Composite 2014-15 Way Too Early College Basketball Rankings

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Rankings are coming in fast and furious, let's compile and discuss!

Admit it. You've already written down all the members of the Gonzaga 2014-15 team and tried to figure out how many minutes each player would get.  You've likely also used Google Translate on several occasions as you attempt to grasp whether or not Domantas Sabonis will be a Bulldog.  And, you have absolutely scrolled through a variety of 2014-15 preseason rankings hoping to see your Zags in a favorable position.  I know you have done all these things because I have done all these things...and I've done so for the past however many years I have followed this program.

Combining this passion with my odd passion for Excel, I went ahead and compiled some of the early national prognostications to see how 2014-15 would shake up.  In total, I collected polls from seven well through of college basketball authors.  They are:

Gary Parrish - CBS Sports
Eamonn Brennan - ESPN
The Big Lead - Jason McIntyre
Mike Rutherford - SB Nation
Dan Hanner - Real GM
Scott Gleeson - USA Today
Rob Dauster - NBC Sports

Way Too Early Composite Top 25

Rank Team Composite Best Worst Deviation
1 Duke 1.6 1 3 0.8
2 Arizona 1.7 1 3 0.8
3 Wisconsin 3.1 2 4 0.7
4 Kansas 4.7 2 9 2.2
5 Kentucky 5.3 3 7 1.5
6 North Carolina 6.0 5 8 1.0
7 Florida 8.0 5 14 3.2
8 Virginia 9.4 7 15 2.8
9 Wichita State 11.7 5 22 5.3
10 Texas 12.6 7 20 5.2
11 SMU 12.6 10 17 2.5
12 Villanova 13.1 8 20 4.3
13 Louisville 14.4 9 26 6.6
14 Michigan 14.4 6 20 5.8
15 Connecticut 15.6 9 21 4.5
16 VCU 17.7 13 24 4.0
17 SDSU 18.3 9 26 6.6
18 Gonzaga 19.9 15 26 5.2
19 Oklahoma 20.0 11 26 5.3
20 Ohio State 20.1 11 26 6.4
21 Oregon 20.9 13 26 5.7
22 UCLA 21.3 14 26 5.2
23 Michigan State 22.0 18 26 3.3
24 Syracuse 22.3 15 26 4.1
25 Iowa State 22.9 14 26 5.4

There Is Little Doubt About Who Is At The Top

By my count, there were 39 teams selected by the various seven authors.  We have some massive deviations on the page (which I will get into later) but the amazing thing to me is the standard selection at the top.  Four of the seven writers have Arizona, Duke, and Wisconsin in their top 3.  Duke and Arizona, in particular, appear to be the clear choices for top team heading  into next year.  No writer had either lower than #3 and the Blue Devils and Wildcats were the only two teams selected as the No. 1 team in the nation in each poll.

Now, About All That Deviation

In terms of rankings, deviation is basically a proxy for the amount of disagreement among voters.  Here are the teams ranked by "amount of disagreement".

Rank Team Composite Best Worst Deviation
13 Louisville 14.4 9 26 6.6
17 SDSU 18.3 9 26 6.6
20 Ohio State 20.1 11 26 6.4
14 Michigan 14.4 6 20 5.8
21 Oregon 20.9 13 26 5.7
25 Iowa State 22.9 14 26 5.4
19 Oklahoma 20.0 11 26 5.3
9 Wichita State 11.7 5 22 5.3
18 Gonzaga 19.9 15 26 5.2
10 Texas 12.6 7 20 5.2


You will, not surprisingly, see our beloved Zags on this list as the Bulldogs have historically been one of the more polarizing programs.  That said, Louisville, SDSU, and Ohio State are the real big numbers on the page.  Louisville makes a whole lot of sense as Russ Smith is gone and Montrez Harrell is still weighing his options.  Rob Dauster of NBC Sports ranks SDSU No. 9 out of the gates even though they lose Xavier Thames and Josh Davis.  He's banking on Steve Fisher's recruiting class contributing right away but No. 9 seems super aggressive.  Ohio State is in a similar spot to SDSU.  Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross are gone but there is hope that a strong recruiting class will lessen that blow.

What About Our Zags?

Well, you can see from the above that there was plenty of variance when ranking the Bulldogs.  Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead and Mike Rutherford of SB Nation did not rank the Bulldogs in their top-25.  It seems absurd and actually looks like McIntyre forgot about Kyle Wiltjer when rating the Zags.  Hmmm...maybe I should have left him out of this. Too late.  Gonzaga's best ranking is 15th, which they received twice from Eammon Brennan and Gary Parrish.  While I think the Bulldogs being left out of the top-25 completely is a little odd, the final composite ranking in the late-teens seems about right for a team that will have much to prove with a lot of new contributors.

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