We are 2,879 games into the 2019-20 season and we finally have a team that has cracked the +30.00 efficiency margin threshold at KenPom. Efficiency margin is a concept well-known to basketball and stat junkies, but if you're foggy on what the metric is and how it aligns every team in Ken Pomeroy's system, he laid it out a few years ago.
"AdjEM is the difference between a team's offensive and defensive efficiency," Pomeroy wrote in 2016. "It's simple subtraction. Even your dog can do it. It represents the number of points the team would be expected to outscore the average D-I team over 100 possessions and it has the advantage of being a linear measure. The difference between +31 and +28 is the same as the difference between +4 and +1. It's three points per 100 possessions which is much easier to interpret. This measure also makes the SOS and average conference strength numbers less mysterious."
This season's been notorious for its lack of power. But a team getting to +30.00 was inevitable.
That team is Duke. And it's in part why there is a change atop the power rankings. Let's get to 'em.
|⤴️ Previous: No. 2 | The 14-1 Blue Devils eke past Gonzaga for the 1 spot after their 73-64 win at Georgia Tech on Wednesday night, which included a fabulous alley-oop between Tre Jones and Cassius Stanley. Duke's 20.9 scoring margin average is best in college basketball. It's won eight straight and ranks in the top five in offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom. |
|⤵️ Previous: No. 1 | The 16-1 Zags take a one-spot slip due to some scruffy play in the past week. Whereas Duke has continue to throttle most of its opponents, Gonzaga trailed at the half against Portland and then edged away from Pepperdine, at home, late on Saturday. Surprising to me is how the Zags still sit all the way at 10th in KenPom and seventh in the Massey Ratings composite.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 4 | A 20-point win on the road vs. Wyoming gets San Diego State (16-0) to its highest ranking in the history of these power rankings. The Aztecs are in a constant volley with Kansas for No. 1 in the NET rankings, but it's clear for the purposes of these power rankings that the Aztecs are top-three status. The AP poll voting body was slow to fully buy in, but this week SDSU got a six-spot bump up to No. 6. Next is home vs. Boise State on Saturday.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 3 | The Tigers had a dramatic home game on Wednesday against Vanderbilt but came out with the W to keep pace alongside SDSU as the only unbeatens left. Now at 14-0, Auburn has won 26 of its last 27 games and can rightfully claim to be the hottest team in college basketball since last March. But again: Bruce Pearl and his team don't get their due on this front. |
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 6 | It's now been two full months since Baylor (12-1) has taken a loss. That's only happened once before in school history, in 2011-12 when Baylor started the season 17-0 and went 66 days before taking a defeat. If Baylor wins at Kansas on Saturday, it will guarantee Baylor has at least 68 days between losses and also probably give Scott Drew's team the best resumé overall in college basketball.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 5 | There's plenty to know about this team -- so for the latest on 14-1 Butler and what LaVall Jordan thinks of his squad and whether this is the best Butler team ever (ever?!), . |
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 9 | The Jayhawks are 7-1 since the start of December, moving to 12-2 on the whole thanks to Wednesday night's demolition of Iowa State on the road. The 79-53 win was the second largest for Kansas at ISU in program history (KU won by 29 in 2003). The Jayhawks' defense has rounded out into elite form. So much so that I'd be shocked if any Big 12 team put up 70 on KU this season. |
|🔄 Previous: No. 8 | The Ducks (12-3) remain static after 69-64 win over the weekend at Utah. Thursday night brings about Oregon involved in the best game on the slate, a home tilt against Arizona, which is fighting to get back into these rankings. Oddsmakers have set the line at Oregon -3.5. The Ducks are 11-4 against the spread this season, second-best record amongst all power-conference teams to Alabama's 11-3 ATS record.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 10 | Gregg Marshall should be on the short list -- as in, right there with Brian Dutcher, LaVall Jordan, Bruce Pearl and Anthony Grant -- for national coach of the year. The 13-1 Shockers are 19th in the Massey Ratings composite and have won seven straight, including defeats of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, VCU and Mississippi. Thursday night is must-see: Memphis comes to town. Here's where Wichita State can start to capture some national attention.|
