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  1. #1

    Way Too Early Top 25 Rankings

    What else are we going to argue about, minutes?

    I took a look at the top 25 lists that came out over the last few hours to see where the rankings people put Duke at this point for the 2021-22 season. These lists will change a ton due to transfers, NBA decisions, coaching moves, and a few recruits. I might periodically revisit these lists to see how Duke tracks during the offseason. Here is where Duke shows up in the lists:

    The Athletic (Seth Davis): #5
    CBS Sports (Gary Parish): #4
    ESPN (Jeff Borzello): #13
    Sports Illustrated (Kevin Sweeney): #3
    Stadium (Jeff Goodman): #7

    You can see the full lists I posted on reddit/r/cbb: https://old.reddit.com/r/CollegeBask...eason_top_25s/

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidBenAkiva View Post
    What else are we going to argue about, minutes?

    I took a look at the top 25 lists that came out over the last few hours to see where the rankings people put Duke at this point for the 2021-22 season. These lists will change a ton due to transfers, NBA decisions, coaching moves, and a few recruits. I might periodically revisit these lists to see how Duke tracks during the offseason. Here is where Duke shows up in the lists:

    The Athletic (Seth Davis): #5
    CBS Sports (Gary Parish): #4
    ESPN (Jeff Borzello): #13
    Sports Illustrated (Kevin Sweeney): #3
    Stadium (Jeff Goodman): #7

    You can see the full lists I posted on reddit/r/cbb: https://old.reddit.com/r/CollegeBask...eason_top_25s/
    as you say, they're all way too early...but all seem quite optimistic given we didn't make the tournament...so these are all prestige numbers. What was UNC this year preseason? I assume similarly lauded.
    basketball is back, baby!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidBenAkiva View Post
    What else are we going to argue about, minutes?

    I took a look at the top 25 lists that came out over the last few hours to see where the rankings people put Duke at this point for the 2021-22 season. These lists will change a ton due to transfers, NBA decisions, coaching moves, and a few recruits. I might periodically revisit these lists to see how Duke tracks during the offseason. Here is where Duke shows up in the lists:

    The Athletic (Seth Davis): #5
    CBS Sports (Gary Parish): #4
    ESPN (Jeff Borzello): #13
    Sports Illustrated (Kevin Sweeney): #3
    Stadium (Jeff Goodman): #7

    You can see the full lists I posted on reddit/r/cbb: https://old.reddit.com/r/CollegeBask...eason_top_25s/
    The ESPN early ranking had, to me, an unusual amount of trepidation, but I think #13 is right given the unknowns. If we get Baldwin or Hurt comes back, or if Paolo is close to Zion 2.0, then different story. Also need to see how the transfer market settles.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by simplyluvin View Post
    The ESPN early ranking had, to me, an unusual amount of trepidation, but I think #13 is right given the unknowns. If we get Baldwin or Hurt comes back, or if Paolo is close to Zion 2.0, then different story. Also need to see how the transfer market settles.
    There is a ton of talent at Duke right now. But the pieces aren't great (lots of big men and big, strong wings. Not a ton of perimeter defensive potential).

    #13 does feel right, but I really hope that goes up as a) folks leave for greener pastures (NBA) and b) Duke finally becomes serious about the transfer market.

    To me, there is a starting spot available right now. If my mind, the 3-5 is either Griffin/Banchero/Williams or Griffin/Hurt/Banchero, depending on what Hurt does. With the 1/2, I have no idea but I suspect Roach is one of those starters.
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    as you say, they're all way too early...but all seem quite optimistic given we didn't make the tournament...so these are all prestige numbers. What was UNC this year preseason? I assume similarly lauded.
    I don't think they are "prestige" numbers. They are based on the fact that we have a monster recruiting class coming in and return 3 starters from a top-40 team. I'd instead argue that you are being quite pessimistic if you think those are quite optimistic, and overemphasizing the difference of a few possessions in a really odd year. Next year's team is a very different entity than this year's team.

    And no, UNC was not listed as a top-10 or top-15 preseason team coming in to last season.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    I don't think they are "prestige" numbers. They are based on the fact that we have a monster recruiting class coming in and return 3 starters from a top-40 team. I'd instead argue that you are being quite pessimistic if you think those are quite optimistic, and overemphasizing the difference of a few possessions in a really odd year. Next year's team is a very different entity than this year's team.

    And no, UNC was not listed as a top-10 or top-15 preseason team coming in to last season.
    #3? That's absurd, regardless of incoming class. The returning players didn't make the tournament, if even we have hopes for them. Hell, we still don't know if hurt is coming back. or moore or williams or roach. Given that Steward YOLOed out, anything is possible (if unlikely).

