Defending NCAA champion Louisville headlines our preseason Power 24 rankings. The Cardinals return a host of talent from last year’s title team, and a third straight trip to the Final Four is certainly within reach. Michigan State, Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Arizona are the other early favorites to contend for No. 1 seeds.
Great storylines await when the season tips-off on Friday, November 8. Will ultra-talented Kentucky emerge as a dominant team? Will Andrew Wiggins lead the Jayhawks to another title? Will Tom Izzo guide Michigan State back to the Final Four? Will we have another Final Four surprise? We can’t sleep on Marcus Smart and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Throw in conference re-alignments, and we have a virtual re-make of the college hoops landscape.
The team in our preseason Power 24 that might surprise some: Iowa. Call it a hunch, but the Hawkeyes were playing like an NCAA team at the end of the last season. Some early stumbles and a poor non-conference schedule ultimately hurt their NCAA resume. Most of their talent returns. Iowa has the depth and talent to finish as a Top 4 team in the Big Ten. Will it happen? We’ll see.
The good news: All of this will be settled on the court. Preseason projections are fun. They prompt discussions. But none of us knows how the journey will develop. That’s the beauty of college basketball.
Several teams – including Florida, North Carolina and Oregon (announced late Tuesday this week) have suspension and/or injury issues. How those scenarios play out will impact each of those squads. It’s just too early to know.
Those just missing the preseason Power 24? Creighton, Notre Dame, New Mexico, Indiana, Baylor, Virginia, Saint Louis, and Harvard. You could make a case for any of those teams to be included. The season is almost here. Let’s enjoy the ride.
This year we’ll be including the full s-curve with our bracket updates. As time permits – and the tournament nears – I’ll try to update the list more frequently. Off site, the s-curve is updated daily. Below are two tables used to display the current s-curve – a tool used by the Selection Committee to seed teams into the bracket.
A couple of things to note:
1) Teams listed in ALL CAPS are projected as automatic qualifiers. We’re so early in the conference season this really doesn’t mean anything yet, but it provides an idea of how automatic qualifiers are place on the curve.
2) With the First Four set-up, there can be six teams on a given seed line. In this edition, one of those is the 12-seed line. That’s while you’ll notice two empty “boxes” after spots 49-50. Teams ranked 45-50 would be potential 12 seeds (if bracket placement works accordingly). Through games on December 31, the First Four participants would be Indiana State, Saint Louis, Marquette, and Georgia Tech. The same holds true for spots 63-38. In the First Four scenario, Norfolk State, Cal-Northridge, LIU-Brooklyn, and Prairie View would be matched with the winners sliding into a 16-seed line. Read more…
It’s the Christmas Eve edition of our Power 24. Which in this case means merry times for Michigan and Kansas. The Wolverines and Jayhawks have climbed to spots No. 3 and No. 4 on the s-curve; No. 1 seeds if we were updating the bracket. For those keeping track, KU was No. 4 in our preseason rankings. Regular weekly bracket projections begin in two weeks. Here’s to a great two weeks of Holiday hoops.
Duke remains No. 1 overall, and the Blue Devils continue to boast the nation’s best overall resume. If this were Selection Sunday, there’s little doubt Duke would be the top overall seed with a spot atop the East Regional. Louisville comes in at No. 2. The Cardinals’ lone loss was to Duke at the Battle for Atlantis – the game in which center Gorgui Dieng injured his wrist. In his absence, U of L has kept winning, and the Cards will be primed to meet rival Kentucky later in the week.
Arizona and Missouri continue to climb as well. Both are firm two-seeds right now – holding spots No. 6 (Arizona) and No. 7 (Missouri) on the seeding curve. Indiana is fifth after the loss to Butler and Syracuse is No. 8 after falling to Temple in New York. As always, conference play will play a big role from here on out. Most BCS conferences begin league play around New Year’s Day.
No new teams this week. Miami-FL would have slid into the No. 25 spot had they beaten Arizona late Sunday in Hawaii. The Hurricanes were largely overmatched, however, and currently sit at No. 27 on the curve. A full s-curve will be released with our regular brackets this year. A preview of that – including the Top 96 s-curve teams – will be released New Year’s Day.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
The unbeaten Illini and Shockers slide into spots No. 23 and No. 24 on the s-curve as the week opened on December 3. Close behind are Notre Dame (No. 25) and Baylor (No. 26). Our top four s-curve spots remain the same: 1. Duke, 2. Indiana, 3. Louisville, 4. Syracuse.
December 3 – Power 24 update.
