DriveTheLane.com Manual

Overview

DriveTheLane.com is a college basketball simulation where you manage a college basketball program. The players are all computer-generated and so purely fictitious, but each has inherent abilities that determine how well they play the game. Of course, many factors affect overall team performance, including individual talent level, team chemistry, player maturity, and the coach's coaching ability. Each week, there are 3 games played: on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As coach, you can manage your team by setting your lineup, substition patterns, pace of play, and in various other ways.

Also during the course of the season, you must hit the recruiting trail to mine out talent to fill your roster for the following season. You must identify the players worthy of recruitment and then battle all of the other coaches for the recruit's commitment.

As the season plays out, there will be box scores, play by plays, recruiting information, stats leaders, standings, player awards and many more metrics for you to follow along and get to know your team and competitors.

Most importantly, this game is designed to be fun. With that in mind, we welcome you to DriveTheLane.com and welcome all constructive feedback. Thanks for playing!

League Structure

Like many online games, there are multiple instances of the game running at any given time, each in their own separate universe. You may have multiple accounts and compete in more than 1 league, but users are not allowed to have more than 1 team in any given league.

Each league has 256 teams broken down into 32 conferences with 8 teams per conference. A season takes 9 weeks, with 3 games played per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The 1st week is for exhibition games, the next 5 weeks are regular season games. The 7th week are the conference tournaments, and the final 2 weeks the national tournaments.

Each team has 12 players, 3 in each class (freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior). Players do not leave early for the NBA, transfer, or otherwise leave a college, so a player you sign will be with you for all 4 years.

Throughout the season, you will be recruiting. High school is structured the same as college: 256 teams, 12 players per team, 3 in each class. Every high school senior will go on to play college. The Saturday after the national championship game is signing day, and then on to the next season!

The Players

Unlike fantasy sports, the players in DriveTheLane.com are not from real life, but rather are randomly generated. Players have 6 attributes that are only visible to the coach of their team:

Shooting, Defense, Hands, Rebounding, Intelligence, Athleticism

Each attribute is rated on a scale from 1 to 5 (from worst to best):

None, Poor, Fair, Good, Exc.

Note that the actual representation in the game database may be more complex, eg shooting might be a combination of free throw shooting, jump shot, finishing around the rim, etc. There are also "hidden" attributes that might not manifest in the 6 attributes at all, eg performance in clutch situations. You will also see a player's height and weight (note that weight is mostly aesthetic, it has almost no impact on game play).

Season Schedule

Here are some important events that take place over the course of a season. We will consider a season that starts on Monday, Janurary 2nd, 2017. "Wk" is the week number, "RWk" is the recruiting week. Note that the first 2 weeks are a single recruiting week.

DateWkRWkEvents
Mon, Jan 211
  • Exh Game 1
Wed, Jan 411
  • Exh Game 2
Fri, Jan 611
  • Exh Game 3

Sat, Jan 721
  • Practice
Mon, Jan 921
  • Game 1, OOC
Wed, Jan 1121
  • Game 2, OOC
Fri, Jan 1321
  • Game 3, OOC
  • First Rec Actions Due
  • Most Recruited List

Sat, Jan 1432
  • Practice
Mon, Jan 1632
  • Game 4, Conf
Wed, Jan 1832
  • Game 5, Conf
Fri, Jan 2032
  • Game 6, Conf
  • Rec Actions Due

Sat, Jan 2143
  • Practice
Mon, Jan 2343
  • Game 7, OOC
Wed, Jan 2543
  • Game 8, Conf
Fri, Jan 2743
  • Game 9, Conf
  • Rec Actions Due
  • Rec w3/w12

Sat, Jan 2854
  • Practice
Mon, Jan 3054
  • Game 10, Conf
Wed, Feb 154
  • Game 11, Conf
Fri, Feb 354
  • Game 12, OOC
  • Rec Actions Due

Sat, Feb 465
  • Practice
Mon, Feb 665
  • Game 13, Conf
Wed, Feb 865
  • Game 14, Conf
Fri, Feb 1065
  • Game 15, Conf
  • Rec Actions Due

