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Is UNC worthy of preseason No. 1 ranking?
1:26 | College Basketball
Is UNC worthy of preseason No. 1 ranking?
Dan Hanner & Luke Winn
Tuesday November 3rd, 2015

College basketball values drama over predictability. This is the trade-off that defines the sport, that captivates the nation for three weeks in spring, when the champion is decided by a 68-team single elimination bracket, a format that does little to ensure that the best team wins.

Sports Illustrated’s College Basketball Projection System is, in a way, the anti-NCAA tournament. Our statistical model simulates a given season 10,000 times in order to find the most frequent No. 1—this year, that would be North Carolina—and determine where the other 350 Division I teams fall in line. This marks the second year that SI’s preseason rankings have been decided by the projection system, a collaboration among economist Dan Hanner, SI producer and writer Chris Johnson and myself. The results from year one were promising: The system forecast—in exact order—the eventual top four teams in adjusted efficiency (Kentucky, Arizona, Wisconsin, Duke). It also predicted that title-game opponents Wisconsin and Duke would have the most efficient offenses, ranked all eight of the NCAA tournament No. 1 and No. 2 seeds among its Top 10, and produced the most accurate conference standings of any projection model, according to kenpom.com.

MORE: See SI.com's complete college basketball preseason coverage

For offense, the system projects every player’s efficiency and shot volume by incorporating his past performance, recruiting rankings, development curves for similar Division I players, the quality of his teammates and his coach’s ability to develop and maximize talent. Those stats are weighted based on the team's rotation—including human intel on who’s expected to earn minutes—then used to produce each team’s offensive efficiency projection. (The 10,000 simulations account for significant variance in individual performances as well as injury scenarios.) Team defensive efficiency projections are based on a blend of individual stats (rebound, steal and block percentages), roster turnover (if churn is low, then 2014-15 performances in areas such as two-point field goal percentage are given a lot of weight; if high, then a coach’s historical defensive résumé matters more), experience (veterans have fewer lapses) and height (taller frontcourts make for stingier D).

This is how our system ranks all 351 teams in 2015-16:

1-25
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank Proj. NCAA seed
1 North Carolina 120.3 2 95.4 45 1st in ACC 1 seed
2 Kansas 116.4 8 92.5 6 1st in B12 1 seed
3 Kentucky 117.4 5 93.3 12 1st in SEC 1 seed
4 Duke 118.8 3 94.9 37 2nd in ACC 1 seed
5 Maryland 115.6 10 92.5 8 1st in B10 2 seed
6 Virginia 111.9 33 90.3 2 3rd in ACC 2 seed
7 Wichita St. 114.0 19 92.2 3 1st in MVC 2 seed
8 Villanova 116.9 6 94.6 33 1st in BE 2 seed
9 Gonzaga 115.4 12 94.2 27 1st in WCC 3 seed
10 Iowa St. 116.9 7 96.1 50 2nd in B12 3 seed
11 Arizona 114.4 17 94.1 23 1st in P12 3 seed
12 Oklahoma 112.3 29 92.5 7 3rd in B12 3 seed
13 California 113.7 21 94.3 28 2nd in P12 4 seed
14 Indiana 120.4 1 99.9 113 2nd in B10 4 seed
15 Michigan St. 114.5 16 95.2 42 3rd in B10 4 seed
16 Utah 112.3 30 93.4 13 3rd in P12 4 seed
17 SMU 112.7 27 93.7 16 1st in Amer Ineligible
18 Georgetown 113.0 24 94.1 22 2nd in BE 5 seed
19 Connecticut 111.4 35 92.7 9 2nd in Amer 5 seed
20 Texas 113.0 23 94.9 38 4th in B12 5 seed
21 Xavier 112.9 25 95.0 40 3rd in BE 5 seed
22 Louisville 109.7 52 92.4 5 4th in ACC 6 seed
23 Notre Dame 117.9 4 99.4 105 5th in ACC 6 seed
24 San Diego St. 105.7 111 89.4 1 1st in MWC 6 seed
25 Miami FL 113.7 20 96.3 55 6th in ACC 6 seed

