For the third year in a row KenPom has released his pre-season basketball predictions as to where every single team in the country are at this point. These aren't meant to be his final rankings, as they vary every single night based on teams winning and losing.
What they do is establish a statistical baseline by using factors from the previous season, incoming recruits and returning players. For the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, all of these numbers resulted in a shocking number, and that is the number 201, or the 201st best team in NCAA to start the year according to Ken Pomeroy.
Before I get into the breakdown and what it means, I encourage each and every one of you to go read the article that Ken Pomeroy has posted on his website to help explain how he gets to his rankings. There is nothing worse than people arguing about statistics that they don't understand. This will hopefully keep most idiots in check with their comments and keep things civil!
If you don't have time to read the entire article above, here is a brief rundown on how the numbers work from his blog site:
This year's numbers also come with an additional facet added in, and that is the year of the player returning. We once again go right to his blog for an explanation on that:
So, along with ranking every single Division 1 team (list can be found here). He also predicts a W/L record for each team, and while this is behind the pay wall (I pay for it because it is invaluable information for what we do here with basketball for Wake), I can tell you that Wake is predicted to go 9-19 this season (4-14 in the ACC).
Keep in mind that he does not have the two games that we will play after the UConn game in the Paradise Jam, so odds are he would have us at 10-11 wins with those games.
Wake is by far the worst team in the ACC, coming in at 201st, (Maryland is the closest team to them at a modest 135th place) but I still fully expect the Demon Deacons to finish out of the conference basement this season.
Here are the full ACC rankings:
24. N.C. State
119. Georgia Tech
134. Boston College
Now I am not in any way trying to defend Wake Forest or Ken Pomeroy in the rankings, but I think Ken would be the first to tell you that Wake Forest is not 70 spots worse than every single other ACC team. There are a couple of reasons that we are so far behind the other teams, mostly that there are so many unknowns about the team in general.
With 7 freshmen coming in (and the loss of Daniel Green), there are really only three players that we know a lot about. C.J and Travis, based on their class (senior and junior respectively) are not expected to develop and get as better as other teams that have freshmen and sophomores are. This hurts the improvement from last year to this year for the team overall.
Codi Miller-McIntyre is also the only freshman that he considers "relevant" for us because he is the only top 100 player in the class. Basically he considers any other freshman not to contribute that much at all, which for Wake Forest is not an option this year. While our freshmen may not be as highly rated as others in the conference, they will obviously be relied on and expected to mature faster than nearly any other team in the country.
This doesn't mean they will play better than their ranking, but does mean that they will see more time than most and develop quicker than other freshmen for other teams.
As for the individual game-by-game (where he assigns win/loss to each team), the Deacs are only slotted in at 5 wins throughout the year (Radford, William and Mary, Nebraska, High Point, and Furman). The other four wins are had by adding the win percentage for all the other games up to equal somewhere around 4.
This is how he comes to the final 9-19 record (4-14 record in the ACC).
I sent Ken a tweet to ask about Wake Forest's overall ranking and here is what he sent me back:
@bsd_rajohnston Incoming recruits didn't move the needle much and the replacement level is assumed to be pretty low based on past 2 seasons.— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) October 30, 2012
For Wake Forest, and especially this year, these numbers are not what the fans want to see, but it is extremely difficult to judge how good our team will be.
I have set my expectations pretty high because I think that Jeff Bzdelik needs to exceed expectations if he expects to keep his job after year three. I want to see 17-18 wins or I want to see another coach at the helm next season. At this juncture I am not sure how realistic 17-18 wins is, because I think it will be very difficult to achieve based on everything I have seen.
Let me know what y'alls thoughts are. If there are any specific questions about the model that KenPom uses or about something that you can't see because it's behind the paywall then I will do my best to fill you in and help a Deacon fan out!