Dan Hanner, one of college basketball’s leading stat gurus, released his complete rankings for the 2012-2013 basketball season over at Basketball Prospectus today.
He ranked every team in the country. That’s impressive.
I do have come quibbles, however, although Hanner addressed a number of them while discussing the rankings in the link above.
First and foremost, Michigan is not the 44th best team in the country. I understand why his projection model has them slotted there, and I get that projection models are going to have some gaps. I will admit that I have my own doubts about the Wolverines. I think they are a bit overrated in the top five, and I have concerns about where I placed them in my own rankings (at No. 9). But still: Michigan brings back an all-american point guard, an all-conference caliber two-guard and teams them with a group of promising freshmen. They are better than the 44th best team in the country.
San Diego State, who is ranked 41st, is too low, as well, especially when you consider the fact that New Mexico and UNLV are both in the top 15. I think the Aztecs are the best team in the Mountain West. Along those same lines, I struggle to see how Iowa State, without Royce White, is expected to have the same record in a loaded Big 12 conference as Kansas State, who returns almost everyone from a team that finished the season as an eight seed.
Other thoughts: Louisville (10th) and Cincinnati (52nd) are too low while Tennessee (17th) is too high.
But the beauty of rankings like this?
They make me question things I thought were a given.
Louisville, who is a consensus top three team in the polls, returns nothing but inefficient scorers. As good as their defense is, will that be enough to win games? Michigan really will be relying on a lot of freshmen and a lot of players not suited for John Beilein’s system. Are we overrating them? Is everyone sleeping on New Mexico again?
And, in the end, that’s the point of putting out a rating system like this. Nothing is exact, no Dan Hanner’s computer, not Kenpom’s calculator and not my opinion. But it creates discussion and arguments and differing opinions and, in the end, isn’t that what makes sports great?