This is not a season for juggernauts. North Carolina may be SI's No. 1, but this year's Tar Heels would've ranked eighth in our 2014-15 preseason projections. Our numbers like Maryland (5) but still have the Terps 2-4 spots lower than they are in most human polls. Coaching factors matter, and the fact that Mark Turgeon has never had a top-25 offense (in adjusted efficiency), and only twice had a top-25 defense in his entire head-coaching career holds Maryland back a bit in our model. Conversely, Kansas is No. 2 in part because coach Bill Self has had top-10 defenses for eight of the past 10 seasons; our model is confident that that trend will continue for the Jayhawks despite the loss of two rotation players to the NBA.

(And if you're looking for sleepers, SI sees Georgetown and Texas as top-20 teams even though they're unranked in human polls. Even though the Longhorns underachieved last season, new coach Shaka Smart has nine former top-100 recruits on his roster—more than enough talent with which to work some turnaround magic.)

26-50
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank Proj. NCAA seed
26 Purdue 112.1 31 95.0 39 4th in B10 7 seed
27 Michigan 116.0 9 98.2 88 5th in B10 7 seed
28 Ohio St. 112.6 28 95.4 44 6th in B10 7 seed
29 Texas A&M 110.9 42 94.2 26 2nd in SEC 7 seed
30 LSU 111.2 39 94.7 34 3rd in SEC 8 seed
31 Cincinnati 109.8 50 93.6 15 3rd in Amer 8 seed
32 West Virginia 110.8 45 94.4 30 5th in B12 8 seed
33 Vanderbilt 114.8 14 98.3 89 4th in SEC 8 seed
34 Wisconsin 114.0 18 97.7 79 7th in B10 9 seed
35 Oregon 114.5 15 98.6 91 4th in P12 9 seed
36 Butler 109.9 49 94.7 35 4th in BE 9 seed
37 Baylor 112.1 32 97.0 67 6th in B12 9 seed
38 Florida St. 108.5 63 94.0 20 7th in ACC 10 seed
39 NC State 111.8 34 97.1 69 8th in ACC 10 seed
40 Valparaiso 107.2 80 93.6 14 1st in Horz 10 seed
41 UCLA 110.8 44 96.7 60 5th in P12 10 seed
42 Syracuse 107.6 76 93.9 18 9th in ACC 11 seed
43 Florida 108.6 61 94.8 36 5th in SEC 11 seed
44 Rhode Island 105.7 110 92.3 4 1st in A10 11 seed
45 Pittsburgh 113.2 22 98.9 99 10th in ACC 11 seed
46 Marquette 107.1 82 93.8 17 5th in BE First four
47 Boise St. 111.3 36 97.7 76 2nd in MWC First four
48 Davidson 115.5 11 101.6 156 2nd in A10 First four
49 VCU 107.1 81 94.4 29 3rd in A10 First four
50 Tulsa 105.2 119 92.8 10 4th in Amer  

It's worth explaining a few cases where SI's projection system differs widely from the preseason AP and Coaches' polls. Wisconsin is No. 17 in both human polls but No. 34 here; although Bo Ryan has a long history of exceeding expectations and developing underrated talent, our model balks at these Badgers' extreme lack of quality depth and experience to support co-stars Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig. In the case of LSU, a top-21 team in both polls that SI has 30th, we project freshman Ben Simmons to be a national player-of-year candidate, but don't see the Tigers being incredibly efficient overall: In Johnny Jones's 15 seasons as a head coach, he's never had a team finish higher than 56th in adjusted offensive efficiency, or 36th on defense.

