With bracketology all the rage and the NCAA’s new NET ranking taking center stage for how college basketball teams are going to be evaluated, here’s a look at where the Gators stand going in to Christmas in all the most important metrics and in the eyes of some of the most popular and successful bracketologists.
Though the Gators have two games remaining before Christmas I don’t suspect games against Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast will sway things too much (barring disaster), but know things could look a little bit different before the break.
The NET is a new ranking for this season developed by the NCAA to replace the outdated RPI as their primarily tool in sorting teams. It not only factors in pure win/loss results but also offensive and defensive efficiency in a way that isn’t totally made known to the public. Though the NET ranking isn’t going to exactly decide where teams land on Selection Sunday it will be used to help rank wins (i.e. the quadrant system that has started to have been used recently) and therefore plays a very large role in the process.
In a lot of ways this is the most important metric to pay attention to, but let me tell you, it is currently a disaster of a ranking system due to small sample size.
Florida is currently 48th in the NET. Not a great number, but as a reference of how the system isn’t going to be good until a lot more sample, the Gators are right behind Liberty University. Utah State is currently 32nd, and San Francisco is 20th. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to discount the solid starts to the season from these great mid majors but I’m just saying that I’d bet a lot of money San Francisco isn’t going to be a #5 seed come March. This is a metric to keep an eye on but right now it needs a lot numbers inputted to put in to have a more accurate result.
These metrics don’t just look at results of games and evaluate who has the best resumes, they have an element that looks at future games and predicts who they think are going to win and by how much. These are what help you win your bracket contest in March and also what helps Vegas set their lines.
Florida #21 (*19-12)
Massey Composite (A composite of 20+ Rankings)
This really shows how confusing the Gators have been. The difference between the 21st team like KenPom has and 41st like Massey has is quite and is an example of just how weird the start to Florida’s season has been. I’m sure their elite defense and struggling offense has made for some interesting number crunching within whatever algorithm these site’s use, but I think it shows how close the Gators are to being a really good team. If they could have swung one or two of their close losses to wins then the perception around the team could be a lot different right now.
You’ll also see that KenPom has a predicted record for the Gators entering the SEC Tournament. I think 19-12 is probably where a lot of you think the Gators could be and I think it could put them firmly on the bubble with a need for a win or two in that Tournament.
Speaking of the bubble…
Yes, it’s really early to be looking at bracketology but as long as some of the bigger names are going to be doing it, I think it’s worth looking at. All the brackets referenced are their most recent posting, some of which where on the day of writing this.
Team Rankings Bracket
Florida #8 Seed (59% chance of bid)
Joe Lunardi (ESPN)
Florida #10 Seed
Bracket Matrix (A composite of 40+ Brackets)
Florida #10 Seed
Just as you may have expected the Gators are seen as a bubble team in the eyes of a lot of the bracketologists but at least most of them think they’ll be on the right side of the cutoff by the time all is said and done. Right now all the Gators can do is control what they can control and try to get better with every game and every practice. The SEC will give the Gators tons of opportunities for big wins and as long as they are continuing to grow then they should be able to be in the mix not just for an NCAA Tournament birth but a decent seed.