The West Virginia Mountaineers are not currently ranked and that doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, a team’s ranking at the beginning of December is meaningless. With that said, West Virginia deserves to be not only ranked but ranked highly.
Proponents of the current system point at the use of the KenPom metric ratings. The KenPom metrics is purely predictive and has almost nothing to do with how a team has performed this season. According to their own website, “if you’re looking for a system that rates teams on how “good” their season has been, you’ve come to the wrong place.”
In other words, it’s a watered-down version of reality so that voters who don’t really know anything about most teams can predict how well a team might play if they were to play tonight. It’s a snapshot, a small glimpse of a much bigger picture. The KenPom metrics is ideal in the gambling world only because it predicts how teams will perform on a given night against a given team, and that’s all that it does.
Imagine being given a raise at work based not on your performance but rather on how you might do. It’s an absolutely ridiculous, asinine way to reward employees…or teams. While the RPI is now considered “outdated” by college basketball experts, it’s absolutely the most fair, reasonable way to acknowledge a team for its actual performance on the court. RPI takes wins, losses and strength of schedule into account, and it is based solely on how a team has performed this season.
West Virginia is the most impressive team in the country to start the season. At 7-0 and with the #4 ranked strength of schedule, there is no question that the Mountaineers deserve to be ranked based on performance. What reasonable, rational person would base a team’s ranking on a predictive combination of adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency instead of merit and quality of performance? Apparently NCAA college basketball voters.
While the Mountaineers not being ranked is momentarily frustrating, it is likely a blessing in disguise. Flying under the radar as an unranked team is far better at this time of the year and the Mountaineers will certainly use this disrespect as motivation going forward.