If you know college basketball, you know how much influence stats guru Ken Pomeroy wields in the way smart people think, write and talk about the game. There was a time, maybe four or five years ago, when checking on Pomeroy's site and reading John Gasaway at Big Ten Wonk (never forget!) made one a certified college basketball nerd/intellectual. Now it just makes you a fan.
In any case, you should probably be made aware that Pomeroy's first set of rankings for the 2011-12 season were posted today. The rankings are based on Ken's usual algorithm, with some minor tweaks outlined here. Less important than the math behind the rankings are the rankings themselves, and there are some intriguing ones from the very top of the list. For example: The overwhelming preseason consensus No. 1, North Carolina, actually finds itself at No. 3 in Ken's rankings, while Kentucky starts the season at No. 1 overall. Meanwhile, Connecticut -- another of the usual-suspect title favorites -- begins the season at No. 6. Duke, a young team with many questions, begins at No. 4. Pittsburgh, expected by many to struggle thanks to the major loss of minutes and leadership, is sitting pretty at No. 7.
There are plenty of these examples, but the point is not necessarily to point out where the consensus is wrong; frankly, we haven't seen any basketball yet, so we're probably all wrong. The Pomeroy rankings are, as always, just another helpful tool in the college hoops fan's toolbox, another thing to consider when you're thinking, writing and talking about teams. Proceed accordingly.
Oh, and while we're touting things that you make you a smarter basketball fan, allow me to get synergistic and let you know that the TrueHoop network -- our basketball desk's invaluable collection of NBA blogs -- has launched a college hoops ancillary to its HoopSpeak site. (Can you blame them? This lockout is soul-crushing.) The gents over there have already dissected UNC's offense in image-friendly form, and there's plenty more where that came from. Add it to your bookmarks and put it on your MySpace page, or whatever you kids do on the Internet these days.