Villanova, Michigan St take big hits in BPI

AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson

Head Coach Jay Wright and Villanova lost to Creighton Sunday, dropping them to No. 10 in BPI.

Villanova and Michigan State absorbed solid hits to their Basketball Power Index ratings after suffering emphatic losses Sunday.

Villanova was fifth in the BPI rankings before a 101-80 loss to Creighton, and now the Wildcats are 10th.

The Bluejays climbed from No. 14 in the BPI rankings to No. 11 after their second dominant victory this season over Villanova. Creighton scored a 99.6 on the BPI game score scale Sunday, the fourth-best of the season across all games. On Jan. 20, Creighton beat the Wildcats 96-68 in Philadelphia and earned a game score of 99.9, the best of the season.

Michigan State’s 60-51 loss to Nebraska in East Lansing, Mich., dropped the Spartans from sixth to 15th in the BPI rankings. Michigan State averaged 0.88 points per possession, its worst offensive efficiency in the last two seasons. The Spartans’ game score of 33 was a season low for the team.

Two dramatic victories last week kept Syracuse undefeated, but the most recent win – 56-55 over North Carolina State on Saturday at the Carrier Dome – resulted in the Orange falling from No. 2 to No. 3 in BPI.

Unlike many polls in which humans determine rankings with their ballots – and teams that win often retain their positions, regardless of how unimpressive a win might be – BPI evaluates each team’s performance in every game to produce its ratings.

Although Syracuse beat the Wolfpack, its performance was among its worst of the season. The one-point home victory over a team ranked 69th in BPI resulted in a game score of 78, the Orange’s worst against an ACC opponent and their fourth-worst of the season.

Florida, which was No. 3, took over the No. 2 spot. The Gators beat Kentucky 69-59 in Lexington, Ky., in a game with 59 possessions (the Gators average 65 possessions). The 10-point win in a relatively low-possession game helped produce a game score of 99.4 for Florida, its second-best of the season behind the 99.5 from a 67-41 win over Tennessee on Jan. 25.

Saturday’s loss dropped the Wildcats from No. 5 in BPI to No. 8 after their worst BPI game score (59) of the season (Kentucky rose to No. 7 after Villanova's loss Sunday).

Looking ahead

Using BPI ratings, we can assign a “Matchup Quality” factor for every game. This is a 0-to-100 rating that measures how good each team is as well as how close the two teams’ ratings are to each other. Based on BPI Matchup Quality, the following are among the most appealing matchups in the coming week (in chronological order):

BPI No. 1 Arizona at No. 39 Utah, 10 p.m. Wednesday (FS1)

Matchup Quality: 84 | Arizona 77 percent likely to win

Arizona has been BPI No. 1 since Jan. 12, retaining the top spot even after a loss (in double overtime, on the road) to Arizona State on Feb. 14. Utah spent much of the season with a BPI rank in the 40s and has a victory over BPI No. 12 UCLA in January among its achievements.

BPI No. 5 Duke at No. 33 North Carolina, 9 p.m. Thursday (ESPN)

Matchup Quality: 83 | Duke 58 percent likely to win

Other games have a slightly superior matchup quality, but the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels have been among the most powerful teams in the past month.

BPI No. 14 Wisconsin at No. 8 Iowa, 12 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2)

Matchup Quality: 87 | Iowa 68 percent likely to win

Iowa is the fifth-most consistent team in the BPI Top 10, whereas Wisconsin is the fourth-most inconsistent in the BPI Top 25. Wisconsin won the first matchup 75-71 in Madison, Wis., on Jan. 5

BPI No. 3 Syracuse at No. 5 Duke, 7 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)

Matchup Quality: 89 | Duke 55 percent likely to win

This is a rematch of Syracuse’s 91-89 overtime win over Duke on Feb. 1. The Blue Devils’ 89.5 game score from the game is the fourth-greatest for a losing team this season. BPI projects this as Syracuse’s only remaining regular-season game with the Orange having less than a 50 percent likelihood of winning.