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SI's Projections System: Ranking every team in college basketball
3:16 | College Basketball
SI's Projections System: Ranking every team in college basketball
Dan Hanner & Luke Winn
Tuesday November 1st, 2016

We forecast what we can and happily cede the rest to the players and the drama they improvise on the court. Sports Illustrated’s College Basketball Projection System, now in its third year, simulates the season 10,000 times and ranks teams 1–351 according to their average efficiency. Last year in the preseason, we identified North Carolina as a weak No. 1 in a historically wide-open field—and five months later, the Tar Heels led Villanova with 15 minutes left in the national title game. What transpired after that, culminating in Kris Jenkins’s buzzer-beating three, was the greatest finish in the history of the sport. You don’t get Jenkins’s dagger without the exhilarating crapshoot that is the single-elimination NCAA tournament, and you don’t get the nation’s most accurate preseason projections—as ours have been for the past two years—without running 10,000 simulations. 

This project starts from the ground up, assessing every roster, player by player. For offense, the system projects efficiency and shot volume by considering past performance, recruiting rankings and advanced AAU stats, development curves for similar Division I players over the past 14 seasons, the quality of a player’s teammates and his coach’s ability to develop and maximize talent. Those stats are weighted based on the team’s rotation—including scouting intel on who’s expected to play—then used to produce each team’s offensive efficiency projection. (The simulations account for variance in individual performances as well as injury scenarios.) Team defensive efficiency projections are based on players’ projected rebound, steal and block percentages, height (taller frontcourts make for stingier D), experience (veterans have fewer lapses) and coaches’ defensive résumés. For a deeper look at how our model works, read this explainer, and for all of our analytics-driven preview content, click here.

This is how our system ranks all 351 teams heading into 2016­–17:

Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Proj. Pyth. Win% Proj. Conf. Rank Proj. NCAAs seed
1 Duke 125.2 1 94.0 11 0.9641 1st in ACC 1 seed
2 Kansas 118.6 8 91.5 3 0.9519 1st in B12 1 seed
3 Kentucky 119.2 7 92.0 4 0.9515 1st in SEC 1 seed
4 Oregon 120.1 4 93.9 9 0.9447 1st in P12 1 seed
5 Villanova 120.2 3 94.2 13 0.9431 1st in BE 2 seed

While our projections saw no dominant teams in the 2015–16 preseason, this year they view Duke as a juggernaut, ranking first in offensive efficiency by a wide margin and 11th in defense. We went back and examined every preseason No. 1 from the past decade—using beginning-of-season rosters to project performance—to see how these Blue Devils stacked up, and starting with the ‘07–08 preseason, only one team had a stronger projection. That was ‘08–09 North Carolina, which came into that season with a veteran, national player of the year candidate in power forward Tyler Hansbrough; a supporting cast of efficient sidekicks in guards Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Danny Green; and two elite freshmen big men in Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller. 

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If that roster blueprint seems familiar, it’s because it closely resembles what the Blue Devils have now. Junior combo guard Grayson Allen is SI’s projected frontrunner for national player of the year and he’s just the kind of high-volume, high-efficiency scorer that makes an elite offense possible. He has quality veterans around him in guards Matt Jones and Luke Kennard and power forward Amile Jefferson. And Duke added two freshmen who could potentially be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft (Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles) and two more who could be first-rounders (Marques Bolden and Frank Jackson). The Blue Devils can give every, meaningful minute to players who were ranked in the top 35 of their recruiting class, and they have depth to withstand injuries. All this adds up to an otherworldly offensive projection; it just needs to work in the real world the same way it did for Carolina in 2009, when the Tar Heels cruised to a national title. If issues arise—if say, Duke’s lack of a true, pass-first point guard is a problem—then Kansas, a team with two veteran floor generals, a crop of talented underclassmen and a strong, No. 2 overall projection, will be right there waiting.

Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Proj. Pyth. Win% Proj. Conf. Rank Proj. NCAAs seed
6 North Carolina 121.8 2 95.8 27 0.9406 2nd in ACC 2 seed
7 Virginia 115.0 25 90.6 2 0.9393 3rd in ACC 2 seed
8 Wisconsin 114.8 27 90.6 1 0.9385 1st in B10 2 seed
9 Gonzaga 116.3 14 94.5 16 0.9157 1st in WCC 3 seed
10 Arizona 115.3 23 93.8 8 0.9147 2nd in P12 3 seed

In 2009–10, when Butler made the first of its back-to-back runs to the national championship game, it had more than just wunderkind coach Brad Stevens and future NBA draft picks Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack on its side. The Bulldogs also had a remarkable level of roster continuity, bringing back every rotation player from a team that finished 38th in efficiency the previous season. They allocated a nation-high 93.2% of their minutes to the same players from ‘08–09, made substantial improvements—and came within a halfcourt heave of upsetting Duke in the title game. Wisconsin, which finished 38th in efficiency last season—just like ‘08–09 Butler—brings back 99% of its minutes played, and our projections think the Badgers can improve enough to chase their third Final Four in four years.

