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Praise for The Basketball Distribution:

"...confusing." - CBS
"...quite the pun master." - ESPN

Unranked Lurkers

There are several teams who simultaneously impress statistical rankings, but do not impress poll-rankings.

Here are all the teams who are in the top-25 of at least one of my three favorite systems --and not ranked in either major poll--: by Ken Pomeroy's efficiency margin, Raymond's Ratings (basically SRS, if you're familiar), and GA Tech's Bayesian Logistic Regression Markov Chain.

Top-25, The-Humans-Are-Unimpressed
(bold indicates a computer system being similarly unimpressed, italics indicate top-10 computer rating)

-Washington (P10, 19-9) - #13 Pomeroy, #8 Raymond, #6 LRMC

Washington has had a particularly tough time away from home, losing two of three on neutral courts (by single digits to Kentucky and Michigan State), and losing six of eleven on the road (only once by double-digits). At home, on the other hand, the Huskies won their first thirteen before putting up a non-characteristic eFG% of 39.7 against Washington St. on Sunday, losing by eleven. Their blowout wins prove a marked inconsistency, as they absolutely beat up on decent teams. Washington beat top-100 Pomeroy teams Oregon, Long Beach St, Arizona, UCLA, USC, Cal (twice), and Stanford, by an average of 18.4 points. I won't give up on them (as Pomeroy similarly encourages you to do) because of this, and their demolishing of Arizona and their quality road performance at UCLA.

-Maryland (ACC, 18-11) - #16 Pomeroy, #16 Raymond, #32 LRMC

Four of these losses include: An 8-point road loss at Duke, an 11-point road loss at Carolina, a 9-point neutral loss to Pittsburgh, and 8-point road loss to Villanova. Their overall strength of schedule is low since 1/3 of their season has been against sub-200 teams. This is evident in the extremely flawed RPI, who knocks Maryland down to #83. Ouch. If these guys win the ACC tourney, I would expect them to win a couple in the big dance...but the odds are not in their favor to get that first step.

-West Virginia (BE, 18-10) - #18 Pomeroy, #18 Raymond, #19 LRMC

Exactly half of WVU's ten losses have come against top-25 Pomeroy teams, and they have wins against Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Purdue, and Notre Dame. Their Pomeroy strength of schedule, as one might expect, is 2nd in the country.

-Belmont (ASun, 27-4) - #20 Pomeroy, #24 Raymond, #8 LRMC

Belmont is an interesting case. We have a very low sample size of decent competition with these guys - they've only played three games against tougher opponents than #106-Pomeroy East Tennessee St. In fact, only eleven of their thirty-one games have been against top-200 Pomeroy teams. At any rate, their only losses have come against decent opponents (save Lipscomb), on the road, by an average of only seven points.

-Illinois (B10, 18-11) - #21 Pomeroy, #22 Raymond, #20 LRMC

The Illini have been extremely inconsistent this season. While they have lost to Illinois-Chicago on a neutral court, they beat tough opponents in Maryland, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, and North Carolina. Also, they've had to deal with the nation's 6th-highest string of opponents (by Pomeroy's metric).

-Cincinnati (BE, 22-7) - #24 Pomeroy, #28 Raymond, #34 LRMC

Cinci is at least somewhat recognized by humans, as they received the 32nd most votes in the AP poll this week. Their seven losses have come from teams with an average ranking of 19-Pomeroy.

-Marquette (BE, 18-11) - #25 Pomeroy, #26 Raymond, #27 LRMC

Marquette has had an unfortunate schedule. They've lost to neutral-court Duke by 5, road-Pittsburgh by 8, road-Lousville by 1, road-Nova by 5, road-Notre Dame by 5, and road Georgetown by 9. While the humans might not be impressed, just from those numbers alone, a statistical-minded Nathan Walker would call Marquette a top-25 team.

-St. Mary's (WCC, 23-7) - #45 Pomeroy, #32 Raymond, #23 LRMC

St. Mary's inconsistency is marked by a high-high and a very-low-low. They only lost to BYU by 1 on a Neutral court, but lost to #302 Pomeroy San Diego. In between has come a few losses to good teams and beating up every other average team they encountered.

Unfortunately, some of these squads are going to be Nationally Invited, if you know what I mean. For those that make the big dance, there's a good chance they'll beat their better-seeded opponent.

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