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ACC highlights contrasts with BPI, others

There was Syracuse, of course, but other well-regarded ACC teams had sizable changes in their BPI ratings after last week’s games. Those swings, as well as a comparison of teams’ BPI positions to other popular rankings, can demonstrate how the systems value different aspects of performance.

The Orange started last week undefeated, third in the BPI rankings and first in The Associated Press poll of media members. Losses to Boston College on Wednesday and to Duke on Saturday sent them to seventh in the BPI ratings.

Syracuse’s setbacks weren’t reflected as dramatically elsewhere. In Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology, Syracuse retained a No. 1 seed. And the AP poll has the Orange at No. 4. RPI, however, has Syracuse at No. 9.

Possibly troubling for fans of the Orange is that of the team’s six lowest BPI Game Scores, three have come in the past 10 days (the two losses and a one-point home win over North Carolina State on Feb. 15).

TAR HEELS' BPI BUMP

The biggest mover among ACC teams in the BPI Top 50 was North Carolina, up seven spots to No. 26. The Tar Heels were 3-0 last week, beating Florida State and Wake Forest around the victory over Duke. By BPI Game Score, North Carolina’s 105-72 home victory over the Demon Deacons on Saturday was a more powerful performance than its eight-point home win over the Blue Devils on Thursday.

North Carolina is 19th in the AP poll and is a projected No. 5 seed in Bracketology. RPI has North Carolina 22nd. Based on current BPI ranking, the Tar Heels – who have four losses to teams outside the BPI top 75 -- would deserve a No. 7 seed.

PITTSBURGH TRENDING DOWN

Pittsburgh, which was third in the BPI rankings on Jan. 27, continued its slide and is 18th – five spots lower than last week. Pittsburgh (20-7) collected no votes in the AP poll. Bracketology has the Panthers as a No. 10 seed, and RPI – which doesn’t take into account a game’s final margin – has them 44th.

Although the Panthers have lost three games in a row, the losses were by an average of less than four points, and all three opponents are in the BPI Top 50. Except for an 80-65 home loss to Duke, all of Pittsburgh’s defeats have been by five points or fewer. Based on current BPI ranking, the Panthers would be projected as a No. 5 seed.

DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

Among teams in the BPI Top 10, the biggest discrepancy between the AP poll and BPI lies with Kentucky. Seventeenth among AP poll voters, the Wildcats are fourth in BPI. Kentucky (21-6) is 4-5 against BPI Top 50 teams and has the second-toughest schedule among BPI Top 15 teams. Five of its losses have been by five points or fewer.

The Wildcats are a projected No. 5 seed in Bracketology. Based on BPI, Arizona, Florida and Kansas are clear choices for No. 1 seeds as things now stand. Kentucky, Louisville, Wichita State, Syracuse and Duke -- 4 through 8 in BPI rankings, separated by 0.1 in the BPI -- are nearly inseparable for the fourth No. 1 seed, according to BPI.