Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Completely Irrelevant RPI Data (To the Pollsters) 3-04-08

So, who does better in determining the strength of teams? Sports writers? The secretaries for college basketball coaches? The RPI? Completely Irrelevant RPI Data is here to help you decide. And as always, do not miss Goro’s Rants.

The Hall of Shame

[Team Record Conference (AP ranking, Espn/USA ranking, RPI ranking) Difference between poll average and RPI]

#1 Davidson 23-6 Southern (25,28, 44) +17.5

Davidson vaults into first place in this weeks’ Hall of Shame out of nowhere. Nowhere is the operative word, as this is a team which should be nowhere close to the top 25. While Davidson has won 19 straight games, there are dozens of teams who would win THOSE 19 straight games. Davidson’s BEST win this year was at #116 Georgia Southern, and Davidson boasts a perfectly awful 0-5 record versus the RPI top 100. The foolishness of this ranking is perhaps best illustrated by comparison with South Alabama, another team from outside the top conferences which has finished well (23-2). Not only does South Alabama have one less loss, they also have a 3-2 record versus the RPI top 50, with its wins including a home tilt against Mississippi State and a win AT Western Kentucky. Somehow, however, Davidson managed 101 votes in the two polls this week compared to South Alabama’s 30.

#2 Purdue 23-6 B10 (15,15, 28) +13

Purdue maintains its #2 spot in the Hall of Shame after the pollsters rewarded its wins against a pedestrian Minnesota team, and an awful Northwestern team with an average 2.5 spot RISE in the polls. I have said it before, and I will say it again. The Big 10 just is not that good this year. Beyond a couple wins against Texas, Big 10 teams had a distinctly undistinguished out of conference record, and Purdue is a classic example. Not only was Purdue defeated by #154 Iowa State on a neutral court, but they also lost AT HOME to #201 Wofford.

#3 Mississippi State 20-8 SEC (27,25, 37) +11

Everyone knows that the top team in the SEC West deserves a ranking. Well, no. But that is the only sort of logic that could yield votes for a team which may be NCAA-worthy, but certainly is not ranking-worthy. Mississippi State has gone 2-7 versus the RPI top 50, and, like most teams in the Hall of Shame, served up the patsies in out of conference play. These included #187 Murray State, #216 Southeastern Louisiana, #217 Tennessee Martin, #277 Texas A&M Corpus Christi, #306 Loyola Marymount, and #329 Louisiana Tech, which boasts a 4-23 record this year.

#4 Stanford 24-4 P10 (7,7, 17) +10

Stanford slips from the fourth to the first spot in this weeks’ Hall of Shame after a good home win against Washington State improved its RPI more than its ranking. But Stanford is not top ten material - at least four teams, Xavier, Wisconsin, Georgetown, and Texas deserve to be ranked higher. This will be established when Stanford loses at UCLA on Thursday, and struggles on the road at USC on Saturday. Note, as well, the patsies which Stanford served up for home consumption, yielding them the #299 Strength of Schedule out of 341 teams: #193 Yale; #189 Santa Clara; #224 Northwestern State; #225 Fresno State; #267 Colorado State; #307 Harvard. They rounded this off with #335 Sacramento State, a 4-24 team whose best win came by one point, at home, against #227 Montana State.

#5 Gonzaga 23-6 WCC (22,23, 31) +8.5

Gonzaga slipped a couple spots, but retains its spot in this weeks Hall of Shame after it solidified its spot in the rankings by defeating St. Mary’s at home. This is Gonzaga’s first significant victory since, let me check, need to do some more checking, oh that’s right, I have to go way back to December 1. Since then, it has been developing a shiny record based on wins against patsies while losing to the quality teams it faced. This team is NCAA-worthy but not ranking-worthy, and at some point the afterglow from the Elite 8 run NINE years ago needs to wear off. . .

Dropped from rankings:
Indiana –1.5; St. Mary’s (now unranked)

The House of Pain

[Team Record Conference (AP ranking, Espn/USA ranking, RPI ranking) Difference between poll average and RPI]

#1 Arizona 17-10 P10 (NR,NR, 25) –14.5

Arizona retains its top spot in the House of Pain, but certainly did not deserve any votes in the polls either this week after two home losses. Given Arizona’s 5-7 record versus the RPI top 50, this will be a VERY interesting case for the selection committee. If Arizona does not pick up road wins this week and bring its record up to .500 in the Pac 10, Arizona could very well be NIT bound.

As an editorial comment, it is interesting that while the Hall of Shame continues to be full of extremely over-rated teams, the candidates for the House of Shame continue to get weaker each week.

