According to KenPom’s initial ratings for the upcoming season, the college basketball world is right where it was at the end of last season.
KenPom’s ratings are perhaps the most well known and highly regarded college basketball efficiency measures and as such, the ratings receive a great deal of attention. It’s a way to avoid many of the issues with the traditional rankings and get a more unbiased approach based solely on the numbers.
There’s no debating that KenPom’s ratings will change in the coming weeks, but they do offer a unique look at the college basketball world.
The initial KenPom ratings came out on Sunday and the nation’s leader should have been no surprise. In fact, the defending national champion Duke Blue Devils grabbed the No. 1 spot with John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats narrowly behind.
All told, the names leading this year’s preseason KenPom ratings should look pretty familiar to the general public. Along with Duke and Kentucky, Kansas also made the top five heading into this season and Arizona, Indiana, and North Carolina all were rated in the top 15 teams.
Here are how the top 25 ratings came in overall.
KenPom’s Preseason Top 25 Teams:
(Picture via KenPom.com.)
Along with college basketball’s blue bloods being well represented, last year’s best NCAA Tournament teams also received plenty of appreciation. All four of last year’s Final Four teams were rated in the top 20, with Michigan State coming in at No. 18 and all eight of last year’s Elite Eight teams received spots in the top 25, including Arizona and Gonzaga in the top 10.
Of course, it’s not exactly surprising to see many of last year’s top teams receive high ratings. With the roster carryovers, it has to be expected that many of the top teams will maintain that success into the upcoming season.
However, it is interesting to note that all of last year’s Power Five regular season champions were in the top 10 in KenPom’s latest ratings. This also included Kentucky and Wisconsin, who both lost massive amounts of contributions from last season. That’s a strong statement about Kentucky and Wisconsin’s recruiting and returners.
On the other side of things, perhaps the selection that will surprise fans the most is the placement of the Maryland Terrapins at No. 24 overall. After all, the Terps have been getting serious national championship discussion all offseason and actually came in at No. 2 in Today’s U’s preseason rankings.
So, what happened?
Well, there are many reasons for why Maryland might be rated so lowly, but some of the most logical reasons include the fact that the Terps were not rated very highly last year and lose star guard Dez Wells. The recruiting and transfer additions should more than override the team’s offseason losses, but odds are that it’s going to take a bit of time for the computers to adjust.
The conference breakdowns also weren’t all that surprising with the ACC, the Big 12, and the Big Ten getting the most recognition. The ACC will certainly have a few serious national championship contenders this season in Duke and Virginia and the depth of the Big 12 and Big Ten should keep both leagues in the national spotlight as well.
KenPom’s ratings are never perfect and will certainly continue to adjust all season, but if the initial ratings hold any weight, this season could look eerily similar to last year thanks to the Blue Devils.