Sat, Feb 1176
  • Practice
Mon, Feb 1376
  • Game 16, Conf Tourney
Wed, Feb 1576
  • Game 17, Conf Tourney
Fri, Feb 1776
  • Game 18, Conf Tourney
  • Rec Actions Due

Sat, Feb 1887
  • Practice
Mon, Feb 2087
  • Game 19, National Tourney
Wed, Feb 2287
  • Game 20, National Tourney
Fri, Feb 2487
  • Game 21, National Tourney
  • Rec Actions Due

Sat, Feb 2598
  • Practice
Mon, Feb 2798
  • Game 22, National Tourney
Wed, Mar 198
  • Game 23, National Tourney
Fri, Mar 398
  • Game 24, National Tourney
  • Final Rec Actions Due

Sat, Mar 4--
  • Practice
  • Signing Day

Power Rankings

Teams are ranked in the "Power Rankings" throughout the season. Rankings such as the RPI are playing a larger and larger role in real life college basketball to help pick the NCAA Tournament field and seeds. In DTL, it is even more important: since we don't have a human selection committee, the power ranking determine all at-large entrants and all the seeds. It is also an important factor for recruits in identifying winning programs.

Before any games have been played, the rankings are based on:

  • The recruiting magazine rankings

  • Current talent level (ie, how much players have improved since they started college is taken into account)

As the season progresses, game results are incorporated into the rankings, and the magazine/talent rating is factored in less and less. Here is the breakdown for how the rankings are weighted:

GameTalentExh ResultsReg Results
01.00--
1 (Ex)0.950.05-
2 (Ex)0.900.10-
3 (Ex)0.850.15-
10.800.100.10
20.700.050.25
30.55-0.45
40.30-0.70
5+--1.00

Postseason Tournaments

The regular season ends with the 10th conference game, game number 15 overall. Now for the real fun! Conference tournaments are next. Seeds are determined by:

  • Conference wins

  • Power rankings

After the conference tournaments finish come the national tournaments, our version of March Madness. The 256 teams are seeded into 4 tournaments with 64 teams each. The 4 tournaments, from most prestigious to least, are: the National Title Tournament (NTT), Provincial (PTT), Regional (RTT) and District (DTT) Title Tournaments. For the NTT, every conference regular season winner and conference tournament winner make it in. The remaining spots are determined by Power Ranking. The lower tournaments are all filled by Power Ranking. The winner of the NTT is that season's champion.

Coaching

You may give your team instructions prior to any game. Your last set of instructions will always be used and will completely supercede any prior instructions. Your instruction options are fairly self-explanatory, but here is a quick rundown:

  • Player Positions - decide each player's position. For your team of 12 players, you will pick starters and backups at each of the 5 positions, with the remaining 2 players out of the lineup.
  • Substitution Patterns - decide how often to sub out each player (this is relative to the computer's idea of a "normal" substitution pattern. NOTE: "Sub More" means sub OUT more, NOT sub in more. In other words, "Sub More" means "play less". Also, please note that a player's development is somewhat contingent upon the playing time he receives. This applies to both the long term, as well as in-season development. Note, however, that like the normal maturation process, this effect on maturity does not result in the changing of the attributes (but just a quicker/slower recognition of the full potential, or the player may actually fall short of full potential).
  • Individual Shooting Tendencies - decide how much each player should shoot (relative to each player's natural shooting tendencies).
  • Team Tempo
  • Team Defensive Style
  • Team 3-Point Shooting Philosophy

As indicated, some of these options are entirely relative and may take some experimentation to master. Also, remember that all decisions may have impacts that are not obvious. For example, too little playing time may make a selfish player unhappy, while it may not affect a true "team player" at all. Other decisions may have similarly masked effects.

Remember, ultimately a coach can only give instructions. As any basketball spectator knows, those instructions are not always executed perfectly. As you monitor how well your instructions are executed, please keep this fact in mind.

