The idea for the #KPI first came the summer of 2003 while I was a student manager for the basketball team at Michigan State and searching for a better way to calculate a team’s RPI. The Master Schedule file – “a great abuse of Microsoft Excel” (of which I was absolved in 2010) – has evolved incredibly over ten years – coming along with me for my rides as Video Coordinator at Michigan State, Data Analyst at the Big Ten Conference and back to Michigan State in 2009 as Director of Basketball Operations. The name for the formula started as a pun from my initials (KP, also what most people call me). I’ve been called a Rain Man of sorts, to which I simply reply that I’ve “gotta watch Wapner.” I’ve also been called a crackerjack, which I think was intended as a complement. Maybe, maybe not.
Though the main attraction of the Excel file is the #KPI, it includes more than just the formula. It includes television data, postseason scenarios and rankings of teams and conferences in every imaginable permutation. Construct a hypothetical statistical scenario, and it can be computed (mostly because the formula is computed on a game-by-game basis). It has been used in creating non-conference schedules at several schools and helped me assist in compiling a top-three strength of schedule at Michigan State each of the last two years. As new projects and ideas have come about, I’ve incorporated them into the file. The “Master Schedule” has been my top resource for a decade.
The #KPI formula is meant to measure performance and quantify what a game’s result really means by combining all variables that change over the course of a season. As analytics are used more and more in sports at all levels, those same principles can be applied to scheduling and how we evaluate games played. As leagues grow through expansion and strength of schedule grows in importance, the ability to compare two teams who many not play becomes more difficult. Rather than listen to people talk about which games are a team’s “good wins,” “bad losses,” etc., I prove it with numbers. Its uses are endless – television, marketing, scheduling – all things that have become increasingly important in today’s world of athletics.
So sit back and enjoy the ride!
This is the #KPI.