RPI Effect Only Teams:
Let’s face it. UMass-Lowell (7-14), Houston Baptist (4-18), South Carolina State (8-14) and Coppin State (8-14) are all undeniably bad, were poor scheduling choices, and are really bad. Also they are bad. The details are irrelevant.
Long Beach State (9-12) beat Hawaii and Cal State Fullerton to move up to 124 on KenPom (they were well into the two hundreds at the end of December). Likewise, Holy Cross (13-10) is up from #187 in early January to #142 after a loss to American and a win over Colgate. Both are currently ahead of Charlotte (14-7), who beat Florida Atlantic and FIU this week.
Big Sorts of Teams
#16 Iowa State (17-4, 5-4 Big 12)
This week: Beat Oklahoma (81-75); Beat Oklahoma St (98-97 3OT)
Iowa State survived their seven game mega-gauntlet of Oklahoma twice, Kansas twice, at Texas, at Oklahoma, and at Oklahoma relatively unscathed, winning 3 of the 7. That included a crazy-ass, 90 possession, 195-point triple overtime win in Stillwater. They now move into the TCU/Texas Tech portion of their schedule, which should provide more fertile grounds.
For those who remember way back to the time before Trey Burke, Michigan offered two point guards at the same time for the same spot. One was Derrick Walton, and the other was a kid named Monte Morris. You probably recognize Derrick Walton from that game the other day, but Morris has likewise been great. Morris moved into the starting role at the 2-guard for Iowa State a few weeks ago, and has been a nice compliment to DeAndre Kane.
Florida State (14-8, 5-5 ACC)
This week: Lost to Clemson (53-49); Beat Virginia Tech (70-50)
FSU was in a bit of a post-BCS hangover recently. Losing to UVA and Duke happens. Losing to NC State and at home to Clemson probably shouldn’t.
#11 Dook (18-5, 7-3)
This week: Lost @ Syracuse (91-89 OT); Beat Wake Forest (83-63)
Despite losing in overtime to Syracuse, Duke has established itself as one of the most dangerous teams in the country. According to Bracket Matrix, though, they’re still only on pace for a 3-seed, along with Creighton and Michigan (and Cincinnati, but they don’t really help my point). If those three end up as 3-seeds, Warren Buffett will breathe a little easier, as brackets will be even more of a mess than usual.
If you missed the end of that Duke-Syracuse game, though, you should find it and watch it. With the sound off, obviously, because Dick Vitale is still a thing we’re doing. But it was great basketball.
#2 Arizona (21-1, 8-1 PAC 12)
This week: Lost to Cal (60-58)
Tough week for Arizona. They lost their first game of the year, and in the process they lost starting wing/forward Brandon Ashley for the season with an ankle thing.
Stanford (15-7, 6-4 PAC 12)
This week: Beat Arizona St. (76-70), Beat Cal (80-69)
Stanford is slowly working its way onto quasi-firm bubble territory. Beating the team that just beat Arizona certainly doesn’t hurt. Stanford is up to #34 in KenPom, which is fourth in the PAC 12 and ahead of the likes of Minnesota.
[AFTER THE JUMP: Big Ten geology]
In Which I
Foolishly Stray from the KenPom Rankings Totally Stick With The KenPom Thing Don't Read Anything Into This
I have opted to tempt the basketball gods by going away from KenPom’s rankings. I can no longer justify placing Northwestern at #12. Instead, I will wander out into the cold cruel world on my own.
[ED-S: WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?!?!? NOOOOO!]
3) Michigan (17-5, 9-1 B1G)
[ED-S: Don't do this. I beg you!]
Thus Far: Beat Purdue (75-66); Lost @ Indiana (63-52); Beat Nebraska (79-50)
Thing: Two out of three ain’t bad.
Other Thing: As antithetical as it is to the “Michigan will play Michigan next week for the Big Ten title” meme, Michigan can all but wrap up a share of the Big Ten this week. Three wins almost certainly still wins the conference outright, and certainly guarantees a share. Wins at Iowa and Ohio State would leave Michigan in tap-in range of that number even with a loss to State. Split the pair and things get more interesting. Lose both, and… don’t lose both.
Thing They Are Like: The 2012-2013 Michigan basketball team.
[ED-S: [slaps BiSB].
You bastard. You unimaginable bastard. May their wrath be upon you.]