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Wisconsin’s defense, which was already elite last season, projects to be the nation’s best, but its offense, which we forecast to jump from 90th in efficiency to 27th, is its prime area for growth. The Badgers gave 28% of their minutes to freshmen last season, many of whom committed turnovers at an uncharacteristically high rate for the program, which has a history of ranking among the nation’s best at ball-control. Sophomores Ethan Happ (a TO rate of 19.0% last season), Khalil Iverson (28.7%) and Alex Illikainen (15.9%) are expected to become more sure-handed with experience, and they should benefit from running the same offense, under the same head coach, all of this season, too. Bo Ryan’s midseason retirement, and the switch to longtime assistant Greg Gard—who subsequently implemented a classic version of the swing offense—made for an abnormal season.

Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Proj. Pyth. Win% Proj. Conf. Rank Proj. NCAAs seed
11 Purdue 117.8 9 97.2 37 0.9014 2nd in B10 3 seed
12 Xavier 115.6 19 95.4 24 0.9013 2nd in BE 3 seed
13 Louisville 112.3 49 92.7 5 0.9005 4th in ACC 4 seed
14 Syracuse 113.6 33 93.9 10 0.8999 5th in ACC 4 seed
15 Indiana 119.6 5 99.4 79 0.8936 3rd in B10 4 seed
16 UCLA 116.7 12 98.2 50 0.8789 3rd in P12 4 seed
17 California 111.7 53 94.3 14 0.8760 4th in P12 5 seed
18 NC State 117.6 10 99.4 80 0.8742 6th in ACC 5 seed
19 West Virginia 111.8 52 94.5 15 0.8736 2nd in B12 5 seed
20 Connecticut 112.5 46 95.6 25 0.8663 1st in Amer 5 seed
21 Creighton 114.6 29 97.9 46 0.8587 3rd in BE 6 seed
22 Saint Mary's 116.2 16 99.5 83 0.8560 2nd in WCC 6 seed
23 Michigan 115.5 20 99.0 67 0.8554 4th in B10 6 seed
24 Baylor 117.0 11 100.3 102 0.8544 3rd in B12 6 seed
25 Texas 112.5 45 96.6 31 0.8528 4th in B12 7 seed

The player data we’ve gathered from the past 14 seasons gives us a unique window into how much can be realistically expected out of highly ranked recruits. Players outside the top 20 of the Recruiting Services Consensus Index tend to take until Year 2 to break out, and those second-tier recruits tend to make the biggest freshman-to-sophomore offensive leaps of any players in D-I. That bodes well for Louisville, which lost key seniors Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, but has two former top-40 recruits ready to take over in sophomore combo guard Donovan Mitchell and wing Deng Adel. Both of them flashed breakout-star potential during their appearance at the adidas Nations camp in Garden Grove, Calif., this summer, and they’re a big reason why the Cardinals are ranked 13th and projected to finish fourth in a loaded ACC.

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Three teams appear in SI’s projected top 25 that were left out of the popular human polls. NC State (No. 16) has added as much key talent as anyone in the nation save for Kentucky and Duke, in freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and power forward Omer Yurtseven, and back-from-injury senior shooting guard Terry Henderson. Our projections see Michigan (23)—and especially senior wing Zak Irvin—set up for a bounce-back year after an injury-plagued ‘15–16 sunk the Wolverines to eighth in the Big Ten. And Baylor (24), despite losing stars Taurean Prince (to the NBA draft) and Rico Gathers (to the NFL draft), still has enough offensive firepower to be the third-best team in the Big 12.

Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Proj. Pyth. Win% Proj. Conf. Rank Proj. NCAAs seed
26 Wichita St. 110.3 70 94.7 18 0.8526 1st in MVC 7 seed
27 Cincinnati 110.4 67 94.8 20 0.8520 2nd in Amer 7 seed
28 Michigan St. 115.2 24 99.0 69 0.8513 5th in B10 7 seed
29 Butler 116.2 15 99.9 93 0.8512 4th in BE 8 seed
30 VCU 110.7 60 95.2 23 0.8503 1st in A10 8 seed
31 Florida 110.6 62 95.1 22 0.8500 2nd in SEC 8 seed
32 Rhode Island 112.6 44 96.8 33 0.8496 2nd in A10 8 seed
33 Miami FL 115.3 22 99.2 77 0.8495 7th in ACC 9 seed
34 Clemson 112.6 43 96.9 34 0.8489 8th in ACC 9 seed
35 San Diego St. 107.9 112 92.9 6 0.8481 1st in MWC 9 seed
36 Maryland 112.4 47 97.0 36 0.8447 6th in B10 9 seed
37 Texas A&M 109.0 88 94.1 12 0.8440 3rd in SEC 10 seed
38 Virginia Tech 115.4 21 99.7 90 0.8423 9th in ACC 10 seed
39 Iowa St. 115.6 18 99.9 95 0.8422 5th in B12 10 seed
40 Oklahoma 111.2 54 96.2 28 0.8418 6th in B12 10 seed
41 Notre Dame 119.5 6 103.4 172 0.8413 10th in ACC 11 seed
42 Dayton 109.5 79 94.7 19 0.8412 3rd in A10 11 seed
43 Seton Hall 108.0 108 93.5 7 0.8410 5th in BE 11 seed
44 Florida St. 114.3 30 99.0 68 0.8402 11th in ACC Play In
45 BYU 114.7 28 99.3 78 0.8397 3rd in WCC Play In
46 Georgetown 112.7 42 97.6 40 0.8395 6th in BE Play In
47 Princeton 114.9 26 99.5 84 0.8391 1st in Ivy 12 seed
48 Ohio St. 110.5 64 95.8 26 0.8389 7th in B10 Play In
49 Pittsburgh 113.5 35 98.4 55 0.8385 12th in ACC  
50 USC 112.9 39 98.4 54 0.8298 5th in P12  

