Tuesday, December 31, 2013
BPI Talk: Kansas is vastly underrated
By Ryan Feldman, ESPN Stats & Info
The Kansas Jayhawks have three losses this season but are still ranked No. 3 in BPI. The Jayhawks -- ranked No. 1 in strength of schedule according to BPI -- are ranked ahead of five of the seven undefeated teams in BPI, despite the three losses.
Each of KU's three losses are against teams ranked in the BPI top 20 – Villanova, Florida and Colorado. Each of those losses were by six points or fewer away from home. Kansas is 1-3 against top-20 teams (defeated Duke) and 8-0 against teams outside the top 20.
The Jayhawks have faced eight top-100 teams, including five teams in the top 50. Each of their 12 opponents are ranked in the BPI top 160.
Kansas has taken care of business against teams ranked outside the BPI top 25. The Jayhawks have the best BPI against teams outside the top 25.
Syracuse gets crucial win vs Villanova
Syracuse is coming off an impressive win against Villanova on Saturday in which the Orange trailed by 18 points in the first half but outscored the Wildcats by 34 over the final 31 minutes of the game. It was Syracuse's best performance of the season. In fact, it was the second-best performance by any team this season according to BPI game score.
The win against Villanova improved Syracuse's BPI rank from No. 12 to No. 10 (now No. 11), but it still differs greatly with its No. 2 ranking in RPI and No. 2 ranking in the AP Poll.
But the Orange also have three wins that hurt their BPI. They have three BPI game scores less than 75 -- against No. 349 Cornell (the only remaining winless D-I team), No. 340 Binghamton, and a six-point win against No. 194 Saint Francis (NY).
The Orange had five solid wins against top-100 teams entering Saturday, but the win against Villanova was their first win against a top-35 team. The Orange now have the best BPI against top-100 teams.
Louisville lacks signature win
The Louisville Cardinals missed their opportunity for a signature non-conference win against Kentucky on Saturday.
The Cardinals lost to both of their BPI top-50 opponents this season -- Kentucky and North Carolina -- and have just one top-100 win (Southern Miss). The Cardinals have the 12th-best BPI against teams ranked outside the top 50.
Louisville has faced seven teams ranked outside the BPI top 200, which doesn't fare well for its non-conference résumé. To Louisville's credit, it has defeated those seven teams by an average margin of 29.3 points per game. Despite the weak schedule, defeating those lackluster opponents by such a large margin doesn't hurt the Cardinals' BPI as much as it could.
Louisville's schedule strength is ranked No. 156 according to BPI. That's the lowest-ranked schedule of any team ranked in the BPI top 50.
Playing a weak schedule and not defeating any highly-ranked opponents is certainly a large factor -- just like it is with RPI. But unlike RPI, BPI takes into account that Louisville has pummeled all 11 of its opponents ranked outside the BPI top 50 by an average margin of 29.2 points per game.
That's the primary reason why Louisville is ranked No. 17 in BPI despite being No. 45 in RPI.
Iowa State is consistent
Iowa State, ranked No. 5 in BPI, is the most consistent team in the country in terms of variation in BPI game score from game to game.
The Cyclones are 4-0 against top-60 teams with wins against Iowa, Michigan, Boise State and BYU. All four of those wins are by seven points or fewer.
Iowa State's seven wins against teams outside the top 100 are by an average of 27.9 points per game.