Practice

High schoolers aren't a finished product, with a little hard work and practice many still have a lot of room to improve. You'll find a link to the practice page in the My Team menu. There are two team options (primary and secondary) and an individual option. The two team options cannot be set to the same thing. A player can focus on something the team is also practicing, but won't benefit as much as they would from something different. Team primary is the most important; secondary and individual have about the same effect. Practice updates run once a week, on Saturdays. Keep in mind that actual attribute changes are fairly rare, but behind the scenes your players are getting better.

Recruiting

Recruiting is one of the cornerstones of college basketball. This game attempts to capture that fact. To succeed on a regular basis, you will need to be a good recruiter. Only high school seniors are available for recruiting, and they may be viewed at any time. All recruit signings take place at the end of week 9 (i.e., the Saturday after regular season game #24).

Recruiting centers around "Recruiting Points," or RPs. Your team is allotted a weekly allowance of recruiting points to spend as you choose. These RPs represent the way you give a recruit your attention. You may spend between 1-17 RPs per recruit per week. If you spend less than 17 at one time on a recruit, you may spend the remainder (up to 17 total) at any later time that week, assuming that you have unspent RPs to do so.

You will also have a limited number of scholarships available to offer. You must offer a scholarship to a player for them to seriously consider signing with your school. It does not matter when in the season you offer.

You must also have offered a recruit a total of at least 28 RPs by the end of the season for them to consider your school. In other words, any RP amount from 0 to 27 is functionally equivalent to 0 with regards to a recruit deciding what college to sign with.

The number of RPs and scholarships you have are determined by your program size. Please see the account section for more on program sizes.

There is a "Delete Actions" option that allows you to clear any unprocessed actions for a recruit. Once processed, an action cannot be undone.

You can "flag" a recruit for inclusion on your "Top Recruits" page with the "Flag Recruit" button. This option neither costs nor credits RPs. It is simply a way to make a "short list" of potential recruits. This is most useful for getting players to appear on the list for future reference without spending points on them.

Recruiting actions are processed when games are played, but the allocation of another week's worth of RPs only occurs weekly. Note the first two weeks of the season (3 exhibition games and 3 out of conferences games) represent a single recruiting week. This means you can wait for 5 games to be played (3 exhibition and 2 regular season) before offering any RPs/scholarships. You just have to submit them some time before game 6 is processed. The 2-week window allows high school players to play a few more games than a single week would, giving college coaches more informtation before having to decide who to pursue in recruiting. RPs can be carried over from week to week (but not season to season) if not spent, but this may not represent a desirable strategy since you will face the 17-point limit in future weeks.

The earlier a school starts recruiting a kid the better. In the game this is reflected in a one time RP bonus the first week either RPs are spent or a scholarship is offered. The bonus is 15 RPs in the first recruiting week, 13 the next, 11 the next and on down. So if you spend 17 points on a recruit in week 1, they will have 32 (17 + 15) RPs on them. If you offer a scholarship to a recruit in the second recruiting week, they will have 13 (0 + 13) RPs.

Every high school senior has a scouting report. The accuracy of the scouting report is indicated by a Poor/Fair/Good/Exc rating. A poor scout will not do a great job of revealing the actual attributes of a player, while an excellent scout will come pretty close. A high school players basketball intelligence is estimated by an exam (ranging rougly from 20 to 75) and GPA (about 1.50 to 4.00). The scout does *not* affect these numbers.

Recruit Preferences

Every recruit has 3 public preferences for the type of school they would like to play for: Win, Impact, Local. Just as with player attributes, they are on the None/Poor/Fair/Good/Exc scale.

Local Preference

An "Exc" rating here indicates a strong desire to stay close to home. A "Fair" means "neutral" and a "None" actually represents a strong desire to move away from home. In addition to a home conference, there is also a concept of a home region. The regions are simply defined as groups of 4 conferences, starting with conferences 1-4, on to 5-8.. etc to conferences 29-32. The regions are clearly grouped on the recruiting index page. "Close to Home" is measured as follows:

  • All teams in the same number conference as the recruit's are considered equally close (even compared to the hometown city).
  • All teams in the same 4-conference region as the recruit's are considered equally close, but are not as close as the same conference.
  • All teams outside of the recruit's region are considered equally far away
  • An example: If you are a conference 2 team, your best "close to home" advantage is with Conference 2 recruits. For recruits who want to stay close to home from conferences 1, 3 and 4, you have an advantage over out of region schools, but a disadvantage to schools from a recruit's conference. For recruits out of region, you have a disadvantage.

