Topic: SI "Top Tiers" BB article
Replies: 2   Last Post: Jan 15, 2021, 6:03 PM by: Tardog
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SI "Top Tiers" BB article

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Posted: Jan 15, 2021, 2:04 PM

Love the lead-in snarkiness..."If you’re a Kentucky fan looking for Kentucky, you can just close this window."

Tier 1: Gonzaga

Tier 2: Baylor

Tier 3: Clear Final Four contenders
Iowa, Michigan, Texas

Tier 4: Knocking on the door
Creighton, Kansas, Tennessee, Villanova, Wisconsin

Tier 5: You would rather not play them
Clemson (9–1)

There’s a pretty good chance Clemson is the best team you haven’t watched play yet. It’s a weird year in the ACC, and the Tigers look capable of winning the league. This looks and plays like the best team in Brad Brownell’s tenure, boasting the country’s top defense, per KenPom. Clemson plays a lot of guys, and it’s working. Offensively, it’s not elite in any way, but as long as it can keep the score low and capitalize on mistakes, it has enough to beat you. Versatile forward Aamir Simms has become a consistent inside-out force, causing danger as a screener and punishing smaller defenders on the inside. Sophomores Nick Honor and Al-Amir Dawes form a promising backcourt. The bench has been effective, and there are plenty of guys who can knock down an open shot. I worry a bit about the offensive ceiling here, but Clemson is a tough out.

(the rest of Tier 5)
Houston, Illinois, Oregon, Texas Tech, Virginia, West Virginia

Tier 6: Sneakily potent
Colorado, Ohio State, Saint Louis, UCLA, Virginia Tech

Tier 7: Good, but not completely convincing

Alabama, Indiana, Louisville, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Rutgers, Stanford, UConn, USC

Tier 8: How good are these teams really?

Arkansas, Duke, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Richmond, San Diego State, Seton Hall, Xavier

Lead-in part of the article...

While the schedules themselves have been uneven, and COVID-19 complications have claimed bits and pieces of schedules around the country, we’re nearly halfway through the men’s college basketball calendar. We’re starting to figure out which teams are legit and which are dicey. It’s a good time for a pulse check.

The concept of placing teams into tiers certainly isn’t novel, but it does feel like a much more useful approach than trying to rank them even more arbitrarily, based on incomplete and varied results. Between my own eye test and the help of heaps of data—most teams have played more than 10 games now—at least we can see trends and make inferences. There is no difference within tiers—teams are grouped together based on estimable quality. This is a thought exercise, not a year-end best-of list, and it’s not definitive.

Keep in mind that this is not bracketology, and makes minimal-to-no attempt to project tournament seeding. Whom teams have played and what they’ve done certainly matters, but not in any concrete sense. This list would not be possible without the data provided by KenPom, Basketball Reference, and insights from Boost Sport.

For everyone’s benefit, including my own, these tiers had to stop somewhere—if your favorite team missed the cut, it does not mean I deny their existence, or that they aren’t relevant. If you’re a Kentucky fan looking for Kentucky, you can just close this window.


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Re: SI "Top Tiers" BB article

Posted: Jan 15, 2021, 3:05 PM

Thanks for posting.


Re: SI "Top Tiers" BB article

Posted: Jan 15, 2021, 6:03 PM

I watch a lot of college basketball. That assessment seems about right to me.


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