#2-T Vanderbilt 24-5 SEC (16,16, 10) –6

Wins against #1 teams like Tennessee are typically rewarded. Even if they are followed up with tough losses on the road against tough opponents like Arkansas. That is, unless you are Vanderbilt. Is this revenge from the pollsters for the principled decision by Vanderbilt to dissolve its athletics department and ensure that it does, in fact, field STUDENT-athletes? Apparently no school without an Athletic Director deserves to be in the top 15. . .

#2-T Clemson 21-7 ACC (24,26, 19) –6

As predicted, Clemson did, indeed climb into the rankings after defeating Miami. The fact that they followed this up by defeating Maryland on the road means that they SHOULD have climbed much further than they did.

#4 Drake 25-4 MVC (20,21, 15) –5.5

Drake finished the regular season 3-3, which certainly qualifies as a slump after starting 22-1. We cannot, however, lose sight of the fact that Drake possesses a spectacular 6-2 record versus the top 50, which is equaled or surpassed by only ten other teams. When one considers that they recently knocked off Butler (#14,#12) on the road, a team with a mere 2-1 record versus the top 50, it is clear that Drake is under-rated.

#5 Pittsburgh 21-9 BE (29,29, 24) –5

Pittsburgh becomes the weakest ever resident of the Hall of Shame. Frankly they are not hard done by being left out of the top 25 after losing 4 of their last 6 and 7 of their last 13.

Dropped from Rankings: South Alabama (out of RPI top 25)

Average Conference (or State or Category) Bias:

Media Darlings: +11 (Butler, Gonzaga, Davidson)
Teams from Indiana: +5.1 (Butler, Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame)
All Others: +3.1 (Memphis, Xavier, Butler, Drake, Gonzaga, Brigham Young, Davidson)
Big 10: +1.3 (Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State, Indiana)
SEC: +.7 (Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State)
Pac 10: -.1 (UCLA, Stanford, Washington State, Arizona)
Big 12: -.3 (Kansas, Texas)
Big East: -1.7 (Georgetown, Louisville, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Marquette, Pittsburgh)
ACC: -1.8 (North Carolina, Duke, Clemson)

The trend in the big conferences is once again towards less significant biases. The Big 10 nearly fell into line this week, with only Purdue now amongst the substantially over-rated. The Hoosier love-fest still continues, although is has been slightly muted by the decline of Indiana (the team). With Davidson joining the rankings this week, a new small conference ‘Media Darlings’ category is now warranted.

Teams with closest correlation between ranking and RPI:

1-T. Memphis, Connecticut, Washington State (-.5 )
4-T. Duke, Louisville, Indiana (-1.5)

Teams included in analysis:

[Any team in the top 25 of the AP Poll, the Coaches Poll, or the RPI.]

North Carolina 27-2; ACC Memphis 28-1 CUSA; UCLA 26-3 P10; Tennessee 26-3 SEC; Kansas 26-3 B12; Duke 25-3 ACC; Stanford 24-4 P10; Wisconsin 24-4 B10; Texas 24-5 B12; Xavier 25-4 A10; Georgetown 24-4 BE; Louisville 24-6 BE; Butler 27-3 HORZ; Connecticut 23-6 BE; Purdue 23-6 B10; Vanderbilt 24-5 SEC; Michigan State 23-6 B10; Indiana 24-5 B10; Notre Dame 22-6 BE; Drake 25-4 MVC; Marquette 21-7 BE; Gonzaga 23-6 WCC; Washington State 22-7 P10; Clemson 21-7 ACC; Brigham Young 23-6 MWC; Mississippi State 20-8 SEC; Davidson 23-6 Southern; Pittsburgh 21-9 BE; Arizona 17-12 P10.


Dave said...

You're ridiculous.

Profane said...


#1 I apologize for the gumption to speak the truth about your beloved Davidson.

#2 Do not bother commenting here again unless you have something constructive to say.

Kool-Aid Man said...


Oh yeah!

Anonymous said...

Davidson took the floor 20 times twice each, home and away against opponents and received their best shots in hostile environment. Yet you have the "gumption" to dismiss a team that has done something no one else has ever been able to do? You are ridiculous.

Profane said...


I believe the kool-aid man said it all.

Profane said...

Note to anonymous. Irrelevant and/or unconstructive comments will be removed. Comments which represent ad hominem attacks will be removed. And if a defamatory remark is added to an ad hominem attack (as occurred in your latest comment) then, naturally, it will be removed.