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Observations about the human Top 25s vs the computer Top 25s

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  • Observations about the human Top 25s vs the computer Top 25s

    Originally posted 01-11-2021, 11:12 PM

    If you look at the 3 most prominent computer algorithm rankings -- KenPom, Sagarin & The NCAA NET -- there is quite a bit of agreement between the Top 10 teams or so:
    • Gonzaga is No. 1 in all 3 models.
    • Baylor is No. 2 in all 3 models.
    • Six other schools -- Iowa, Villanova, Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois and Wisconsin -- are all in the Top 10 of all three models; and two more schools -- Texas and Houston are in the Top 10 in two of the three, and Top 13 in the other; the only other schools appearing in any Top 10 are Kansas (No. 8 in Sagarin) and Creighton (No. 10 in KenPom); both are in the Top 14 of the other two models.
    So, by these computer models, we have 12 total schools -- Gonzaga, Baylor, Iowa, Villanova, Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois and Wisconsin, Texas, Houston, Kansas, and Creighton -- which are in the Top 14 in all 3 computer models.

    So where do those schools stand in the human polls?
    • Gonzaga is once again No. 1 in both the media (AP) and coaches' (Ferris) polls.
    • Baylor is once again No. 2 in both.
    • Villanova and Texas are Nos. 3 & 4, respectively, in both polls; so, right off, Texas is getting a human bounce from about #10 overall in computers to #4 overall in human polls.
    • The same seven schools then appear Nos. 5 thru 11 in the both human polls, though not the same order: Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Creighton, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Houston; so, again, we have teams jumping up a bit: Kansas from No. 13 in the computers to No. 6/7 human; and Creighton jumping from No. 14 to about No. 7 in human polls; Tennessee, which is No. 3 in Sagarin and No. 4 in the NET, falls the most amongst this group.
    • Illinois, Top 10 in all the computer models, also falls a little lower with human polls to No. 13/14.
    All in all, there is a lot of agreement between computers and humans as to this Top 12 or so teams in the country.

    After that, things begin to diverge:
    • KenPom and Sagarin both have Texas Tech, Virginia and West Virginia in their respective Top 16s; Texas Tech and West Virginia are comparable in the human polls, but Virginia is ranked lower; Louisville is in a similar boat.
    • The NET favors Colorado (No. 11, and Top 25 in KenPom/Sagarin, but unranked in the human polls), Drake (No. 12, outside the Top 50 in KenPom/Sagarin, unranked but receiving votes in the human polls), and St. Louis (No.14, Top 40 in KenPom/Sagarin) -- which is ranked No. 24 in both human polls.
    • Neither KenPom nor Sagarin have Clemson nor Missouri in their respective Top 17s (Sagarin has neither in its Top 30); both human polls have each school in their Top 17.
    • Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon and UConn are all in the Top 30 of the computer models and the human polls -- though Ohio State and Oregon do better in KenPom/Sagarin.
    • I know this will shock people, but the human voters really like Duke No. 19/23; the computers, not so much; Virginia Tech is in the same boat.
    • Minnesota is ranked in both human polls (No. 19/23), but No. 33 in all the computer models.
    So humans are giving Duke, Texas, Virginia Tech and Minnesota the biggest elevation from computer models. Notably, three have big names associated with the coaches: Krzyzewski, Smart, and Pitino.

    And then there is a final group: a group of three schools, which are Top 26 or better in each of KenPom, Sagarin and The NET, but not ranked in the Top 29 in either human poll; those schools are:
    • Arkansas (No. 25 in KenPom, No. 15 in Sagarin, No. 20 in The NET; but No. 35 in media poll and No. 38 in the coaches' poll;
    • LSU (No. 24 in KenPom, No. 17 in Sagarin, No. 22 in The NET; but No. 39 in media and no votes in the coaches' poll, apparently on account of LSU being ineligible for the post-seaosn); and
    • USC (No. 16 in KenPom, No. 26 in Sagarin, No. 16 in The NET; but No. 30 in both human polls).