    The error bars are huge, but I would bet someone a pie right now that we don't finish the regular season at or above #3.
    basketball is back, baby!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    I don't think they are "prestige" numbers. They are based on the fact that we have a monster recruiting class coming in and return 3 starters from a top-40 team. I'd instead argue that you are being quite pessimistic if you think those are quite optimistic, and overemphasizing the difference of a few possessions in a really odd year. Next year's team is a very different entity than this year's team.

    And no, UNC was not listed as a top-10 or top-15 preseason team coming in to last season.
    They just missed it at 16.
    And how's this for getting things right? Gonzaga/Baylor were 1/2.

    https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball...d-ap-preseason
    Q "Why do you like Duke, you didn't even go there." A "Because my art school didn't have a basketball team."

  8. #8
    I think Duke in the Top 10 is reasonable at this point in time. We're going to have a dominant front court with elite rim and paint protection. Yes our backcourt and perimeter defense are question marks but we have a proven, elite rim protector who has shown to change our defensive ability simply by being on the court. I also think that Banchero and Griffin have the potential to be really good defenders. I know everyone is enamored with perimeter play and 3 point shooting, rightfully so since it leads to a lot of success, but there's more than one way to build an elite college basketball team. In my opinion we're going to see big improvements from Roach and Moore with their experience and a full offseason and preseason. Our next question mark is depth with Keels, Baker, and Coleman as the backups. "Eight is Enough" when you have guys like Singler, Scheyer, and Smith, not sure that Roach, Moore, and Griffin can hold up playing 35+ mpg each.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    #3? That's absurd, regardless of incoming class. The returning players didn't make the tournament, if even we have hopes for them. Hell, we still don't know if hurt is coming back. or moore or williams or roach. Given that Steward YOLOed out, anything is possible (if unlikely).
    You said they "all" seem quite optimistic. Had you said just the one that had us at #3 was quite optimistic, I'd not have disagreed. That is asking for a lot to go right.

    And they are "way too early" rankings. So you can't use the "we don't know about Williams/Roach/Moore" argument. They explicitly state they are assuming those 3 are back and Hurt is gone. If more guys transfer/leave, then the calculus changes. Of course, if more guys transfer/leave, then we likely add some transfers. So, again, your last two sentences are irrelevant.

    And again, they were a top-40 team in caliber this year that lost two more close games than they should have. With those two wins, we're comfortably in the field as an 8 or 9 seed with a 15-9 mark. So it's not that big a jump to top-10/15 from one year to the next.

    Quote Originally Posted by uh_no View Post
    The error bars are huge, but I would bet someone a pie right now that we don't finish the regular season at or above #3.
    USC was the #55 team in KenPom last year. This year? They were #6.

    Illinois was #30 in KP last year. This year? #4. Alabama was #60 last year, and #9 this year. Colorado jumped from #35 to #8. UCLA was #78 last year and #13 this year. You are vastly overestimating the importance of prior season's result in a subsequent season's outcomes. Especially when the prior year was as weird as this year was.

    I'm by no means saying we'll definitely finish top-3. But I think the general average of around 8-10 feels about right for a starting point. It could end up worse, and it could end up better. And I most certainly don't think that top-3 is out of the question. If Banchero and Griffin are as good as advertised, I think that's very much in the realm of possibility.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CameronBornAndBred View Post
    They just missed it at 16.
    And how's this for getting things right? Gonzaga/Baylor were 1/2.

    https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball...d-ap-preseason
    First, that isn't a "way too early". That's the opening of the season. The "way too early" were back in March/April 2020.

    That said, #16 was their top end (ESPN). Others had them outside the top-20 (SI for example, had them at 21). Nobody had them top-15, and most certainly not top-10.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    Illinois was #30 in KP last year. This year? #4. Alabama was #60 last year, and #9 this year. Colorado jumped from #35 to #8. UCLA was #78 last year and #13 this year. You are vastly overestimating the importance of prior season's result in a subsequent season's outcomes. Especially when the prior year was as weird as this year was.

    I'm by no means saying we'll definitely finish top-3. But I think the general average of around 8-10 feels about right for a starting point. It could end up worse, and it could end up better. And I most certainly don't think that top-3 is out of the question. If Banchero and Griffin are as good as advertised, I think that's very much in the realm of possibility.
    I could see anywhere between 5-15 as a starting point. To me, the key questions are a) how good are Banchero and Griffin, b) how much will Moore, Roach, and Williams improve, and c) how goes Duke fix their backcourt depth? I could see a reasonable optimist argue Jabari/BI good, "sophomore leap" for all of them (include Moore, who didn't have a sophomore leap), and at least one potential backcourt starter in the sea of transfers. I could also see the reasonable pessimist say good but not transformational freshman, some improvement but not impactful, and Duke doesn't have a strong history picking up high impact transfers and the HS cupboard is kinda bare.