51-75
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank Proj. NCAA seed
51 Dayton 106.4 93 94.0 19 4th in A10  
52 South Carolina 106.4 92 94.1 24 6th in SEC  
53 Illinois 108.4 67 96.2 52 8th in B10  
54 Iowa 108.9 57 96.9 63 9th in B10  
55 UNLV 107.8 73 96.0 48 3rd in MWC  
56 Oregon St. 104.5 130 93.0 11 6th in P12  
57 Stephen F. Austin 109.6 54 98.0 83 1st in Slnd 12 Seed
58 Richmond 106.6 87 95.4 47 5th in A10  
59 BYU 111.1 40 99.6 109 2nd in WCC  
60 Oklahoma St. 107.8 71 96.6 59 7th in B12  
61 Temple 104.9 122 94.0 21 5th in Amer  
62 Evansville 108.4 66 97.2 71 2nd in MVC  
63 Georgia 105.8 108 95.1 41 7th in SEC  
64 Memphis 107.4 78 96.5 58 6th in Amer  
65 Stanford 108.3 68 97.4 74 7th in P12  
66 Clemson 104.9 123 94.4 31 11th in ACC  
67 Central Michigan 115.4 13 104.2 218 1st in MAC 12 Seed
68 Georgia Tech 104.5 129 94.5 32 12th in ACC  
69 Northwestern 108.4 65 98.1 86 10th in B10  
70 George Washington 108.2 69 98.1 85 6th in A10  
71 Mississippi St. 107.7 75 97.9 82 8th in SEC  
72 UAB 107.4 77 97.7 77 1st in CUSA 13 Seed
73 Wake Forest 108.7 59 98.9 98 13th in ACC  
74 Old Dominion 105.2 116 96.1 49 2nd in CUSA  
75 Arizona St. 107.0 83 97.7 78 8th in P12  

This is outside-looking-in territory when it comes to the NCAA tournament. SI's projections have South Carolina (52) and Illinois (53) as the first two BCS-conference teams on the bad side of the bubble, and see Northwestern (69) remaining the lone major-conference team never to make the dance, after a 10th-place finish in the Big Ten. Stephen F. Austin (57) has Cinderella potential: The Lumberjacks made the tourney as a No. 12 seed last season, losing to Utah, and project to be back in 2016, with four seniors in their rotation.

76-100
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank Proj. NCAA seed
76 Colorado 106.3 96 97.2 72 9th in P12  
77 Louisiana Lafayette 110.2 48 100.8 132 1st in SB 13 Seed
78 Virginia Tech 109.3 55 100.6 126 14th in ACC  
79 Providence 107.7 74 99.2 101 6th in BE  
80 Seton Hall 107.3 79 98.8 95 7th in BE  
81 Creighton 109.8 51 101.0 141 8th in BE  
82 Akron 106.2 99 97.7 80 2nd in MAC  
83 USC 104.4 131 96.1 51 10th in P12  
84 Illinois St. 105.0 121 96.8 61 3rd in MVC  
85 Northern Iowa 105.5 114 97.4 75 4th in MVC  
86 UC Irvine 104.2 133 96.3 54 1st in BW 13 Seed
87 Auburn 105.8 107 97.8 81 9th in SEC  
88 Nebraska 101.8 190 94.1 25 11th in B10  
89 Mississippi 109.3 56 101.0 140 10th in SEC  
90 Arkansas 106.8 84 98.8 96 11th in SEC  
91 Iona 112.9 26 104.6 224 1st in MAAC 13 Seed
92 New Mexico 104.2 139 97.1 70 4th in MWC  
93 Hawaii 104.0 144 97.0 68 2nd in BW  
94 Stony Brook 103.0 160 96.5 57 1st in AE 14 Seed
95 Pepperdine 102.7 167 96.2 53 3rd in WCC  
96 Belmont 110.8 43 103.8 205 1st in OVC 14 Seed
97 Penn St. 101.7 193 95.4 46 12th in B10  
98 High Point 109.6 53 103.0 188 1st in BSth 14 Seed
99 Utah St. 108.5 62 102.8 185 5th in MWC  
100 Colorado St. 108.2 70 102.6 183 6th in MWC  

The fact that Providence (79) projects so low as a team—SI's model sees a sixth-place finish in the Big East and no NCAA tourney bid for the Friars—hurts Kris Dunn's candidacy for the Naismith and Wooden Awards, even if he might be the nation's best all-around point guard. From this group, keep an eye on Iona (91), Belmont (96) and High Point (98)—three projected small-conference champions with high-powered offenses that, if they catch fire on the right day in March, could pull off NCAA tournament upsets.

