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IU basketball: 13 of 14 Big Ten teams in initial KenPom top-70

Ken Pomeroy picked an interesting time to drop his initial rankings.

The college basketball analytics website KenPom.com released its initial rankings for the 2020-21 season at midnight on Election Night.

Once again, the site projects the Big Ten to be a gauntlet for Indiana.

According to the preseason rankings, KenPom has 13 of the league’s 14 teams in the top-70 and 8 teams in the top-26.  Indiana claims that 26th spot after finishing the 2019-20 season at No. 34.

KenPom’s middle-of-the-pack league projection for Indiana is directionally consistent with where most preseason predictions have the Hoosiers.  Consistent with prior seasons under head coach Archie Miller, the service sees Indiana’s defense (No. 17) as more efficient than the offense (No. 40).  Offensive/defensive efficiency is points score/allowed per 100 possessions.

Most pundits believe that Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan State form the top tier of the league, and KenPom has those teams in the top six.

The main outlier in the first KenPom release appears to be Ohio State.  The Buckeyes lost significant production from their 2019-20 squad and have multiple preseason injuries.  Most analysts do not project Ohio State to finish in the top half of the league.

KenPom’s rankings are based statistical formulas involving past seasons and current players on rosters that form the Adjusted Efficiency Margin (AdjEM) for every team.  AdjEM is the difference between a team’s offensive and defensive efficiency.

The fluid rankings are adjusted throughout the season and generally become more predictive and thus reliable once the season is well underway.

Preseason KenPom Big Ten AdjEM Rankings (Adjusted Offensive / Defensive Efficiency)

7 – Wisconsin (19/2)

10 – Ohio State (18/10)

12- Iowa (2/73)

15 – Michigan State (10/28)

17 – Michigan (9/31)

18 – Illinois (20/21)

25 – Purdue (16/37)

26 – Indiana (40/17)

27 – Rutgers (51/12)

35 – Minnesota (35/33)

51 – Maryland (47/57)

64 – Penn State (55/69)

70 – Northwestern (81/66)

118 – Nebraska (121/116)


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