    Personally, I think Duke is a top 5 team on paper but the pieces are still weird. And I have no idea if Banchero is going to be Jabari/Bagley good or a few levels below that (which would still be really good but not elite). And I don't trust Duke in the transfer market.
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    I don't think they are "prestige" numbers. They are based on the fact that we have a monster recruiting class coming in and return 3 starters from a top-40 team.
    LOL. If Duke was a top 40 team this year, then Gonzaga is the best team in the country by the same argument. I'm sure they'll be happy to hear it.

    Yes, Duke was ranked 36 in kenpom above Georgia Tech, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Florida, Michigan State, and several other teams that exactly zero non-Duke fans would agree were worse than Duke this year.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingdutchdevil View Post
    I could see anywhere between 5-15 as a starting point. To me, the key questions are a) how good are Banchero and Griffin, b) how much will Moore, Roach, and Williams improve, and c) how goes Duke fix their backcourt depth? I could see a reasonable optimist argue Jabari/BI good, "sophomore leap" for all of them (include Moore, who didn't have a sophomore leap), and at least one potential backcourt starter in the sea of transfers. I could also see the reasonable pessimist say good but not transformational freshman, some improvement but not impactful, and Duke doesn't have a strong history picking up high impact transfers and the HS cupboard is kinda bare.

    Personally, I think Duke is a top 5 team on paper but the pieces are still weird. And I have no idea if Banchero is going to be Jabari/Bagley good or a few levels below that (which would still be really good but not elite). And I don't trust Duke in the transfer market.
    I agree. I'd have no issues with anything from 5 to 15 at this point. And they could certainly wind up being only a fringe top-25 team if things go more wrong than right.

    I think our top-5 recruiting history suggests that Banchero should be a stud. Only the injury-decimated Giles, fringe top-5 guy Duval, and Reddish were not absolute studs. Generally, if you've been a top-5 guy in the one-and-done era, you've been a stud at Duke: Irving, Rivers, Parker, Okafor, Ingram, Tatum, Bagley, Barrett, Williamson, Carey). Our success in the 6-10 range has been pretty good over that span (Carter, Jones) but the sample size is smaller. So I'd say that the likelihood that Banchero is elite is VERY high, and the likelihood that Griffin is elite is pretty good but with more risk. And I'd expect Keels to have a similar impact to Kennard/Trent/Stanley/Steward did as freshmen based on his skill set and recruiting profile.

    There are certainly questions about fit, especially regarding our perimeter shooting. But it should be a very good team.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wander View Post
    LOL. If Duke was a top 40 team this year, then Gonzaga is the best team in the country by the same argument. I'm sure they'll be happy to hear it.

    Yes, Duke was ranked 36 in kenpom above Georgia Tech, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Florida, Michigan State, and several other teams that exactly zero non-Duke fans would agree were worse than Duke this year.
    We were two or three buckets over the course of the season from a 15-9 record and a comfortable tourney appearance. Like I said, I think folks are way overweighting a few bad bounces this year.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    I agree. I'd have no issues with anything from 5 to 15 at this point. And they could certainly wind up being only a fringe top-25 team if things go more wrong than right.

    I think our top-5 recruiting history suggests that Banchero should be a stud. Only the injury-decimated Giles, fringe top-5 guy Duval, and Reddish were not absolute studs. Generally, if you've been a top-5 guy in the one-and-done era, you've been a stud at Duke: Irving, Rivers, Parker, Okafor, Ingram, Tatum, Bagley, Barrett, Williamson, Carey). Our success in the 6-10 range has been pretty good over that span (Carter, Jones) but the sample size is smaller. So I'd say that the likelihood that Banchero is elite is VERY high, and the likelihood that Griffin is elite is pretty good but with more risk. And I'd expect Keels to have a similar impact to Kennard/Trent/Stanley/Steward did as freshmen based on his skill set and recruiting profile.

    There are certainly questions about fit, especially regarding our perimeter shooting. But it should be a very good team.
    While rankings are certainly important, one thing to point out is the optimism surrounding Jalen Johnson pre-season. Johnson was an RCSI top 10 before his disastrous HS senior season. And as the "gem" of the class, I don't think anyone would have thought he'd not be a stud. He could do everything except shoot 3s!

    But I think Johnson has helped to taper elite freshman expectations. Giles, Duval, and Reddish were forgotten as "under performers" because we had Tatum, Bagley, and Zion/RJ in those same respective classes.