[ED-BISB: Okay, I put it back in KenPom order. They just aren't LISTED in order. They are listed by the percentage of the enrolled student population that is both left-handed and can also roll their tongue. The numbers by the team are are what is important. Pay no attention to the order It totally isn't my evaluation of how these teams should be ranked. Go back about your business, Karma.]
2) Michigan State (19-3, 8-1)
This week: Lost to Georgetown (64-60)
Thing: Michigan State turned in a clunker this weekend, but they did so in a random, pointless non-conference game against Georgetown. In other words, all they did was hurt Michigan’s resume and in no way altered the Big Ten race.
Dammit Sparty, DO SOMETHING RIGHT.
Other Thing: State does actually have a pretty good excuse for their loss:
They seem as confused as the rest of us. (Getty Images)
This is what happens when you wash your whites with your half-full jars of Grey Poupon. It wasn't the game's only uniformz crime, as Nike put Georgetown in slate-pattern-checker atrocities with the Air Jordan(!) logo on them. Thing that is like: North Carolina in clown costumes embroidered with little Patrick Ewings.
Thing They Are Like: Goldenrod? Maybe saffron?
SEVERAL LAYERS OF SEDIMENT
1) Iowa (17-6, 6-4 B1G)
This week: Won @ Illinois (81-74); Lost to Ohio State (76-69)
Thing: Iowa may have left the title race with their home loss to Ohio State on Tuesday. They already have four losses, and they still have road games against MSU, Minnesota, and Indiana, and a home game against Michigan. It’s hard to see both Michigan and Michigan State dropping four more each, so they would have to win out to even have a prayer. Still, they are in good shape for a first-round conference bye and a 4-ish seed in the NCAA tournament, so life could be worse
Other Thing: Part of Iowa’s problem is probably the return to earth of their opponents’ 3-point shooting percentage. Various monkeys at various calculators have concluded that 3-point shooting percentage against is a largely random thing, and Iowa’s opponents are shooting a measly 29.1% from deep. As that number has risen, their return to the pack has accelerated. Just a theory.
Thing They Are Like: Earth, circa ~5 billion years from now. For a while they appeared to be above the roiling ball of chaos and fire, but then the Big Ten went Red Giant and the crap-fest exanded to the point where it consumed them too. In this scenario, Michigan is Jupiter. Michigan State, obviously, is Uranus.
IRIDIUM LAYER LEFT BY THE ASTEROID THAT KILLED THE DINOSAURS
4) Ohio State (18-5, 5-5 B1G)
This week: Beat Wisconsin (59-58); Beat Iowa (76-69)
Thing: Nothing like losing at home to Penn State and then winning at Wisconsin AND Iowa. We still hate you, Bucky, but we appreciate the help. It was almost worth having to listen to Dan Dakich call a game in which Aaron Craft was 6-7 from the field for 17 points.
Thing They Are Like: Random number generator that is completely independent of the quality of its opponent.
5) Wisconsin (18-5, 5-5 B1G)
This week: Lost to Ohio State (59-58); Won @ Illinois (75-63)
Thing: Three weeks ago we were all wondering who was going to beat Wisconsin. Now we’re all worried that by the end of the year Michigan’s win in Madison will be worth less than its win in Lincoln. The Badgers have lost three in a row at home for the first time in Bo Ryan’s tenure. Which, despite its somewhat negative impact on Michigan, is [/does some quick math] 37 kinds of awesome.
Thing They Are Like: Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger CONFERENCE PLAY CONFERENCE PLAY.
12) Northwestern (12-11, 5-5 B1G)
This week: Won @ Minnesota (55-54)
Thing: I don’t even.
That wasn’t a Thing: Don’t care. I don’t know how to words this.
You’re completely obfuscating the idea of the Thing: I don’t think you used that word correctly.
THING: Fine. Here are several things.
Northwestern is at .500 in Big Ten play. It is February. Northwestern is tied for 4th place in the Big Ten. Earlier this week, Northwestern was in sole possession of 4th place in the Big Ten. Again, it is February. Northwestern has won games at Assembly Hall (the Indiana one), the Kohl Center, and the Barn in a single season for the first time in I’m assuming ever because Northwestern. And they have done all of this despite being outscored by 90 points
per game in conference (633-543) and scoring only 54.3 ppg (0.87 points per possession) in conference. And how? Because Northwestern has the 10th best defense in the country.
Look out! That Crawford’s dynamite!
Thing They Are Like: The rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. From the outside, it seems docile. Almost pitiful. And it has no apparent offensive capabilities of any kind. But if you roll into its den, it will throat-bite the crap out of you. And I wish that was a metaphor, but Alex Olah is actually a neck-biter. There are warnings about him posted all around Evanston.
