Duke back to No. 1 in BPI rankings

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:

This week’s storylines

Thanks to a 53-point win against Georgia Tech (No. 144 in BPI), coupled with West Virginia’s narrow loss to Texas Tech (No. 31 in BPI), Duke retakes the top spot in BPI. Their place on the top spot is anything but secure after only beating Boston College (No. 154 in BPI) by just 11 points when BPI had them favored by 31 in Mike Krzyzewski’s first absence due to back surgery.

Despite suffering its first loss of the season to Butler (No. 18 in BPI), Villanova remains at No. 3 in BPI. Even with a loss in conference play, BPI projections still give Villanova a 92 percent chance of winning at least a share of the Big East regular season title, the highest percentage of any major conference team.

The biggest riser over the past week in the top 30 was North Carolina after beating Clemson (No. 27 in BPI) and demolishing NC State (No. 36 in BPI). The Tar Heels remain No. 4 in BPI despite improving their rating by 1.6 points, narrowing the gap between them and the top three teams. North Carolina is now projected to be just 1.3 points worse than Duke on a neutral court.

BPI No. 22 Gonzaga and BPI No. 14 Baylor are the only two undefeated teams remaining in Division I. Despite both starting 15-0, BPI gives Gonzaga only a 4.6 percent chance to win the rest of their regular season games. Baylor, facing the 13th hardest schedule remaining has only a 0.1 percent chance of finishing the regular season undefeated according to BPI. The Bears head to West Virginia on Tuesday night (7 ET, ESPN2), with BPI giving them just a 12 percent chance to win.

The top game of this week according to ESPN’s pregame matchup quality metric, features BPI No. 9 Louisville and BPI No. 1 Duke in Louisville Saturday (12 PM ET, ESPN). According to matchup quality, this is the second best remaining scheduled game this year. With the Cardinals having the No. 1 adjusted defensive efficiency in the nation, expect Louisville to challenge Duke’s potent offense which ranks No. 8 in adjusted offensive efficiency.

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