Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Torvik's Pre-Season Top 40

Here it is, my first annual (and likely last annual) preseason top 40 college basketball ranking extravaganza.

This ranking was created with a spreadsheet, and I did not exercise any discretion or judgment in coming up with the rankings. Of course, I did exercise a lot of discretion in coming up with my "model." The model was the result of a lot of research I did on the Badgers last spring, using the KenPom data as a starting point. This is the result of taking that "research" and universalizing it to college basketball as a whole. I also added in some adjustments for big recruits (top 10 RSCI) and transfers. I'm sure I missed some transfers, but I did my best.

One caveat: I did not rank every team. I took last year's final top 75 teams from the Pomeroy ratings, adding in major conference teams ranked 75-100 and then, just for fun, added Harvard. It may be that there are teams outside last year's top 100 that my model would have in the top 40. I doubt it, but it's possible.

Well, here it is:

UPDATE: I found a few errors and a couple other significant transfers, which effect the list somewhat. Most notably, Louisville moves up to #2 after accounting for a JUCO transfer. (Note: as other mistakes or transfers are discovered, I'll just update this version below.)

Rank Team
1 Florida
2 Louisville
3 Duke
4 Michigan St.
5 Ohio St.
6 Kentucky
7 Gonzaga
8 Connecticut
9 Wisconsin
10 North Carolina
11 Michigan
12 Virginia
13 Wichita St.
14 St. Louis
15 Georgetown
16 Missouri
17 Vanderbilt
18 Kansas
19 Indiana
20 Villanova
21 Memphis
22 Syracuse
23 Arizona
24 Oklahoma St.
25 Baylor
26 Iowa
27 Purdue
28 Stanford
29 St. Mary's
30 Notre Dame
31 VCU
32 Creighton
33 New Mexico
34 Pittsburgh
36 Marquette
37 Oregon
38 Texas
39 San Diego St.
40 Harvard

*Update: another significant error I discovered that affects Wisconsin, because I had essentially double-counter Josh Gasser's return. Oops. Drops them from 7th to 10th.

Original rankings:

Rank Team
1 Florida
2 Duke
3 Michigan St.
4 Ohio St.
5 Kentucky
6 Louisville
7 Wisconsin
8 Gonzaga
9 Connecticut
10 Georgetown
11 North Carolina
12 Michigan
13 Virginia
14 St. Louis
15 Vanderbilt
16 Kansas
17 Wichita St.
18 Indiana
19 Villanova
20 Memphis
21 Syracuse
22 Arizona
23 Missouri
24 Oklahoma St.
25 Baylor
26 Iowa
27 Stanford
28 St. Mary's
29 Notre Dame
30 VCU
31 Creighton
32 New Mexico
33 Marquette
34 Purdue
35 Pittsburgh
37 Texas
38 San Diego St.
39 Harvard
40 Alabama


  1. You mistyped Marquette as Wisconsin.

    1. The Model is incapable of such fundamental errors.

    2. For what it's worth, the Marquette / Wisconsin spread is mostly explained by their respective Kenpom ratings over the last three years, which are a major input in the model. Marquette's average final Kenpom rating is 26 and Wisconsin's is 8. Most people think Wisconsin is overrated in those ratings, and Marquette has usually outperformed its rating in the postseason.

    3. Also, re Marquette, I think the loss of Vander Blue is being downplayed. If you add back his numbers into the Model, Marquette moves up to 27th. Without him, they are going to be relying big time on this freshman class. They've got three good recruits coming in, but none of them is a sure thing.

  2. Nice work Torvik.

    I don't know that these rankings will look much different than many other preseason rankings. I'm sure that UW won't be #7 in many, but UW will be in the top 20 in most. When I look at rankings in the preseason or different methodology rankings I just look for anomalies. Is there something there that I am missing that someone else sees? Without ever seeing these teams play it's hard to quibble with where these teams ended up in your rankings within about 10 spots. Looking at the teams I know the best, (the Big Ten teams) they all fit in about exactly where I thought they would, so the methodology seems pretty good.

    I wanted to ask if Florida Gulf Coast was one of the teams that was rated, and if so where did they end up?

    1. Thanks.

      No, FGCU was not rated. They were 89 in Kenpom and I figured since they lost their coach it wasn't worth it. But I will plug them in and see what happens. Looks like they lost only one senior.

    2. Now that I've put the other Big Ten team (Northwestern, Penn State, and Nebraska) into the model, I can confirm that FGCU would be rated 13th if it were in the Big Ten.

  3. FGCU would rank 86th out of 89 teams rated. Ahead of Stephen F. Austin, Southern Cal, and Valpo. Of course, Southern Cal is where their coach went...