Some of our system’s most contrarian positions appear in this section, starting with it having Michigan State—a team some human rankings have in the top 10—all the way down at 28. The model believes that the Spartans’ loss of valuable frontcourt players Matt Costello and Deyonta Davis to the pros, plus early season injuries to Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling, creates a rebounding-and-rim-protection void that drags their defense down to 69th overall in efficiency. The model sees similar issues occurring at Maryland (21st in the Coaches’ Poll, 36th here) and Iowa State (27th in Coaches, 39th here).

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Meanwhile, in the Atlantic 10, Dayton (No. 42) and Rhode Island (32) were picked 1–2 in the league’s preseason poll of coaches and media, but our projections actually view VCU (30) as its best team. We’re also forecasting the Ivy League to have an at-large bid-worthy team in Princeton (47), which brings back 96% of its minutes from last season and adds talented senior power forward Hans Brase, who missed last season with an injury.

Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Proj. Pyth. Win% Proj. Conf. Rank Proj. NCAAs seed
51 Marquette 113.2 36 98.8 63 0.8263 7th in BE  
52 Texas Tech 112.9 40 98.6 58 0.8259 7th in B12  
53 SMU 113.0 38 98.7 60 0.8251 3rd in Amer  
54 Vanderbilt 113.1 37 98.8 65 0.8250 4th in SEC  
55 Utah 112.7 41 98.7 59 0.8225 6th in P12  
56 Northwestern 111.2 55 98.8 64 0.7945 8th in B10  
57 Colorado 108.5 95 96.6 30 0.7917 7th in P12  
58 Georgia 108.5 97 96.7 32 0.7882 5th in SEC  
59 Houston 115.8 17 103.9 188 0.7770 4th in Amer  
60 Illinois 109.0 90 97.8 44 0.7758 9th in B10  
61 Arkansas 110.3 68 99.1 71 0.7746 6th in SEC  
62 Mississippi 110.8 58 99.8 91 0.7692 7th in SEC  
63 Washington 110.3 69 99.4 81 0.7682 8th in P12  
64 UNC Wilmington 111.0 56 100.1 99 0.7665 1st in CAA 12 seed
65 Monmouth 108.7 92 98.0 48 0.7658 1st in MAAC 12 seed
66 Providence 108.5 96 97.9 45 0.7652 8th in BE  
67 Iowa 110.7 59 100.1 100 0.7613 10th in B10  
68 Mississippi St. 108.4 100 98.1 49 0.7588 8th in SEC  
69 Oregon St. 109.4 83 99.1 72 0.7563 9th in P12  
70 Stanford 109.3 85 99.2 75 0.7527 10th in P12  
71 Davidson 113.7 32 103.2 166 0.7526 4th in A10  
72 UT Arlington 109.8 76 99.7 88 0.7525 1st in SB 13 seed
73 Oklahoma St. 109.7 78 99.9 94 0.7462 8th in B12  
74 UAB 111.9 50 102.0 135 0.7443 1st in CUSA 13 seed
75 Arizona St. 109.4 82 99.8 92 0.7422 11th in P12  
76 Kansas St. 107.1 123 97.8 43 0.7401 9th in B12  
77 South Carolina 107.7 116 98.4 53 0.7388 9th in SEC  
78 Wake Forest 110.5 65 101.2 119 0.7339 13th in ACC  
79 Auburn 108.8 91 99.7 87 0.7325 10th in SEC  
80 Ohio 113.9 31 104.4 201 0.7321 1st in MAC 13 seed
81 Western Kentucky 109.9 74 100.8 110 0.7307 2nd in CUSA  
82 Nevada 106.5 136 97.7 42 0.7287 2nd in MWC  
83 New Mexico 109.8 75 100.8 112 0.7276 3rd in MWC  
84 Harvard 106.7 130 98.0 47 0.7271 2nd in Ivy  
85 Temple 107.2 121 98.5 57 0.7260 5th in Amer  
86 Valparaiso 103.2 209 94.8 21 0.7258 1st in Horz 13 seed
87 Alabama 106.1 143 97.5 39 0.7255 11th in SEC  
88 Richmond 112.3 48 103.2 165 0.7251 5th in A10  
89 Penn St. 107.4 118 98.7 62 0.7248 11th in B10  
90 TCU 104.9 168 96.5 29 0.7231 10th in B12  
91 Long Beach St. 109.9 73 101.2 120 0.7211 1st in BW 14 seed
92 Nebraska 106.9 126 98.5 56 0.7199 12th in B10  
93 Belmont 116.4 13 107.4 257 0.7161 1st in OVC 14 seed
94 George Washington 108.3 102 100.2 101 0.7102 6th in A10  
95 Toledo 110.6 63 102.5 147 0.7044 2nd in MAC  
96 East Tennessee St. 109.4 81 102.1 139 0.6897 1st in SC 14 seed
97 Minnesota 106.1 144 99.1 70 0.6866 13th in B10  
98 South Dakota St. 106.3 140 99.4 82 0.6846 1st in Sum 14 seed
99 Tennessee 109.2 87 102.1 140 0.6843 12th in SEC  
100 Old Dominion 104.1 185 97.6 41 0.6785 3rd in CUSA  

