid-season ITA rankings are at predicting the end of year top 10 teams and NCAA champions. We figured that this would also be a good comparison for how much playing Indoors actually does affect a team's ranking.

We took the data on the top 10 team rankings from the past 7 years and looked at week 1, week 10 and end of year standings. We used this data to see how many of the teams that started in the top 10 finished in the top 10 and how many that broke into the top 10 in the middle of the season stayed there.

WomensITARankings

Women's ITA Stats 2010-Present:

  • ​72.86% of the teams that started out in the ITA top 10, ended in the top 10. 
  • ​18.57% of the teams that ended in the top 10 broke into the top 10 by week 10 of the rankings
  • ​10.00% of the teams came from outside of the top 10.

These are almost the exact stats from the Men's side, so we know the ITA system works at predicting the top 10, but the rankings are skewed and not as helpful when trying to predict the NCAA Champions.

ITA Rankings and NCAA Champions:

In the past 7 years, the NCAA champions have started the season in the top 5 only 57.14% of the time compared to 100% of the time on the men's side.

Stanford not playing Indoors really messes with the rankings.

  • ​In the past 7 years, 100% of the time, a Pac-12 school has won the NCAA Championships or been the runner up team​
  • Stanford has won the title 3 of the past 7 years and have been the runner up team 1 other time​
  • More than 50% of the time, Stanford makes an appearance in the NCAA finals

Conclusion: Based on these past 7 years, the ITA's system has correctly predicted 72.86% of the season's Top 10 teams from the beginning, but have only placed the NCAA champions in the top 5, 4 of 7 times (57.14%). Stanford not playing Indoors really skews the rankings. The system works, but the data is skewed.

If you're more of a visual person, here is my spreadsheet breakdown, along with my predictions for this year's end results. (Based on ITA ranking system, even though the data is skewed): 

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