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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
BPI talk: Creighton steps up against elite

By Ryan Feldman
ESPN Stats & Info

Eric Francis/Getty ImagesHead coach Greg McDermott, right, and son Doug have Creighton playing well when it counts.

Creighton Bluejays (BPI Rank 15, RPI Rank 46)
Creighton’s 31-spot difference in rank between BPI and RPI is the largest disagreement of any top-50 team. This is another case where margin is the key factor. Nineteen of Creighton’s 20 wins are by double digits. On the flipside, three of its five losses are by five points or fewer.

The Bluejays have performed their best against some of their toughest opponents. They have “Game BPI” scores of 94 or better against eight teams ranked in the BPI top 100: Wisconsin, Arizona State, St. Joseph’s, Akron, California, Illinois State, Indiana State and Northern Iowa.

Duke and Miami are the only teams in the country with more “Game BPI” scores of 94 or better against top-100 opponents this season.

UMass Minutemen (BPI Rank 91, RPI Rank 51)
A difference of 40 spots between BPI rank and RPI rank is not common for a top-100 team. The difference was even greater -- 60 spots -- last week. The Minutemen only have four wins this season (of 16) by double digits. Two of those wins came in the last week -- by 28 over Rhode Island and by 18 over St. Joseph’s -- their two largest wins of the season.

While the Minutemen clearly know how to win close games -- nine of their wins are by five points or fewer -- that may not accurately represent the strength of their team. Perhaps a more accurate assessment is how well they perform against their most difficult opponents. UMass lost against all three of its top-50 opponents by a combined 39 points.

BPI takes margin into account, while RPI does not. According to RPI, UMass’s one-point road win at Siena (RPI Rank 318) is just as good as a 30-point win. But according to BPI, the Siena win was UMass’s worst performance in any game this season.

Colorado Buffaloes (BPI Rank 34, RPI Rank 18)
Colorado earned a signature win at Oregon on Thursday, but BPI doesn’t recognize the win as favorably as RPI. The Buffaloes won by just one point and Oregon was without starting point guard Dominic Artis. Oregon (2-3 without Artis) is certainly not the same team without him.

According to RPI, road wins are worth more than twice as much as home wins. A road win over a top-50 team like Oregon is great for a team’s résumé. But BPI recognizes that the win came by just one point (BPI takes margin into account) and weighs the game less when a team isn’t at full strength.

St. John's Red Storm (BPI Rank 80, RPI Rank 52)
St. John’s is considered a bubble team due to its No. 52 RPI, 7-5 record in the Big East and top-50 wins over Cincinnati, Notre Dame and UConn. But its No. 80 BPI suggests the Red Storm are on the outside looking in right now. RPI gives them a lot of credit for a road win over a Top-25 team (Cincinnati), while BPI takes into account that it was by one point in a higher-than-average possession game (71).

The Red Storm lost to their three toughest opponents by RPI standards (Syracuse, Georgetown and Georgetown) by a combined 47 points. While RPI doesn’t penalize them for facing tough opponents (two of which were on the road), BPI considers those three games to be their three worst performances over the last five weeks.