Net Rankings Debut: San Diego State Aztecs at No. 3
Initial rankings have Mountain West teams distributed as expected
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With the Net Rankings debut the Aztecs look to be the clear Mountain West front runner.
The Holidays came just a week early for some as the media, fans and coaching staffs across the country were given their first look at this season’s NET Rankings this morning. And after a much critiqued initial debut last year, adjustments were made to the ranking system in it’s second year of existence to assure accuracy and draw less scrutiny. And amongst the blue bloods, high majors and Gonzaga’s of the world stood a familiar face at number three.
The Aztecs were the highest ranked Mountain West team in our first glimpse of the season, debuting at number three in the nation just behind Ohio State and Kansas. San Diego State is also the highest-ranked undefeated team in the nation, followed by No. 7 Auburn, No. 19 Liberty and No. 20 Duquesne.
The NET is the new NCAA metric and it gives the selection committee an idea of team’s performances based on the combination of four ratings. It takes it’s own metrics and those of KenPom, BPI, the Sagarin ratings and team’s strength of schedule to give us a full 353 team ranking.
Now for one, these aren’t set in stone and there is still plenty of basketball to be played before these rankings turn into tickets punched, but it’s a start. And though they have been adjusted and initial critiques are taken into consideration, they are still a tad flawed.
Number six ranked Kentucky is currently listed at 58th, but a more explainable ranking could be found with North Carolina at 95th at 6-4 on the season with some questionable losses. But there can be some truth to the rankings, as National Champion runner up Texas Tech debuted at No. 3 last season. Right behind eventual champion Virginia at No. two.
The rest of the Mountain West faired a bit how you may suspect at this point of the season. Utah State is in the top-50 at 47th and New Mexico is just outside of it with losses to Auburn and UTEP at 57th. Nevada and Boise State are the only other Mountain West teams in the top-100, while Colorado State is the last team to be ranked inside of the top-200.
Mountain West NET Rankings:
3. San Diego State 10-0
47. Utah State 10-2
57. New Mexico 10-2
94. Nevada 7-4
100. Boise State 6-4
140. Colorado State 7-6
219. Fresno State 3-7
224. Air Force 5-6
232. UNLV 4-7
268. San Jose State 3-8
289. Wyoming 3-8
As the conference has hopes of becoming a multi-bid league in the near future this wasn’t a bad start. The conference as a whole is better when San Diego State and New Mexico are at their best, and Utah State’s reemergence after taking some time off from their 2000s dominance in the WAC doesn’t hurt.
While others like Nevada and Boise State will figure it out with a first year head coach settling in and sit-out reinforcements coming next year. And other traditional powers like UNLV may be back to normal sooner than you may think. But this first ranking has certainly given us something to keep our eyes on and come tournament time something to refer back to.