101-150
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank Proj. NCAA seed
101 Houston 106.4 94 100.9 134 7th in Amer  
102 Vermont 104.0 142 98.7 92 2nd in AE  
103 South Dakota St. 106.2 98 100.7 129 1st in Sum 14 Seed
104 Georgia St. 106.3 95 101.0 135 2nd in SB  
105 Princeton 108.6 60 103.2 191 1st in Ivy 15 Seed
106 Texas Tech 105.6 112 100.4 121 8th in B12  
107 Middle Tennessee 103.8 149 98.7 93 3rd in CUSA  
108 Columbia 111.2 38 105.7 251 2nd in Ivy  
109 Fresno St. 106.0 104 101.3 147 7th in MWC  
110 Tennessee 106.2 100 101.5 150 12th in SEC  
111 Alabama 104.2 135 99.6 110 13th in SEC  
112 Washington 105.2 117 100.6 127 11th in P12  
113 St. Bonaventure 105.6 113 101.0 136 7th in A10  
114 Minnesota 106.1 101 101.5 151 13th in B10  
115 Saint Joseph's 101.3 198 96.9 65 8th in A10  
116 Hofstra 110.5 47 105.8 252 1st in CAA 15 Seed
117 TCU 101.6 196 97.3 73 9th in B12  
118 Long Beach St. 106.1 103 101.6 154 3rd in BW  
119 Kansas St. 101.2 200 97.0 66 10th in B12  
120 Loyola Chicago 106.4 91 102.1 170 5th in MVC  
121 Albany 104.6 127 100.5 124 3rd in AE  
122 North Dakota St. 100.3 225 96.5 56 2nd in Sum  
123 Cal Poly 103.3 156 99.4 106 4th in BW  
124 New Mexico St. 103.9 147 100.1 116 1st in WAC 15 Seed
125 UNC Wilmington 104.2 132 100.6 125 2nd in CAA  
126 Wofford 103.0 162 99.4 108 1st in SC 15 Seed
127 Washington St. 108.4 64 104.7 226 12th in P12  
128 Chattanooga 104.7 124 101.3 144 2nd in SC  
129 Harvard 100.0 229 96.8 62 3rd in Ivy  
130 St. John's 104.2 137 100.8 133 9th in BE  
131 UTEP 102.9 164 99.7 111 4th in CUSA  
132 Saint Mary's 104.0 143 100.8 131 4th in WCC  
133 NC Central 102.6 174 99.4 107 1st in MEAC 16 Seed
134 Western Michigan 105.2 118 102.2 171 3rd in MAC  
135 UC Santa Barbara 105.4 115 102.5 177 5th in BW  
136 Indiana St. 101.2 204 98.4 90 6th in MVC  
137 Duquesne 110.9 41 107.9 301 9th in A10  
138 Yale 103.2 157 100.5 123 4th in Ivy  
139 Oakland 111.3 37 108.4 309 2nd in Horz  
140 Coastal Carolina 104.7 126 102.2 172 2nd in BSth  
141 NJIT 106.3 97 103.8 203 1st in ASun 16 Seed
142 James Madison 106.5 89 104.2 215 3rd in CAA  
143 DePaul 106.6 88 104.4 220 10th in BE  
144 Massachusetts 103.8 148 101.8 160 10th in A10  
145 Missouri 104.2 136 102.2 173 14th in SEC  
146 La Salle 100.7 215 98.8 94 11th in A10  
147 Canisius 106.1 102 104.1 213 2nd in MAAC  
148 Southern Illinois 100.6 218 98.9 97 7th in MVC  
149 North Florida 106.0 106 104.2 216 2nd in ASun  
150 Kent St. 103.7 152 101.9 164 4th in MAC  

Although Yale (138) was picked to win the Ivy League in its preseason media poll, SI's projections view Princeton (105) or Columbia (108) as the conference's two strongest teams. Either one could be a dangerous 15-seed in the NCAA tournament. But the most important thing we forecast in this group is that new Atlantic Sun member NJIT (141)—which has been steadily improving since a 1-30 season in '08-09—will edge out North Florida (149) for the conference title.

