Continuing with the power rankings, here's a look at the Atlantic 10. The A10 underwent a significant shake up this season with the addition of Virginia Commonwealth and Butler. The important question is whether the new guys are going to influence the middle of the conference or the top.
We start with the offense. If you are unclear why we use points per possession, then read the first three paragraphs of the ACC Power Rankings.
These numbers are adjusted for the strength of opponents.
No A10 team has a truly elite offense, but VCU's is the closest at No. 18 nationally. Butler (No. 29) is the other offense ranked among the nation's top 40. At the bottom end (the dashed line is the national average) five teams rank below average, 'highlighted' by GWs awful offense which is currently No. 226 in the nation.
What about defense? Sure, it's one thing to get buckets, but if you can't make stops then it makes it awfully hard to win.
Again, VCU ranks atop the A10, and is No. 12 nationally. St. Louis is right behind them at No. 18, but then you have to go all the way to No. 48 (Charlotte) and No. 50 (George Washington) to find another team. Fordham's defense is currently ranked No. 288, sandwiched between Central Connecticut and Rice.
How does this become a power ranking? It’s simple – we just look to efficiency margins. Offense minus defense. If you are a good team you score more than your opponent, right? How much more is the question. Here's the chart:
I prefer this method because it provides a visual for the separation between teams. It's easy to see why VCU is currently projected to be at least a 3-point favorite in every remaining game. It's a long drop to St. Louis and Butler, and then there's a grouping of teams hoping to compete. On the other end, Rhode Island, Duquesne and Fordham could be in for some tough seasons.
Next up, the Big Ten.