As I have for the past few years, I have produced projections for every Division I college basketball team heading into the 2013-14 season.
I explained my formula in great detail in a post for RealGM.com, but the shortened version is this: I ran 10,000 simulations of every D-I player and each team's defense, and then ranked the teams 1-351 based on the median simulation.
The categories I provide for each team below are as follows:
Rank: Ranking based on median simulation
POFF: Projected offense, median prediction for points scored per 100 possessions
PDEF: Projected defense, median prediction for points allowed per 100 possessions
BC: Best-case scenario, 90th percentile simulation rank
WC: Worst-case scenario, 10th percentile simulation rank
Conf Rank: Ranking within conference
When I implemented the best- and worst-case scenario simulation this year, I expected there to be some teams with very low variance -- specifically teams that were returning a lot of experienced players.
But what surprised me is that almost every team had plenty of variation in expectations this season. Creighton returns Grant Gibbs and Doug McDermott and has the lowest variance of any offense in the nation, but there is substantial uncertainty about the season's defense. Meanwhile, Syracuse has low variance on defense thanks to Jim Boeheim's consistent 2-3 zone, but the Orange face substantial risk on offense.
So, while there are a few teams that stand out as less predictable (Michigan, UCLA) or more predictable (Michigan State, Notre Dame), there is uncertainty everywhere.
Without further ado, here are my projections for all 351 Division I teams this season.
(Note: The four teams that are new to D-I are ranked based on talent level and returning minutes. But without full seasons of historic data of them against D-I teams, I did not include a full projection for them.)
1. Kentucky Wildcats
Conf rank: 1st in SEC | POFF: 120.4 | PDEF: 90.0
Best case: 1st | Worst case: 13th
If everyone in Kentucky's rotation plays up to their potential, Kentucky has a chance to have the best offense in the modern era of tempo-free stats. The North Carolina Tar Heels offenses scored 126.6 and 126.0 points per 100 possessions in 2005 and 2008, respectively. In 10 percent of the simulations, Kentucky eclipses that 126.6 mark. But the Wildcats do have some downside risk. If Aaron and Andrew Harrison struggle or are injured, the lack of options in the backcourt could prevent Kentucky from reaching its goals.
2. Louisville Cardinals
Conf Rank: 1st in AAC | POFF: 116.3 | PDEF: 86.9
Best case: 1st | Worst case: 12th
With Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Wayne Blackshear and Montrezl Harrell returning from last season's national championship squad, two strong point-guard recruits and a brilliant defensive coach in Rick Pitino, there is very little downside for Louisville's roster. But Chane Behanan's suspension to start the season adds some risk in the frontcourt and prevents Louisville from earning the top spot in these projections.