Thursday, September 18, 2014
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Schuylkill 16 Poll Week 4: A middle-class fight

In which I try to prove a gut instinct with statistics.

Schuylkill 16 Poll Week 4: A middle-class fight

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like this wasn't a great week for the local schools. There's something about St. Joe's losing to Creighton, Temple losing to Miami of Ohio and Rutgers falling to Binghamton - all at home - that doesn't quite sit right.

That Binghamton-Rutgers game particularly stands out. With all due respect to the Bearcats, if you can name me one person or thing that the school has contributed to modern society other than Tony Kornheiser, I will get you some kind of prize.

(Unless you are an employee of the school, in which case I would only ask you to forward the email that got sent around the university listserv telling people what an idiot I am.)

Having said that, a look at this week's poll results pays tribute to the teams that did record wins this week.

Villanova swept Penn and Houston Baptist, and as a result claimed first place unanimously once again. St. Joe's stayed in third after beating Lehigh, while the Owls jumped into second after beating Penn State in State College. La Salle also improved its score with wins over Bucknell and Hartford.

To see whether my gut instinct was worth anything, I decided to include the Pomeroy rankings for the 16 schools in parentheses along with their points totals this week.

After the results listing, I'll tell you what I concluded from them.

1. Villanova, 12 points (24)
- "Any chance that I can just vote Nova #1, #2 and #3?" (Marco Anskis)
- "If their fans couldn't find their way onto the R5 and to the Palestra, there's no way they'll make it up the Broad Street line to Olney Ave., right?" (Fred D.)

Anyone want to prove him wrong?

- "Can we make a trophy and give it to Villanova now? My thought for the design: a traffic jam. Maybe flowing water along the base." (Dan Levy)

Hold that thought. It might come in handy soon.

2. Temple, 30 points (87)

3. Saint Joseph's, 45 points (121)
- "At least the SJU players can tell their grandchildren they beat Indiana and they won't know how bad Indiana was this year." (Patrick Carney)

4. Penn State, 48 points (59)
- "Penn State shut down Christmas and received a bucket of coal for their lack of effort elsewhere." (Tim AumAn)

5. La Salle, 57 points (144)
- "After Nos. 1-4, the drop is so steep that I wonder if an All-Star team from the last 12 schools could beat Villanova." (Zachary Levine)

6. Rutgers, 81 points (157)
- "Tony Kornheiser was happy that his alma mater Binghamton beat Rutgers, but he was saddened that Brett Favre wasn't somehow involved." (Zach Klitzman)
- "I really want to rank Rutgers 16th for completely screwing up an easy December schedule. Have fun with UNC in two weeks." (Marco Anskis)

7. Drexel, 92 points (133)
- "Drexel is getting nearly 30% of their points from free throws (6th in the country). So maybe Bruiser's years of whining are finally paying off." (Jeff Shafer)

8. Rider, 101 points (183)

9. Lehigh, 104 points (205)

10. Delaware, 118 points (219)

11. Penn, 133 points (172)
- "I never thought I'd see the Penn men's basketball team (1-6) have a worse record than the Penn women's basketball team (2-6) heading into winter break." (Zach Klitzman)

12. Lafayette, 141 points (257)

13. Bucknell, 147 points (267)

14. Princeton, 156 points (265)
- "Somehow I have the feeling that the Princeton band was too terrified by its encounter with the Citadel Cadets to return to the Palmetto state for the game against South Carolina." (Zach Klitzman)

15. Monmouth, 182 points (319)
- "By the end of this season, Monmouth may regret that you did not call this poll the French Creek Fifteen." (Jon Solomon)

16. Delaware State, 185 points (313)
- "Only eight teams have played a tougher schedule than Delaware State. Only 343 teams have fewer than 10 losses." (Jeff Shafer)

So about the Pomeroy rankings. We've got three teams in the top 100 (18.8%), six between 101 and 200 (37.5%), five between 201 and 300 (31.3%) and two over 300 (12.5%).

To me, that seems pretty mediocre. But it also lacks some context, because it's just comparing this market to itself.

In other words, it needs to be compared to something else.

Such as the D.C. Sports Bog's Atlantic 11 poll.

Granted, it's not New York. But even New Yorkers know their college basketball scene stinks.

In D.C., however, they're puffing their chest out a bit at the moment. VMI and Liberty are rising from the Big South, Georgetown is rolling and Maryland is actually winning games it's supposed to win.

Because the Atlantic 11 poll actually includes 27 teams (unlike our poll, they don't rank everyt eam every week) a simple counting of teams in each Pomeroy ranking group doesn't work. So pay attention to the percentages instead.

The Atlantic breakout looks like this: Five teams in the top 100 (18.5%), 11 between 101 and 200 (40.7%), seven between 201 and 300 (25.9%) and four over 300 (14.8%).

It's a slight edge to the Sports Boggers for now, because of all those teams in the upper-middle. But we're a little bit ahead at the very top and the very bottom.

Maybe we should have some kind of Schuylkill-Atlantic challenge series. Granted, we're already in the hole after George Mason beat Drexel. But that's just one game.

And just off the top of my head, I can think of these games coming up later in the season: Georgetown-Villanova, George Washington's games against the Big 5 schools, American's games with Lehigh, Lafayette and Bucknell, and Howard-Delaware State.

Unfortunately, the winning side wouldn't get anything, because the newspaper industry is in the dumps and none of us has any money.

(Okay, I don't have any money. Steinberg, being with the Washington Post, might have a bit of loose change in his desk.)

What do you all think? Let me know in the comments.

And join me tomorrow night for live-blogging of the Jimmy V Classic doubleheader: West Virginia-Davidson at 7, followed by Villanova-Texas at around 9:30. I'll be on press row at Madison Square Garden for both games, and will be bringing you updates throughout the night (unless ESPN says otherwise, which I really hope they don't).

(In case you didn't already know, I vote in the Atlantic 11 poll as well as the Schuylkill 16. But I'd like to think that would make the challenge even better, because it would be based entirely on game results instead of votes.)

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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