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ESPN’s BPI Starts Villanova Basketball at #16 for 2018-19

Preseason rankings don’t matter, except when there’s nothing else to talk about.

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Happy Monday Nova Nation! I hope you all enjoyed another wonderful summer weekend. They’re now 2/3’s of the way gone, so be sure to get in all of the summer fun you can before it’s too late!

Speaking of summer fun, ESPN released their first official BPI (Basketball Power Index) rankings for the 2018-19 season. Now rankings don’t really mean all that much throughout the season besides helping indicate where a team may be seeded. So preseason rankings matter even less. However, if there was ever a time to talk about them it would be the middle of the summer when nothing else is going on!

The BPI is a predictive ranking that tries to predict a team’s future performance rather than what they’ve already accomplished. It distinguishes itself from the other advanced analytic rankings (KenPom, Sagarin, Massey) by claiming to do a better job including factors like Strength of Record and Injuries. A team’s BPI score represents how many points above or below average a team is, and indicates how well they’re expected to do moving forward.

Personally, I don’t think it’s as good as some of the other options I mentioned above, but it’s what we have for the moment when we’re starved for new things to talk about. So here’s a quick rundown of Villanova and all the teams they’ll play this season that landed in the Top 100:

ESPN’s 2018-19 Preseason BPI Rankings

Rank Team BPI Offense Rank Defense Rank
Rank Team BPI Offense Rank Defense Rank
1 Kansas 12 2 8
4 Marquette 10.6 1 90
16 Villanova 8 15 33
27 St. John's 6.7 46 22
28 Butler 6.5 27 48
33 Florida State 6.3 49 26
39 LSU 5.8 11 139
40 Michigan 5.8 85 13
44 Temple 5.6 43 60
59 Georgetown 4.5 54 85
61 Creighton 4.5 73 59
68 Seton Hall 4.1 78 64
81 Oklahoma State 3.4 91 83
85 DePaul 3.1 128 53
88 Saint Joseph's 3 101 84

Recognizing that these mean nothing, there are a few interesting takeaways:

  • Marquette at #4 with a defensive rank of 90th? ESPN tries to explain themselves here, but this is ridiculous. They’ll be a good team and are widely being considered the Big East’s #2 this year, but the king is still Villanova.
  • Speaking of the Wildcats, #16 is a bit low but still within reasonable expectations for a starting spot this season. I’d expect them to fall somewhere between #8 and #15 in most preseason polls.
  • Kansas as #1 should make for an intense December matchup, especially if they’re still there when the Wildcats head to Lawrence.
  • Michigan down at #40 seems very low. They’re really discrediting the Wolverines offense here due to the big losses they had to the NBA and graduation. I’d expect them to rise quickly, even after a loss on the Main Line.
  • I know the rest of the Big East is wide open this season, but did they really rank DePaul in the Top 100 and include them over Xavier and Providence!?!? Go home BPI, you’re drunk.

In other “news”, recruiting, Arch signs in Chicago, Lowry remains silent, and the new season can’t get here fast enough. Enjoy!

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