"The Frady Theory"

Drew Hallowell

How many schools actually succeeded in Bruce Frady's theory?

I was screwing around on Twitter and came across this tweet from Quinnipiac associate head coach Bruce Frady:

Now, I've heard lots of coaches talk about stats that they look at to determine or predict success (in fact, Michigan assistant Ryan Danehy did a whole presentation on statistics at the IMLCA convention this past weekend). Some of them come out of left field and are, at best, crazy insane, but I've never seen or heard a coach talk about this particular combination of statistics as a predictory measure for success. It's definitely different, but I didn't think that it was bonkers before I looked into it. As I've written thousands of times before, though, there is no silver bullet -- or combination of silver bullets -- that determines success. The closest metric out there that anticipates success is the Pythagorean win expectation (which basically measures a team's efficiency at score goals against a team's efficiency at preventing scores), and even that isn't a silver bullet (but it is predictory).

I pulled up the ol' lacrosse calculator to try and determine how many teams actually fall into Frady's pool of teams. Now, there isn't any statistical theory applied here (correlation, dependence, etc.); rather, I merely wanted to find out how many teams in 2013 (1) had a team faceoff percentage at or above 55 percent, (2) had a team save percentage at or above 55 percent, and (3) won -- or were expected to win -- at least 50 percent of their games.

There were 36 teams that won at least 50 percent of their games in 2013 and 34 were expected to win at least 50 percent of their contests. "The Frady Theory," however, only shows three teams -- Johns Hopkins, Maryland, and Penn State -- that fit all three factors in the theory (about nine percent of the schools that won or were expected to win at least half of their games):

Application of "The Frady Theory": Three Schools Strong
TEAM 2013 TEAM FACE-OFF PERCENTAGE 2013 TEAM SAVE PERCENTAGE 2013 PYTH. WIN EXPECT. 2013 WIN PERCENTAGE
Johns Hopkins 64.97% 59.33% 66.65% 64.29%
Maryland 55.86% 58.33% 71.33% 71.43%
Penn State 56.51% 60.91% 64.65% 70.59%

There were four teams that had team face-off and save percentages above 55 percent but did not win -- or were expected to win -- at least 50 percent of their games: Bryant, Rutgers, Massachusetts, and Mercer.

Interestingly missing from the pool of teams considered in "The Frady Theory" are 14 schools from 2013 that finished with a Pythagorean win expectation of at least 50 percent but failed both tenet thresholds: North Carolina, Syracuse, Loyola, Notre Dame, Princeton, Bucknell, Virginia, Albany, Brown, Air Force, Robert Morris, Stony Brook, Drexel, and Harvard. Another 12 failed at least one tenet threshold: Cornell, Pennsylvania, Lehigh, Denver, Duke, Yale, Ohio State, St. John's, Hofstra, Bellarmine, Towson, and Villanova.

Final verdict: I'm not sure that this is a particularly good way to anticipate success.

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