151-200
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank Proj. NCAA seed
151 Louisiana Monroe 99.6 237 98.1 84 3rd in SB  
152 Detroit 103.9 145 102.3 175 3rd in Horz  
153 Northeastern 104.0 141 102.5 181 4th in CAA  
154 Tennessee Martin 106.5 90 105.0 233 2nd in OVC  
155 Rider 100.6 217 99.3 104 3rd in MAAC  
156 Western Kentucky 101.6 195 100.3 119 5th in CUSA  
157 Louisiana Tech 102.5 175 101.3 145 6th in CUSA  
158 Boston University 107.8 72 106.6 266 1st in Pat First Four
159 Murray St. 104.1 140 102.9 187 3rd in OVC  
160 Winthrop 103.0 161 102.1 166 3rd in BSth  
161 Boston College 102.3 178 101.4 149 15th in ACC  
162 Green Bay 96.0 300 95.2 43 4th in Horz  
163 Mount St. Mary's 101.2 201 100.4 120 1st in NEC First Four
164 Milwaukee 102.0 186 101.2 143 5th in Horz  
165 Miami OH 101.7 192 101.0 138 5th in MAC  
166 Lehigh 100.6 219 100.0 114 2nd in Pat  
167 William & Mary 108.7 58 108.0 303 5th in CAA  
168 Montana 102.1 185 101.8 161 1st in BSky First Four
169 Buffalo 100.3 224 100.3 118 6th in MAC  
170 Morehead St. 102.6 170 102.8 186 4th in OVC  
171 East Tennessee St. 102.2 181 102.4 176 3rd in SC  
172 Arkansas Little Rock 104.5 128 104.8 229 4th in SB  
173 San Diego 97.9 273 98.1 87 5th in WCC  
174 Weber St. 103.4 154 103.8 200 2nd in BSky  
175 Mercer 102.7 168 103.0 189 4th in SC  
176 Wright St. 98.6 261 99.2 102 6th in Horz  
177 Texas Southern 106.6 86 107.3 281 1st in SWAC First Four
178 Wyoming 98.4 266 99.1 100 8th in MWC  
179 Cal St. Bakersfield 102.3 180 103.0 190 2nd in WAC  
180 Santa Clara 103.9 146 104.7 225 6th in WCC  
181 East Carolina 106.8 85 107.6 295 8th in Amer  
182 Pacific 103.0 163 104.1 210 7th in WCC  
183 Missouri St. 99.4 245 100.5 122 8th in MVC  
184 Eastern Michigan 99.6 238 100.8 130 7th in MAC  
185 Ball St. 102.0 187 103.3 194 8th in MAC  
186 Bucknell 103.7 151 105.1 238 3rd in Pat  
187 Army 103.1 159 104.6 223 4th in Pat  
188 Northwestern St. 110.6 46 112.3 338 2nd in Slnd  
189 Dartmouth 102.1 184 103.7 199 5th in Ivy  
190 Portland 104.2 138 105.9 254 8th in WCC  
191 Fordham 102.1 183 103.8 202 12th in A10  
192 Monmouth 100.9 213 102.6 184 4th in MAAC  
193 Texas St. 95.1 314 96.9 64 5th in SB  
194 Sam Houston St. 99.2 250 101.2 142 3rd in Slnd  
195 American 99.9 232 101.9 162 5th in Pat  
196 UT Arlington 100.5 221 102.5 180 6th in SB  
197 Oral Roberts 104.7 125 107.0 277 3rd in Sum  
198 George Mason 102.8 165 105.1 237 13th in A10  
199 Tulane 101.1 209 103.3 193 9th in Amer  
200 UCF 105.8 109 108.3 307 10th in Amer  

Boston College (161), which returns just 20.2% of its minutes from a team that went 13-19 last season, projects to be the second-worst team in any BCS conference. Texas Southern (177), meanwhile, projects to be the weakest team to make the NCAA tournament, by winning the SWAC and appearing in the First Four. SI also forecasts that Boston University (158) will finish atop the Patriot League, setting it up to make its first trip to the NCAAs since 2011.