This tier includes two former Duke assistant coaches trying to break through to the NCAA tournament in their relatively new jobs—but to earn at-large bids, Steve Wojciechowski’s Marquette team (whom we rank 51st) and Chris Collins’s Northwestern team (56th) will need to outperform their projections by a few wins apiece. Slightly lower, at Nos. 64 and 65, respectively, are two teams that project to be formidable 12-seeds: UNC-Wilmington, which led Duke at halftime of a 4–13, first-round tourney game in March, and Monmouth, one of the best mid-majors that didn’t make the Big Dance last season. 

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Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Proj. Pyth. Win% Proj. Conf. Rank Proj. NCAAs seed
101 Memphis 107.0 124 100.5 104 0.6742 6th in Amer  
102 Georgia St. 104.5 179 98.2 51 0.6718 2nd in SB  
103 St. John's 105.4 158 99.1 74 0.6696 9th in BE  
104 LSU 107.8 113 101.4 125 0.6680 13th in SEC  
105 Middle Tennessee 105.3 162 99.1 73 0.6676 4th in CUSA  
106 College of Charleston 100.5 274 94.7 17 0.6647 2nd in CAA  
107 St. Bonaventure 110.9 57 104.5 204 0.6646 7th in A10  
108 Boise St. 106.3 139 100.3 103 0.6611 4th in MWC  
109 Yale 106.5 134 100.5 106 0.6594 3rd in Ivy  
110 Northern Iowa 104.1 186 98.3 52 0.6589 2nd in MVC  
111 Arkansas Little Rock 103.2 211 97.5 38 0.6585 3rd in SB  
112 Siena 109.3 84 103.3 167 0.6583 2nd in MAAC  
113 James Madison 104.7 176 98.9 66 0.6581 3rd in CAA  
114 Akron 108.3 103 102.3 143 0.6574 3rd in MAC  
115 Vermont 110.0 72 104.0 193 0.6558 1st in AE 15 seed
116 Iona 110.1 71 104.2 198 0.6533 3rd in MAAC  
117 UCF 105.3 163 99.7 89 0.6516 7th in Amer  
118 Eastern Michigan 108.0 110 102.3 141 0.6505 4th in MAC  
119 Illinois St. 105.1 164 99.7 86 0.6488 3rd in MVC  
120 Buffalo 106.6 131 101.2 121 0.6441 5th in MAC  
121 Fresno St. 107.7 115 102.7 151 0.6341 5th in MWC  
122 Lehigh 107.8 114 102.9 156 0.6305 1st in Pat 15 seed
123 North Dakota St. 104.7 175 100.0 98 0.6303 2nd in Sum  
124 William & Mary 110.7 61 105.7 230 0.6296 4th in CAA  
125 Oakland 113.6 34 108.5 273 0.6290 2nd in Horz  
126 Saint Joseph's 107.5 117 102.9 157 0.6242 8th in A10  
127 New Mexico St. 101.1 259 96.9 35 0.6189 1st in WAC 15 seed
128 Green Bay 108.2 104 103.8 183 0.6164 3rd in Horz  
129 Chattanooga 104.9 170 100.7 109 0.6151 2nd in SC  
130 Towson 105.6 153 101.4 124 0.6148 5th in CAA  
131 Weber St. 105.7 147 101.5 126 0.6147 1st in BSky 15 seed
132 Hofstra 109.5 80 105.1 217 0.6141 6th in CAA  
133 Sam Houston St. 107.0 125 102.8 153 0.6136 1st in Slnd 16 seed
134 Ball St. 108.0 109 103.8 184 0.6116 6th in MAC  
135 Winthrop 109.8 77 105.7 228 0.6083 1st in BSth 16 seed
136 Grand Canyon 105.3 160 101.7 129 0.6002 2nd in WAC  
137 Morehead St. 106.6 132 102.9 161 0.5978 2nd in OVC  
138 Elon 108.6 94 104.9 213 0.5977 7th in CAA  
139 Northern Illinois 104.0 189 100.6 108 0.5951 7th in MAC  
140 Albany 106.7 129 103.4 173 0.5892 2nd in AE  
141 UNLV 105.4 159 102.3 145 0.5840 6th in MWC  
142 Mercer 108.6 93 105.5 222 0.5838 3rd in SC  
143 La Salle 103.9 192 100.9 113 0.5838 9th in A10  
144 Florida Gulf Coast 105.6 150 102.6 148 0.5830 1st in ASun Play In
145 Massachusetts 104.4 183 101.5 127 0.5800 10th in A10  
146 Marshall 110.5 66 107.5 260 0.5795 5th in CUSA  
147 East Carolina 106.3 138 103.4 174 0.5793 8th in Amer  
148 Stony Brook 102.0 239 99.2 76 0.5788 3rd in AE  
149 Wofford 109.2 86 106.3 241 0.5782 4th in SC  
150 Evansville 102.5 222 100.0 97 0.5728 4th in MVC  

