2011-12 College Basketball Preseason Ratings

posted in NCAA Basketball

First off, yes, we know it’s no longer the preseason. With all due apologies to (deep breath) Texas A&M, St. John’s, Lehigh, Arizona, Akron, Mississippi State, Eastern Kentucky, Valparaiso, Duquesne, Liberty, and William & Mary … the season starts in earnest tomorrow night.

We didn’t get updated roster info until Friday night, and then had a this-is-a-bad-time-but-we-can’t-say-no business trip early this week, leaving precious little time to pump out an updated version of our preseason ratings. But we figured, hey, better semi-late than never.

The method for these projections is discussed at the end of the post. First, let’s get to what you everyone really cares about — our top teams.

TeamRankings Top 25

Question number one is, of course, who is our #1? The polls like North Carolina, but it’s hard to argue with the NBA-ready talent that John Calipari has stockpiled at Kentucky. Honestly, the difference between the two is well within the margin of error, but we’re giving the edge to Kentucky by a hair.

Here is the rest of our top 25, with discussion below. Numbers in bold indicate which ratings (TeamRankings, AP, Coaches Poll, Pomeroy) had the team ranked highest.

RankTeamRatingProj W-LAPCoachesPomeroyAVG
1Kentucky30.728-22211.5
2North Carolina30.227-31131.8
3Duke28.326-36644.8
4Ohio State25.026-53323.0
5Syracuse23.723-55555.0
6Vanderbilt23.224-67797.3
7Pittsburgh22.525-6101178.8
8Louisville22.324-79888.3
9Florida21.824-7810129.8
10Missouri20.523-725251418.5
11Connecticut20.321-74466.3
12UNLV20.225-538361826.0
13Texas A&M20.122-720192519.3
14Belmont20.026-436--2832.0
15Kansas19.720-913131113.0
16St. Marys19.624-539412329.8
17Gonzaga19.624-623231720.0
18Wisconsin19.321-915141014.3
19Purdue19.121-835351924.5
20Memphis19.023-71192015.0
21Baylor18.922-912121515.0
22Temple18.823-528291323.0
23BYU18.323-6--473739.3
24Washington18.322-829303930.5
25Michigan18.020-918182220.8

We know what you’re thinking…

You probably see a few teams that you feel are way too high or way too low. Maybe one of the following thoughts crossed your mind…

Why is Duke ranked ahead of Ohio State? When we first spied the final output of our projection model, it surprised us, as well. But the fact is, while Duke loses some great talent, that talent was much more important on offense than on defense. Combine that with a good recruiting class and Mike Krzyzewski’s established ability to get the most out of his team, and the Blue Devils should have a great season.

Ohio State, meanwhile, doesn’t return much more of their talent than Duke does. Since they bring back Jared Sullinger, the perception is that they aren’t losing much, but that’s wrong. Jon Diebler was one of the best three point shooters in recent history, and David Lighty was an elite defender. They were a tad better than Duke last year, and return a bit more talent, but the Buckeyes don’t have as good of a freshman class, nor do they have — and this is in no way an insult to Thad Matta — as good of a coach. (Recruiter, maybe. But not coach.)

These projections don’t like UConn nearly as much as the voters do. That’s probably because voters make a logical leap from “won the NCAA tournament last year” to “were the best team last year.” Our ratings don’t see it that way — they see UConn as a borderline top ten team who gelled, won some close games, benefited from some upsets, and gutted out a tournament win. Voters think freshman Andre Drummond can make up for the loss of Kemba Walker. So do we, we just think that means they stay around #10, instead of staying around #1.

Belmont in the top 25? Yeah, right. Hey, not so fast. The Bruins were rated #21 last year in the new predictive power rankings that were used in these projections, and the only key player they lost was Jordan Campbell. But given how much the Belmont attack relied on hustle, effort, and hockey-style mass substitutions, losing one player seems like it shouldn’t have a huge impact. The Bruins may not really be the #14 team in the land, be we’re comfortable saying that #14 is a more accurate assessment than the zero votes they got in the Coaches’ Poll.

