The college basketball interwebs have been blowing up with stat geek info and opinion polls lately. Amongst it all, and as tons of prognosticators have divulged their thoughts on teams and conferences and players, Ken Pomeroy’s ever-fascinating 2011-12 ratings were released.
Kentucky debuted at number one, closely followed by Ohio State and North Carolina. His mathematically based ratings didn’t deviate greatly from the eye-ball – and oft criticized – rankings of the ESPN/USA Today or the AP. The Pac-12 doesn’t rate so high with KP. Cal and Arizona are the highest rated teams at 36 and 37, respectively. Comparatively, the major polls have Arizona (over) ranked at 16 and Cal (appropriately) at 24. UCLA, who is in both polls as a top-20 team, rates as Pomeroy’s 46th best team which is where I would begin to disagree. But that’s the beauty of it.
In his blog post where Pomeroy explains his math, he writes, “I’d encourage you to Google college basketball ratings or even try the opinion polls for something that is more your style.” He shoes you away if you don’t care which is refreshing in a day and age where sabermetrics attempt to mute any and all arguments (as Jason Whitlock ranted).
Now allow me to be clear, especially after linking a Whitlock tirade: I don’t think Ken Pomeroy is ruining college basketball. I love what his numbers bring. They’re thought provoking, insightful, and add depth to the national conversation. His stance isn’t elitist. He’s a fan.
So on the verge of the season’s first tip-off, with Pomeroy and others projecting the season’s outcome – anointing Kentucky or UNC the national champion without making a single shot – I’m reminded why the games are played.
They’re played for big moments, bitter defeats, and Gus (see what I did there?). For this, this, and this. Not to mention this. They play because the ball may bounce any which way and for that we watch. We need to watch.
Pomeroy and all other season projections are fun and all but god damn the games are great. I could YouTube you to death with moments past – here’s just another – but now we’re on the verge of making a whole new highlight reel of moments.
So we can go ahead and rank the teams however we think, factor, or feel; no matter how you slice it, it’s Game Time.