Updated B-Ball Rankings and the Problem with Nevada

Submitted by xtramelanin on February 19th, 2019 at 10:43 AM


The hoops rankings came out yesterday and we were bumped down a spot, sparty moved up one, Duke went to #1, and Tennessee went to #5.  LSU leaped from 19th to 13th and Iowa State made a move up, too.  Nova dropped 4 spots down to 17. 

We actually swapped spots with Nevada.  And to borrow a phrase, 'I got a problem with Nevada's ranking'.   They play in the Mountain West and their OOC schedule is meh at best.  Its not that they are a garbage team but seriously, they play Our Sisters of Walkers and Canes and the Holy School for the Clubfooted.  Give me a break.  They even have a #10 ranking in the power rankings.  That just can't be correct.

The rankings are here, and that number at the far right of each team is their ranking in the previous week:

1. Duke (58)23-2               2

2. Gonzaga (6)25-2          3

3. Virginia 22-2                  4

4. Kentucky 21-4                5

5. Tennessee 23-2             1

6. Nevada 24-1                  7

7. Michigan 23-3                6

8. North Carolina 20-5       8

9. Houston  25-1                 9

10. Michigan St.21-5       11

11. Marquette 21-4           10

12. Kansas 20-6               14

13. LSU 21-4                    19

14. Texas Tech 21-5         15

15. Purdue 18-7                12

16. Florida St .20-5           17

17. Villanova 20-6             13

18. Louisville 18-8            16

19. Iowa St.19-6              23

20. Virginia Tech 20-5      22

21. Iowa 20-5                    21

22. Wisconsin 17-8          20

23. Kansas St.19-6         18

24. Maryland 19-7           24

25. Buffalo 22-3                25

Anyway, 2 questions today:

1.  General thoughts on the rankings, for instance, us getting bumped down while sparty got bumped up one despite losing arguably their best player.

2.  What is up with Nevada's ranking, and where is the basketball justice in that inflated nonsense?

Your thoughts, please.   





A Lot of Milk

February 19th, 2019 at 10:50 AM ^

Uh, we lost to Penn State. I'm frankly very happy we didn't get moved down further. Also Sparty lost Ward, but maybe not for the whole year and they had just won at Wisconsin, so I don't really get the complaints about the rankings.

Tennessee is weird because they were a media darling for most of the season despite a mostly lax schedule, but one road loss to a top 5 team? 4 spot drop. That's pretty harsh.

Also this is your weekly PSA that Gonzaga shouldn't even be considered for rankings because they play one month of meaningful nonconference basketball and then get the rest of the regular season off to practice against tiny private schools in the pacific northwest. Wack.

Honker Burger

February 19th, 2019 at 12:56 PM ^

PSU loss was brutal but advanced metrics say they are really not a bad team (KenPom #58! right now). It looks awful because they are 2-12 in the B1G. 

Crazy depth in the B1G right now considering that Rutgers is the lowest rated at 85. 

We prob should be ahead of Nevada right now but we have plenty of big games left to move up. 


February 19th, 2019 at 12:23 PM ^

A road game in Happy Valley would be, according to KenPom, the most difficult game on Nevada's schedule to date, just ahead of their home game vs. Utah State (#41) and road game vs. Arizona State (#62).  They do play Utah State on the road later on, so that's something.   

That said, the AP rankings are meaningless.  Even if they win out, Nevada will probably get a 3 seed in the West.


February 19th, 2019 at 4:52 PM ^

Tennessee dropping to #5 makes sense to me; they have played exactly 6 games total against top-50 Kenpom teams (Florida twice).  They are 4-2 in said games, and while that's not bad it also points to a team that probably would be a Wisconsin-level program in another conference.  

I'm sort of surprised Michigan didn't drop farther after that loss to PSU.  Not because PSU is that bad, only that it was a pretty complete loss.  It wasn't some 2-point last-second shot type of game.  PSU beat up Michigan in that first half and then held on for a comfortable win.  That can happen to anyone, but Michigan deserves some blame for it.

Gonzaga at least tries to schedule out of conference teams.  They are a pretty good club; they scheduled Duke, Arizona, UNC, Tennessee, A&M, Washington, Creighton, etc.  Few recognizes that the WCC is weak and he wants to be taken seriously come tourney time.  I have a much bigger issue with Tennessee barely scheduling anyone despite the SEC being a largely-mediocre conference for years.  That's a team that deserves to take a bit of beating.


February 19th, 2019 at 10:52 AM ^

We lost to Penn State - we deserve to be moved down in the rankings (Nevada doesn't deserve to be there, but they didn't lose so they move up). However, rankings are not a factor come NCAA tournament seeding, so they don't really have much impact on anything other than TV promotions. 

MSU moving up - the rankings are about what have you done for me, not what are you going to do for me. If Ward is out for the NCAA tournament it should affect their seeding as the committee looks at those issues. 

Nevada - they were ranked in the top-10 in the beginning of the year and have only 1 loss. That is the only reason they are in the top-10. The justice is that they are projected to be a 4 or 5 seed in most brackets, which seems more appropriate with their schedule. 


February 19th, 2019 at 12:04 PM ^

Was going to say this myself...  Just because Ward is an asshole with an injury doesn't mean MSU should move down.  Now, if they start losing because they're missing out on some of the assholey play they rely on, then they should drop in the poles for losing. 

Seriously, would you expect some other team to go to the Rose Bowl if the league champion's QB got injured in the Championship game?


