Voters Boost VT’s National Ranking, Computers More Dubious Following VMI Game


With all the chaos of the 2021 college basketball season, and with the Hokies unexpectedly riding the ranking wave through December, we wanted to continue to update you on the ranking landscape. Once conference play is well underway, we will provide more detail on the rankings produced by our model. 

This week, the Hokies took a slight dip in the overall rankings world after struggling with VMI. In fact, an interesting pattern emerged. The Hokies stayed highly ranked in human polls, while sliding a decent amount in computer polls. Their poll average from human polls is #14, while computer polls average the Hokies at #30. We estimate the reason for this split comes down to the VMI game. Human poll voters mostly likely either didn’t watch the game (shame on them) or gave the team a pass for that poor performance and expected a bounce back. Computer polls however were tracking every play of that game. As such, the Hokies offensive ratings and efficiency stats cratered, causing a big drop in computer polls. 

The full list of rankings are below, but we wanted to highlight a couple interesting points. First, the Hokies actually gained a spot in the AP Poll to #15, and got nearly 100 more votes than last week. Our Kenpom rating fell due to only one factor: offensive rating. Our defensive rating did not change, but the VMI game was enough to drop the Hokies 7 spots. Last, the Hokies stormed into Bracketology with force. They moved from First 4 Out to a projected #9 seed.

While there are a couple must-win cupcakes on the upcoming schedule, the Hokies should actually be able to improve strength of schedule with a trio of top 100 opponents (Penn State, Clemson and Miami). Should the Hokies skate to January unscathed, the Virginia game could see the Hokies ranked higher than the Cavaliers. 

Virginia Tech Rankings (12/7/2020)
EVTB Ranking Model28Our model dinged the Hokies for the VMI game, which was a theme with computer models this week.
NCAA NETNot published yet.
AP Top 2515Hokies went from #16 and 570 votes to #15 and 688 votes.
Coaches Poll*Still not updated at time of publishing* Hokies were unranked in the preseason poll.
Goodman Top 259We thought the Hokies may slide in this poll, but they hold steady.
Rothstein 4515“Mike Young. Poppin’ like Orville Redenbacher.”
Katz Power 3619Katz notes the Hokie are still riding the Villanova wave.
ESPN BPI35Hokies slide from 30 to 35 in BPI and we from #1 to #3 in Strength of Record. Villanova is #1 in BPI.
CBS10Hokies are still sitting strong among traditional powerhouse programs.
Bracketology9 seedHokies move solidly into tournament consideration.
Kenpom26The drop in Kempom is completely attributed to the slide in offensive rating this week.
Massey Composite36Our rankings range from a high of 16 (Haslametrics) to a low of 58 (Wilson).
College Basketball Reference33Big drop from the VMI game
RPI19The only quantitative rankings where the Hokies improved their rating. Maybe RPI isn’t stupid…
Reddit18Hokies garner more respect from The Internet’s Student Section.
Average22Go Hokies!

EVTB Ranking Model:This is our proprietary ranking model. While it is useful to compare teams, its goal is really to project the NCAA field. It tends to be very bouncy in November and December and gets better as more games are played. It often differs from other ranking models.

NCAA NET: This is the model the NCAA uses for seeing. It has not been released yet, but we will update once it drops.

AP Top 25: The traditional poll made up of journalist votes. This poll is the most cited ranking.

Coaches Poll: The traditional poll made up of coach votes. To put it nicely, coaches are not great at ranking teams and tend to copy other polls and cluster based on recency. It’s worth noting that Mike Young does not vote in this poll.

Goodman: A single-person poll that uses no preseason or anchoring effect. It changes from day to day based on what you have done, not the name on your jersey. 

Rothstein: A single-person poll that blends preseason and actual game results.

Katz Power 36: A single-person poll that blends preseason and actual game results.

CBS: A single-person poll that blends preseason and actual game results.

Bracketology: A single-person NCAA tournament prediction. This is not a ranking. It is projecting the NCAA field based on priors and actual game results. It updates on an irregular schedule, so often can be out of date.

Kenpom: The gold standard in statistical computer models and Hokie alum. Kenpom relies on offensive and defensive efficiency to rank teams.

Massey Composite: A composite average of 10 computer models. The 10 models are TeamRankings, Kenpom, Sagarin, Pugh, Dokter Entropy, Haslametrics, Massey, Donchess Inference, Moore and DeSimone. We are lobbying to get EVTB included.

College Basketball Reference: A simple rating system based on point differential and strength of schedule. This really simple model tends to find 90% of the same result as the mega models above. 

RPI: The nearly forgotten dinosaur of rankings. We include it, because it is often cited, but pretty much everyone (NCAA doesn’t even use it anymore) agrees there are much better options out there.

Reddit: This is a weekly fan poll. We often cite journalists and computers, but why not the most important part of the game… FANS! This gives us a chance to hear their voice.

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