Number three

1. Ohio State (29) 26-3 772 2. UCLA (2) 25-3 742 3. Kansas 25-4 680 4. Florida 25-4 646 5. Wisconsin 26-4 628 6. Texas A&M 24-4 608 7. Memphis 25-3 607 8. North Carolina 24-5 584 9. Nevada 26-2 526 10. Georgetown 22-5 515 11. Southern Illinois 25-5 451 12. Pittsburgh 24-5 447 13. Washington State 23-5 412 14. Duke 22-7 303 15. Texas 21-7 272 16. Butler 26-5 222 17. Notre Dame 22-6 217 18. Oregon 22-7 181 19. Louisville 21-8 170 20. Air Force 23-6 141 21. Marquette 22-8 137 21. Virginia Tech 20-8 137 23. Vanderbilt 19-9 100 24. USC 21-8 90 25. Virginia 19-8 86

UNC dropped to 8th?

UPDATE: AP Poll below. UT is 15th in both polls.

1. Ohio State (62) 26-3 1,786 2. UCLA (10) 25-3 1,729 3. Kansas 25-4 1,580 4. Wisconsin 26-4 1,503 5. Florida 25-4 1,488 6. Memphis 25-3 1,422 7. Texas A&M 24-4 1,408 8. North Carolina 24-5 1,381 9. Georgetown 22-5 1,225 10. Nevada 26-2 1,160 11. Southern Illinois 25-5 1,057 12. Pittsburgh 24-5 984 13. Washington State 23-5 974 14. Duke 22-7 775 15. Texas 21-7 708 16. Louisville 21-8 653 17. Oregon 22-7 466 18. Butler 26-5 457 19. Vanderbilt 19-9 317 20. Marquette 22-8 299 21. Virginia Tech 20-8 293 22. Notre Dame 22-6 279 23. USC 21-8 254 24. Maryland 22-7 247 25. Air Force 23-6 236

Rankings tomorrow

This post will be good for about 15 hours, so get while the getting is good. A quick and dirty projection of next week's rankings.

1. Wisconsin - Lost...twice...and lost a player. Next week: 6th

2. Ohio State - Nearly peed the bed against Penn State...again...beat a Wisconsin team missing its leading rebounder by a point at home. Next week: moving to their rightful position as the greatest team in all of basketball.

3. Florida - Lost to LSU, sans Glen Big Baby Davis. What's worse, they got only 23 rebounds. I guess they have an excuse because they have the SEC locked up and have for weeks now, it seems, but one must wonder whether the listless play will carry over into the tournament. If any future Florida foes are watching, here's how you beat them: zone them, get Joachim frustrated and hope that Humpty isn't hot. Next week: 4th

4. UCLA - Two solid wins this week, which is about all you can ask for. Next week: 2nd. The only true lock for a one seed, in my opinion, but this means very little. Next week: 2nd (but they'll get some more first place votes)

5. UNC - A pull-away victory over NCSU and a give-away loss at Maryland. If Maryland were a better team and if they hadn't had a 12 point lead with less than 10 to play, this wouldn't have been a bad loss. Still, they'll get a pass and probably stay a one seed without another slip-up. Next week: 6th

6. KU - A solid win at Huggyville in the biggest game in Manhattan in the last twenty years and another pasting of a conference foe in the Phog v. Iowa State. Next week: 3rd

7. Memphis - I don't know where to put these guys. I've got to think that it says something that KU is pounding better opponents by more. Next week: 7th. I think they've hit their ceiling. I said that a few weeks ago.

8. A&M - The Aggies got the job done...it just wasn't that tough of job. Next week: 8th.

So by the twisted crimson and blue reasoning above, KU should be in pretty good shape for a one seed. But in this coastally biased world in which we livin, I wouldn't be surprised to see them stuck at 6th.

Here's the Phog Blog projected top ten for next week.

1. An Ohio State University 2. UCLA 3. KU 4. Florida 5. UNC 6. Wisconsin 7. Memphis 8. A&M 9. Georgetown 10. Nevada (Idaho State Champions)

Placing 3, 4, 5 and 6 wasn't easy, so this is my vote people.

Recently

It has seemed to me like Kansas has gotten their act together a little since the Texas Tech loss. They've stopped letting inferior teams hang around, they've pushed the tempo, and their offense seems to have benefited. I wanted to see what the stats said about this, so I played with Pomeroy's. His Game Plan pages list raw game-by-game efficiency stats on offense and defense. These tell you only half of the story, though. You can see a team's output, but you need the context of that output. 1.1 points per possession against Texas A&M is excellent. Against Baylor, eh. To get that context, you need the opponent's seasonal adjusted efficiency stats. Taking those two pieces of the puzzle, I worked backwards from the formulas and parameters Pomeroy lists on his site to obtain adjusted game-by-game efficiency stats.

