Blog Entry

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 8

Posted on: January 9, 2012 9:32 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 2:02 pm

By Matt Norlander

The Pyramid isn’t living in the same world as the rest of college basketball. At least not yet. Did you happen to look at the results from the past four nights or so? The sport’s been filled with unlikely defeats and confusing transgressions all over the map. I don’t know what the Pac-12 is anymore, and the A10 is content to eat itself, it seems.

But over here, the rankings, while shifting, aren’t completely getting jumbled; there’s a sense of propriety here. What I really look forward to is the intra-conference games that are coming up, the tilts that will jilt the order here. We’ve got two newbies to the party this week, both who jumped over a number of teams based on a collective body of work that merited more than a 14 or 15 ranking.

Let’s get to talking.

Top Tier

1. UNLV (15-2). A Sentence:  I do wonder why more people aren’t noticing how good and dangerous this team is. A Statistic: The Rebels are back to running again. UNLV averages a conference-best 70.8 possessions per game. The Schedule: at San Diego State Saturday.

Is Drew Gordon ready to step up in a big way in conference play? The Pyramid sees big things ahead. (AP)

2. New Mexico (14-2). A Sentence:  Goodman and Parrish are down on the Lobos, so be thankful the Power Pyramid is here to give love to western teams who deserve it. A Statistic: It’s not as good as Vegas’ nearly 19 dimes per game, but the 17.3 assists per game UNM’s doling out is still top 10 in the nation. The Schedule: at Wyoming Saturday.

3. Creighton (13-2). A Sentence: McDermott’s going to be getting more pub I believe, but we’re about at the point where an examination of the starting five is worth our words. A Statistic: It’s the double threat that makes Creighton so great. The fact they can pass (20.2 assists per game, second in hoops) and shoot from deep (45.4 3-point percentage is second only to Indiana, who made 16 out of 24 attempts Sunday to overtake the ‘Jays). Alm. The Schedule: vs. Northern Iowa Tuesday; at Illinois State Friday; vs. Southern Illinois Sunday.

Ron Swanson Approves

4. Harvard (13-2). A Sentence: Let’s try not to overreact if Harvard winds up losing two Ivy games. A Statistic: I actually asked Harvard Yanni Hufnagel, a Crimson assistant, was his favorite stat about this team is. He said the 14.1 to 8.9 free-throws-made-per-game disparity. Said that’s been a small but big thing for this team. The Schedule: at Monmouth Tuesday; vs. George Washington Saturday.

5. Iona (12-3). A Sentence: The Gaels stand a good chance of separating themselves by two or three games in the MAAC in the next two weeks. A Statistic: For such a high-scoring team, Iona doesn’t make the most of getting to the foul line. The Gaels’ free-throw attempts amount to 28.8 percent of their field goal attempts (36.5 is about the average). The Schedule: vs. Manhattan Thursday; vs. Loyola (Maryland) Sunday.

6. Murray State (16-0). A Sentence: That Austin Peay win was a lot tougher than a lot of people realize. A Statistic: You might be wondering what Murray State’s best statistical season in program history is. Surely you can recall that 1935-36 assembly of Racer whippersnappers who went 23-2. The Schedule: vs. Jacksonville State Thursday; vs. Tennessee Tech Saturday.

7. Gonzaga (13-2). A Sentence: I’m ready for Kevin Pangos time. A Statistic: For the past seven years, the Zags have averaged between 67.4 and 68.7 possessions per game. Few is consistent, even if Gonzaga remains unpredictable. I’m liking this team, just not loving it yet. The Schedule: at Saint Mary’s Thursday; at Loyola Marymount Saturday.

8. San Diego State (13-2). A Sentence: Finally, finally, finally, finally we get to see the return of SDSU, who could get some muscle shock Saturday after their patsy run of cupcakes finishes up this week at home against winless Chicago State. A Statistic: According to, SDSU has the 126th-ranked schedule. And that doesn’t include all the non-DI opponents.. The Schedule: vs. Chicago State Tuesday; vs. UNLV Saturday.

9. Saint Mary’s (14-2). A Sentence: I kind of put Saint Mary’s top-10 by default, but I will say this three-game week means a lot for the Gaels, who will skyrocket to my respect if they can run the table this week. A Statistic: Clint Steindl, a starter averaging 23 minutes per game, is scoring 1.39 points per possession. That’s the fourth-best efficiency out there. Awesome! The Schedule: vs. San Francisco Monday; vs. Gonzaga Thursday; vs. Portland Saturday.

First-year coach Archie Miller has it going for Dayton..  (US PRESSWIRE)

10. Dayton (12-4). A Sentence: Welcome the Flyers, who have screamed onto the scene after wins against Ole Miss, Saint Louis and Temple. A Statistic: As of now, Dayton doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, save shooting free throws. The Flyers make 76 of their charity shots, No. 20 overall. The Schedule: at St. Bonaventure Wednesday; vs. La Salle Saturday.

Base Blocks

11. Temple (10-4). A Sentence: I wanted to believe Temple was there to take the A10, then it followed up that nice Duke W by losing to Archie Miller’s boys. A Statistic: Temple takes on the Billikens this week. It hasn’t lost to SLU in six years. The Schedule: at Saint Louis Wednesday; at Richmond Saturday.