Can Missouri really be that good without Lawrence Bowers, and with a new coach? One key thing our model may be missing is the impact of a coaching change. The Tigers — even with the loss of Lawrence Bowers — have shown they have the talent required to gel into a top ten team. The question is whether Frank Haith has the coaching chops to take advantage of that talent. This is one of our projections that, subjectively, we’re not a fan of. Missouri will be good, but maybe not this good.

That’s a lot of mid-majors. Yep, and we like it that way. The voters agree with us on Gonzaga and Memphis, but UNLV, Belmont, St. Mary’s, Temple, and BYU are all underrated heading into this year. UNLV was overshadowed by BYU and San Diego State last season, Belmont was given no respect due to their poor quality of the Atlantic Sun, St. Mary’s suffers from being-in-the-WCC-but-not-being-Gonzaga bias, Temple seems to simply be perennially underrated, and BYU is being left for dead despite having a very good frontcourt simply because The Jimmer left.

Where are UCLA and Arizona? Ah, there is another blind spot of ours. UCLA has a couple incoming transfers that could play large roles this year, and our projection system doesn’t give UCLA enough credit for that talent. However, before we start apologizing for their omission, we’d like to remind everyone that the Bruins were, well, not all that fantastic last year. As for Arizona, they were absolutely carried by Derrick Williams last season, and even then they were very inconsistent. So we’re not too worried about the absence of the Wildcats.

Projected Conference Standings

So, outside the top 25, what do we forecast? Here are our projected standings for every single conference.

These are average outcomes over thousands of season simulation, so keep in mind that the actual standings will be more spread out. Take the Big East, for example. We project Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Louisville to all go either 14-4 or 13-5. In real life, one of those teams will probably be a bit better (or luckier) than we project, and will end up at 15-3 or even 16-2. We just don’t yet know which one that will be.

These are in alphabetical order, with one exception: the Great West is at the bottom. Why? Because I forgot to include them the first time, and it’s easier to stick them at the bottom than re-do the whole table. Sorry, Utah Valley State. No offense intended.