Win Preference

Here, an "Exc" means "really want to play for a winner". "Fair" means "gives moderate consideration to playing for a winner". "None" means "this doesn't factor into my decision" (it does NOT mean "want to play for a loser").

A winning program is determined by, in order of importance:

  • National tournament and national tournament finish. Losing every game in a more prestigious tournament is roughly as valued as winning the next most prestidious tournament (eg, losing every game in the NTT is about the same as winning every game in the PTT)
  • End of season power ranking.
  • Conference tournament and conference regular season.

These factors give us a score for any given season. The previous 3 seasons are taken into account for recruit preferences. This includes the current season. So, for example, if league X is in season 15, when the season ends, recruits will look at seasons 15, 14 and 13. They are weighted 55% for the most recent season, 35% for the year before that, and 10% before that (note that when a league first starts, there will not be 3 years of history to look at. After the 1st season, season 1 is simply weighed 100%. After the 2nd season, season 1 is weighed 39% and season 2 is weighed 61%).

Impact Preference

Here, an "Exc" means "really want to be able to make an impact". "Fair" means "gives moderate consideration to making an impact". "None" means "this doesn't factor into my decision".

A recruit's ability to have an "Impact" for recruting will be based on:

  • Returning talent (NOT position-specific)
  • Returning height (NOT position-specific)

Note that game results and college player positions do not factor in at all. Recruits also evaluate their potential impact on a team with their own ability in mind: good players can still make an impact on good teams. Because this is the recruit's self-perception, some may think they are better than they are and some worse.

Priority Points

You have the opportunity to rank your recruits by allocating "priority" points to them. The recruits you assign the most priority points to should be those that you want the most. Priority points are entirely relative within your own team. For example, if you allocate 1 PP to player A and 35 to player B, or if you allocate 1 PP to A and 2 to player B, the result is exactly the same: you have ranked player B ahead of player A. There is no "cost" to allocating PPs, you can change their allocation as often as you would like througought the season. You will sign the 3 highest-ranked recruits that are willing to sign with you. If you do not submit points, or if you have ties in your rankings, the computer's rankings (unpublished) will be used to select your preferences.

Tracking Your Recruits

Once any action you take on a recruit is processed, they will show up on your my-recruits page. This page shows your top 35 recruiting targets (it is very common to recruit less than 35 players. You may never actually need this many). If during the course of the season you decide you are not interested in a recruit, you can "ignore" them to push them to the bottom of your top 35. This is solely a UI feature, it has no impact on signing/not signing a recruit, and can be easily undone if you change your mind. Note ignoring does not remove a recruit. There is some strategy to the maximum of 35 recruits, the inability to remove recruits is intentional.

You can see the status of all of your recruits broken down by "Through Current Week" and "At End Of Last Week". There is also a link to toggle between "Through Current Week" and "Stats". The stats columns are self explanatory, the rest are broken down below:

Name
Recruit's name. The recruit's rank on the top 75 most recruited list will be in parenthises here if applicable.
Conf
Recruit's conference.

Through Current Week

RPs
Number of RPs you have spent on recruit
Top
Number of RPs the leader has spent on the recruit
Sch
Have you offered the recruit a scholarship
CurWk
Number of RPs spnt in current week
PPs
Priority Points

At End Of Last Week

RPs
Number of RPs you have spent
Top
Number of RPs the leader had
W-3
Number of teams within 3 of the lead (yourself excluded)
W-12
Number of teams within 12 of the lead (yourself excluded)
Teams
The teams within 3 (teams within 12 in parentheses), asterisk (*) denotes computer team

The Auto-Recruiter

You will see an option to turn on the "Auto-Recruiter" on your recruiting home page. The auto recruiter is meant to help out in case you forget to recruit for a week. It follows these rules:

  1. Will check if it should take any actions just once a week, on Friday when instructions are processed
  2. The only action it will take is spending RPs
  3. Will only spend RPs if 0 RPs have been spent in a given week
  4. Will spend the same RPs on the same players as the previous week, starting with most RPs spent, on down to least RPs spent, until either all the same actions have been performed again or the team runs out of RPs

Note that this means the auto-recruiter will not submit initial recruiting actions for you.