201-250
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank
201 UC Riverside 97.0 290 99.3 103 6th in BW
202 Penn 101.7 194 104.1 214 6th in Ivy
203 Manhattan 98.3 267 100.7 128 5th in MAAC
204 Nevada 101.1 208 103.6 198 9th in MWC
205 New Hampshire 98.8 256 101.3 146 4th in AE
206 Cleveland St. 99.6 240 102.1 169 7th in Horz
207 Delaware 101.3 199 103.9 206 6th in CAA
208 Siena 103.7 153 106.4 261 6th in MAAC
209 Toledo 102.6 171 105.5 249 9th in MAC
210 Fairfield 98.8 259 101.7 158 7th in MAAC
211 Eastern Washington 105.1 120 108.2 306 3rd in BSky
212 Arkansas St. 100.3 223 103.3 192 7th in SB
213 Cal St. Fullerton 103.2 158 106.3 259 7th in BW
214 Saint Louis 97.3 283 100.3 117 14th in A10
215 Eastern Kentucky 99.2 249 102.3 174 5th in OVC
216 UC Davis 102.1 182 105.4 243 8th in BW
217 Ohio 102.6 173 105.8 253 10th in MAC
218 Nebraska Omaha 102.8 166 106.2 258 4th in Sum
219 IUPUI 97.7 275 101.0 139 5th in Sum
220 Rice 100.3 222 103.8 201 7th in CUSA
221 South Dakota 100.3 226 104.1 208 6th in Sum
222 South Florida 101.4 197 105.3 242 11th in Amer
223 Hampton 96.3 295 100.0 115 2nd in MEAC
224 Portland St. 104.2 134 108.3 308 4th in BSky
225 College of Charleston 99.3 246 103.4 195 7th in CAA
226 St. Francis NY 97.4 280 101.7 159 2nd in NEC
227 Elon 99.6 241 104.1 212 8th in CAA
228 Air Force 102.6 172 107.4 285 10th in MWC
229 Sacred Heart 100.0 230 104.9 232 3rd in NEC
230 Southern 97.1 286 101.9 163 2nd in SWAC
231 Texas A&M CC 99.4 242 104.6 222 4th in Slnd
232 Charlotte 100.6 216 106.0 255 8th in CUSA
233 LIU Brooklyn 98.9 253 104.2 217 4th in NEC
234 Grand Canyon 106.0 105 111.7 335 3rd in WAC
235 Northern Kentucky 102.0 188 107.5 288 8th in Horz
236 IPFW 100.9 211 106.5 262 7th in Sum
237 Marshall 99.3 248 104.8 228 9th in CUSA
238 FIU 96.7 294 102.1 168 10th in CUSA
239 Northern Illinois 97.1 288 102.5 178 11th in MAC
240 Towson 99.8 233 105.5 248 9th in CAA
241 UMKC 99.4 243 105.4 244 4th in WAC
242 Northern Arizona 99.1 251 105.1 236 5th in BSky
243 Appalachian St. 99.3 247 105.2 240 8th in SB
244 Navy 99.7 235 105.7 250 6th in Pat
245 Holy Cross 101.1 205 107.3 283 7th in Pat
246 Radford 101.2 203 107.4 286 4th in BSth
247 Western Carolina 98.9 255 105.1 234 5th in SC
248 UNC Asheville 101.1 207 107.5 290 5th in BSth
249 Denver 100.9 212 107.3 282 8th in Sum
250 Eastern Illinois 99.9 231 106.3 260 6th in OVC

There are a few teams in this group with plausible shots at the NCAA tournament, including Hampton (223), which projects to finish second in the MEAC, St. Francis N.Y. (226), which projects to finish second in the NEC, and Southern (230), which projects to finish second in the SWAC. After that it's a sad bunch, including the likely last-place teams in the Atlantic 10 (St. Louis, at 214) and AAC (South Florida, at 222nd).