TeamRankings Official 2011 NCAA Basketball Season Projections
America EastConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Vermont12.04.019.29.87.71422.3
Boston U11.44.617.112.96.61643.7
Stony Brook10.65.416.410.65.21951.3
Albany9.36.714.712.33.02291.7
Maine8.77.313.413.61.92501.3
N Hampshire6.19.910.516.5-2.63160.8
Binghamton5.210.88.119.9-4.13292.9
Hartford5.110.97.720.3-4.33302.5
Maryland BC3.612.44.823.2-7.23393.6
Atlantic 10ConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Temple13.32.722.75.318.8228.4
Xavier11.24.818.39.715.04511.1
Duquesne9.66.418.811.213.0617.7
Saint Louis9.46.618.49.612.5697.1
Dayton8.97.117.910.111.7838.0
Geo Wshgtn8.77.315.514.59.31169.5
Richmond8.27.816.313.79.61088.3
St Bonavent7.88.214.713.39.01247.9
St Josephs7.48.614.514.58.81309.1
U Mass6.99.114.113.96.81618.0
Rhode Island6.69.413.017.06.41668.6
Charlotte6.010.013.017.06.41688.2
La Salle4.611.411.319.73.52198.4
Fordham3.412.68.420.60.72778.1
ACCConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
N Carolina14.31.727.32.730.2212.5
Duke13.82.225.63.428.3313.4
Clemson9.76.319.58.516.83311.0
Miami (FL)8.97.118.910.116.73412.3
Florida St8.87.218.69.416.93112.0
NC State7.48.617.013.013.06012.3
Maryland6.89.216.211.813.85312.2
VA Tech6.89.215.112.912.96212.3
GA Tech6.49.614.713.310.69510.3
Virginia6.19.915.112.912.07511.3
Boston Col4.012.010.717.36.117110.9
Wake Forest3.212.89.718.35.119611.5
Atlantic SunConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Belmont17.10.926.33.720.0143.5
E Tenn St11.86.217.612.47.21553.2
Jacksonville11.07.014.714.35.81795.2
Lipscomb10.17.915.014.04.42093.1
N Florida9.09.013.817.22.72324.7
Mercer8.69.413.617.42.12443.6
Fla Gulf Cst6.012.010.219.8-2.03093.2
SC Upstate5.712.310.820.2-2.63182.0
Kennesaw St5.512.58.421.6-3.03214.5
Stetson5.212.87.820.2-3.43254.1
Big 12ConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Missouri12.35.723.07.020.51010.6
Texas A&M12.06.022.16.920.1139.1
Kansas11.86.220.48.619.71513.3
Baylor11.36.721.99.118.92110.3
Kansas St10.37.718.89.217.32711.7
Oklahoma St9.28.816.012.015.74011.9
Texas8.49.617.212.814.65013.1
Oklahoma6.711.314.213.811.97812.1
Iowa State5.013.013.417.69.211912.0
Texas Tech3.114.99.318.75.518511.6
Big EastConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Syracuse13.94.123.24.823.7512.3
Pittsburgh13.14.925.25.822.5711.5
Louisville12.95.123.87.222.3813.1
Connecticut11.96.121.16.920.31112.3
Marquette10.67.419.39.717.92612.9
Notre Dame10.27.819.610.417.22811.8
Cincinnati10.17.921.29.816.83210.2
Georgetown9.98.116.810.216.03812.1
W Virginia9.18.918.412.615.54112.9
Villanova8.89.216.611.415.04412.2
Seton Hall7.310.715.212.811.88010.9
S Florida6.611.414.615.411.28810.9
St Johns5.712.313.216.89.411313.3
Providence5.612.415.115.910.010410.2
Rutgers4.613.412.517.57.714311.2
DePaul3.614.410.117.95.718110.9
Big SkyConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Montana12.43.621.16.911.6852.0
Weber State11.24.817.88.29.31152.0
N Colorado9.16.913.912.15.71822.8
N Arizona8.87.215.013.05.31932.6
E Washingtn8.37.713.715.34.52083.4
Portland St6.89.213.615.42.02481.1
Montana St6.19.911.215.80.92711.9
Idaho State5.210.89.019.0-0.72904.1
Sac State4.012.09.018.0-2.93201.8
Big SouthConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
NC-Asheville13.05.018.38.710.7942.2
Coastal Car12.45.619.98.19.8106-0.3
Winthrop11.36.715.411.67.61443.2
VA Military11.36.717.19.98.11351.4
Charl South8.99.114.213.83.92141.3
Campbell8.010.013.716.33.12273.3
