Ranking the Division I Men’s Players Using Trueskill for the Fall Season

I was fooling around with some ideas about the season and decided I would put out some rankings for the fall half of the season. Sure I could write something or maybe use UTR, but what do college tennis players like even more than tennis? That’s right, video games. So in honor of this, I decided to use Microsoft’s Trueskill algorithm to rank how the fall season went (based on what has been entered into the ITA database as of this morning–11/11).

For those of you not hip to Trueskill, Microsoft uses this algorithm to track the skill of gamers in order to place them in competitive matches. On the Microsoft Research website it explains that the ranking system is characterized by two attributes: a players average skill level (ranking) and the degree of uncertainty in the gamer’s skill (this would be the variation in the players level). If you would like to read more, it can be found at the Microsoft Research website, http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/trueskill/

As with any algorithm, there are several ways you could implement it. I decided in the first trial I would start of with no priors. This means all teams started the season with the base ranking. Since I also program primarily in Python, I decided to use the Trueskill package developed by a South Korean game developer named Heungsub Lee. It seems to be well-written and moderately documented.

I am only going to post the top-25 here for now. I also threw out any players who played few than 5 matches. Their matches counted, but the players were not placed in the rankings.

NCAA DIVISION I TRUESKILL RANKINGS

RANK NAME (SCHOOL) FALL RECORD TRUESKILL
1 #11 Mike Redlicki (University of Arkansas) 17-2 444
2 #8 Petros Chrysochos (Wake Forest University) 6-1 427
3 #1 Mikael Torpegaard (Ohio State University) 7-2 423
4 #33 Hugo Di Feo (Ohio State University) 5-1 420
5 Christian Sigsgaard (University of Texas) 16-3 413
6 Brandon Holt (University of Southern California) 16-2 410
7 #43 Nuno Borges (Mississippi State University) 12-3 407
8 Chema Carranza (University of Wisconsin) 12-1 404
9 Zach Lieb (Penn State University) 5-0 403
10 #45 Jose Salazar (University of Arkansas) 11-3 400
11 #38 Gage Brymer (UCLA) 11-3 398
12 Piotr Baranski (Southern Illinois, Carbondale) 10-1 396
13 #6 Tom Fawcett (Stanford University) 4-2 394
14 #77 Filip Bergevi (California) 11-2 394
15 #7 Skander Mansouri (Wake Forest University) 9-2 393
16 #109 Emil Reinberg (University of Georgia) 18-3 389
17 Diego Quiroz (Winthrop University) 14-2 388
18 Josh Pompan (University of Pennsylvania) 14-2 387
19 #61 Billy Griffith (California) 11-2 387
20 Christofer Goncalves (New Mexico State University) 15-2 385
21 #14 Nicolas Alvarez (Duke University) 9-4 382
22 Chris Vrabel (Cornell University) 11-2 380
23 #65 Herkko Pollanen (Ohio State University) 8-2 380
24 Arnaud Valentin (University of Connecticut) 5-0 380
25 #17 Andre Goransson (California) 12-4 379

Just for kicks, here’s the current ITA top-25.

Rank Avg Player School Conference Year
1 0.00 Mikael Torpegaard Ohio State University Big Ten Conference So.
2 0.00 Cameron Norrie TCU Big 12 Conference Jr.
3 0.00 Aleks Vukic University of Illinois Big Ten Conference Jr.
4 0.00 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski University of Virginia Atlantic Coast Conference Sr.
5 0.00 Christopher Eubanks Georgia Tech Atlantic Coast Conference Jr.
6 0.00 Tom Fawcett Stanford University Pacific-12 Conference Jr.
7 0.00 Skander Mansouri Wake Forest University Atlantic Coast Conference Jr.
8 0.00 Petros Chrysochos Wake Forest University Atlantic Coast Conference So.
9 0.00 Arthur Rinderknech Texas A&M University Southeastern Conference Jr.
10 0.00 Ronnie Schneider North Carolina Atlantic Coast Conference Fr.
11 0.00 Mike Redlicki University of Arkansas Southeastern Conference Sr.
12 0.00 Konrad Zieba Northwestern University Big Ten Conference Jr.
13 0.00 Florian Lakat California Pacific-12 Conference Sr.
14 0.00 Nicolas Alvarez Duke University Atlantic Coast Conference Jr.
15 0.00 William Bushamuka University of Kentucky Southeastern Conference Jr.
16 0.00 Wayne Montgomery University of Georgia Southeastern Conference Jr.
17 0.00 Andre Goransson California Pacific-12 Conference Sr.
18 0.00 Gustav Hansson University of Mississippi Southeastern Conference Jr.
19 0.00 Collin Altamirano University of Virginia Atlantic Coast Conference Jr.
20 0.00 Martin Redlicki UCLA Pacific-12 Conference Jr.
21 0.00 Daniel Valent Vanderbilt University Southeastern Conference So.
22 0.00 Elliott Orkin University of Florida Southeastern Conference Sr.
23 0.00 George Goldhoff University of Texas Big 12 Conference Sr.
24 0.00 Andrew Harris University of Oklahoma Big 12 Conference So.
25 0.00 Or Ram-Harel University of Tulsa American Athletic Conference Jr.

As you can see, this varies greatly from the current ITA top-25. Sure there are a bunch of guys who are taking the fall off for a variety of reasons (school, playing the tour, injuries) or played a little of both.

There’s also a group of guys who did play, but had an ‘off’ fall season.

This brought me to the concept of who should be in these fall rankings and a plethora of questions. Should the players not playing the fall season be included? Should they not be added until they actually play a match in January? Should the previous season(s) count in these beginning rankings? If so, how much?

I am not sure where I stand on this at the moment, honestly, but I have enjoyed debating these thoughts i my head. I welcome any ideas other may have, as only more of these types of discussions only improves the game and how it is reported.

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