251-300
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank
251 Robert Morris 98.8 257 105.2 239 5th in NEC
252 Quinnipiac 97.5 278 103.8 204 8th in MAAC
253 Drake 102.5 177 109.1 316 9th in MVC
254 Wagner 98.1 270 104.5 221 6th in NEC
255 Drexel 97.2 284 103.6 197 10th in CAA
256 UNC Greensboro 97.6 277 104.1 209 6th in SC
257 Furman 101.0 210 107.8 299 7th in SC
258 Norfolk St. 100.8 214 107.6 293 3rd in MEAC
259 San Francisco 98.4 265 105.1 235 9th in WCC
260 Florida Gulf Coast 98.1 269 104.8 231 3rd in ASun
261 Incarnate Word 102.5 176 109.6 320 5th in Slnd
262 Lipscomb 100.6 220 107.6 292 4th in ASun
263 Brown 97.3 282 104.1 211 7th in Ivy
264 Sacramento St. 102.3 179 109.6 321 6th in BSky
265 Howard 93.1 330 99.9 112 4th in MEAC
266 Idaho 101.9 189 109.4 317 7th in BSky
267 Bryant 100.1 228 107.6 294 7th in NEC
268 Lamar 97.9 271 105.4 245 6th in Slnd
269 Longwood 99.0 252 106.6 267 6th in BSth
270 North Texas 94.7 318 102.1 167 11th in CUSA
271 Jacksonville 101.8 191 109.8 323 5th in ASun
272 Georgia Southern 94.5 320 101.9 165 9th in SB
273 SE Louisiana 97.1 287 104.8 227 7th in Slnd
274 Lafayette 102.7 169 110.8 329 8th in Pat
275 Southern Utah 99.8 234 107.7 298 8th in BSky
276 VMI 98.4 264 106.5 265 8th in SC
277 Illinois Chicago 99.6 239 107.8 300 9th in Horz
278 Loyola MD 94.8 317 102.6 182 9th in Pat
279 USC Upstate 98.6 263 106.9 275 6th in ASun
280 SE Missouri St. 98.9 254 107.3 284 7th in OVC
281 South Alabama 101.1 206 109.8 324 10th in SB
282 Gardner Webb 99.4 244 107.9 302 7th in BSth
283 Tennessee St. 93.3 326 101.4 148 8th in OVC
284 St. Francis PA 95.9 304 104.2 219 8th in NEC
285 Hartford 98.8 258 107.4 287 5th in AE
286 Florida Atlantic 99.7 236 108.4 310 12th in CUSA
287 Montana St. 97.9 272 106.7 271 9th in BSky
288 Rutgers 93.1 329 101.6 155 14th in B10
289 Youngstown St. 103.7 150 113.2 344 10th in Horz
290 Bowling Green 93.8 324 102.5 179 12th in MAC
291 Austin Peay 96.3 296 105.4 246 9th in OVC
292 Bradley 92.6 333 101.6 152 10th in MVC
293 Houston Baptist 101.2 202 111.1 332 8th in Slnd
294 Binghamton 97.2 285 106.8 273 6th in AE
295 Loyola Marymount 100.1 227 110.2 327 10th in WCC
296 Nicholls St. 95.6 310 105.3 241 9th in Slnd
297 Charleston Southern 97.3 281 107.2 279 8th in BSth
298 Seattle 92.2 335 101.6 157 5th in WAC
299 Tennessee Tech 98.3 268 108.5 312 10th in OVC
300 New Orleans 97.4 279 107.6 291 10th in Slnd

This is the point in the rankings where it's difficult to find nice things to say. SI forecasts that Rutgers (288) will be the worst team from a BCS conference by a huge margin: The Scarlet Knights are the only BCS-conference team outside our top 200, and we project them to go 1-17 in the Big Ten. Rutgers' projections are so bleak that we would still have them finishing last if they were in the CAA. Speaking of the CAA, star Damion Lee's transfer to Louisville hurt Drexel (255) in a big way; the Dragons project to finish last in the CAA without him. Meanwhile, there isn't much to be hyped about in Dunk City, as Florida Gulf Coast (260) projects to finish third in a weak Atlantic Sun.