If you’re doing early scouting for potential 15-over-2 giant killers, champ, Vermont (No. 115) is our projected America East champ and the strongest 15 in our preseason NCAA tourney seed forecast. The other projected 15s aren’t too far behind: Lehigh (122), New Mexico State (127) and Weber State (131). Southland conference favorite Sam Houston State (133), meanwhile, is the strongest projected No. 16 seed.

Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Proj. Pyth. Win% Proj. Conf. Rank Proj. NCAAs seed
151 IPFW 108.4 98 105.8 234 0.5714 3rd in Sum  
152 Fordham 105.5 157 102.9 158 0.5703 11th in A10  
153 Tulsa 105.1 165 102.7 149 0.5672 9th in Amer  
154 Saint Peter's 101.1 260 98.7 61 0.5671 4th in MAAC  
155 Nebraska Omaha 108.4 99 105.9 237 0.5664 4th in Sum  
156 Indiana St. 101.6 248 99.5 85 0.5590 5th in MVC  
157 Georgia Southern 107.9 111 105.7 233 0.5586 4th in SB  
158 Washington St. 107.1 122 104.9 214 0.5579 12th in P12  
159 Kent St. 105.5 155 103.5 178 0.5540 8th in MAC  
160 Wagner 103.7 197 101.8 132 0.5539 1st in NEC Play In
161 Colorado St. 108.3 101 106.3 242 0.5533 7th in MWC  
162 Western Michigan 105.7 148 103.9 189 0.5499 9th in MAC  
163 Louisiana Tech 104.5 180 102.8 154 0.5481 6th in CUSA  
164 Santa Clara 106.7 128 105.2 218 0.5409 4th in WCC  
165 Central Michigan 111.9 51 110.5 314 0.5348 10th in MAC  
166 New Hampshire 102.8 219 101.6 128 0.5317 4th in AE  
167 Charlotte 105.1 166 103.9 190 0.5310 7th in CUSA  
168 Cal St. Bakersfield 101.8 244 100.8 111 0.5300 3rd in WAC  
169 UC Irvine 102.3 232 101.3 123 0.5278 2nd in BW  
170 Stephen F. Austin 102.0 238 101.3 122 0.5216 2nd in Slnd  
171 UNC Greensboro 104.0 187 103.3 169 0.5215 5th in SC  
172 Northeastern 106.2 142 105.5 226 0.5196 8th in CAA  
173 Utah St. 108.0 107 107.4 258 0.5178 8th in MWC  
174 Pacific 103.8 196 103.3 168 0.5161 5th in WCC  
175 UC Santa Barbara 104.0 191 103.4 175 0.5158 3rd in BW  
176 IUPUI 102.4 227 101.8 131 0.5155 5th in Sum  
177 Denver 101.4 254 101.0 115 0.5097 6th in Sum  
178 DePaul 105.6 151 105.3 219 0.5092 10th in BE  
179 Pepperdine 103.4 203 103.1 163 0.5086 6th in WCC  
180 Holy Cross 102.4 225 102.4 146 0.4996 2nd in Pat  
181 Montana 103.9 193 104.0 192 0.4962 2nd in BSky  
182 Coastal Carolina 101.9 241 102.0 138 0.4958 5th in SB  
183 Wyoming 105.5 156 105.7 231 0.4953 9th in MWC  
184 Missouri St. 103.1 215 103.3 170 0.4939 6th in MVC  
185 Bucknell 104.9 169 105.1 216 0.4935 3rd in Pat  
186 George Mason 104.4 182 104.8 208 0.4895 12th in A10  
187 Tennessee St. 100.2 275 100.6 107 0.4893 3rd in OVC  
188 Rider 101.5 251 102.0 137 0.4833 5th in MAAC  
189 Boston University 106.8 127 107.4 259 0.4830 4th in Pat  
190 Missouri 103.5 201 104.1 195 0.4827 14th in SEC  
191 Southern Illinois 104.0 190 104.7 206 0.4798 7th in MVC  
192 Loyola Chicago 101.2 258 102.0 136 0.4780 8th in MVC  
193 UNC Asheville 102.3 229 103.2 164 0.4770 2nd in BSth  
194 Cal Poly 106.3 141 107.3 253 0.4731 4th in BW  
195 UTEP 103.2 210 104.2 199 0.4714 8th in CUSA  
196 Cal St. Northridge 103.2 212 104.3 200 0.4694 5th in BW  
197 Fairfield 104.8 174 106.0 239 0.4684 6th in MAAC  
198 Bowling Green 102.7 221 103.9 187 0.4680 11th in MAC  
199 Murray St. 103.3 207 104.4 202 0.4679 4th in OVC  
200 Louisiana Lafayette 104.8 171 106.1 240 0.4661 6th in SB  