12. Saint Louis (13-3). A Sentence: I deserve to be ripped down the road for this if I’m wrong, because there’s not much evidence to support it, but, I believe Saint Louis’ best basketball this season is behind it. A Statistic: To show some sort of belief in SLU (which I think staggers into the tournament), here — Rick Majerus has lost at least 13 games every year of his tenure at Saint Louis. He’ll be setting a record low this season. The Schedule: vs. Temple Wednesday; at Charlotte Saturday.

13. Oral Roberts (14-4). A Sentence: It’s not breaking any info to say a mid-major team is overlooked, but no mid-major team has been overlooked this season as ORU. A Statistic: Dominique Morrison has an absurd offensive rating in 156 during conference play. The Schedule: at Western Illinois Thursday; at IUPUI Saturday.

14. Wichita State (12-3). A Sentence: Like Saint Mary’s, I’m promising a boost for the Shockers if they can go 3-0 against conference foes this week. A Statistic: The Shockers are currently ranked 24th in efficiency defense (.90 points per possession), which is their best standing during the era (2003-on). The Schedule: vs. Illinois State Tuesday; vs. Bradley Friday; at Indiana State Sunday.

15. Middle Tennessee State (15-2): A Sentence: Six of the next eight games are away from home, including a game at Vanderbilt. A Statistic: Eight of the 12 Sun Belt teams are currently under .500. What’s it mean for Middle Tenn? Only that judging them going forward will be tough in such a bad league. Hard to see this team ever climbing above the 10 spot, even if it gets to say 23-3 in time. The Schedule: at Florida International Thursday; at Florida Atlantic Saturday.

Roaming outside the Pyramid:

♦ Out this week: Ohio, St. Joseph’s. In: Dayton, Oral Roberts.
♦ I still don’t buy BYU yet.
♦ The same goes for 13-2 Wyoming.
♦ Southern Miss makes the Pyramid next week by beating Memphis on the road and UAB at home. USM has a weak schedule and needs a couple of prove-it wins.
♦ And if you’d like to ever send me any worthwhile info or complaints about this, I encourage a follow on Twitter or emailing:


Since: Oct 28, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:27 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 8

I'm sorry, but I'm not totally understanding how you're now placing Oral Roberts in the pyramid but you never put South Dakota State in there, even after they manhandled Washington.  I'm not saying Oral Roberts doesn't deserve to be there, they won by 22 again SDSU this past weekend at home so ya they are the top dogs in the conference right now, I just don't see how you can call Oral Roberts overlooked this year, especially when SDSU's victory of Washington was called a fluke by so many but, in reality, it was a quality win by a quality team.  I just don't see why people don't respect SDSU more, considering how strong they have played against bigger schools over the year.  I'm calling double standard

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: January 10, 2012 9:43 am

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

You are a sad excuse for a Racer fan, this is not the respect they deserve. The AP and coaches poll are giving them the respect they deserve, not this moron.

Since: Feb 6, 2010
Posted on: January 9, 2012 9:37 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

Murray State, as Curly would say, "is a victum of circumstances". I am sorry Racer87. They have received the respect they deserve. Unfortunately, the OVC is so weak they can't move much much higher. If MSU goes undefeated in the regular season do they deserve a top 15 or better ranking? I think not. Curly got what he deserved because his best friends were Moe and Larry! Not until Murray plays ranked competetion can it move up. I do give them props for winning without Ivan Aska (Broken hand). Go Racers!

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 8:10 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

I just remember why every week I remind myself that next week this thing isn't worth reading. I thought you said you would move Murray up this week if we were still undefeated. 1 spot does not count as moving us up. When are you going to get over your hate for Murray Matt and start accepting that they're for real.

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 7:02 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

UNLV #1 ..... ahhhhh, that sounds soooooo nice! Let's Run!

Since: Jan 9, 2012
Posted on: January 9, 2012 6:15 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

Props for the ORU ranking - the Golden Eagles are playing at an extremely high level right now.  Need to secure a great BracketBuster opponent - hoping for Wichita State.  WAR EAGLES!!

Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:59 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

Yeah, would does "weak" mean? I follow the Sagarin ratings more than anything else. I might have gone to Southern Miss, but I'm from Indiana and so is Jeff. Gospel around here.

Here are some SOS examples from Sagarin: 

USM: #75
UNC: #205
UK:  #227
UVA #298
Missouri #290

Now that's about to change with conference play of course. But even the Southern Miss SOS will likely drop into the 50's or 60's by year end. 

Again like da Saints ask, what is the definition of "weak"? If one even remotely eludes to the word "weak" in any any respect to those other teams, there would a firestorm on this site.    

Since: Dec 1, 2006
Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:26 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

someone please come up with a legitimate definition of "weak"... (of course, it'd help if they'd come up with some sort of agreement in regards to SOS.) ..   as  USM fan I'd really like to know that one..

Warren Nolan gives us a SOS of 39KenPom says 163
Colley says 81.
live-rpi says 39

all of them agree that the -current- RPI is 12 (which admittedly will change)

So I'm just curious what is "weak"?

Since: Dec 21, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:23 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

Right on Wings. Sportsline bumped USM up to #12 today!

Since: Nov 25, 2008
Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:02 pm

Non-BCS Power Pyramid, Week 9

refering to southern Miss

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