NCAA Tournament Projections As of Feb. 7

This week I thought we would explore the curious case of Stanford, who currently has a NET ranking of 89.

That spot usually does not garner much attention from anyone, including bracketologists. But this Stanford team has put quite the resume together. Let’s first take a look at the resume, then some of the causes for their high NET ranking and, finally, what the committee will do with this team.

At 14-8, the first thing you notice about Stanford is that they have played a strong schedule. Their current strength of schedule (SOS) sits at 16, and their non-conference SOS sits at 42. Stanford has played ten games against the top-50 teams in the country, going a very respectable 5-5. They swept USC and have wins over Wyoming and Oregon. As for their play away from home, they’ve gone 4-6 and have no bad losses. So why the high NET number?

It’s hard to answer that question since we have never been privy to the exact NET formula. But a pretty educated guess would be their NET ranking is due to three blowout losses to Baylor, Arizona and UCLA, as well as a double-digit loss to Santa Clara. This has resulted in the predictive metrics (KenPom, BPI, Sagarin) all giving Stanford a ranking of 94 or above. In contrast, the results-based metrics (KPI and SOS) come in at a respectable average of 45.

How will the committee deal with these wildly different results and metrics? Since the committee has never placed a team in the field with a ranking (RPI or NET) this high, it might be hard to tell. But if Stanford keeps taking care of business, it would be tough to keep them out of the field, since their resume is far better than most bubble teams.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the quality and predictive metrics are a small part of the overall evaluation of a team. Stanford has plenty of chances to improve their NET ranking. And it starts this week as Stanford hosts UCLA on Tuesday and then travels to Oregon on Thursday.

Each week the Bracketology by TKBrackets podcast looks at the most recent bracket and highlights teams that have made moves. Each episode will also have a guest to discuss the world of college hoops. Guests will include the top bracketologists in the country, NCAA staffers who help put the bracket together, former committee members and the biggest names in college basketball.

Check out the latest podcast and get caught up on all the past episodes right here at Buzzsprout or anywhere you go to listen to podcasts.

LAST FOUR IN: San Diego State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Notre Dame
FIRST FOUR OUT: West Virginia, Florida, Stanford, Belmont
NEXT FOUR OUT: Saint Louis, Virginia, VCU, Mississippi State

Big 12: 7
Big Ten: 7
Big East: 7
SEC: 6
ACC: 5
MW: 4
WCC: 4
Pac-12: 4