SWAC Power Southern Shooting Up KenPom Ranks

Conference play has brought some big movement in the Pomeroy rankings as some teams are playing extremely well and others are faltering against similar competition. A couple of NEC teams even made the most positive movers this week.

Biggest Movers This Week:

  1. Southern +66 (134)
  2. Texas A&M +52 (72)
  3. Pacific +39 (115)
  4. Robert Morris +37 (121)
  5. St. Francis Brooklyn +31 (190)

All of these teams got big wins over conference opponents, which helped them leap up the rankings. Southern is becoming the dominant power in the SWAC and is now 5-0 in conference play after crushing Grambling, Jackson St. and Arkansas Pine Bluff this week. Texas A&M pulled off possibly the most impressive win of anyone yesterday as Elston Turner went for 40 points and the Aggies won 83-71 in Rupp. Combine that with a win over Arkansas at home and Billy Kennedy’s team is now 2-0 in the SEC. The two NEC schools made the rankings thanks to two-win weekends. RMU went to New Jersey and crushed both Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth, while yesterday’s surprising 19-point win over Wagner shot SFC up the rankings. Bryant (4-0) is still the favorite in the league.

Biggest Weekly Fallers:

  1. Youngstown St. -53 (171)
  2. Georgia -47 (172)
  3. Lipscomb -43 (311)
  4. Bradley -38 (144)
  5. William & Mary -36 (216)

William & Mary of course lost to Hofstra on Saturday, dropping the Tribe down the rankings. Speaking of CAA disappointments, Drexel is next on this list. Bradley had been one of the nice surprises in the Missouri Valley, but a three loss week, including a 31-point road loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday sent the Braves plummeting.

Biggest Movers This Season:

  1. Southern +198 (134)
  2. Utah +185 (124)
  3. Eastern Kentucky +146 (146)
  4. Canisius +145 (131)
  5. UIC +137 (152)

On the basis of its huge week, Southern tops this list. They’ll get some competition though from Texas Southern, which already has one conference loss. If somehow Southern managed to finish the season ranked this high it would be the SWAC’s highest rating in the KenPom era (2003+) by far. The previous best was Southern back in 2006, when it ranked 195th. KenPom gives them a 16% chance of going undefeated in SWAC play. Western Illinois, Stephen F. Austin and Bryant, three of the season’s biggest surprises, are also in the Top 10.

Biggest Fallers This Season:

  1. Penn State -128 (195)
  2. Old Dominion -128 (260)
  3. Drexel -126 (167)
  4. Missouri St. -126 (249)
  5. Northern Colorado -125 (295)

Penn St. once again tops the list after losing to Indiana by 23 and Northwestern by 16. The Nittany Lions have a chance to bounce back today against Purdue on the road, where Pomeroy gives them a 16% chance. Marshall, one of the reasons that Conference USA is down this season, has also snuck into the bottom 10. A couple NEC teams, LIU Brooklyn, Wagner and Quinnipiac are sitting in the bottom 20 in terms of the biggest disappointments as well.

Conference Update:

Not much has changed now that we’re in conference play. The Atlantic Sun managed to find a way to drop eight more spots. The league has now dropped an average of 58 spots per team this season, worst in the nation. The Big West and Pac-12 are still leading the way, with an average increase of 28 spots per team. What’s interesting is that the SWAC is up 27 spots after rising an average of 10 spots per team this week. A lot of that is Southern, but Texas Southern and Alcorn St. also had good weeks.

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