The Big 12 Report going into the college football week before the NFL, there were several factors that were taken into consideration. RPI and other statistical measures were being analyzed in order to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of individual teams.
The first being, RPI had placed great emphasis on basketball and had not yet set a board to compare. The conference that had the lowest RPI was the WAC with everyone’s top team being invited to the national championship game.
Once the season was under way, the WAC was ranked near the bottom of the pack in both the RPI and the Julie paras Salt Lake City women’s tournament.
The Salt Lake City College women’s team was the worst ranked team in the WAC by the end of the season, having not only dropped to the seventh seed in the Utah Women’s NCAA Tournament, but they had also finished dead last in the Horizon League Championship. The Big 12 Report
Meanwhile, RPI ranked the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team as the top ranked team in the conference. Connecticut was the only at the top-25 as the conference dealt a number of bottom feeders.
uelah iham received a six out of 10 in the preseason fromKRU, which pointed out how every team in the conference knew the retention issue that was going to be a key factor heading to the season.
While that was the case, the preseason poll had it wrong as the Huskies were the only one of the power conference teams to go into the season with an experienced nucleus of players.
During the season, UConn will have a chance to test its postseason mantra as the Huskies bring the title home in five games. They have the easiest road to the Final Eight with the second toughest set of back to back road games in the nation. First they have to get past Villanova, then they have Kansas, New Mexico, Oregon, Georgetown and St. Louis to complete the season.
No one is concerned about UConn’s chances as the Huskies are the safe bet in the Big East. With an RPI of 40, the Huskies were the highest ranking in the conference this season and that definitely says a lot. Connecticut’s low RPI is a drop in the bucket for teams that are very talented as well as experienced.
While George Washington’s RPI was similar at 42, the Colonials were a middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. Connecticut had to replace six starters from the within the previous two years, so there was no easy street ahead. However, the exposure and talent at the top of the conference made UConn a preseason favorite to win the title.
It will be a tough hill to climb and the Huskies did enough on defense to help validate the semi-finals run. UConn had a first-round bye, the defending champs, over Memphis, the second highest seed in the conference, and we can expect that same quality versus the rest of the conference.
It is difficult to project the Huskies out of the Top 25, but with the consistency that they have, there is a chance. Maybe UConn can sneak into the Top 25 with the second best start in the nation, but that would not be a wise decision to bank on. The higher seeds clearly are ahead of the Huskies, but with Memphis and Gonzaga both falling, UConn would have to be the odds on favorite in order to secure the #1 seed. The Big 12 Report
The second seed in the Midwest is Louisville. Joe Justino and Cardinals have the talent edge over the Huskies in the lay of the year. The Cardinals won the title of thevineyard tournament last season and the talent edge is obvious now. UofL is young and inexperienced, but with their talent, they could be a serious contender.
The next two in the Top 25 is Iowa State and Villanova. These two teams are the emerging teams in the conference with Villanova having the loudest crowd in the Top 25 with 18,000 people in attendance, nearly double the amount of people behind theAPS at 12,000. Iowa State has the quietly the best guard in the Top 25 in analytics, Derek Raivio. Capping off the bench is reserve center Nick Facility who has helped the Cyclones to some big wins recently.
ESPN has been on Villanova’s home court the past few days claiming they can win the Big East, and rightfully so. The Gruins won the very impressive Southland Conference tournament and headlines have been made in the NCAA’s. If you interviewed Danny Manning, he would still say that no one is better than him and he wants to win the NBA’s MVP award not the NCAA’s. While shouldn’t Everyone’s beloved, it’s nice to have different perspective on theseason unlike the rest of the biased media.
Sometimes it’s tough to bet against the public, especially when they’re all rooting for one team.
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