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Road to...

As we approach the new year I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the schedule and highlight games that Our Beloved Puppies need to win in order to get to 20, 25, whatever number of wins.

For those of you who haven't done so already, here is a link to SBG's excellent Road to 30 spreadsheet, which uses SRS to rank opponents and then place contests into an easy-to-understand ranking system for a path to 30 victories. If the Wolves win all of the "yes" games, they make it to 30. It also keeps track of bad losses (games they needed to win; i.e. lower than 30 in the ranking) and good wins (games they didn't need to win; i.e. higher than 30 in the ranking). So far the Wolves are 0-4 with good wins/bad losses.

I have added an additional spreadsheet to the mix showing what pace the Wolves must play at to reach certain victory totals, along with the number of games remaining against teams within SBG's SRS yes rating, sub .300, and sub .400 records.

If you are rooting for the Wolves to get to 30 wins, they need to finish the season on a 24-28 run, or .461 ball. If you are closing your eyes and hoping that they get to 20 wins, they need to finish the season on a 14-38 run, or .269 ball...which, sadly, is better than what they are playing right now.

The Wolves currently have a 3-2 record against teams with a sub .300 record. They have 8 games left on the schedule against these teams. That is quite the gap between the SRS yes column (24 games) and the pool of contests they actually seem to be doing well with.

If the Wolves really are going to make it to 20 wins, they are going to have to start winning games against teams in the .300-.400 range. There are 7 games left against these opponents: Sixers, Raptors, Pistons, Bobcats and Warriors. They have already beat the Pistons and the Bobcats are a mess, so hopefully they can pick up a few wins there.

In the 15 games against teams below .400, I think it is reasonable to assume that the Wolves should win 6 games. That leaves them with 12 wins and 40 games left on the schedule against teams above .400. The Wolves are currently 2-19 against that crowd, or .095 ball. If they play at that pace against .400 teams, they will end up with 4 additional wins and 16 victories on the season.

Soooooo....going forward, the team really needs to pick up more than 6 wins against the .300-.400 crowd and they need to pick off some good wins against teams above .400. Cleveland is a must-win. The Nets and Bobcats are must wins in the first week of the year. The Wizards are on the schedule in week 2. Hopefully they can build on a soft early-New Year schedule to gain some confidence against teams that would qualify for a good win.