(Bump - Good work/analysis here - Chris)
Basketball Prospectus's preseason ranking are out. And while the pre-season AP poll is not useless BP puts a little more thought and effort into these rankings than your average pollster. So go check 'em out! http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2426
Looking at it with a big ten focus we get the following breakdown:
Since I could not make the table work right, the columns are:
Conf, Conf W, Conf L, ORatg12, DRatg12, ORatg13, DRatg13, Pyth (this appears under the school name when I preview it)
1 Indiana B10 14 4 120.6 95.3 124.9 93.8 .949
5 Michigan St. B10 13 5 115.2 85.8 113.9 89.1 .926
8 Ohio St. B10 13 5 117.4 85.2 111.4 87.6 .921
23 Minnesota B10 11 7 107.9 94.4 111.9 92.6 .875
33 Wisconsin B10 10 8 114.3 87.1 104.1 86.8 .865
44 Michigan B10 9 9 113.0 95.1 110.7 94.5 .834
54 Illinois B10 9 9 103.3 93.3 108.7 94.4 .810
64 Iowa B10 7 11 110.9 101.9 110.8 98.6 .766
73 Purdue B10 7 11 116.7 97.1 103.3 93.1 .744
88 Penn St. B10 6 12 100.8 97.3 104.1 95.3 .711
102 Northwestern B10 6 12 113.6 102.2 108.4 101.0 .673
151 Nebraska B10 3 15 100.2 99.9 101.1 100.8 .508
The first thing that jumps into your mind (after "Poor Nebraska") is probably "MSU #5, yeah!" After all, while it is fun to have a chip on your shoulder it is also fun to have people think you are awesome. At least as long as you are awesome - if you aren't, well, ask our football how that feels. But seriously, there are some interesting aspects to this projection...
Third things third: UM @ 44. Whoa.
Not only does Hanner address this in the article, but as I was typing this up I discovered Eamonn Brennan at the mothership summed up most of what I would like to say on this subject neatly. To summarize, yes: UM is almost certainly overrated in the AP poll, no: they are almost certainly NOT as bad as projected by BP (though we can hope, right?). One final tid bit I wanted to add was the concept of a national perception wave. Just as with Duke 10 years ago the Fab Five era Michigan players have not just become the subject of new rounds of commemorative documentaries and articles, they are actually coming into our homes! Every time I turn around Chris Webber and Jalen Rose seem to be grinning out of the TV and dispensing relatively high quality (for talking heads) hoops wisdom to the masses. Couple this renaissance with the fact the that UM's current team is filled with sons of famous fathers and you have a perfect storm for media love that is only exacerbated by percentage current basketball reporters whose love of the game sprang from those long ago springs when the baggy trousered quintet ran up and down the hardwood oblivious to number of timeouts they may (or may not) have possessed.
What else is there to note? Well, despite some surprises in the names of schools and where they appear BP certainly seems to agree witht he current meme that this NCAABB season certainly looks like one of tiers:
Comparing pythagorean ratings is not the clearest evaluation of a team's power, as expected pythagorean values are subject to competitiveness of schedule etc. but it is a fun exercise during this post midnight madness basketball lull.
The first tier is short: IU, UK, and UCLA are the only team close to clearing the .940 Pythagorean barrier. Though admittedly UCLA unseating Louisville here probably says a lot more about the quality of their PAC12 opposition than anything else.
The second tier is much longer but pretty definitive: There is a 13 point drop from UCLA at .941 to Kansas at .928 and then 9 teams withing the next 29 points down to NC State at .900. With the exception of NC State this tier reads like the who's-who of college basketball in the 21st century: Kansas, MSU, Floida, Duke, OSU, Arizona, Louisville, Syracuse, and NC State.
The third tier isn't nearly as definitive as the first two. The little engines that might? Some of these teams are primed to compile gaudy records in weaker conferences and some are elite on one end of the floor. BP's final tier is filled with team that I look at as potential high ceiling teams - but ones that may or may not live up to expectations. Between .894 - .873 (the lower bound in particular is me subjectively drawing a line) we find: Zags, UNLV, New Mexico, Mizzou, Tennessee, Memphis, Pitt, Texas, Marquette, ND, Minnesota, Creighton and Baylor. Entirely coincidentally this actually rounds out the top 25 (seriously, I thought this was only 23-24 teams).
Anyone notice anything else worth hemming and hawing over?