Since I ran the initial projections for next year's rankings hours after the national championship, a good number of things have settled out with high school players choosing colleges and college players deciding to go pro or stay. After Brew's excellent piece on the good job MU is doing to schedule to get a better shot at a high seed, I was thrilled to rerun the numbers and see Marquette shoot up to a 3-seed.
In addition, several fans pointed out in the projections that the big problem was that a top recruit that was saddled on the bench for a year someplace like Kentucky should still project out to be a strong player was given his chance – rather than to repeat his ZERO. So I ran a simply “Kentucky conversion,” making every player who was in the Rivals 150 either of the last two years project out to at least the Value Add we would have expected from them as a freshman.
While Kentucky predictably jumped way up to No. 10 in the country pending four big recruits they are still pursing, the fund surprise when I ran the numbers as that Marquette jumped from the mid-30s to No. 11 as one of only two teams (besides Baylor) with 12 top 1000 players. In fact, if Trent Lockett is truly signing with MU, it would actually nudge us slightly ahead of Kentucky for No. 10:
|Total with Lockett||32.97|
|Total with Durley||32.31|
Not only is Baylor the only team to team to match Marquette’s 12 in the top 1000 (Baylor also has 4 top 100 players), but Michigan State is the only other team with 11 and Indiana is the only other team with 10. So while Marquette will not be the best team in the country next year, we could go from having the second best duo in the country to potentially having the most balanced team in the country. In fact, before being stuck with one of the worst BCS teams in the country the last couple of years, Lockett was a top 1000 player as a freshman at Arizona State in a season that Pomeroy says most closely mirrors Wesley Matthews freshman campaign.
Of course, the one problem with this much balance is that it will likely filter down to an 8-man rotation. So what we are really saying is not that Marquette will end the season with 12 or 13 players in the top 1000, but that with 13 players capable of doing it we have a lot of chances for a few players to step up and be top 200 players, and a few more to step up and be top 500 players, etc. A team with only five top 500 players and no others in the top 1000 can fall apart much quicker if two of their players have off years.
We are close to setting up a separate database so you can pull up all these players, but for now I’ll give you the rest of the run of which teams would be seeded where in the NCAA tournament, or make the NIT based on the total projected Value Add they have right now. Since Kentucky is the one team still in the mix for four of the top freshmen, I split the difference with them and assumed they would get two of their final targets.
All caps indicates the automatic NCAA bid for being the top team in their conference:
|6||NORTH CAROLINA ST.||ACC||34.80||2|
|24||NEVADA LAS VEGAS||MWC||28.68||6|
|60||SOUTH DAKOTA ST.||Sum||22.37||13|
|68||SOUTH CAROLINA UPSTATE||ASun||19.90||13|
|150||LONG BEACH ST.||BW||10.43||16-PI|
|183||STEPHEN F. AUSTIN||Slnd||6.91||16-PI|
|53||San Diego St.||MWC||23.26||NIT|