Big East closing in on Big Ten

The Big Ten stayed atop ESPN Stats and Info’s weekly college basketball rankings, but the Big East has closed the gap for the top spot. The rankings include a human element from the Top 25 polls and a computer portion, which is comprised entirely of the BPI.

The BPI is ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index. The BPI team rating takes into account the game score, where the game was played, the pace of the game and whether any of the team’s top five players was missing. For a complete explanation on the College BPI, click here.

The Big Ten remains first in this week’s rankings, and has a human bonus more than double the next closest conference. Although the Big East has more teams in the AP Top 25 poll, it is the placement of the Big Ten teams that impacts the conference’s human bonus. There are three Big Ten teams in the top 10 this week, while Indiana and Michigan traded spots in the poll after the Hoosiers’ 81-73 win Saturday night.

Georgetown, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame joined the AP poll this week, giving the Big East seven teams in the Top 25, two more than the next closest conference (Big Ten). Four of the seven Big East teams in the poll are ranked in spots 20-25, with Syracuse leading the way for the conference at number nine. The Big East also continues to get respect from the BPI with the highest computer ranking. There are eight teams from the Big East in the top 40 of the BPI, more than any other conference.

After a strong performance in last week’s rankings, the SEC dropped off this week. The conference closed the gap for the number six spot in last week’s rankings, but this week the SEC is 15.5 points behind the Big 12. One reason for the drop-off is the play of Ole Miss over the past week. The Rebels were up to 16 in last week’s AP poll, but dropped out of the Top 25 this week after losses to Kentucky and Florida. The only two SEC teams in the AP poll are Florida and Missouri. The Gators did get seven first-place votes in this week’s poll and control the top spot in the BPI as well.

The Northeast Conference was the only one that had significant movement this week, jumping two spots from 28 to 26. The highest-rated team from the NEC in the BPI is Bryant University at number 145.