All season long, Insider will be keeping a close eye on teams from conferences that haven't usually produced multiple NCAA tournament bids to see which squads outside of the spotlight look the strongest come tournament time. To that end, we'll be ranking the top performers from all conferences outside of the A-10, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac-12 and SEC. One new caveat for this season: With the movement of BYU to the WCC, we will not be including the Cougars, due to their established performance record. Likewise, Gonzaga and Memphis are also not considered in these rankings.
In this second edition of the 2011-12 season, we refine the formula and find a team from the Midwest has a commanding lead on the field.
Last week's rankings sported a few teams that our readers found, well, a little off. With Tulane and Georgia State sitting pretty despite weak scheduling, there was a loud cry to add a strength of schedule component to our formula. This week, we've heeded the call.
Today's rankings measure the margin between each team's adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency. The adjustment takes note of the relative strength of opponents each team has faced, and gives us a better sense of which teams are faring well against difficult challenges. As a result, our top team this week is the ...
Wichita State Shockers (9-2)
Gregg Marshall's club debuts atop the tweaked rankings despite a weak few days that included a beatdown of winless Chicago State on Dec. 14 and Sunday night's 102-53 thrashing of the Wichita-based D-II Newman Jets. November's back-to-back losses to Alabama and Temple are the only blemishes on a schedule studded with quality wins over opponents such as UNLV, Utah State and Tulsa. The Shockers are riding high with a senior-laden roster that hustles inside and out. WSU opponents shoot just 26.8 percent from deep, and missed shots are routinely corralled by 7-footer Garrett Stutz, who boasts an excellent 23.7 defensive rebounding percentage.