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Monday, October 5, 2009

Sagarin Ranks Wisconsin 28th All-Time

If it's in an encyclopedia, it's gotta be true, right?

USA Today's Jeff Sagarin lent his rating expertise to the editors of ESPN's new College Basketball Encyclopedia to determine the greatest college basketball programs of all-time. In fact, he ranks 330 qualifying schools and places Wisconsin 28th on the list.

The ratings cover the last 72 years of college hoops. The Badgers ranked 13th in the 1940s and 11th in the most recent decade (2000s) according to Sagarin's system. Wisconsin did not appear as a top-40 program in any other decade.

Despite the lofty rating, Wisconsin was only 9th all-time among Big Ten teams. The conference dominated this list overall, placing five teams in the top ten and eight in the top 15 (#5 Indiana, #6 Illinois, #8 Purdue, #9 Ohio State, #10 Iowa, #13 Michigan, #14 Minnesota, #15 Michigan State). The ranking criteria doesn't seem to give as much weight to high-end success as evidenced by MSU's spot behind the Hawkeyes and Gophers.

ESPN's Pat Forde attacked the merits of these rankings immediately, but mostly singled out the "midwestern bias" for his barbs. Basically he argues that success in more recent years should be given more weight. The Badgers get dinged by name when Forde points out how #32 Arkansas got the shaft from Sagarin. Point taken.

Really ESPN and Sagarin just prove yet again that there is no ranking system that everyone can agree upon. But for those interested in intrastate bragging rights, Marquette ranked slightly higher overall than Wisconsin, at 24th all-time. The Warriors/Golden Eagles ranked 3rd in the 1970s and 32nd this decade.

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