301-351
Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Conf. Rank
301 Saint Peter's 91.4 343 101.0 137 9th in MAAC
302 Southern Miss 96.7 292 107.0 276 13th in CUSA
303 Alabama St. 96.7 293 107.2 280 3rd in SWAC
304 Jackson St. 91.6 341 101.6 153 4th in SWAC
305 UTSA 98.6 262 109.5 319 14th in CUSA
306 Campbell 96.0 298 106.7 272 9th in BSth
307 Western Illinois 93.1 331 103.5 196 9th in Sum
308 MD Eastern Shore 95.6 309 106.7 270 5th in MEAC
309 Jacksonville St. 95.9 303 107.0 278 11th in OVC
310 Northern Colorado 103.3 155 115.4 350 10th in BSky
311 Cornell 95.0 315 106.5 264 8th in Ivy
312 Niagara 96.1 297 108.1 304 10th in MAAC
313 North Carolina A&T 95.7 308 107.7 296 6th in MEAC
314 Utah Valley 94.2 322 106.1 257 6th in WAC
315 Troy 94.6 319 106.5 263 11th in SB
316 Idaho St. 95.9 305 108.1 305 11th in BSky
317 Chicago St. 94.1 323 106.6 268 7th in WAC
318 Presbyterian 98.7 260 112.0 336 10th in BSth
319 Samford 97.6 276 111.0 331 9th in SC
320 UMass Lowell 92.0 338 104.8 230 7th in AE
321 Morgan St. 95.2 313 108.9 313 7th in MEAC
322 Bethune Cookman 96.0 299 109.9 325 8th in MEAC
323 SIU Edwardsville 92.1 337 105.5 247 12th in OVC
324 North Dakota 95.0 316 109.4 318 12th in BSky
325 Fairleigh Dickinson 97.0 289 112.0 337 9th in NEC
326 Cal St. Northridge 93.1 332 107.7 297 9th in BW
327 Colgate 96.0 301 111.2 333 10th in Pat
328 South Carolina St. 91.9 340 106.8 274 9th in MEAC
329 Abilene Christian 95.4 312 110.9 330 11th in Slnd
330 UMBC 93.1 328 108.5 311 8th in AE
331 Alabama A&M 96.8 291 112.8 342 5th in SWAC
332 Central Connecticut 93.6 325 109.1 314 10th in NEC
333 McNeese St. 95.8 306 111.7 334 12th in Slnd
334 Marist 90.6 347 106.0 256 11th in MAAC
335 Delaware St. 94.3 321 110.7 328 10th in MEAC
336 Kennesaw St. 95.9 302 112.6 340 7th in ASun
337 Maine 95.6 311 112.4 339 9th in AE
338 Liberty 93.2 327 109.6 322 11th in BSth
339 Savannah St. 88.2 348 104.0 207 11th in MEAC
340 Arkansas Pine Bluff 91.2 345 107.5 289 6th in SWAC
341 Central Arkansas 95.7 307 112.9 343 13th in Slnd
342 UTRGV 91.5 342 109.1 315 8th in WAC
343 Prairie View A&M 91.4 344 110.0 326 7th in SWAC
344 The Citadel 97.8 274 119.0 351 10th in SC
345 Stetson 92.1 336 112.7 341 8th in ASun
346 Mississippi Valley St. 91.9 339 113.8 345 8th in SWAC
347 Coppin St. 92.2 334 114.4 347 12th in MEAC
348 Alcorn St. 91.0 346 114.1 346 9th in SWAC
349 San Jose St. 84.7 350 106.7 269 11th in MWC
350 Florida A&M 85.3 349 114.9 348 13th in MEAC
351 Grambling St. 78.5 351 115.0 349 10th in SWAC

Grambling State (351) projects to be the worst team in Division I for the second straight season. The Tigers are expected to be so inept that they trail even the second-worst team, Florida A&M (350) by a substantial margin. San Jose State's (349) continued presence near the bottom is perhaps most alarming, as it projects to be the worst team from a multi-bid conference and go 1-17 in the Mountain West.

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