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 13 | The best shooting team in college basketball, Dayton (13-2) is making 52.5% of its shots, which bests No. 2 McNeese State (51.9%) and No. 3 Kansas (51.0%). The Flyers register as a top 10 team in most predictive metrics, which is an outstanding sign for the A-10. The league last sent a team to the Sweet 16 in 2014 -- and yes, it was Dayton in the Elite Eight under Archie Miller that year. |
| ⤴️ Previous: No. 15 | Here's the speed Terps fans have wanted: a 16-point home win over Indiana followed by a 12-point home win over Ohio State. Maryland (13-2) now tries to take a big leap to bona fide national title contender. The next two games are on the road against potential NCAA tourney teams: Iowa on Friday, Wisconsin on Tuesday. Winning both would change the dynamic and optimism level significantly.|
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 11 | The 'Eers (12-2) hold fairly steady after a 1-1 week that included a 60-53 loss at Kansas and a 55-41 stranglehold at Oklahoma State. Bob Huggins' team has the No. 1-rated effective field goal percentage defense, meaning WVU is attuned to play well from inside and outside the 3-point line. Opponents are making merely 23.5% of their 3-pointers and just 42.8% of their 2-pointers. The offense is rickety but brute force will get this team back to the NCAAs. |
| ⤵️ Previous: No. 7 | Won't ding the Tigers too hard for that three-point home loss to Georgia; not having D.J. Jeffries is a big factor. Had he been on the floor, I do think Memphis wins that game. At 12-2, Memphis squares up on Thursday night in one of the best games the American Athletic Conference will offer this season. The subplot: WSU coach Gregg Marshall let Alex Lomax out of his letter of intent so he could go play for his high school coach, Penny Hardaway. Lomax has become a notable role player in Memphis.|
|⤴️ Previous: No. 19 | The Seminoles (14-20 are pretty clearly looking like the second best team in the (way down) ACC, which is not a development anybody saw coming. But shame on all of us, because FSU, best I can tell, has outperformed preseason expectations each of the past three seasons. From the start of the 2016-17 season, Florida State is 92-31 with nine postseason wins and almost certainly will get to at least double digits by March. |
|⤴️ Previous: unranked | Welcome back to the party, Sparty. Michigan State (12-3) returns after a month away thanks to a seven-game winning streak that's lifted MSU nationally to these elite ratings: No. 1 in assists per game (19.7), No. 4 in rebound margin (a flawed stat, but still 10.4 in the positive column), No. 4 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57). Should keep it going Thursday night when it hosts mercurial Minnesota.|
| ⤴️ Previous: unranked | Wildcats (11-3) are 3-2 in their past five but have a three-game winning streak that most recently displayed UK winning in impressive fashion at Georgia on Tuesday night. Kentucky is clicking and when it's clicking it looks like one of the five or six best teams in college basketball. It will be top-three quality if this continues into February. |
|⤴️ Previous: unranked | The Pirates (11-4) are on a five-game winning streak with two road wins and have knocked off Maryland, DePaul and Xavier in that stretch. Held foes to 60.4 points over this five-game winning streak. Are the No. 11-rated defense and No. 6-rated offense, per possession, since Dec. 18 according to Torvik. Myles Powell's All-American status is regenerating.|
|⤵️ Previous: No. 14 | Cards are still sticking around, though the home loss to Florida State was an eye-opener. On Saturday, U of L got dropped 78-65 and prompted a for-sure shift of power atop the ACC, giving way for Duke to stand on the top of the mountain. Chris Mack's team is 12-3 and is on the precipice of a stretch of truth. If Louisville's the Final Four-type team so many believe it to be, then it needs to win at least two of its next three games, all on the road: at Notre Dame (Saturday), at Pittsburgh (Tuesday), at Duke (Jan. 18). |
|⤵️ Previous: No. 18 | A 1-1 week with two road games against NCAA Tournament teams scoots Nova down to the final spot for this week. Jay Wright's 11-3 team was wiped away last Saturday by Marquette in a 71-60 defeat. But then Villanova picked up the pieces and got by at Creighton 64-59 to stay steady. Remember, Nova also beat Kansas just four games ago. If this team starts to make 3-pointers (making only 33%), then it's going to be the one to beat in the Big East.|