I’m participating in the basketball blogpoll that’s making its debut this week. It’s being organized by Brian of MGoBlog and Jerry of The Joe Cribbs Carwash. Like the football version, the results will appear at CBSSports.com.
- As you might expect, my starting point will be the numbers-based ratings. I’ll make adjustments from there based on my intuitive take on each team (which, I must confess, are going to be fairly ill-informed for non-Big Ten teams).
- As much as I love Kenpom, I actually think the Sagarin ratings are a better place to start. Kenpom is intended to be purely predictive, so it’s based entirely on the four-factor data that add up to efficiency margin. Sagarin, meanwhile, is based 50% on pure point margin and 50% on pure win-loss results. While a 1-point win might be barely different from a 1-point loss from a prediction standpoint, the team that wins close has to be rewarded in a nonlinear fashion. That’s the nature of competitive sports: wins and losses matter.
- My inclination is to give a bump to teams that have either (1) played games without a key player due to injury or (2) played particularly well over the last 10 games or so. In the end, making the NCAA Tournament (and, to a lesser extent, tournament seeding) is what matters in college basketball. And those are two factors the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee should–and does–consider.
- I don’t care much about head-to-head results. One game shouldn’t count any more than the rest of them just because the two teams involved happen to be ranked close to one another.
Without further ado, here’s my first ballot:
As I indicated above, I make no claim to be an expert on the 20+ non-Big Ten teams that will appear in the top 25 each week. So I’m eager for your feedback and suggestions. Apparently, I’ll be able to submit a second ballot accounting for reader feedback on Wednesday.
A few notes on this week’s ballot:
- Hard to resist the temptation to sort the BCS-conference teams on number of losses first.
- Oklahoma is 9-0 against Sagarin top 50 teams. UConn is 8-1, as is MSU. KenPom only has Oklahoma at #18, presumably because they’ve won most of their games by relatively small margins.
- Kansas has won 8 straight games since losing to MSU.
- Kenpom has Gonzaga at #10, despite not having beaten a KenPom top 40 team.
- 7-loss West Virginia gets in because the computer ratings like them a lot due to blowout wins against some pretty good teams.
- Utah State hasn’t played anybody (except BYU, to whom they lost), so 23-1 doesn’t impress me.