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Big East Tiers: 1/8/18 edition

We have 2 weeks of Big East play under our belts, so figured it was time to bust out the old TRank efficiency maps and see how the Tiers were progressing since the last time we checked back in December.

Here is what the map looks like on the morning of 1/18/2018:

Big East Tiers.jpg

Tier 1 – Villanova

Though Villanova’s defense has fallen to mere great status after taking beatings from Butler and Marquette’s offenses, the offense is still in a class of its own, almost 8 full points better than Xavier’s. Oh by the way, Xavier has the 9th best offense in the country. Nova is back on top of the AP poll this week. They have the profile of a top seed and I don’t see anything but injuries changing that fact. 

Tier 2 – Xavier, Seton Hall, Creighton

After Nova though the race for 2nd gets all sorts of fun with Creighton, Seton Hall and Xavier smashed together with very similar profiles. Xavier has fallen back since mid-December, when it was vying to cross the Tier 1 threshold. In any case, all 3 of these teams seem like safe bets for the NCAA Tournament, based both on resume and efficiency metrics. 

Tier 3 – Butler, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s

Butler has a good case to make to be regarded as a Tier 2 team, but I tried to keep the lines in the same places as when we looked at this back in December, which puts them right on the cusp of Tier 2. Whatever tier you want to call them, they have found a different gear since their loss to Purdue, even going 0-2 last week. Providence used a big win (and full health) vs. Xavier to get back from the fringe of Tier 4, but St. John’s 0-4 start jives with the metrics. Without Lovett, this team has very little offensive firepower and will need to find another gear to get into Tourney contention. I see 2 teams from this tier making the Tournament, though which two is still to be seen. 

Tier 4 – DePaul, Georgetown

I’ve said it all season that DePaul is not far from being average. If you don’t bring your B game, even at home, they have more than enough to take you down, even at home. St. John’s learned that the hard way. Both of these teams don’t have a shot for the Tournament, but they are not pushovers in any sense. Both are 1-3, but it would not surprise me to see both get to around 5 wins.  

Overall, the case can be made that this is one of the best versions of the Big East in the KenPom era (since 2002), with every team ranked in the KenPom top 100. It probably won’t finish that way, but even if either DePaul of Georgetown slip, from top to bottom, the conference is a bear to navigate. 

As for Marquette, the next few weeks will tell us a lot about it’s Tournament prospects. Currently, MU is 11-0 vs. Sub 70 Ken Pom defenses, and 0-5 vs. Top 70 Ken Pom defenses. Of the 6 remaining games in January, 5 are against top-70 defenses. Going 0-5 in those games will probably finish off any hopes of being an at-large selection. Marquette has all the opportunity in the world to solidify it’s standing for March. All about performance now.  

 

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