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Bracketology, BPI: Examining contrasts

Joe Lunardi released his latest Bracketology on Thursday, and although BPI and Lunardi agree on quite a bit, there were also some marked differences.

Below is a breakdown of key differences from BPI’s perspective. It is important to note that the goals of Bracketology and BPI differ slightly: Bracketology projects which teams WILL make the tournament, while BPI ranks the teams based on which ones SHOULD make the field.

Is Providence a tournament team?

Providence College is a projected 6 seed in Bracketology. The Friars rank 49th in BPI, and based on that ranking, would be one of the first four teams out.

At first glance, Providence has a record (14-5) worthy of inclusion. When digging deeper, it is apparent that Providence has been wildly inconsistent. The Friars have wins against four teams in the BPI top 50, including Notre Dame, Georgetown and Butler. But the Friars have lost at home to Brown (No. 270 in BPI) and on the road to Boston College (No. 114), each by at least nine points. Additionally, they squeaked by Albany (No. 154) and Yale (No. 97) at home early in the season.

Providence has two great scorers – LaDontae Henton and Kris Dunn – but outside of them, the Friars are not particularly efficient. Providence ranks 94th in net efficiency, the lowest ranking of any projected top-10 seed in the latest Bracketology.

Is Ohio State underrated?

Ohio State has the same record as Providence but is projected to be a 9 seed. Unlike Providence, Ohio State has invariably excelled against lower competition (13-0 against BPI 50+) and struggled against top opponents. All five of the Buckeyes’ losses have come against opponents in the BPI top 50.

Ohio State is one of 15 teams that does not have a Game BPI below 50 this season, meaning the Buckeyes do not have any particularly “bad” games. (Game BPI accounts for pace-adjusted scoring margin, opponent and site of game.) In part due to their consistency, the Buckeyes rank seventh in net efficiency, one spot ahead of projected 1-seed Duke.

Spotlight on Tobacco Road

Duke and North Carolina are two of the top teams in the ACC, but their ranking in BPI and Bracketology differ. Lunardi ranks Duke nine spots ahead of North Carolina, and BPI favors the Tar Heels.

Comparing Duke, North Carolina

North Carolina is the only team in the top 15 of BPI with four or more losses. The main reason for the Tar Heels’ ranking is their schedule. North Carolina has played the eighth-hardest schedule in the nation, including nine games against teams in the top 50 of BPI, tied for second-most in the nation. The Tar Heels were 5-4 in those games, but only one of their losses (at Kentucky) was by double digits.

In comparison, Duke has played an easier schedule than North Carolina, and both of its losses were by double digits. According to ESPN’s Game BPI scores, all of North Carolina’s losses were “better” than either of Duke’s setbacks.

Like with Providence and Ohio State, this debate comes down to consistency. Generally, the best teams in the nation are the most consistent, which is captured in their BPI rankings.