So, was my perception correct? Has KU's offense been on an uptick? Here are the game-by-game adjusted efficiency numbers since the Texas Tech loss. "Equiv Rnk" indicates what their Pomeroy Rating rank would be if they played like that every game... OR what rank team they could be expected to beat on a neutral court if they performed at that level.

Opponent A/H Off Eff Def Eff Pyth Equiv Rnk
Baylor A 113.4 69.0 .9967 1
Colorado H 113.5 94.5 .8916 53
Nebraska A 125.3 75.4 .9971 1
Texas A&M H 120.7 92.7 .9543 17
Kansas St. H 145.4 92.1 .9948 1
Missouri A 132.5 83.7 .9949 1
Average - 125.1 84.6 .9891 2
Full Season - 116.0 82.6 .9803 6

The offense has indeed taken a step forward. A full season Adj Off Eff of 125.1 would rank 2nd in the country (behind Georgetown). The defense has slipped a little - 84.6 would only rank 6th. One caveat, though - the one game where they needed to play like a top-5 team (vs. Texas A&M), they didn't.

One other caveat - I cherry-picked this data to show only their recent warm streak. How do the Hawks stack up if I do the same for the other top teams? For each team, I used their most recent 5 to 10 games, whatever gave them the best results. I looked at the top 10 and a few other teams I suspected might be able to crack the top, so there's a chance I missed some team on a ridiculous tear. But I think these are the 10 hottest teams. ".99+" is the number of .99+ games in the past 10.

Team Off Eff Def Eff Pyth .99+
North Carolina 123.5 77.2 .9956 7
Pittsburgh 120.8 80.8 .9903 4
Georgetown 143.2 96.7 .9892 4
Kansas 125.1 84.6 .9891 5
Florida 131.7 89.4 .9886 4
Ohio St. 128.6 88.1 .9873 3
Texas A&M 124.2 86.5 .9847 2
UCLA 120.6 85.3 .9817 2
Memphis 121.6 86.1 .9815 4
Wisconsin 122.4 87.9 .9784 1

Three things jump out at me:

  • Georgetown's offense is unstoppable.
  • If not for the letdown against NC St, I'd be calling UNC's defense unbreakable.
  • It's UNC and everyone else.

I'm sure I'll mess around with this sort of thing more as we get closer to the tournament. For now it's nice to see that KU can get as hot as any almost team in the country.

RPI Watch

Ken Pomeroy's latest RPI projection has KU at 38th, which is important since we've now passed that mythical 40th parallel. We're up to 9th overall in his season-long ratings and nestled comfortably at 5th in his last 5 games rating (oddly enough, UNC is number 1 in that rating - good job Roy). By the way, KP's now predicting 13-3 in conference, with a lone loss at UT.

Dunkel has us at 4th in the country in his latest index, behind Duke, UT and UConn (before last night's game).

We're up to 19th overall and 6th in the pure points rating over at Jeff Sagarin's place (the pure points is more important to Vegas).

Dolphin hasn't updated yet, but I'll try to remember to update that later.

You might be interested to know that the composite of bracket projections has us at a #6 seed. Most of the latter day brackets have us as a #5, but some of the less frequently updated brackets have us as an #8 or #9, so we're averaged up a little. I think if we win out while losing impressively at UT, we have a very good shot at a #4. If we beat UT, I think a #2 is still *possible, but very very unlikely. A 4-6 is most likely at this point. I would almost prefer a #6 at this point to avoid a possible run-in with UConn, Duke or Villanova.

Thoughts?

KU Debuts at 22

KU debuts in the AP men's basketball poll this week at 22. Oklahoma, the number 3 team in the Big XII behind Texas and KU, is number 19. Washington, a team that recently lost 3 in a row to Cal, Stanford and Washington State, is 20th in the poll released today. KU is also 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Again, Washington and Oklahoma come in higher than us in the rankings.

For Washington fans surfing and seeing this - I know that you beat UCLA last week, but I don't think that makes up for those three losses.

This is not a bad place for KU to start. Good things are ahead. Ranking in the polls should help our seeding in the Big Dance.

