The final media poll was released today (the coaches poll finished its tallying of votes before the NCAA Tournament began) and Duke sits alone at the top of the charts. (I'm shocked! Shocked!) The Blue Devils ran through Cornell and Syracuse during Championship Weekend to earn its second national championship, and the media poll responded by assuring the world that these things actually happened.
The below aggregation considers every team slotted in the top 20 of at least one set of rankings (I'm omitting the early May coaches poll because it would really throw things out of place). Some brief thoughts follow the table.
LAXPOWER: These are the LaxPower ratings. These ratings are based on solid math, importantly considering margin of victory.
RPI: This is stupid person math. I include these rankings only because the NCAA is full of stupid people and they still use this stupid person math as a major piece of their stupid tournament selection criteria. I've included these rankings this week because I am, apparently, as stupid as everyone and everything else.
EFFICIENCY: This is just a ranking of a team's efficiency margin, as adjusted for strength of schedule. These are similar to Ken Pomeroy's rankings, but slightly different. (Pomeroy uses win expectation as the basis of his ratings. We each, however, use the same foundation (efficiency).)
AVG.: Average of the "math" rankings.
MEDIA: This is the last active human poll, as voted on by humans. This poll is from May 30, 2013.
AVG.: This is the average the Earth-human poll.
DIFF.: The difference between the "math" polls and the human poll. A negative value means that "math" is rating a team higher than the things that are carbon-based; the inverse means that the things made out of 75% water are rating a team higher than the things not made out of any water.
AVG.: Average of the math and human polls. This is how the table is ordered.
- None of this particularly matters at this point. Duke is the national champion, and that's all any team is playing for. It's weird: National champions -- the lone goal for any program -- aren't necessarily the best teams in any given season, and you can make a decent argument that the Blue Devils weren't Division I's best team in 2013. Duke, rather, is the national titlist, the successful navigator of the NCAA Tournament, a team that did enough in the regular season to put itself in a position to make a run through The Big Barbecue. This doesn't take away from what the Blue Devils accomplished or what teams like Cornell or North Carolina achieved this season. It's just the way things are, and that's a good thing -- would you really want voters or computing machines to tell you who the national champion is? No, that's incredibly dumb. But, there is a difference that is more than mere semantics in "national champion" and a "season's best team." Anyway, congratulations to Duke.
- Towson will enter the offseason as arguably the most overvalued team in the nation (ignoring Bryant for these purposes, mostly because the Bulldogs' inclusion in the top 20 is bonkers) and Pennsylvania will -- as the Quakers have been all season -- the most undervalued team (with Johns Hopkins tucked in neatly behind Pennsylvania). I thought that Ohio State's blitzing of the Tigers would move Towson back a bit with respect to Earth-human polling, but instead the Tigers actually ascended one position in the media tally while continuing to slide further from the Top 20 in math-based rankings. America!
- I wouldn't worry too much about how the top of the media poll shook out. The math-based ratings have the same five teams in the top five -- albeit in different orders -- and the tiering there is appropriate. Close enough for funk, baby!
- I don't think that anyone had a really good grip on what Notre Dame and Ohio State were this season. The color from those two teams is what makes these exercises interesting.
What do you guys think about this? Okay or no-kay? The comments, they are yours.