201 Furman 103.5 199 104.8 209 0.4650 6th in SC  
202 Air Force 103.5 200 104.8 207 0.4649 10th in MWC  
203 Drake 108.1 105 109.5 297 0.4635 9th in MVC  
204 Georgia Tech 101.3 255 102.7 150 0.4614 14th in ACC  
205 Rice 108.0 106 109.6 301 0.4580 9th in CUSA  
206 Oral Roberts 104.0 188 105.9 236 0.4500 7th in Sum  
207 Texas A&M CC 102.3 231 104.1 196 0.4483 3rd in Slnd  
208 Tulane 101.0 261 102.9 160 0.4463 10th in Amer  
209 Duquesne 104.8 172 106.8 247 0.4458 13th in A10  
210 Columbia 104.6 178 106.6 245 0.4453 4th in Ivy  
211 North Dakota 101.8 245 103.8 182 0.4445 3rd in BSky  
212 NJIT 101.5 249 103.6 180 0.4410 2nd in ASun  
213 Boston College 97.8 309 99.9 96 0.4383 15th in ACC  
214 Dartmouth 102.5 223 104.8 211 0.4365 5th in Ivy  
215 Penn 104.8 173 107.3 256 0.4325 6th in Ivy  
216 Loyola Marymount 103.1 214 105.7 232 0.4292 7th in WCC  
217 North Florida 109.0 89 111.8 329 0.4281 3rd in ASun  
218 Detroit 106.4 137 109.1 290 0.4279 4th in Horz  
219 Saint Louis 99.5 286 102.3 144 0.4207 14th in A10  
220 South Alabama 100.9 265 103.8 185 0.4191 7th in SB  
221 Youngstown St. 106.5 135 109.6 300 0.4180 5th in Horz  
222 Wright St. 98.1 303 101.0 114 0.4171 6th in Horz  
223 Cornell 100.5 273 103.6 179 0.4147 7th in Ivy  
224 Rutgers 100.9 266 104.0 191 0.4138 14th in B10  
225 Troy 102.3 230 105.5 223 0.4130 8th in SB  
226 UC Riverside 101.7 247 104.8 212 0.4123 6th in BW  
227 Manhattan 100.7 270 103.9 186 0.4109 7th in MAAC  
228 Portland 105.7 149 109.1 288 0.4093 8th in WCC  
229 Northern Kentucky 102.2 235 105.5 227 0.4082 7th in Horz  
230 Hawaii 99.5 288 102.8 152 0.4075 7th in BW  
231 Idaho 103.0 218 106.4 243 0.4058 4th in BSky  
232 South Florida 102.2 236 105.7 229 0.4044 11th in Amer  
233 UMKC 105.6 154 109.3 293 0.4022 4th in WAC  
234 South Dakota 104.7 177 108.4 272 0.4011 8th in Sum  
235 Western Illinois 100.1 277 103.7 181 0.4010 9th in Sum  
236 Jacksonville 105.3 161 109.1 287 0.4003 4th in ASun  
237 Eastern Illinois 103.4 204 107.2 250 0.3988 5th in OVC  
238 Texas Southern 104.5 181 108.5 274 0.3936 1st in SWAC Play In
239 Stetson 106.5 133 110.8 320 0.3879 5th in ASun  
240 Lipscomb 103.9 194 108.1 266 0.3878 6th in ASun  
241 Samford 103.9 195 108.2 269 0.3852 7th in SC  
242 Austin Peay 105.0 167 109.5 295 0.3832 6th in OVC  
243 Fairleigh Dickinson 107.3 119 111.9 330 0.3821 2nd in NEC  
244 Tennessee Tech 106.0 145 110.7 318 0.3766 7th in OVC  
245 Texas St. 97.2 317 101.7 130 0.3711 9th in SB  
246 Idaho St. 103.4 205 108.4 270 0.3682 5th in BSky  
247 Gardner Webb 100.9 264 105.8 235 0.3671 3rd in BSth  
248 Norfolk St. 102.1 237 107.2 249 0.3648 1st in MEAC Play In
249 Navy 99.9 283 105.0 215 0.3607 5th in Pat  
250 Cal St. Fullerton 102.3 228 107.6 263 0.3588 8th in BW  

The three weakest major-conference teams fall into this tier, with Georgia Tech at No. 204, Boston College at 213 and Rutgers at 224. This is the second straight season the Scarlet Knights have had the weakest major-conference projection, but things are looking up: In 2015–16 we projected them to finish 288th (and they finished 291st). At No. 248 is the NCAA tournament team with the weakest projection: Norfolk State, which is the favorite to win the MEAC and appear in the First Four in Dayton.

