You may have noticed that each week I’m voting in the ESPN Mid-Major Power Rankings. The exercise requires my fellow voters and I to rank the Top 15 Mid-Major teams (as defined by ESPN so no A-10, CUSA or MWC along with BCS guys). Murray State keeps ending up on there. Every week I say it confuses me. Let’s go into it in more depth.
Someday I think Stony Brook deserves to make the Top 15, but because the Seawolves play in America East, lost their marquee conference game at Vermont (a really tough place to play), and are hamstrung by the fact that their SID Thomas Chen is a voter and probably shouldn’t vote for his own school, they might never make it. Just for fun though, let’s compare Murray State’s resume to Stony Brook’s.
Murray State: RPI – 116, BPI – 114, Pomeroy – 131
Stony Brook: RPI – 81, BPI – 94, Pomeroy – 74
I included ESPN’s BPI and the Pomeroy rankings because I think they give a more accurate representation of where a team stands than just wins and losses alone, but even in the standard RPI it looks like a clear win for the Seawolves.
What’s Murray’s argument then? Well, last season they went 31-2 and to start the season the assumption was that much of the team was returning. Except they didn’t really. Isaiah Canaan is back, but they Racers lost two talented players in Donte Poole and Ivan Aska to graduation (#2 and #3 in usage) and promising freshman Zay Jackson has been suspended the entire season due to this incident. This team might still have Steve Prohm at the helm, but it’s already suffered losses to Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State in OVC play and had to go to overtime to beat Austin Peay last Saturday.
But they beat St. John’s! The defenders cry. Well so did UNC-Asheville and San Francisco. I don’t see either of those teams cracking the Top 15.
According to Pomeroy here are a few mid-majors with similar rankings to Murray State: Loyola (MD), Northwestern St., Southern, Eastern Kentucky and Niagara. Two (competitive) MAAC teams, a SWAC team, the Southland’s second best team and a fellow OVC team that beat Murray State head-to-head. Now, do you really think the Racers deserve to be in the Top 15?
If these ratings are about this season they certainly don’t. Prohm had a season for the ages in 2011-12. It’s not coming back. Murray State isn’t a top mid-major school this season.
Now watch they go and beat Belmont tonight.