Marquette, Wisconsin underrated?

Jan. 14, 2008
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This guy says Marquette and Wisconsin are two of the most under the radar teams in college basketball today.

(The Pomeroy rankings he refers to can be found here. The explanation of the rankings and the formula used to calculate them, is here.)

Marquette; AP #13, Pomeroy #3

I was initially surprised to see Marquette this high in Pomeroy's rankings, but now I get it. They don't have any marquee wins, but their resume is impressive in more subtle ways. There are two main characteristics that cause teams to be underrated by the AP poll, and Marquette has both.

1. "Quality" losses

Marquette has lost two games. In November, Duke beat them by four in Hawaii. Then, a week ago, they lost at West Virginia by 15. Neither of these are bad losses; everybody knows about Duke, but West Virginia is very good as well. According to Pomeroy, Marquette has played the 23rd most difficult schedule in the country.

2. Destroying teams

The AP voters mostly look at whether you win or lose, rather than how much you win or lose by. When we're trying to predict a team's future performance, doing this is ignoring some important information. Three of Marquette's victories are good examples of this:

11/20 Oklahoma St. (N), 91-61
1/3 Providence (H), 96-67
1/12 Notre Dame (H), 92-66

Having beaten these three teams, none of which are ranked, isn't particularly impressive. But beating them by an average of 28 points bodes very well for Marquette as they continue Big East play.


Wisconsin; AP #17, Pomeroy #6

The main reason that Wisconsin is only #17 is they were 40th in the preseason poll. It would be difficult to move up higher than 23 spots while losing twice over the first couple months of the season. But what's important is that those were quality losses; @Duke, and against Marquette at home. Their win @Texas is very impressive; it's also their only win that has come by less than 10 points. They haven't had much trouble in their first three Big Ten games, easily beating Michigan, Iowa and Illinois.


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