The State of College Basketball is a ratings system that uses a lot of good basketball sense, per-game team performance ratings and degradation of older results to rank the teams from No. 1 to 344 (here's the long-winded version). In its overall form, it retroactively picked three of the Final Four in a simulation of 2006-07, did okay as a predictor last season, and enters 2008-09 ready for more. For our purposes here, it gives the world's only hype-free, non-voting, computer poll of teams in the lower 22 and a half (we include the A-14) conferences. This is the full chart, and this is a recording.
(Missouri Valley), 120.473, 4-1 (0-0)
The Purple Aces may be taking steps towards respectability, but kings of the freaking world
? That's what you get with a small result set that's overly reliant on who you've played. Marty Simmons' Aces have knocked off two non-Division I teams (which don't count in any halfway-decent rating system), beat Austin Peay and Buffalo, but the reason why they're here for now -- as well as high in the standard strength of schedule and RPI ratings -- is due to the fact that they travelled to Butler last Saturday
and managed not to get the snot beat out of them. This is important because...
(Horizon League), 116.770, 5-0 (0-0)
The Horizon League champion Bulldogs, for the time being, is the boat-buoying rising tide. The number one team in both RPI and SOS, retooled Butler has beat all five comers, including Drake on the road
and Big Ten team Northwestern in a (mild)
Red Line Upset. Their true test comes tonight, in a G!O!T!N! runnerup match with HL favorite Cleveland State.
(Atlantic 10), 115.073, 7-0 (0-0)
Mere points out of the top spot and with the most obviously logical
impressive résumé of anybody, No. 3 is the team that's a cut above the Atlantic 14 in terms of organization and facilities despite being outspent by some. The Musketeers have already beaten three Big Six teams as well as Memphis, so expect them to jump to the top once this early-season schedule randomness shakes out.
(Mid-American), 112.545, 3-1 (0-0)
Aside from a nine-point loss
at George Mason, new coach John Groce the Bobcats have taken care of business, earning double-digit decisions against William & Mary as Austin Peay as well as an RLU over Tulsa. Jerome Tillman
, the likely POY from the MAC, is making many rebounds and two-point dunk shots on his way to 20.3 ppg and 11.5 rpg.
5. Austin Peay
(Ohio Valley), 110.128, 3-2 (0-0)
As well as having come into contact with two of the above teams (Evansville and Ohio), the model likes that gutty two-point win over Belmont
a couple weeks ago. But besides that, hey, it's early. Can't believe Drake Reed
is a senior already -- he's averaging 19.2 ppg, eight boards and nearly 60 percent floor shooting.
6. Murray State
(Ohio Valley), 108.003, 4-1 (0-0)
The Racers' claim to fame at the current moment is that they destroyed Western Kentucky by 28
, a team that went on to dispatch Southern Illinois, Louisville and Georgia in rapid succession. Beat 'em then root for 'em... that's been a rock-solid rule in college hoops since eggheads started hanging numbers all over everything.
7. Miami (Oh.)
(Mid-American), 107.807, 3-3 (0-0)
A close loss to Xavier
(which is a bit of a drag on the Musketeers' rating at this point) was followed by a crushing win
at Temple last night. Add that arena football score
at Wright State and the early close call at UCLA, and the Redhawks are looking good.
(Mid-American), 106.222, 5-2 (0-0)
In all honesty, nobody's really expecting much out of the super-young Zips this year. But what's undeniable is their early ability to play defense on the road against evenly-matched squads. During an east coast swing that included an appearance at the little boy's table at that Garden State Classic thing, Akron doubled up
at Fairleigh Dickinson, and held Niagara to 40 percent shooting
in its own building last night.
(Mid-American), 103.536, 3-2 (0-0)
The MAC is highly representative in our early sample, which really says just one thing at this point: the schools really scheduled well, and are winning road games against equal teams. That's going to help the league as a whole if it comes down to a question of bids in three months. The Bulls took games at Youngstown and Canisius, but their signature moment was a 10-point win over Temple at home
. This just in: Fran Dunphy has lost Reggie Witherspoon's business card.
10. Wisconsin-Green Bay
(Horizon League), 102.444, 3-2 (0-0)
The computer is blind to that wide loss to Rollins, and Phoenix fans who were there probably wish they were too. But in the Division I portion of the schedule, UWGB has picked up nice wins over 2008 NIT teams Morgan State and Massachusetts. A home game against a struggling Wright State squad during Horizon preview week awaits tonight.The Next 12:
11. Western Kentucky
(Sun Belt), 102.120; 12. Siena
(Metro Atlantic), 102.055; 13. Arkansas State
(Sun Belt), 101.842; 14. Utah State
(Western Athletic), 101.284; 15. Long Beach State
(Big West), 100.998; 16. Southern Illinois
(Missouri Valley), 100.854; 17. George Mason
(Colonial), 98.810; 18. New Mexico State
(Western Athletic), 97.786; 19. Temple
(Atlantic 10), 97.035; 20. Virginia Military Institute
(Big South), 96.769; 21. Rhode Island
(Atlantic 10), 95.906; 22. Niagara
(Metro Atlantic), 95.645.
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