Liberty8.010.015.114.93.42221.2
Presbyterian7.310.711.816.22.12454.7
High Point6.811.211.516.51.22653.1
Gard-Webb6.511.511.518.51.12673.1
Radford5.512.59.519.5-0.92944.4
Big TenConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Ohio State14.43.626.05.025.0412.6
Purdue11.56.520.88.219.11912.1
Wisconsin11.56.521.48.619.31812.0
Michigan10.47.619.89.218.02510.6
Indiana9.78.320.110.917.13011.6
Northwestrn8.99.117.110.915.73912.1
Minnesota8.39.717.811.214.64812.2
Nebraska8.19.917.012.014.35111.5
Michigan St7.710.317.014.014.94612.7
Iowa7.410.617.613.413.45711.1
Illinois6.411.614.515.512.66513.3
Penn State3.714.310.719.37.314812.9
Big WestConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Lg Beach St12.23.817.29.811.8815.4
UCSB11.34.716.69.410.01014.1
Cal Poly10.06.016.711.37.81413.6
CS Fullerton7.38.714.613.43.42201.3
UC Riverside6.59.510.816.22.12463.3
UC Irvine6.39.710.115.91.72544.4
Pacific6.29.811.316.71.62573.2
Cal St Nrdge6.19.99.516.51.52614.0
UC Davis6.010.011.217.81.32643.7
CAAConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Geo Mason12.65.418.78.312.2736.3
Drexel12.35.718.98.110.8934.9
VCU12.15.917.710.311.0926.9
Old Dominion12.06.018.610.411.1897.2
James Mad10.77.317.211.89.21216.1
Northeastrn8.59.512.115.95.31926.3
Hofstra8.010.014.615.45.51866.3
Georgia St7.410.613.415.64.12125.5
NC-Wilmgton6.811.210.517.53.32246.8
Delaware6.711.310.817.22.82306.0
Wm & Mary6.111.910.819.22.52385.5
Towson4.813.28.220.80.72758.0
CUSAConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Memphis12.93.122.56.519.02010.4
Tulsa10.55.519.18.912.7647.7
Central FL9.46.618.48.612.5674.9
UAB9.16.917.311.712.0768.9
Marshall9.07.018.512.511.9798.8
Rice7.68.417.513.58.01363.6
S Mississippi7.38.716.112.99.11235.5
TX El Paso7.28.813.213.87.41478.3
Tulane6.49.616.713.36.21703.3
S Methodist5.910.113.614.45.21944.6
Houston5.510.513.815.24.72045.5
E Carolina5.110.913.915.15.41873.3
Horizon LeagueConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Butler12.85.219.710.313.3597.4
Detroit12.55.520.59.512.8635.5
Cleveland St11.56.518.511.511.2876.5
Valparaiso10.67.417.612.410.01035.2
WI-Milwkee8.99.115.015.07.51465.4
WI-Grn Bay8.29.812.715.36.41655.9
Wright State7.910.114.016.06.01746.9
Loyola-Chi7.710.313.614.45.71834.9
Youngs St6.111.911.316.73.22254.3
IL-Chicago3.714.38.719.3-0.82933.9
IndependentsConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Seattle----10.516.5-0.72891.7
Longwood----12.316.7-2.1311-1.2
CS Bakersfld----9.820.2-3.13220.9
IvyConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Harvard11.42.622.06.014.6494.0
Princeton8.85.217.912.18.91273.7
Yale7.76.316.012.06.91582.7
Cornell7.07.013.714.35.61844.7
U Penn6.67.413.817.24.82027.4
Columbia6.47.616.014.04.32102.2
Brown5.48.613.214.82.52373.2
Dartmouth2.611.46.421.6-3.43245.4
MAACConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Iona14.33.719.47.612.5715.0
Fairfield12.45.617.810.29.21205.2
Rider11.66.418.012.08.01374.9
Loyola-MD11.26.817.311.77.31494.1
Siena9.09.013.514.54.12134.6
Manhattan6.811.210.017.00.72764.7
St Peters6.811.29.719.30.62785.6
Canisius6.611.49.918.10.42814.7
Niagara5.912.19.720.3-0.72914.8
Marist5.412.68.819.2-1.63045.1
MACConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Kent State11.64.420.98.113.3585.1
Akron11.64.421.88.214.0525.4
W Michigan10.75.315.712.39.61106.7
Ball State10.45.618.29.89.11223.0
Buffalo10.06.015.810.210.3987.1
Ohio8.87.217.213.88.41345.9
Bowling Grn7.18.912.616.45.91756.6
