NCAA Basketball Rankings: January 2, 2008

It’s been a few weeks since I did one of these, so here’s where I think the D-I teams stand at this point:

[TABLE=41]

Next 10 teams, in alphabetical order: Dayton, Drake, Gonzaga, Kansas State, Louisville, Miami (FL), Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, USC, Vanderbilt

I know Vandy’s undefeated, but I’m waiting until they start playing decent opponents to put them in the top 25.  It took them 2 OTs to beat Pomeroy’s #66 team, South Alabama, though they legitimately beat 6-6 Georgia Tech.

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5 thoughts on “NCAA Basketball Rankings: January 2, 2008

  1. I’m not sure I understand the rationale of penalizing Vanderbilt for playing a relatively weak schedule, yet Washington State is #9.

    The one noteworthy difference is that Washington State can’t get anyone to play them in Pullman since it’s in such a remote location. Other than the Gonzaga win (and one over a Baylor team who Scott Drew will eventually turn into a decent team), I really don’t see what decent opponents they’ve played.

    In terms of pure talent, Washington State is likely in the top #5, but if the rankings are weighted heavily towards Strength of Schedule, I don’t understand why Washington State isn’t penalized in the rankings. Also if the rankings are still weighted to last year’s performance, remember Vanderbilt beat Washington State in 20T and was a questionable call away from beating Georgetown.

    South Alabama should win the Sun Belt. They are loaded with talented transfers. With the way they shot against Vanderbilt, they could have beat almost any team in the country that night.

    Also, even as a Xavier alum, I will admit that the Muskies are not even the best Catholic University basketball team in the state of Ohio right now. They really shouldn’t be ranked.

  2. I see what you’re saying about Vandy vs. Washington State. I suppose I’m penalizing them for not being highly-touted coming into the year, which may or may not be fair based on that game from last year. I guess my reasoning is basically the “instant replay” idea of seeing indisputable evidence to overturn my previous opinion, which was certainly not “Vandy is a top 25 team.”

    It’s only partially their fault for not playing anyone of consequence. Washington State has managed to beat a #23 Gonzaga team and a #55 Baylor team, both on the road, merely reinforcing the belief that they are a solid team.

    These are probably small distinctions to be making between a team I have at #9 and one I left unranked, though, and I wouldn’t definitively say they’re fair to either team. Fortunately for all of us, my rankings don’t actually decide anything.

  3. It’s the same question that comes up with any set of rankings for any sport:

    Are you ranking teams by how good you think they are, or by where they deserve to be ranked based only on the merits of their season? (Or, like the AP poll, based on some poorly defined combination of the two ideas?)

    It sounds like you’re taking the first approach, which gives the rankings a clearly defined meaning (you think #16 would beat #17 on a neutral court if they played tonight), but of course forces them to be partially subjective.

  4. Your assumption is correct. The idea is to have more of a power ranking than an achievement ranking. That’s an important distinction to make, since I refer to Pomeroy’s rankings a lot, and his seem to be more achievement-oriented (as in, they’re based only on results of games so far this year, with no subjectivity). I’ll defer to his rankings on that front.

    Ideally, the two rankings would merge as the number of games played increases (since we have learned more – or at least all we will learn – about the teams). Power rankings seem more relevant for discussion, though, or for pretty much any purpose other than deciding who deserves to play in the NCAA tournament.

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