Villanova is No. 1 in latest BPI rankings

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Below are ESPN’s College BPI rankings as of Monday. For an explanation of BPI and how it works, please read this article.

In summary, college BPI is a forward-looking power rating designed to measure team strength and project performance going forward. In the simplest terms, BPI answers the question, “If two teams met on a neutral court, which one would win, and by how many points?”

Each team's rating represents its projected point differential against an average Division I team on a neutral court. Subtracting any two teams’ ratings equates to a predicted point margin between those teams (all else equal). BPI looks beyond a team’s win-loss record to determine the strongest teams based on how they won their games, whom those wins came against and where they came.

On to the rankings ...

Villanova takes over the top spot in BPI thanks to former BPI No. 1 West Virginia losing twice last week and strong wins at home against Seton Hall (No. 53 in BPI) and Providence (No. 63 in BPI). BPI projections have had Villanova with no less than a 90 percent chance of winning at least a share of the Big East title all season and they currently sit at their season high with a 98 percent chance.

Duke has fallen to No. 4 in BPI, its lowest ranking this season, but things are looking up again for the Blue Devils’ adversity filled season after a strong second half against Miami (No. 28 in BPI). North Carolina is right behind Duke at No. 5 in BPI, and BPI currently projects the two teams to be separated on average by only 0.01 points per 70 possessions on a neutral court with all else being equal. The two teams meet for the first time this season on February 9th.

Despite being No.1 and No. 3 in ESPN’s Strength of Record (SOR) metric, Baylor (No. 13 in BPI) and Gonzaga (No. 14 in BPI) have failed to impress in their victories to crack the top 10 of BPI. Gonzaga, the sole remaining unbeaten team in Division I, has an 18 percent chance of getting to West Coast Conference Tournament with an unblemished record.

The top game of the week according to ESPN’s matchup quality metric is Virginia (No. 7 in BPI) at Notre Dame (No. 17 in BPI) on Tuesday (8:00 PM ET on ACC Network). The race for the ACC regular season championship has six teams with at least an eight percent chance of winning. Notre Dame is the second most likely team (after North Carolina) to win at least a share of the ACC title with a 31 percent chance according to BPI. Virginia has also impressed this season, posting the best adjusted net efficiency in the nation according to ESPN’s College Basketball Metrics.

For more College Basketball metrics, including current BPI and SOR visit www.espn.com/bpi and for more analytics content visit www.espn.com/analytics.