Miami (OH)6.99.111.716.35.41887.7
E Michigan5.710.310.019.00.82725.1
Central Mich5.710.38.918.11.02685.3
N Illinois4.511.59.019.0-1.63053.6
Toledo3.013.09.120.9-4.43312.0
MEACConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Morgan St11.05.014.210.84.72032.4
Hampton10.06.014.112.92.42391.4
Savannah St9.76.315.015.01.72551.5
Coppin State9.76.315.313.72.0249-1.5
Delaware St9.46.613.713.31.3262-0.1
NC A&T8.77.314.216.80.0283-0.5
Beth-Cook8.08.013.116.9-1.2301-0.5
Norfolk St7.88.213.115.9-0.6288-0.2
NC Central7.58.510.416.6-1.23000.7
Florida A&M7.38.711.817.2-2.1310-0.3
S Car State6.19.910.519.5-3.53260.6
Howard4.711.36.922.1-6.53362.6
Maryland ES4.211.86.722.3-7.03381.6
MVCConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Wichita St13.24.820.26.815.2436.7
N Iowa11.16.918.911.112.0777.7
Creighton10.97.117.811.211.6848.0
Indiana St10.67.417.19.911.2866.4
Missouri St10.08.016.113.910.31007.7
Drake8.39.714.112.97.81406.6
Evansville7.210.812.715.36.31697.7
Bradley6.611.412.116.95.41898.4
Illinois St6.611.413.514.55.31916.3
S Illinois5.512.510.416.63.62176.2
Mountain WestConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
UNLV11.62.425.24.820.2126.9
New Mexico9.94.121.26.816.0376.5
San Diego St8.65.420.89.213.5555.6
Colorado St6.67.413.111.99.61098.4
Boise State5.68.414.814.27.51457.1
Air Force5.48.614.511.57.21544.4
TX Christian5.28.813.514.56.91606.9
Wyoming3.011.012.317.72.22424.7
NortheastConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
LIU-Brooklyn13.44.620.18.98.81282.2
Rob Morris13.44.619.511.58.51324.0
Central Conn11.36.716.711.35.81772.6
Wagner10.57.514.413.64.12113.8
Quinnipiac9.78.314.914.13.52182.8
Mt St Marys9.09.012.916.11.92523.4
Sacred Hrt8.99.113.916.12.42403.4
St Fran (NY)8.79.313.315.71.52592.1
Monmouth7.110.98.919.1-0.82925.6
St Fran (PA)7.110.910.019.0-1.22993.8
Bryant5.512.57.722.3-3.13234.4
F Dickinson3.514.55.123.9-6.83373.9
Ohio ValleyConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Austin Peay12.73.319.910.112.5705.5
TN Tech10.85.218.010.08.41332.1
Murray St10.55.517.09.08.51311.0
Morehead St10.25.818.111.97.31501.3
TN State9.66.416.311.77.01572.7
E Illinois7.48.613.914.11.82530.4
SE Missouri6.89.212.715.30.82731.2
E Kentucky6.89.213.216.81.72561.1
Jksnville St5.510.511.316.7-1.73060.6
TN Martin5.310.710.319.7-1.12962.8
SIU Edward2.413.65.419.6-7.73401.3
Pac-12ConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Washington13.05.022.27.818.32410.5
California12.15.921.78.316.53510.1
Arizona12.15.921.09.017.22911.7
Wash State10.67.418.49.614.6478.5
UCLA10.57.520.18.915.2429.0
Stanford10.27.817.99.113.5568.8
Oregon7.910.115.914.110.69610.3
Colorado7.310.713.413.69.41148.7
Arizona St6.711.313.114.99.012611.0
USC6.211.812.018.09.012512.5
Utah5.712.311.416.67.11569.2
Oregon St5.712.313.915.17.31517.6
PatriotConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Bucknell10.53.519.810.29.31183.6
Lehigh8.94.117.510.57.21532.0
Holy Cross7.66.413.515.53.72164.5
American6.77.313.215.82.22433.3
Lafayette6.46.612.815.22.32413.4
Army5.78.313.114.90.32820.8
Navy4.99.110.517.5-1.23021.8
Colgate4.49.69.519.5-2.23133.3
SECConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
EastWLWLRatingRankSOS
Kentucky14.81.228.02.030.7111.3
Vanderbilt12.04.024.25.823.2611.9
Florida11.44.623.97.121.8912.0
Alabama10.75.319.48.616.43611.0
Mississippi8.17.916.311.711.7829.0
Georgia6.79.315.413.612.17412.3
Arkansas6.49.617.113.98.81298.6
Tennessee5.810.212.716.310.39713.6
