– Posted By Zurg –
Yesterday, the AP Poll for Week 14 of the NCAA Basketball season was released, and the Big East has two ranked teams: Villanova (6) and Creighton (12). By the end of the season, the Associated Press will have released 21 total polls featuring the top 25 teams in the country, from the preseason rankings all the way to the final postseason results.
Theoretically, the 14th week of rankings by the AP Poll should be better at predicting how the best teams perform in March Madness than the previous polls this season – but how accurate has the AP’s Week 14 Poll been in the past?
More clearly, if we look at the AP Poll from Week 14 of each of the last 11 NCAA seasons, how well did they do at selecting the teams that eventually perform best in the NCAA Tournament?
For starters, Syracuse is the unanimous #1 team in the country this week. How have previous Week 14 #1s ended up doing?
- 8 of the last 11 teams (72.7%) ranked #1 in the Week 14 AP Poll advanced to at least the Elite Eight. However, only two of those teams (2012 Kentucky & 2007 Florida) won it all.
- All 11 teams have advanced to at least the second round (Round of 32). Every team other than 2010 Kansas (Lost in Second Round to Northern Iowa) and 2004 Stanford (Lost in Second Round to Alabama) advanced to at least the Sweet Sixteen.
Let’s look at the eventual champions (other than 2012 Kentucky & 2007 Florida):
- 2009 North Carolina (#3), 2008 Kansas (#4) and 2005 North Carolina (#4) were the only other top 5 teams in the Week 14 AP Poll to win it all.
- 2006 Florida (#7), 2010 Duke (#8) and 2004 Connecticut (#8) were the other top 10 teams in the Week 14 AP Poll to win the national championship.
- 2013 Louisville was ranked #11 in the Week 14 AP Poll.
- 2003 Syracuse (#17) was the lowest ranked team in the Week 14 AP Poll of the past 11 years to eventually win the whole thing.
With only two teams ranked outside the top 10 of the Week 14 AP Poll going on to win the national championship, how much more likely is it that a team outside the top ten will make the Final Four?
- 32 of the 44 (72.7%) teams to make the Final Four in the last 11 years were ranked in the top 10 of the Week 14 AP Poll.
- The lowest ranked teams to make it were:
- #18: 2011 Kentucky, 2010 Butler, 2004 Georgia Tech
- #22: 2007 Georgetown
- #24: 2012 Louisville
- 2013 Wichita State, 2011 VCU, 2011 Butler, 2006 LSU and 2006 George Mason were unranked in the Week 14 AP Poll.
- 18 of the 22 teams (81.8%) in the last 11 years to make the national championship game were ranked in the top 10 of the Week 14 AP Poll.
What about teams in the Week 14 AP Poll that did not even make the NCAA Tournament?
- No team ranked better than #15 of the Week 14 AP Poll has missed the NCAA Tournament in the last 11 years.
- 2007 Air Force (#15) was the highest ranked team to miss the tournament field (Finished the regular season 3-4 and lost in the First Round of the MWC Tournament)
- 2007 Oklahoma State (#17), 2007 Alabama (#18), 2012 Mississippi State (#20), 2003 Georgia (#20), 2006 Michigan (#22), 2005 Maryland (#22), and 2004 LSU (#24) were the other teams to not receive an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.
Finally, let’s look at the Big East’s two teams in the poll and their positions:
- Villanova currently ranks #6.
- Only two teams ranked #6 or better in the last 11 years in this poll failed to advance to the second round (Round of 32) of the NCAA Tournament: 2012 Missouri (#4) and 2005 Kansas (#2).
- 2003 Texas is the only team ranked #6 in the last 11 years of the Week 14 AP Poll to make the Final Four.
- The best finish in the recent past after being ranked #6 in this poll: 2012 Baylor advanced to the Elite Eight.
- Creighton currently ranks #12.
- 119 of the 132 teams (90.15%) ranked #12 or better in the Week 14 AP Poll have advanced past the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but three of the thirteen teams to fail to advance were ranked #12 (2009 Clemson, 2006 Michigan State, 2003 Creighton).
- 2005 Louisville was ranked #12 in the Week 14 AP Poll and eventually made the Final Four.
- Most recent success from the #12 spot in the Week 14 AP Poll? 2010 Tennessee advanced to the Elite Eight.
Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if you want to take a look at your favorite team or a specific year in general!