We’re roughly halfway through the non-conference season. Several opportunities remain for teams to post resume building wins. An eight-game resume isn’t much to work with. There are teams which have yet to play a true road game. There are teams who have yet to leave their home court. There are teams who have yet to play a high-quality opponent.
Enjoy another good week of hoops.
Fresh off a Battle for Atlantis title in the Bahamas, Duke has vaulted to No. 1 on the s-curve in our Power 24. It’s hard to argue the Blue Devils’ results: wins over two preseason No. 1 seeds (Kentucky and Louisville on neutral courts), along with quality victories over Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth (VCU). That’s a pretty impressive slate of early season wins.
Indiana – which opened No. 1 on the s-curve – is at No. 2, and would remain a No. 1 seed in the Midwest if we were putting together a new bracket projection. The Hoosiers are followed by Louisville and Syracuse as projected No. 1 seeds (spots 3 and 4 on the curve).
Power 24 – November 26.
Remember, this year’s Power 24 is a reflection of the current s-curve rankings. As such, the rankings are a little different than traditional polls. That said, it’s worth noting that we still have a small sample size. The s-curve is much more fluid now than it will be in February. By then, we have more complete profile. A quick start doesn’t guarantee success, and a less-than-ideal start isn’t a deal-breaker – especially for power conference teams.
On a quick note: Oklahoma State and Colorado are the most surprising newcomers to the Power 24. And Illinois – with it’s Maui Invitational title – moved from just outside the bracket to No. 26 on the s-curve. Wichita State has also made a big jump, coming in at No. 25, one spot from the Top 24.
Enjoy another great week of hoops!
The Road to Atlanta begins November 9. Time to unveil our preseason Power 24. The headliners: Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky, and Kansas. Those would be our projected No. 1 seeds as slots 1-4 on the s-curve. A quick note: this year’s Power 24 will reflect the s-curve used for seeding teams into a bracket. Hopefully, that provides a slightly different view of the NCAA Tournament landscape.
Now, to the Power 24 itself. It’s a starting point. That’s it. We don’t know how the season will play out. We’ll have surprises. We’ll have disappointments.
Here are a few quick thoughts:
- The Big Ten opens the 2012-13 campaign loaded with quality teams. Beyond IU, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Michigan could all be Top 4 seeds in March. All four begin the season in the Top 12 of our s-curve.
- The Atlantic 10 is a deep, talented league. If one or two teams separate, they will most certainly climb the rankings. But if those teams clump, you could easily see up to five teams make the Field of 68 and all be seeded between lines 7-10. VCU is our pick to win it. The Rams open at No. 25 on the s-curve. That would put them as the highest seven-seed.
- The Pac-12 will be improved – especially at the top. Arizona and UCLA should make a splash on the national scene.
- UNLV and San Diego State should wage a great battle for the Mountain West title. Both are Top 20 capable teams.
- How will NC State handle high expectations? Duke and North Carolina won’t just hand an ACC title to the Wolfpack. In some ways, many are overlooking the Blue Devils and Tar Heels.
- Syracuse shouldn’t be far beyond Louisville in the Big East. And don’t forget about Cincinnati or Notre Dame.
Preseason opinions vary greatly beyond the top two or three teams. Which makes the season tip-off even more exciting. It’s time for another journey toward Selection Sunday.
By most statistical measures, the Big Ten is the No. 1 conference through the first month-plus of the season. The league is first in the RPI, first in overall winning percentage, and its teams have compiled wins over top teams in other BCS conferences. Thus, it’s no real surprise the Big Ten has six teams in this week’s Power 24 – led by Ohio State, which stays at No. 2. Yes, the Buckeyes lost at Kansas but Jared Sullinger didn’t play. Winning at KU is tough at full strength, so not having a potential first team All-American on the floor is a valid consideration.
Kentucky stays at No. 1. Even though the Wildcats played a rather poor first half in Bloomington, they fought back and nearly pulled out a huge road victory. No reason to drop UK for a one-point loss in an extremely hostile environment. Syracuse holds firm at No. 3. It would have been easy to move the Orange into the No. 1 spot once UK and OSU lost. Syracuse may well prove to be the best team. As of Monday, however, the Orange had yet to play a true road game. We’ll re-evaluate the order once ‘Cuse plays at NC State this weekend.
Indiana and Illinois join the rankings this week. Memphis and Arizona fall out. Arizona remains close thanks to a tight road loss at Florida. Memphis has tossed aside most of its non-conference chances, and will have a difficult time challenging for a Top 5 seed in March. Congratulations to Murray State on its win at Memphis Sunday. The Racers begin the week at No. 32 on the S-curve. That would be an 8-seed. Quite an accomplishment for a team from the Ohio Valley Conference.