S Carolina5.710.314.314.710.39912.1
LSU5.310.711.416.66.716210.2
Miss State4.811.212.317.75.818010.4
Auburn4.411.611.716.35.01989.1
SouthernConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
NorthWLWLRatingRankSOS
W Carolina10.77.315.914.16.01733.3
App State10.17.914.713.35.01973.3
Chattanooga9.18.915.914.13.72151.6
Elon8.89.213.715.33.22263.0
NC-Grnsboro7.410.610.118.91.32635.5
Samford5.812.210.218.8-1.02953.1
SouthWLWLRatingRankSOS
Davidson14.53.520.37.712.6664.4
Col Charlestn13.74.318.68.411.0905.6
Wofford9.38.714.414.64.52072.7
Furman8.010.013.215.82.62362.5
GA Southern5.412.68.819.2-1.93072.2
Citadel5.112.98.419.6-2.43143.1
SouthlandConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
EastWLWLRatingRankSOS
Nicholls St11.64.419.38.79.41121.1
Lamar11.05.018.411.67.81393.2
SE Louisiana7.88.214.713.32.8231-0.4
McNeese St7.38.712.715.31.92510.5
NW State6.89.213.116.91.02690.9
Central Ark3.212.87.620.4-5.23321.1
WestWLWLRatingRankSOS
TX-Arlington10.65.418.110.97.21522.6
Ste F Austin9.86.218.410.65.9176-1.4
TX-San Ant9.07.014.411.64.72052.1
Sam Hous St8.17.915.514.53.42210.3
Texas State6.010.012.715.3-0.1284-0.6
TX A&M-CC4.811.27.420.6-2.23125.7
SWACConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Alabama St12.15.915.914.1-0.6287-2.7
TX Southern11.66.412.817.2-1.43030.7
Jackson St11.26.813.017.0-2.03080.7
Miss Val St10.87.211.517.5-2.63152.0
Alab A&M9.98.112.314.7-4.0328-3.2
Ark Pine Bl8.79.39.117.9-5.7333-0.1
Prairie View8.59.512.817.2-5.9334-3.7
Grambling St6.411.66.721.3-9.0341-0.4
Alcorn State5.812.29.020.0-9.9343-3.3
Southern5.013.08.721.3-11.2344-3.7
SummitConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Oral Roberts14.13.919.37.713.7546.4
Oakland12.65.419.410.611.0915.0
IUPUI11.96.119.610.49.81073.4
S Dakota St11.66.418.711.39.31173.3
N Dakota St9.58.515.212.86.01723.0
IPFW8.79.314.713.34.82001.7
South Dakota6.711.311.515.51.62581.5
S Utah6.111.911.216.80.72742.7
UMKC5.013.09.319.7-1.12983.8
W Illinois3.614.49.019.0-3.73270.8
Sun BeltConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
EastWLWLRatingRankSOS
Fla Atlantic11.44.616.912.17.91384.1
Middle Tenn10.25.815.213.85.81784.7
W Kentucky8.27.812.314.72.62344.9
S Alabama6.79.311.915.10.52801.7
Florida Intl6.39.79.215.8-0.22853.1
Troy5.910.19.317.7-1.12973.1
WestWLWLRatingRankSOS
Denver10.65.417.311.76.41674.1
Arkansas St8.57.514.716.33.12283.3
North Texas8.37.715.413.62.7233-0.4
LA Lafayette7.98.113.017.02.12473.4
AR Lit Rock7.18.911.818.20.92704.1
LA Monroe5.011.07.921.1-2.63174.5
WCCConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
St Marys12.83.223.54.519.6165.0
Gonzaga12.73.323.55.519.61710.0
BYU12.23.822.76.318.3237.6
San Fransco7.98.115.610.410.01026.4
Santa Clara7.68.413.711.39.51117.2
Portland6.010.010.718.36.61639.9
Loyola Mymt5.410.612.716.35.41906.7
Pepperdine4.012.09.418.62.62357.3
San Diego3.312.79.919.11.12666.0
WACConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Nevada9.94.120.17.912.5684.2
Utah State9.84.221.78.312.3724.6
N Mex State8.55.519.010.09.91053.2
Hawaii6.97.115.911.16.91593.5
San Jose St5.88.213.815.24.91995.0
Idaho5.78.313.615.44.82013.9
Fresno St5.68.411.315.74.62065.9
LA Tech4.010.012.217.81.52603.0
Great WestConferenceOverallProjected Ratings
TeamWLWLRatingRankSOS
Utah Val St7.32.719.210.83.4223-3.6
North Dakota6.33.715.613.40.6279-3.0
NJIT5.84.215.813.2-0.5286-3.9
TX-Pan Am4.95.112.517.5-2.7319-1.1
Houston Bap3.56.58.720.3-6.4335-0.1
Chicago St2.27.85.924.1-9.93421.7

