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Sports Illustrated ranks all 351 teams

Xavier lands 42nd, but is that really telling us anything we didn't already know?

Is this the proper reaction to the news?
Is this the proper reaction to the news?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As we get closer and closer to tip off of the 2014-15 season (now only ten days away) more and more projections come out. We've been citing the work of Luke Winn a lot of the preseason, and now he and Sports Illustrated have released their ranking of every single team in Division One. According to Winn:

SI's 2014-15 rankings are according to a statistical projection system developed by the economist Dan Hanner with assistance from SI's Luke Winn. It's a bottom-up model that on offense, projects every Division I player's efficiency and shot volume using past college statistics (and stats of similar players over more than a decade), recruiting ratings (which have some predictive value over immediate performance and development curves), and the quality of their head coach and teammates. These stats are then placed within the context of each team's rotation, and used to make a team offensive efficiency projection.

That is then run 10,000 times to project the season. While the top 25 won't be revealed until a later date, a lot of information pertinent to Xavier fans is already available.

  • Xavier comes in at 42nd, third in the Big East. Georgetown is 31st and Villanova is somewhere in the top 25.
  • Dayton is listed at 38th, with UC at 45th. That means that, for all intents and purposes, Xavier and its two biggest rivals are basically indistinguishable at the start of the year.
  • The Big 10 has 10 teams in the top 50. That includes Minnesota sitting two spots ahead of X.
  • The Atlantic 10 is predicted to have a down year. UMass is projected to finish third, but comes in at 59th. That puts them around seventh in the big conferences, and fifth in the Big East.
  • The Big East is a step up for Xavier, but it's not currently loaded at the top like some of the other majors. However, the Big East has strength in depth, landing 80% of the league in the top 100 spots.
  • Remember when the MAC could consistently put decent teams in the tournament? This year the Toledo Rockets are the top team at 105th.
So what do we learn from that? Not a lot of new information, really. Most systems have Xavier hanging on that line near the very top of the NCAA bubble. Once again, it's hard for a system to project a player for which it has no data, so Xavier's six freshman and Remy Abell can skew things a bit. Still, it's fun to look at projections like this for the next ten days until something that matters happens.

And our condolences to Grambling St. fans.