Rank Team Proj. Off. Eff. Off. Rank Proj. Def. Eff. Def. Rank Proj. Pyth. Win% Proj. Conf. Rank Proj. NCAAs seed
251 Eastern Kentucky 104.2 184 109.7 302 0.3582 8th in OVC  
252 UC Davis 97.7 311 102.9 155 0.3559 9th in BW  
253 Eastern Washington 107.3 120 113.0 337 0.3549 6th in BSky  
254 Miami OH 97.6 313 102.9 159 0.3529 12th in MAC  
255 North Texas 103.2 208 109.0 282 0.3496 10th in CUSA  
256 San Francisco 103.1 216 109.2 291 0.3406 9th in WCC  
257 High Point 103.1 213 109.3 294 0.3401 4th in BSth  
258 Utah Valley 101.8 243 108.4 271 0.3285 5th in WAC  
259 Louisiana Monroe 98.1 304 104.5 203 0.3269 10th in SB  
260 FIU 100.9 263 107.5 261 0.3268 11th in CUSA  
261 Canisius 105.6 152 112.5 336 0.3260 8th in MAAC  
262 Western Carolina 99.4 289 105.9 238 0.3260 8th in SC  
263 Montana St. 103.4 202 110.2 311 0.3248 7th in BSky  
264 Cleveland St. 95.6 326 101.9 133 0.3246 8th in Horz  
265 Kennesaw St. 100.9 262 107.6 262 0.3235 7th in ASun  
266 Brown 102.7 220 109.5 299 0.3231 8th in Ivy  
267 Southern Miss 100.1 278 106.9 248 0.3207 12th in CUSA  
268 USC Upstate 103.7 198 110.8 319 0.3195 8th in ASun  
269 Quinnipiac 96.6 319 103.3 171 0.3163 9th in MAAC  
270 San Jose St. 96.4 321 103.1 162 0.3155 11th in MWC  
271 Mount St. Mary's 95.5 327 102.3 142 0.3128 3rd in NEC  
272 Colgate 102.4 226 109.7 304 0.3118 6th in Pat  
273 Tennessee Martin 100.2 276 107.3 255 0.3111 9th in OVC  
274 Liberty 101.7 246 109.0 283 0.3106 5th in BSth  
275 Jackson St. 95.1 330 101.9 134 0.3105 2nd in SWAC  
276 Drexel 100.1 279 107.2 252 0.3103 9th in CAA  
277 Binghamton 94.4 334 101.2 117 0.3097 5th in AE  
278 Charleston Southern 100.8 268 108.1 268 0.3083 6th in BSth  
279 Florida Atlantic 98.3 302 105.4 221 0.3082 13th in CUSA  
280 Portland St. 103.3 206 111.0 324 0.3042 8th in BSky  
281 Appalachian St. 100.6 272 108.1 267 0.3024 11th in SB  
282 Sacramento St. 101.4 253 109.1 286 0.3013 9th in BSky  
283 San Diego 93.8 336 101.2 118 0.2952 10th in WCC  
284 South Carolina St. 102.5 224 110.6 315 0.2945 2nd in MEAC  
285 Milwaukee 100.7 269 108.7 279 0.2938 9th in Horz  
286 Northwestern St. 105.8 146 114.3 344 0.2909 4th in Slnd  
287 Incarnate Word 100.6 271 108.8 280 0.2901 5th in Slnd  
288 Nicholls St. 97.5 314 105.5 224 0.2886 6th in Slnd  
289 Lamar 101.5 250 109.9 306 0.2854 7th in Slnd  
290 Arkansas St. 99.4 290 107.7 265 0.2834 12th in SB  
291 Houston Baptist 101.4 252 110.0 308 0.2831 8th in Slnd  
292 Jacksonville St. 101.3 257 109.9 305 0.2818 10th in OVC  
293 Southern 96.6 320 104.8 210 0.2816 3rd in SWAC  
294 Seattle 96.0 324 104.1 197 0.2814 6th in WAC  
295 NC Central 100.0 282 108.5 275 0.2797 3rd in MEAC  
296 Alabama St. 100.0 280 108.8 281 0.2761 4th in SWAC  
297 VMI 98.6 295 107.3 254 0.2747 9th in SC  
298 UMass Lowell 102.2 233 111.3 327 0.2728 6th in AE  
299 Marist 103.0 217 112.4 335 0.2683 10th in MAAC  
300 SE Louisiana 99.5 287 108.7 277 0.2664 9th in Slnd  
301 Niagara 96.3 322 105.5 225 0.2579 11th in MAAC  
302 Campbell 100.9 267 110.7 317 0.2556 7th in BSth  
303 Howard 97.9 307 107.7 264 0.2512 4th in MEAC  
304 Illinois Chicago 94.9 331 104.6 205 0.2457 10th in Horz  
305 New Orleans 98.6 296 108.7 278 0.2452 10th in Slnd  