How We Ranked The Teams

Most of you can probably stop reading now, as we’re done with the bragging rights portion of the article. But for those who are interested in why teams are ranked the way they are, we thought we’d take a second to explain our method.

We looked back at each of the past five years, and compiled several factors for each team, heading into each season:

We then used linear regression to find out how those factors related to a team’s final power rating, and used the results of the regression to project ratings for this season. It’s a pretty simple concept; the hard part is coming up with the data to throw into the regression. Recruiting and roster info, especially, is a pain.

Here’s a summary of what we found:

  • Last year’s predictive rating is very important. (duh)
  • Predictive ratings from 2 through 5 years ago are significant, but they don’t make a huge difference.
  • Returning offense is more important than returning defense, by a decent margin. (This is probably because our returning production values are based on box score stats, which do a better job of capturing offensive value than they do capturing defensive value.)
  • Having a couple elite recruits (top 15) is far more important than stockpiling top-100 or top-50 players.

Hopefully that should help you understand why teams are rated where they are.  Feel free to ask us about specific teams in the comments section.

  • Fancy

    The day a Tom Izzo coached Michigan State finishes 9th in the Big Ten (12), is the day pigs fly out of my ass.  Your algorithm should be modified to include the following provision:  IF MSU < 7th in B10  THEN self destruct.

  • Nick

    NC State is better than Miami.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Hey guys, sorry for the slow response. There will definitely be some teams we miss on (Michigan State may be one of them), but if you go back and check at the end of the season, my guess is you’ll find for the most part our picks that were out of whack with the general consensus will end up being right more often than wrong. For example, we’re looking pretty good for leaving UCLA out of our top 25, when the AP had them 17th.

    Also, we forgot to mention that these are predictions for how good teams will be at the end of the year, not the beginning. So expect some growing pains at the start for some of the teams with inexperienced lineups (Kentucky, Kansas).

  • Beijingbob

    How quality teams like Harvard and UCF can be totally ignored is beyond my comprehension yet all you sports jocks do it every year then spend the rest of the year making excuses for your poor choices.  At the end of the year you will have no more than 14 teams remaining in your initial top 25 so why not get off your lazy bums and find those teams that deserve recognition no matter the conference.  Be bold and your long term rewards will be beyond your dreams. Hint, hint, you will not find a top 25 in the PAC 12

  • Beijingbob

    I truly believe that it is easier to criticize someone else’s prediction than to make my own. So now I will make a case for some highly overlooked teams that have earned an equal  right to recognition. And, I will go one step further by stating that more of the 7 teams I mention below will show up on the Feb. 2012 Top 25 than your following 7 picks: WA, Memphis, UNLV, UConn, Mich., Gonzaga and St. Mary’s. 

    So have a look at Harvard, Creighton, St. Loius, Cleveland St., Tulane, Murray St., and Coastal Carolina for you’ll get more face by touting them now then you will by touting the same old Division I losers that everyone else hangs onto.

    And finally, please, please let’s not have another year of ‘Look out for Ohio St.”.  Just face it, they will not win the NCAA.  They will do well to win the Big 10 for the 3rd. straight year.
    There are 344 teams vying for second place at the Dance..  UNC will win and no one will remember who was second.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Bob — Thanks for actually making your own predictions. I should point out, however, that of the 7 of our picks you mention, zero of them are in the CURRENT top 25 of the New Rankings used in this post. See:
    http://www.teamrankings.com/ncaa-basketball/ranking/predictive-by-other

    Of your 7 teams, Creighton and St. Louis are currently in our top 25. So yes, we agree with you that more of your 7 will be in the top 25 at year’s end.Then again, we made these predictions over 2 weeks ago, before your list pulled a bunch of upsets. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. If you’d like to name 7 teams in our current top 25 that you think your group will outperform, that would probably be a much fairer comparison.

    At any rate, thanks for your very thoughtful response. There are obviously teams on this list that we’re wrong on, but these are totally algorithmic ratings, driven only by what qualities we’ve found to be correlated with success in the past. We’re not out there scouting teams. We’re just telling you which teams have those qualities that have proven to be predictive of future success.

    I’m sure we’ve missed something, and we’re not pretending these are the gospel. But please compare our ratings to, say, the preseason top 25, or some other preseason ratings. We think they’ll stack up adequately, and they’ll certainly be useful for their intended purpose — providing a starting point for team ratings, so that all teams aren’t considered either A) equal or B) exactly the same as last year, at the beginning of the season.

