The idea that a fifth different school will be No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll on Monday — it should 100% beOhio State, by the way, provided the Buckeyes win atMinnesotathis weekend — suggests that this season’s top teams are more vulnerable than last season’s top teams.
Turns out, there’s data to support the suggestion.
As I explained during Friday’s episode of the CBS Sports Eye On College Basketball Podcast, Ohio State enters the weekend with college basketball’s highest adjusted efficiency margin. It’s 29.31. No other team has an adjusted efficiency margin better than 26.43. And when you combine that fact with the fact that nine different teams —Virginia,Gonzaga,Michigan State,Duke,Texas Tech,Michigan,North Carolina,KentuckyandPurdue— had higher adjusted efficiency margins than 26.43 last season, it highlights how the top of the sport is down, relatively speaking, and helps explain why top-10 teams keep losing.
Again, they’re just not that great.
And they’re also not significantly better than unranked teams. To demonstrate this, I returned to KenPom and looked at the schools currently ranked 10th and 30th. What I found is that No. 10 is Virginia with an adjusted efficiency margin of 21.88, and that No. 30 isWest Virginiawith an adjusted efficiency margin of 16.94 — which means No. 10 is only 4.94 points better than No. 30. When I did the same thing with last season’s KenPom rankings, what I found is that No. 10 was Tennesseewith an adjusted efficiency margin of 26.24, and that No. 30 was Villanovawith an adjusted efficiency margin of 17.33 — which means No. 10 was 8.91 points better than No. 30. So, what those numbers show, is thatthis season’sNo. 10 isn’t as good aslast season’sNo. 10, and that the gap betweenthis season’sNo. 10 andthis season’sNo. 30 is much smaller than the gap betweenlast season’sNo. 10 andlast season’sNo. 30.
Keep that in mind going forward.
It could explain a lot.
Saturday’s schedule features three games between teams ranked in Saturday’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings — specifically No. 12Oregonat No. 6 Michigan, No. 13Memphisat No. 18 Tennessee, and No. 3 Gonzaga at No. 16Arizona. The home teams are favored in each contest.