February 19th, 2019 at 2:17 PM ^

You're comparing apples and oranges - the Rose Bowl is for the Big Ten champ, if MSU wins the Big Ten tourney, then they deserve a 2 seed (maybe a 1 seed depending on their games against us). 

However, if its an at-large bid to the Rose Bowl then absolutely injuries are taken into account by the bowl committee selecting the teams. If MSU loses 3 more games (2 to us and 1 in the conference tourney), then the committee may drop them a seed line due to Wards injury since they aren't the same team without him. The committee places a high value on recent play, correct or not. 


February 19th, 2019 at 12:49 PM ^

I don't even think it's that, so much as the question of who you'd move Michigan below. 

Certainly not UNC who has 5 losses and lost to Michigan by 17.  And then if you think UNC is better than Houston, MSU, Kansas and everyone below them, which is reasonable, they why move Michigan down further for a loss on the road (a Q1 game) when they still have 2+ fewer losses than most teams behind them?

The argument that Michigan should be ahead of Nevada is really the only reasonable argument.  And while they probably should be ahead of Nevada, they are ahead in NET and were way ahead in the first seeding release so the committee is evaluating M vs Nevada correctly and there's no need to be concerned about the AP voters.



February 19th, 2019 at 10:54 AM ^

I don't think these rankings count, right. It's that new Basketball net thingy. Oh, and by the way, MSU is 7 and we are 8 in that one. Doesn't matter, it will all shake out in 2 weeks. I don't think anyone outside of Nick Wards family would argue that he was their best player. 


February 19th, 2019 at 10:55 AM ^

The Carolinas, Dukes, Kansases, and MSUs of the world will always be inflated because of their names.  Rankings are just conversation pieces at this point.  Just play the damn games, get into the tourney, and outlast them all. 


February 19th, 2019 at 11:17 AM ^

Except the only 5 loss teams in the top ten are MSU and Carolina.  And Kentucky is sitting at 4 with 4 losses.  These teams don't drop as far with losses as other teams because of their reputations. I have no problem Duke being number one.  I think they are the most talented.  But I absolutely think it applies to this ranking.


February 19th, 2019 at 12:24 PM ^

So your response to UNC and MSU being the only 5 loss teams in the top 10 is to replace them with teams with worse records? 

Also, every computer model puts MSU and UNC ahead of those other teams, and ranks them higher than what humans are ranking them. Objective rankings (computers) are ranking them higher than subjective rankings (humans), so I don't know how much weight your argument has at this point.

Maison Bleue

February 19th, 2019 at 12:34 PM ^

Marquette has a better record with four losses, FSU has the same number of losses with better losses overall. Kansas has a worse record with six losses, but beat MSU head to head and hasn’t lost at home to lowly Indiana. So subjectively, yes I would put them ahead of MSU(probably not UNC).

We aren’t talking computer rankings, we are talking about the AP poll and how MSU’s name keeps them in the top ten even though there are a few teams that are subjectively better than them.


February 19th, 2019 at 10:58 AM ^

So, not to be a dick, but honestly, who cares what our ranking is.   AP/Coaches Poll means nothing in the grand scheme of things.   We have a tough 5 game schedule remaining and that is all that matters, go 4-1 or 5-0, it will all sort out in the end.

Nevada is ahead of us, who cares.  Not a single projection has them as a 1 or 2 seed and at the end of the day, that is what is important to us.

If this was Football, then I would be more concerned because the Selection Committee really emphasizes the AP/Coaches poll for their Playoff rankings.   For Basketball, not so much

Mike Damone

February 19th, 2019 at 10:58 AM ^

Gonzaga and Nevada may be good - but we won't know until March because they play Dog Shit Tacos in January through February - every day, every week.  Their schedules are pathetic.

Unfortunately - they may be rewarded for these weak ass schedules with #1 and #2 seeds that other teams have earned and deserve.  The top 3 teams in the BIG, ACC and SEC all deserve much higher consideration based on the work they have to do through their conference seasons and tourneys.

I stick with my recommendation - have the the NCAA and the ADs at Gonzaga and Nevada call an audible, and schedule a game at the end of February.  Winner gets a #1 or #2 seed, loser is stuck at no higher than #4.

If both of these teams take up two of the top eight seeds - it is a disgrace.

Kilgore Trout

February 19th, 2019 at 11:15 AM ^

Agreed. Gonzaga is good. KenPom and ESPN's Strength of Record which are supposed to correct for schedule have them in the top five. In the non-conference they played Texas A&M, Illinois, Duke, Arizona, Creighton, Washington, Tennessee, and North Carolina. They are winning their conference games by an average of more than 30 points. 

A Lot of Milk

February 19th, 2019 at 12:41 PM ^

That's not an accurate comparison to say that we would lose if we lost our two best players vs them losing their two best players. They have five freshman who were in the top 30 and 4 in the top 15 of their recruiting class. Even without Jones and Reddish, they still had number one recruit RJ Barrett and projected number one pick Zion on the floor. If you can't beat Syracuse at home with those two players alone, you're not managing your players well at all


February 19th, 2019 at 12:50 PM ^

Lol Syracuse isn't some garbage program. If you're missing two starters against them, it's going to be a tough game.

And yeah, it is comparable. You put yourself at risk for situations like that when you go the 1 and Done model, so you shouldnt feel too bad for them, but your bench players will inherently be much worse than your starters. Anybody that's worth anything wont stay another year.