Do greeks or independent teams have an advantage on race day?


Paul Smith will be wearing a Delta Tau Delta jersey this Saturday.

He finished third in ITTs the last two years and watched from the pit as the team won in 2012 and sprinted the final 20 laps to help push Delts to a second-place finish in 2013.

But he hasn’t always competed for the greek powerhouse. His freshman year, he rode for Wright Cycling. Although he lived in Teter, he’d gone on a few group rides with the Wright team and trained with them leading up to the race.

“I wasn’t a very good rider when I joined Wright,” Smith said. “I had a lot to learn.”

He later joined Delts, where he statistically has a better chance of winning based on IUSF’s historical records.

Greek teams have won 68 percent of men’s races and 54 percent of women’s races. More than three-quarters of top-three finishers in the men’s race have worn greek letters.

It’s a rivalry older than “Breaking Away.” It’s easy to break the race down to greeks versus everyone else. It’s easy to vilify those damn Cutters or those damn frat stars from the stands. It’s easy to cheer for someone like you — whether that team is greek or independent.

So who has an upper hand? Greeks, who have been historically dominant in the competition with strong support and large budgets, or GDIs, who can freely recruit and earn support as the scrappy underdog?

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Team Pursuit gives better idea of race winner, final probability


Unlike Quals, Team Pursuit results can yield a decent model for predicting race day success. Team Pursuit and Miss ‘N Out are better simulators for how teams perform on the day of the race than the other events before race day.

IUSF records are inconsistent at best when it comes to Miss ‘N Out results, giving us an uphill battle when creating a historic base on which to extract winning probability. Instead, we can look at the past 20 years of Team Pursuit results to predict the chances teams have of winning based exclusively on their Team Pursuit placement.

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Analyzing ITT results for team performance problematic


Historically, the team with the winning rider of the men’s ITTs has a 75 percent chance of hoisting the Borg-Warner Trophy, while 33.3 percent of women’s ITT winners win the race.

But without analyzing the performance of every single cyclist for the past 20 years of ITT results — that’s at least 5,000 riders, for those of you keeping score at home — it is nearly impossible to produce a model for predicting how ITT performance weighs into the probability each team has to win the race.

If we rank each rider from Saturday and award points per position — first gets one point, second gets two points, third gets three, etc. — we start to get a picture of team performance in an individualized event.

Northern Indiana Cycling — 66
Alpha Epsilon Pi — 89
Beta Theta Pi — 106
Cutters — 111
Evans Scholars — 111
Phi Kappa Tau — 128
Sigma Chi — 135
Phi Gamma Delta — 156
Dodd’s House — 184
Delta Tau Delta — 221
Pi Kappa Alpha — 237
Black Key Bulls — 250
Forest — 278
Wright Cycling — 286
Alpha Tau Omega — 298
Delta Chi — 309
Phi Kappa Sigma — 350
Delta Sigma Pi — 351
Phi Kappa Psi — 353
Sigma Phi Epsilon — 360
Phi Sigma Kappa — 360
Gray Goat — 403
Sigma Nu — 409
Kappa Delta Rho — 481
Sigma Alpha Mu — 495
Sigma Alpha Epsilon — 547
Delta Upsilon — 574
Phi Delta Theta — 590
CSF — 600
Lambda Chi Alpha — 697
Collins — 965
Sigma Pi — ND
Pi Kappa Phi — ND

Army — 113
Mezcla — 131
Chi Omega — 162
Cru — 163
Delta Sigma Pi — 168
Ski — 181
Kappa Alpha Theta — 185
Melanzana — 193
Alpha Sigma Alpha — 227
Theta Phi Alpha — 240
CSF — 246
Alpha Chi Omega — 255
Kappa Kappa Gamma — 262
Alpha Xi Delta — 268
Teter — 284
Sigma Delta Tau — 288
Phi Mu — 316
Zeta Tau Alpha — 316
Delta Zeta — 345
Delta Gamma —358
Alpha Omicron Pi —360
Alpha Gamma Delta — 389
Wing It — 392
RideOn — 400
Gamma Phi Beta — 411
Alpha Delta Pi — 417
IU Nursing — 460
Delta Phi Epsilon — 497
Collins — 650
Kappa Delta — 782
Air Force — ND
Delta Delta Delta — ND
Alpha Phi — ND

But those statistics aren’t exactly fair, either. Northern Indiana Cycling, which scored 66 points in our model, only had one rider who placed 66th. Collins, which placed dead last in the men’s rankings, had eight riders, making their point total much higher.

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Quals position often not a perfect predictor of race success


The name of this site may be 33to1, but there’s a lot more that goes into a team’s odds of winning the Little 500 on race day than meets the eye. Team experience, speed in exchanges, track conditions, unexpected crashes and so much else plays into whether or not a team will be successful at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

The spring series events help test those different variables. ITTs find the fastest individual rider. Team Pursuit lets us see the teams perform as a group. Miss ‘N Out combines both speed and strategy.

Throughout the spring series, I’ll be looking at the odds each team has in raising the Borg-Warner Trophy on race day. I’ll be trying to predict probabilities based off historical numbers charting past team’s successes and failures.

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