  • Beijingbob

    David,  I dropped a few names to contrast what the ho hum typical sports pundit passes on as credible. I am not here to compete with you, but rather to work with you in finding/developing the most accurate assessment tools.  You folks clearly are not main stream so there is hope for you. I write a personal column on NCAA Hoops every year and send to a few friends for the fun of it. Been doing this for over 25 years now and make the main stream folks look like amateurs. I have tendered wagering offers to Vitale et. al. since 1995 and they turn me down consistently as they really do not know and will never know as long as they have love affairs with certain teams.  I use what I call my 4 X 4 ranking as I see no need to list 25 teams. A team wins their way on the 4 X 4 and loses their way off. Here is the latest 4X4 sent out last night:
    Here is the revised 4 X 4 and a hint at how it will work all year. Beat one of my teams and if you are undefeated you take their spot. If you are not undefeated the next in line moves up.For example, UCF beat UConn and automatically took over the #7 spot. Then on Friday Harvard beat UCF and replaced them as the #7 selection. UNLV spanked UNC and knocked them off the board for now but I still predict the road to the Dance Crown will go through Chapel Hill 1. UNLV who beat UNC
    2. Syracuse
    3. Vanderbilt
    4. Duke …………………….. 5. Kentucky
    6. Louisville
    7. Harvard who beat UCF who beat UConn
    8. Ohio State
    Most rating folks are working with skewed stats and/or assumptions.  For example, POWER RATINGS, and this is one of my biggest complaints, are next to impossible to determine with any degree of accuracy.  Right now Sagarin has the Big Ten rated #1.  This is preposterous.  The Big 10 (12 teams) are a collective 63-11 to date. Among the 11 loses are 5 to ranked teams. Among the 63 wins are a mere 2 over ranked teams (then #8 Florida losing to OSU and then #8 Memphis losing to Michigan). So do the math, the Big 10 has played 74 games with 7 of those games versus ranked teams and 67 against cupcakes. Of the 7 against ranked teams they are a collective 2-5. Now by what mathmatical measure does this make the Big Ten the strongest conference in NCAA hoops? Hmm??We need go no further then comparing the entire Big Ten’s record to that of Duke. Duke has played 7 games, won all 7, six of their wins were versus ranked teams. So just Duke alone has had three times more wins against ranked teams than the entire 12 teams in the Big Ten. Double Hmm!! or Hmm!! Hmm!! Here is how I have ranked the major conferences to date (by power):
    1. Big East  2. ACC
    3. SEC
    4. Big 12
    5. Big 10
    6. Pac 12 I expect this will be another year that teams from the mid-major conferences will play havoc at the Dance. Few if any will get much pre-Dance press but there is power to spare among these no-name conferences and the notables that pay no heed will go home early wondering what hit them.Parity is here to stay in college hoops so look for teams like Harvard, St. Louis, Xavier, Creighton Marshall, Tulane, Murray St., North Dakota State, Cleveland State, San Diego St., Missouri St., Charleston, New Mexico State and Middle Tennessee to show up in the Sweet 16. My favorite at this stage of the season is Harvard. I am shocked they did not get ranked this week but the sports pundits are still in love with teams from the Major conferences and will put a few of them on life support before supporting a team like Harvard.
     

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Interesting concept. It sounds like you basically have 8 ‘title belts’ that get passed around based on head to head competitions.

  • Beijingbob

    Hello David,
    I took your invitation and viewed your current rankings.  Now I ask you to take a closer look at them and tell me how on earth your system finds 5 teams from the Big 10 that make your top 20??  that is 25% of the top 20 and all from a conference that cannot beat  the likes of Oregon, Dayton, Creighton, Campbell and St. Joseph.  Please David, look for the flaw in your rating system because one exists and it is major. Conferences that play quality teams in the pre-season are more likely to produce threats then conferences that play nothing but Division II cupcakes. Somehow your rating system needs to incorporate this.  I hope you do not rely on Sagarin as it is a huge trap to fall into.

  • http://www.teamrankings.com/ David Hess

    Bob — No, we don’t rely on Sagarin, we produce our own ratings:
    http://www.teamrankings.com/ncb/rankings
    http://www.teamrankings.com/ncb/new-rankings

    I’m not sure why you are lumping teams by conference at this point. With no conference games played yet, there is nothing to bind those teams together other than a name. Nebraska’s loss to Oregon (for example) has next to nothing to do with Wisconsin’s or Ohio State’s ratings at this point.