Miscellaneous

You can expect many of the top recruits to receive 17 RPS each and every week from someone, and you will probably have to keep pace to go after the top-notch recruits. On the other hand, since competition is so fierce at the top, you may choose to cast your fate with the 2nd tier recruits where you have a much better chance of earning a commitment.

Also, you need to realize that sometimes a recruit may be unrecruited (or available because the team(s) that recruited him signed 3 other players) that is better than 1 of the recruits you would otherwise sign. If you do not want to accept these more highly-ranked "walkons" over your other recruits, then you need to allocate at least 1 PP to anyone that you want to have preference over any walkon. If a higher-ranked "walkon" wants to sign with you, he will supercede any of your recruits that have zero PPs.

There will always be a delicate balancing situation between trying to get star recruits and trying to get "solid" recruits, since you will lose control of who signs if you do not fill your roster from your scholarship offers. My advice is this: in true life, a coach can never know a recruit's thoughts, intentions, or future actions. This is true in this game. Follow your gut feelings and hope to land the big one. If not, make adjustments the following year.

You will finish the season with a 3-person recruiting class (no carryover scholarships). If you do not sign 3 players, you will accept onto the team randomly assigned players to bring your total recruit count to 3. This is equivalent to accepting unsigned players already enrolled in school to fill open spots. The risk of having recruits randomly assigned is an additional risk of holding out for only top-notch recruits. If you come up empty, you lose control of who you sign.

There are two national organizations that provide recruit rankings, SimHoops (SH) and HardWood (HW). Each independently ranks all college incoming classes from #1 to #256, with #1 being the best.

Your Account

You may play this game entirely for free. For a fee, you may upgrade your program from Small to Mid, Large or Sponsor. Everything (especially game play and team management) already mentioned is the same for all teams regardless of your Program's size election. However, there is an effect on recruiting.

SizeCostPseudosRPsScholRec CSV
Small--6814
Mid$2.001007517
Large$5.003008320Yes
Sponsor$20.0012008325Yes

Here's how this election procedure works. For your convenience, any money sent to the site will be credited to you as "Game Credits" ($0.01 = 1 credit). These will appear on your private my-account page. You will then be able to carry these credits forward as long as you like, or else spend them on upgrading your program size.

Whenever you upgrade your program, you will also receive "Pseudo-Credits". Pseudo-credits can be spent on a couple of extras:

  • Naming high school players
  • Running scrimmages

Pseudo-credits cannot be transferred to other teams (yours or otherwise), and they cannot be used to make another Program Size election.

You can also sign up for more than one account and coach in multiple leagues. It is against the rules to coach more than one team in a single league, and anyone determined to be violating this rule will have the offending accounts deleted. To sign up for another account, you do not need to go through the same signup process, but rather can add another account from your "My Account" page. Your accounts are tied together, so you can log in with any of your accounts with the same password and also easily switch to your other teams once logged in.

If you do not take any action (submit a lineup, recruit, update practice settings, etc) for 2 full consecutive seasons, your team may be returned to computer control. Note your account will not be deleted, so if you would like to come back to a defunct account, please contact us.

In summary, the game gives you the ability to play for free or on a pay basis. Regardless of your election, we thank you for playing and are grateful to those that can and do support the site financially.

Terms and Conditions

  • You cannot sign up or run more than one team in any given league.
  • You may not collude in recruiting. In real life, a coach may tell a collegue about a high school player that they feel would be a good fit for their program. Likewise, if you would like, you may occasionally tell another coach about a recruit. But it is against the rules to either continually farm out recruits you are on to other schools or to benefit from the suspcious recruiting practices of others.
  • You may not intentionally try to lose games.
  • Please treat your fellow coaches with respect on the message boards and elsewhere in the community.
  • We reserve the right to cancel an account we feel is acting against the spirit of the game.