South Carolina and Akron Played Twice, Caused a KenPom Shake Up

The holiday week meant that there weren’t a ton of games played, but it didn’t stop teams from moving up and down Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. In particular, one team that I saw yesterday kept falling down the rankings.

Biggest KenPom Weekly Improvements:

  1. South Carolina: -68 spots (now 108)
  2. Fairfield: -33 spots (227)
  3. Radford: -28 spots (221)
  4. San Francisco: -28 spots (151)
  5. UCF: -26 (151)
  6. Seton Hall: -26 (114)

In potentially one of the oddest bits of scheduling this season Akron and South Carolina played twice in a row. They played in a consolation game in the Diamond Head Classic and then played 4,680 miles later at USC. The Zips lost both times, which helped Frank Martin’s team move up the rankings. South Carolina also beat St. Mary’s last Sunday.

Seton Hall thwacked two overmatched mid-majors this week in Eastern Washington (22-point win) and Lafayette (32-point win). The Leopards had only 15 points at halftime. SHU is getting healthy right before Big East conference play and that could prove to be a big difference. Kevin Willard still has an uphill road to climb though, as the Pirates aren’t given more than a 25% chance by KenPom in any of their first six league games.

Biggest KenPom Weekly Fallers:

  1. Akron: +44 spots (now 125)
  2. Louisiana-Monroe: +31 (234)
  3. Saint Mary’s: +27 (51)
  4. Boston College: +26 (148)
  5. Penn: +26 (252)

Well, you know Akron’s story. BC is going in the wrong direction fast. A 10-point loss to Auburn and then a 19-point loss to VCU at the Barclays Center aren’t helping matters. At one point in the second half the Eagles had as many turnovers as points. The game against Harvard on New Year’s Day is now a no-win situation for the Crimson, which is strange since BC is the team that is supposed to be a major conference power and play in the ACC.

The next two on this list are Bucknell and Bryant, which lost 25 and 24 spots respectively. The Bison have recently lost to two MAAC teams that aren’t expected to be league contenders in Fairfield and Marist. The defense was especially atrocious in both of those games. Considering that’s supposed to be Bucknell’s calling card it raises quite the red flag. Bryant made the list because the Bulldogs lost at Binghamton on Saturday, 67-62. The only time Tim O’Shea’s team played worse on offense this season was against Ohio St. Binghamton is not OSU. Dyami Starks had a brutal game, going 2-12 with four turnovers and just six points. Bryant hosts Lehigh on Monday in hopes of getting things on track before NEC play begins on Jan. 9.

Biggest KenPom Season Improvements:

  1. Nebraska-Omaha: -152 (155)
  2. Colgate: -149 (157)
  3. North Carolina Central: -114 (128)
  4. IPFW: -106 (175)
  5. Eastern Michigan: -103 (138)

Monmouth is sixth rising 101 spots to 233rd. Columbia is 10th, rising 89 spots to 135th. Mostly these are teams that have surprised everyone. Colgate and Columbia will play a battle of the surprises on Monday in upstate New York. It’s a quick turnaround for the Lions and certainly isn’t a guaranteed win.

Biggest KenPom Season Fallers:

  1. Bradley: +122 (256)
  2. Boston College: +111 (148)
  3. Cal St. Northridge: +103 (267)
  4. Davidson: +102 (183)
  5. Rutgers: +101 (208)

You might be surprised to not see winless Cornell on this list, but the Big Red started at 245th overall, so it’s tough for them to fall far enough to make the list. They’re now 342nd overall and the seventh biggest faller on the season. Wagner is 17th. The Seahawks are 72 spots off of KenPom’s early season prediction.

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