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College Basketball Rankings - MRI 2011-12, Week 7

January 9, 2012  |  By Benjamin Miraski

The MRI usually gets a little flack for not dropping teams that lose, especially when they lose to much lower ranked teams.

But context is everything. Unlike some systems which do not care about the margin of victory, the MRI does.

That is why Wisconsin was able to hold in the top 10 despite being edged by Indiana and Michigan State. But this weekend's loss to Michigan sent that Badgers sliding down to No. 11. That means I won't have to write one of these.

Wisconsin is very much still a contender. Remember that North Carolina took a few weeks to even appear in the MRI rankings. And any team that reaches the magical 100 point mark in the rankings is almost guaranteed a tournament spot.

Many teams go through these funks. Most recover. Wisconsin is one of those teams.

There are other teams that people should be questioning right now.

Both Connecticut and Georgetown took hard losses this weekend. Both were ranked highly in the AP poll. Neither had been higher than No. 20 in the MRI. The schedules were not overwhelming. They didn't dominate any games. They squeaked their way to their position in the computer, and it was a shaky one at that.

So why did they get any love, other than for the name on their jersey, in the human polls?

The same question can be asked about Harvard. If not for a win over Florida State, the record would be built on the backs of a number of questionable teams. Add in the loss to Connecticut and they look even shakier.

Before that loss they were not even sniffing the top 25 in the computer despite an undefeated record (the same could be said for Murray State right now, who at least makes the ranking bubble list).

If there is no Tommy Amaker in Boston, there is no Harvard with a number next to it.

It is important to keep in mind as we move deep into the season that the human polls are very flawed. (Note: The computers are flawed too. The MRI is historically only 75 percent correct.)

But just because a team is highly ranked, or has a big gaudy record, that doesn't mean that they are excellent/unstoppable/elite eight material.

Remember that Connecticut came out of seemingly nowhere last season to win the title. Remember that teams consistently "surprise" come March, because expectations are so skewed by the human polls. You have to use all the data available to make judgements.

Wisconsin could still make a big splash come the tournament. Whether that is a second weekend appearance, or a Final Four run remains to be seen and a lot depends on what happens over the next 6 weeks.

Don't overreact to numbers you see on January 9. Teams will change. Teams will evolve.

And only then will we see who the real contenders for the title are.

And maybe it will be Connecticut, Georgetown, Harvard and the Badgers after all.

Check out all the rankings in week 7 of the basketball MRI.

MRI Top 25 Rankings

1Ohio State15-2168.072
3North Carolina14-2134.723
5Michigan State13-2117.456
8Seton Hall14-2113.1313
12St. Mary's12-2106.329
18Saint Louis12-3100.2525
20Wichita State11-3100.0911
21Kansas State12-299.9716
25West Virginia12-495.5139

Teams Dropped From The Top 25: Marquette (LW #15, TW #27), Oklahoma (LW #22, TW #36), Connecticut (LW #23, TW #32), Georgetown (LW #24, TW #28).
On the Bubble: New Mexico, Marquette, Georgetown, Creighton, Murray State, Dayton, Connecticut, Southern Mississippi, Michigan, Purdue.
Wofford Watch: Wofford (7-7) is currently 176th in the MRI, with a score of 28.11.
Last Place this week: Grambling (1-12) at -86.97. 7th week in a row.
Biggest Gain this week: Texas Southern gained 23.07 points. (Beat Alcorn State 87-52, Southern 73-39, and Prairie View 84-49)
Biggest Loss this week: Southeastern Louisiana lost 25.56 points. (Lost to Texas Arlington 85-46, and Stephen Austin 63-36)
Conference rankings this week: Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, SEC, ACC, Mountain West, Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, PAC-12, Conference USA.

Posted January 9, 2012 8:31 PM

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