6) Minnesota (15-8, 4-6 B1G)
This Week: Lost to Northwestern (55-54); Lost @ Purdue (77-74 3OT)
Thing: You would like me to analyze these results?
Thing They Are Like: A guy standing on a bubble while juggling a dozen knitting needles. As of RIGHT NOW, they’re still off their ass.
7) Indiana (14-8, 4-5 B1G)
This week: Lost @ Nebraska (65-60); Beat Michigan (63-52)
Thing: Indiana will win lots of games if Yogi Ferrell shoots 112.5% eFG. Good luck with that.
Other Thing: Against Michigan, Indiana only had 6 assists on their 23 field goals. For those who watched the game, that feels about right. It was a performance straight out of the Bo Ryan handbook; lots of dribbling and end-of-clock hero-ball launches. They also played a glacial pace; the 55 possessions were easily the fewest in any Indiana game in the last two years. The only other game this year in which they had fewer than 64 possessions was their rematch with Syracuse and their 2-3 “Syracuse plays a zone?” zone.
Thing They Are Like: Yogi Farrell, Noah Vonleh, and a bunch of other guys who hang out with Yogi Farrell and Noah Vonleh and dress like them and stuff.
HENRI LINE OF ENNUI
8) Nebraska (11-10, 3-6 B1G)
This week: Beat Indiana (60-55), Lost @ Michigan (79-50)
Thing: Sure they got absolutely blasted in Ann Arbor last night. But watch Tim Miles presser afterward, courtesy of UMHoops:
Between him, John Groce, and Chris Collins, the Big Ten coaching fraternity is apparently becoming more likeable.
Thing they are like: STOP IT ZAK IRVIN THEY'RE ALREADY DEAD.
9) Penn State (12-10, 3-6 B1G)
This week: Beat Purdue (79-68);
Thing: Penn State has won three straight conference games. In a world sans Northwestern and Nebraska, this might seem like a fantastical thing. Unfortunately for them, they have that Somewhat Older Lamb thing going on:
Other Thing: Tim Frazier and DJ Newbill continue to play an exhausting number of minutes. Frazier has averaged 38.5 minutes over the last four game, and Newbill is at 39.8 minutes in that span. Both played 43 minutes in their overtime win at Ohio State last week. They combine to use over half of Penn State’s possessions.
Thing They Are Like: A pack of sled dogs, except when only the first two dogs are pulling and the rest of the dogs are wearing skis and being all "woo, look how good we are at pulling this sled!!!"
11) Purdue (14-9, 4-6 B1G)
This week: Lost @ Michigan (75-66); Lost @ Penn State (79-68); Beat Minnesota in a Game That Shall Not Be Discussed Further
Thing: Purdue played a 63-60 double-OT game a couple of weeks ago, and played a 77-74 triple-OT game last night. That is entirely too much Purdue basketball.
Other Thing: Stop making me talk about Purdue and watch Purdue NO ONE WANTS TO WATCH PURDUE OR TALK ABOUT PURDUE.
Thing They Are Like: WHAT DID I JUST SAY ABOUT PURDUE.
10) Illinois (13-10, 2-8 B1G)
This week: Lost @ Ohio State (62-55), Lost @ Indiana (56-46)
Thing that will be a Thing all year: Illinois was ranked in the Top 25 in January.
Other Thing: Illinois has still not topped 50% in eFG% in any conference game.
Thing They Are Like: Michigan, if Michigan was terrible at shooting.
If Today Was Late March
Michigan State (#1), Michigan (#3), Iowa (#4), Wisconsin (#4), Ohio State (#6)
Indiana (farting noise)
Lovely Parting Gifts:
Nebraska, Illinois, Purdue, Penn State, Northwestern
Penn State @ Michigan State, 9:00, ESPN2
Go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and blue jeans.
Nebraska @ Northwestern, 1:00, ESPNU
Michigan @ Iowa, 2:00, ESPN
Purdue @ Ohio State, 6:00, BTN
Indiana @ Minnesota, 8:15 BTN
Michigan State @ Wisconsin, 1:00, CBS
Illinois @ Penn State, 4:15, BTN
Case of the Mondays
I imagine you’d get your ass kicked saying something like that
Michigan @ Ohio State, 9:00, ESPN
Penn State @ Indiana, 7:00, BTN
Illinois @ Nebraska, 9:00, BTN