Commentary

Orange lead Top 68 Rankings

Introducing a new, multifaceted approach to ranking college teams

Originally Published: December 18, 2011
By Jay Bilas | ESPN Insider
Brandon TricheNick Laham/Getty ImagesJay Bilas has a glowing opinion of the Orange, the No. 1 team in his Top 68 rankings.

Forget the polls. It's easy to comb through them and spot teams whose public perception simply doesn't match the reality of their talent level. One loss doesn't make a good team bad, and one upset doesn't make a bad team good. There are far better ways of evaluating teams than just basing it on their recent record. So I'm constructing my rankings a little differently.

For starters, I'm including a metric perspective. To inform these rankings, I'm using data from Ken Pomeroy, Jeff Sagarin and Synergy Sports Technology. All are great ways to evaluate teams through a statistical lens, so I'm embracing that data and marrying it to what my eyes are telling me when I'm watching these teams in action night after night. By blending the perspectives, I believe you get a better representation of where teams really stand in relation to one another.

The idea was to have a considered judgment throughout the year that could be reliable in March without having to do a load of analysis at the end. With these rankings, we're doing that analysis on the front end.

With that in mind, the teams below are the best 68 in the country right now. It's bound to change more than a little before March, so we'll revisit it on a regular basis. But for now, dive in and see how the top teams stack up.

(Editor's note: This file was updated to correct the inadvertant omission of the Baylor Bears.)

1. Syracuse Orange

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst