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ESPN Loses Its Mind In BPI Ratings

The preseason BPI ratings are up and . . . they’re terrible.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, ESPN released an early look at the top 50 teams in BPI ratings for the upcoming season. BPI looks at a variety of metrics, including roster experience, recruiting rankings, and coaching history. While not nearly as respected as statistical measures like KenPom, it’s a statistic that gets a substantial amount of coverage during the regular season.

Here is how the Big Ten fared in the top 50 ratings:

Early 2018-’19 BPI Ratings:

  • No. 8 - Wisconsin
  • No. 13 - Michigan State
  • No. 19 - Iowa
  • No. 21 - Illinois
  • No. 26 - Northwestern
  • No. 29 - Indiana
  • No. 37 - Purdue
  • No. 38 - Maryland
  • No. 40 - Michigan
  • No. 42 - Penn State
  • No. 43 - Minnesota
  • No. 46 - Nebraska

There’s little debating that this was a particularly strong performance for the league, with four of the top 21 and 12 of the top 46 teams. It’s also particularly interesting to see nine Big Ten teams make the list that missed last season’s NCAA Tournament. That alone should speak volumes regarding what the Big Ten could achieve next season.

However, there’s also little debating that these ratings are absolutely bewildering. Not only is it wild to see Wisconsin among the top 10 teams, but seeing Iowa, Illinois, and Northwestern above teams like Maryland and Michigan makes little sense. All of those teams certainly have things to be excited about, but it seems unlikely that all will outperform consistent programs like Maryland and Michigan.

Perhaps the most notable absence was Ohio State, who finished second in the Big Ten standings last season and made the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Most expect the Buckeyes to regress next season, but falling outside the top 50 would be notable.

But even if these ratings seem flawed, they do get the discussion going. And that’s always a good thing as we get ready to roll into August.