    I, for one, do not expect Banchero to be a stud. I hope he will be, but I'm not ready to pencil him down as one. The Johnson experiment is just too fresh in my mind...
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    We were two or three buckets over the course of the season from a 15-9 record and a comfortable tourney appearance. Like I said, I think folks are way overweighting a few bad bounces this year.
    This is where I disagree. We were preseason #9 with a very good recruiting class. A lot of things didn't "bounce" our way last year, including the ball (the Johnson experiment, Moore's awful start and lack of a sophomore leap, cancellation of non-conference games, Coach K quarantining for a bit, very poor team defense, etc etc etc).

    My issue with the 20-21 season isn't that we weren't good; it's that we were downright bad compared to expectations.
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingdutchdevil View Post
    While rankings are certainly important, one thing to point out is the optimism surrounding Jalen Johnson pre-season. Johnson was an RCSI top 10 before his disastrous HS senior season. And as the "gem" of the class, I don't think anyone would have thought he'd not be a stud. He could do everything except shoot 3s!

    But I think Johnson has helped to taper elite freshman expectations. Giles, Duval, and Reddish were forgotten as "under performers" because we had Tatum, Bagley, and Zion/RJ in those same respective classes.

    I, for one, do not expect Banchero to be a stud. I hope he will be, but I'm not ready to pencil him down as one. The Johnson experiment is just too fresh in my mind...
    I tend to think Johnson is a bit of an outlier overall. For one thing, he was always fringe top-5. I think it's a bit disingenuous to lump him into the top-5 when some of what caused him to fall was arguably what went wrong for him this past year (he transferred away, costing himself playing time). I'm not sure why I'd let the sour taste of his recruitment influence your view of how good Banchero will be. Because even if you include Johnson with the top-5s, the odds are still vastly in favor of Banchero being really really good. I get that you are historically in the "hedge your emotional bets" camp, but I don't see any reason to believe that Banchero won't follow in the mold of Carey and Bagley (among others) before him.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingdutchdevil View Post
    This is where I disagree. We were preseason #9 with a very good recruiting class. A lot of things didn't "bounce" our way last year, including the ball (the Johnson experiment, Moore's awful start and lack of a sophomore leap, cancellation of non-conference games, Coach K quarantining for a bit, very poor team defense, etc etc etc).

    My issue with the 20-21 season isn't that we weren't good; it's that we were downright bad compared to expectations.
    I'm not sure where you think we disagree. I said nothing about our performance relative to the preseason. We clearly disappointed relative to expectations.

    I was making the point that the difference between us being a comfortable tourney team and not was a couple of bounces of the basketball. And if those couple of bounces had gone in our favor, I doubt people would be second-guessing the top-15 predictions for next year's team. Yes, a 7-9 seed would have still been a big disappointment given where we were projected going in. But the "we weren't even good enough to be a tourney team" argument is pretty flimsy. Both in terms of the fact that it obscures our actual quality AND the fact that being a tourney team one year isn't in any way a prerequisite for being a top-10 team the next.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDu View Post
    I tend to think Johnson is a bit of an outlier overall. For one thing, he was always fringe top-5. I think it's a bit disingenuous to lump him into the top-5 when some of what caused him to fall was arguably what went wrong for him this past year (he transferred away, costing himself playing time). I'm not sure why I'd let the sour taste of his recruitment influence your view of how good Banchero will be. Because even if you include Johnson with the top-5s, the odds are still vastly in favor of Banchero being really really good. I get that you are historically in the "hedge your emotional bets" camp, but I don't see any reason to believe that Banchero won't follow in the mold of Carey and Bagley (among others) before him.
    Hedging my emotional bet is exactly what it is. I think Banchero will be good, but good enough to bring Duke to a top 5 team as a lot of other top 5 players have? I'm not ready to go there. (and yes, I understand a lot more factors went into the top 5 ranking than just a single top 5 player).
    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. - Winston Churchill

    President of the "Nolan Smith Should Have His Jersey in The Rafters" Club

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by flyingdutchdevil View Post
    This is where I disagree. We were preseason #9 with a very good recruiting class. A lot of things didn't "bounce" our way last year, including the ball (the Johnson experiment, Moore's awful start and lack of a sophomore leap, cancellation of non-conference games, Coach K quarantining for a bit, very poor team defense, etc etc etc).

    My issue with the 20-21 season isn't that we weren't good; it's that we were downright bad compared to expectations.
    We were downright bad in the early part of the season when we didn't even look like a real basketball team. Once ACC play got going in earnest we started to look a lot better and were in every game but made big mistakes in the clutch which can be improved with experience.

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