UPDATE:

Here's the AP poll:

Top 25 RANK TEAM RECORD PTS LAST 1 Connecticut (67) 22-1 1795 1 2 Duke (4) 23-1 1726 2 3 Memphis 22-2 1635 3 4 Villanova (1) 19-2 1581 4 5 Gonzaga 20-3 1502 5 6 Texas 21-3 1457 6 7 George Washington 20-1 1289 8 8 Tennessee 18-3 1218 11 9 Pittsburgh 19-3 1177 14 10 Florida 21-3 1157 7 11 West Virginia 18-5 1103 9 12 Ohio St. 18-3 953 19 13 Boston College 19-5 836 17 14 Illinois 20-4 825 10 15 UCLA 20-5 709 13 16 Michigan St. 18-6 679 12 17 Georgetown 17-5 674 15 18 Iowa 19-6 596 18 19 Oklahoma 16-5 471 20 20 Washington 18-5 459 21 21 N.C. State 19-5 435 16 22 Kansas 17-6 297 NR 23 North Carolina 15-6 291 23 24 Bucknell 20-3 133 NR 25 LSU 16-7 68 NR

Others receiving votes: California 67, N. Iowa 61, Nevada 41, Wichita St. 27, Wisconsin 23, George Mason 19, Michigan 18, Colorado 13, S. Illinois 11, UAB 10, Indiana 9, Akron 8, Creighton 7, Louisville 4, Stanford 4, Wis.-Milwaukee 4, Air Force 2, UTEP 2, W. Kentucky 2, Marquette 1, N. Arizona 1.

Yet Another College Basketball Ratings update

It's the day after a game, so it's time to look at how KU is doing in the predictive power ratings, most of which I have become so fond of that I would happily let the whole lot of them live in a Utopian commune in my backyard. Without further ado:

Let's start with Pomeroy, whose statistical burgers are thick and plentiful. In his main Pomeroy ratings, we've moved from 14 to 13 after yesterday's win. We've held our position as the 4th best team in the country over the last five games, but oddly, the company ahead of us is different - we're now behind UConn, Georgetown and Oklahoma!

We're also still 4th in the country in Pomeroy's Pythagorean rankings and his efficiency numbers behind only Texas, Duke and UConn.

Dolphin hasn't updated his stats since Friday, but we're still 5th in the predictive ratings (it will probably be updated later today)

Sagarain hasn't updated yet either, but I don't expect a lot of movement, so we'll still likely be 7th in that (pure points) rating. Update, we've moved up to 6th.

Dunkel hasn't updated either, so we're still 4th there.

So this meaningless exercise has proved to be nearly Ecclesiastically meaningless, quite nearly a chasing after a wind which doesn't even end up being there. But that fact has never stopped me in the past, so you would be return-to-your-vomit foolish to expect that anything will change.

The long and short is that KU is a top 15, and perhaps a top 10 team in the country, right now. Given our youth, we may crash into some wall - physical or emotional - and end this season in a blaze of disappointment.

I don't think that's very likely though, because I'm not sure we're old enough to have learned about walls, physical or otherwise. I expect this team to win out the regular season with the lone exception of our game at Texas, which I believe will be a great one.

Looking ahead, we will almost certainly be ranked for the first time this year when the polls come out tomorrow.

Here's how the teams in front of us did:

#17/#18 Boston College Two wins on the road in the ACC this week should move them up a little.

#18/#19 Iowa - Lost to Northwestern, and deserve to plummet for that, but they're leading the Big 10 and they knocked off Indiana in Bloomington, which should keep them from falling too much.

#19/#17 Ohio State Couple of wins this week, including one at Ann Arbor. They will probably creep up, and deservedly so.

#20/#20 OU They will probably stay where they are after two good wins this week, and I don't think voters will count the KU loss against them.

#21/#23 Washington How on earth they stayed in the polls after losing three straight is beyond me, especially in the Pac-10, but two wins this week, including one over UCLA, should prevent them from falling out of the top 25.

#22/#22 Michigan Michigan can say good bye to their ranking after losing three straight by a combined 51 points. They will go down, and they will go down hard.

#23/#24 North Carolina For losing to Duke by 4, I don't think they'll get dropped. If they lose to Miami tonight, which is certainly possible, they will drop.

#24/#21 Indiana Like their B10 counterpart Michigan, Indy will fall after having lost three straight.

#25/#28 Northern Iowa A loss yesterday to Missouri State is plenty to drop them significantly.

#33/#25 Colorado That Colorado stayed ranked after getting run out of the gym by Iowa State is an embarrasment to the Coach's poll. A loss to the Texas Aggies this week won't help their case.

#26/#26 LSU LSU is a good team, but their loss yesterday to Florida will keep them out of the top 25.

I think three teams will drop in each poll, leaving the door open for up and comers like KU, Bucknell, Cal and UAB in the cool kid's club.

I think KU will be ranked as high as #19 and as low as #22 in the polls. A lot more pundits began noticing KU this week and the fact that we're 14-2 in our last 16 isn't being lost on most folks.

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