306 American 95.5 328 105.4 220 0.2422 7th in Pat  
307 Robert Morris 93.6 339 103.5 177 0.2391 4th in NEC  
308 Radford 99.8 285 110.4 312 0.2389 8th in BSth  
309 Bradley 90.8 349 100.5 105 0.2387 10th in MVC  
310 Savannah St. 91.4 346 101.2 116 0.2369 5th in MEAC  
311 Sacred Heart 98.4 298 109.2 292 0.2318 5th in NEC  
312 UMBC 102.2 234 113.7 340 0.2269 7th in AE  
313 Northern Arizona 97.8 310 109.1 289 0.2208 10th in BSky  
314 Hartford 99.0 292 110.6 316 0.2179 8th in AE  
315 McNeese St. 101.9 242 113.8 341 0.2179 11th in Slnd  
316 St. Francis PA 98.8 294 110.4 313 0.2171 6th in NEC  
317 SIU Edwardsville 95.4 329 106.6 244 0.2168 11th in OVC  
318 Hampton 92.5 344 103.4 176 0.2155 6th in MEAC  
319 Morgan St. 95.8 325 107.2 251 0.2141 7th in MEAC  
320 Abilene Christian 98.3 301 110.1 310 0.2125 12th in Slnd  
321 Loyola MD 97.7 312 109.5 296 0.2120 8th in Pat  
322 St. Francis NY 92.9 341 104.1 194 0.2116 7th in NEC  
323 Bryant 99.0 293 111.0 325 0.2099 8th in NEC  
324 The Citadel 102.0 240 114.5 346 0.2095 10th in SC  
325 Longwood 98.1 305 110.1 309 0.2094 9th in BSth  
326 Northern Colorado 99.8 284 112.1 332 0.2078 11th in BSky  
327 LIU Brooklyn 98.4 299 111.0 322 0.1997 9th in NEC  
328 Central Arkansas 101.3 256 114.3 345 0.1994 13th in Slnd  
329 Bethune Cookman 99.4 291 112.2 334 0.1981 8th in MEAC  
330 Delaware 97.9 306 111.0 323 0.1917 10th in CAA  
331 MD Eastern Shore 98.4 300 111.6 328 0.1898 9th in MEAC  
332 Lafayette 100.0 281 113.9 343 0.1831 9th in Pat  
333 Southern Utah 98.4 297 113.5 339 0.1617 12th in BSky  
334 Coppin St. 96.9 318 112.2 333 0.1558 10th in MEAC  
335 Arkansas Pine Bluff 92.6 342 108.6 276 0.1380 5th in SWAC  
336 Prairie View A&M 90.9 348 106.8 246 0.1353 6th in SWAC  
337 Mississippi Valley St. 93.5 340 110.0 307 0.1337 7th in SWAC  
338 Alabama A&M 97.8 308 115.2 350 0.1327 8th in SWAC  
339 North Carolina A&T 97.5 315 114.9 348 0.1319 11th in MEAC  
340 Delaware St. 94.2 335 111.1 326 0.1304 12th in MEAC  
341 Alcorn St. 93.8 337 110.8 321 0.1276 9th in SWAC  
342 UTSA 97.3 316 115.1 349 0.1263 14th in CUSA  
343 Chicago St. 94.6 332 112.0 331 0.1259 7th in WAC  
344 Army 92.2 345 109.7 303 0.1191 10th in Pat  
345 SE Missouri St. 91.2 347 109.0 285 0.1132 12th in OVC  
346 UTRGV 96.0 323 114.9 347 0.1125 8th in WAC  
347 Presbyterian 94.4 333 113.2 338 0.1102 10th in BSth  
348 Maine 93.6 338 113.9 342 0.0951 9th in AE  
349 Grambling St. 90.0 350 109.5 298 0.0946 10th in SWAC  
350 Central Connecticut 92.5 343 115.2 351 0.0743 10th in NEC  
351 Florida A&M 87.4 351 109.0 284 0.0730 13th in MEAC  

Florida A&M, which lost out on the No. 351 crown to Central Connecticut last season, is projected to win it in ‘16–17. The Rattlers had the nation’s least-efficient offense in ‘15–16, and their only double-digit scorer, Malcolm Bernard, departed on a graduate transfer to Xavier. This final group isn’t entirely lost-cause territory, though: Two teams here—Jackson State (No. 275) and South Carolina State (284)—are projected to finish second in their leagues, giving them decent odds of winning a conference tournament and earning an automatic bid to the NCAAs.

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