Consensus Basketball Ranking: Computers vs AP

    
January 9th, 2012

 

Nothing will rile up a fan more than thinking their team is under-rated, under-respected, and under-ranked in the national polls. As the voice behind CollegeHoops.net's Top 50 Ranking, I'm well aware of how mad fans get when they feel slighted. No doubt, I occasionally slip up, and no doubt the dozens of voters in the AP poll slip up even more often.

 

With the advent of computer rankings and metrics, we have many tools that attempt to overcome historical biases to rank teams fairly. Taking a consensus average of these rankings, we can get a good sense of the lay of the land, and we can also see where the human voters differ with the computers. More importantly, we can see whether there is a pattern to the human biases and whether certain teams are consistently mis-valued compared to their peers.

 

- The following 66 teams are comprised of a) any team with AP votes, b) any team in the RPI Top 50, and c) any team in CHN Top 50. The teams are ranked by an average of their RPI, Sagarin, and KenPom ratings. At the right of the chart is the team's AP ranking for comparison.

 

- Below the ranking, you'll find a list of the most overrated and underrated teams as well as some notes on key trends.

 

Rank Conference RPI Sagarin KenPom Avg AP
1 Syracuse 1 1 5 2.3 1
2 Kentucky 8 2 3 4.3 2
3 Ohio St 11 3 1 5.0 5
4 Michigan St 5 5 7 5.7 6
5 Indiana 6 4 8 6.0 7
6 Duke 2 7 10 6.3 8
7 Baylor 4 9 11 8.0 4
8 UNC 16 8 6 10.0 3
9 Kansas 22 6 4 10.7 10
10 Georgetown 9 11 13 11.0 11
11 UNLV 14 12 17 14.3 12
12 Alabama 15 14 14 14.3 27
13 Missouri 27 10 9 15.3 9
14 Gonzaga 10 19 18 15.7 21
15 Kansas St 18 13 16 15.7 18
16 Marquette 21 17 23 20.3 25
17 Seton Hall 3 25 33 20.3 24
18 West Virginia 13 21 28 20.7 29
19 Murray St 20 15 32 22.3 15
20 St. Mary's 31 16 22 23.0 31
21 Louisville 28 22 25 25.0 14
22 California 36 23 19 26.0  
23 Wichita St 35 24 20 26.3  
24 Michigan   26 27 27 26.7 13
25 UCONN 7 40 34 27.0 17
26 Wisconsin 63 18 2 27.7 26
27 Creighton 30 20 35 28.3 23
28 BYU 42 28 21 30.3  
29 Memphis 34 29 30 31.0  
30 Virginia 39 26 31 32.0 16
31 Purdue 38 30 29 32.3  
32 Saint Louis 55 32 12 33.0 36
33 Long Beach St 23 36 40 33.0  
34 Florida 48 38 15 33.7 19
35 Illinois 17 35 50 34.0 33
36 Dayton 19 42 47 36.0 37
37 Iona 33 37 41 37.0  
38 Southern Miss 12 33 70 38.3  
39 Northern Iowa 24 45 46 38.3  
40 New Mexico 64 31 24 39.7 30
41 Virginia Tech 40 41 38 39.7  
42 Vanderbilt 37 46 37 40.0 28
43 Temple 25 49 49 41.0  
44 San Diego St 44 34 51 43.0 22
45 Harvard 43 48 44 45.0 32
46 Texas 73 44 26 47.7  
47 Northwestern 32 50 67 49.7  
48 Oral Roberts 50 47 52 49.7  
49 Stanford 75 39 39 51.0 36
50 Iowa St 46 56 53 51.7 38
51 Arizona 58 60 42 53.3  
52 Mississippi St 56 51 56 54.3 20
53 Marshall 53 53 58 54.7  
54 St. Joseph's 49 59 59 55.7  
55 Davidson 41 61 72 58.0  
56 Denver 45 54 84 61.0  
57 MTSU 84 43 57 61.3  
58 Xavier 51 70 63 61.3  
59 Colorado St 29 68 97 64.7  
60 Ohio   67 57 77 67.0  
61 Wagner 71 82 64 72.3 39
62 Cleveland St 66 69 89 74.7  
63 Arkansas 76 85 76 79.0 34
64 Cincinnati 134 74 48 85.3  
65 Ole Miss 47 95 130 90.7  
66 UCF 71 101 112 94.7  

 

Teams the human AP voters overrate versus the computer ranking:

Wagner +37*

Arkansas +35

Mississippi St +32

San Diego St + 22

Florida +15

Vanderbilt +14

Virginia +14

Harvard +13

Stanford +13

Iowa St +12*

Michigan +11

New Mexico +10

UCONN +8

Louisville +7

 

 

Teams the human AP voters underrate versus the computer ranking:

Ranked Teams

Alabama -15

Saint Mary's -11

West Virginia -11

Marquette -9

Gonzaga -7

Seton Hall -7

Unranked Teams

California

Wichita St

BYU

Memphis

Purdue

Long Beach St

Iona

Southern Miss

 

Notes

- Looking at the human-overrated teams, it becomes clear the voters are in love with SEC teams for reasons that the computers can't figure out. Perhaps its a holdover from football season, or historical performance, but the computers completely disagree with all four teams.

 

- On the flip-side, the voters are dogging the WCC. BYU, Gonzaga, and SMC all fall in the computer's top 28 teams, but only Gonzaga actually made the AP Top 25. BYU did not even garner a single vote.

 

- While the voters dog the WCC, they are showing a lot of respect to San Diego St and New Mexico of the MWC.

 

- While Wagner is the biggest miss, we can throw this pick out as one rogue voter's miscue. Similarly, Iowa St only received one vote, but they're trending upwards in the computer rankings.

 

- It seems there is a lot of uncertainty over how to rank the Big East teams, as teams fall on both sides. It is not surprising that UCONN (coming off a title) and Louisville (a historically good program) are getting human respect, while a lesser program like Seton Hall is slow to pick up voter respect.

 

- Of the 14 teams that human voters least respect, 8 are from non-BCS conferences. Of the 14 teams that human voters over-respect, only 3 are non-BCS schools.

 

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