For college basketball nerds like myself, the release of Ken Pomeroy's preseason ratings is a pretty big deal.
As opposed to preseason polls conducted by coaches and the media that are liable to groupthink and other kinds of factors -- shockingly, we're not perfect -- Pomeroy utilizes a formula that determines which teams should be expected to do well this season, largely based on offensive and defensive efficiency numbers from the past two seasons. I was only a journalism major, so I won't attempt to explain it, but you can read more about it from the man himself. That article is from last season and the formula's been tweaked a bit, but it's largely the same.
Anyhow, the ratings were released today and they have Robert Morris as the top team in the NEC, a few spots ahead of Wagner, the conference's preseason favorite. The Colonials check in at No. 167 out of 351 Division I teams. At the end of last season, they finished at No. 144.
For the sake of comparison, here are how the other NEC teams were ranked:
179. Central Connecticut State
195. Mount St. Mary's
246. St. Francis (NY)
251. LIU Brooklyn
268. Sacred Heart
311. Saint Francis (Pa.)
347. Fairleigh Dickinson
An interesting sidenote: Quinnipiac, a former NEC member which will be competing in its first season in the MAAC, was No. 125.
Here are Robert Morris' 2013 non-conference opponents and their respective rankings (in the order RMU plays them):
282. Savannah State
241. Eastern Michigan
168. Cleveland State
188. Youngstown State
4. Oklahoma State
Pomeroy's ratings are some of the more accurate ones you'll see in college basketball and they're definitely worth keeping an eye on throughout the season. On the other hand, Kentucky began last season as the preseason No. 1 in the ratings and, well, I think Robert Morris fans know how that turned out.
For anyone that's curious, you can view the full list of ratings here (no subscription needed).