February 6, 2012 - by David Hess
The newest AP and Coaches polls were released today, with the top 5 in both polls remaining unchanged.
Take a look at our College Basketball Polls Comparison page, and you’ll see that the top 5 most underrated and overrated schools according to our NCAA basketball predictive power ratings also contain some familiar faces.
Last week we highlighted Mississippi State as the most overrated team in the land, and pointed out that Indiana was among the more underrated squads, along with St. Mary’s and Wisconsin. Here are the results for those highlighted teams over the past seven days:
St. Mary’s: Won vs San Diego
Wisconsin: Won at Penn State, Lost vs Ohio St
Indiana: Lost at Michigan, Won at Purdue
Mississippi State: Won vs Auburn
At first it might look like the Underrateds had a worse week — they did, after all, lose 2 of their 6 games. But closer inspection reveals that Indiana was actually an underdog in both their games — they beat expectations in their 17-point road win over Purdue, and their loss to Michigan was a forgivable one away from home against a top 25 team. Likewise, Wisconsin’s loss to Ohio State was as an underdog, and certainly nothing to be embarrassed about.
On the other hand, Mississippi State squeaked by #123 Auburn at home by only three points in a game where they were favored by 11.5.
The Bulldogs remain the most overrated team in America, though the San Diego State Aztecs are close behind. A bit less overrated, but still getting more respect than they deserve, are the Murray State Racers. Does anybody really think the Racers are better than Michigan State (for example)?
People’s inflated opinions of the Aztecs can be explained fairly simply. SDSU is 8-1 in games decided by 5 points or less, and ranks #1 in the nation in our Luck Rankings. The Luck Rankings measure how many extra wins a team has recorded compared to what we’d expect given their predictive rating — or how badly we’re underrating them, depending on who you ask.
San Diego State also leads the Mountain West by a game thanks to a two-point home win over UNLV. The Runnin’ Rebels will get a chance to even up the conference race next weekend, as they host the Aztecs on Saturday.
Right behind SDSU in the Luck Rankings are the Racers of Murray State.
Everyone knows that Murray State is the lone remaining unbeaten team, and so they assume the Racers must be dominating the Ohio Valley Conference.
They are in first, yes, but they’ve won by double digits barely half the time against an in-conference strength of schedule that ranks only 303rd-toughest. They’ve also been forced to come back from halftime deficits twice in the last five games, against #212 Morehead State and #246 SE Missouri.
We’re not saying the Racers are a bad team, but they aren’t one of the ten best in Division I basketball.
To see our complete list of underrated and overrated teams, be sure to check out the College Basketball Polls Comparison page.
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