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UW Basketball Projections: KenPom

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Where do the Huskies rank in the premier college basketball projections system?

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Media Day Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Today is the magical day! Ken Pomeroy released his college basketball computer projections this morning. For those of you who aren’t aware, the kenpom rankings are the Holy Grail for college basketball analytics. They’re the most accurate set of projections you will find on the wide wide interwebs and are the most reasonable way to judge pre-season strength of schedule.

Before getting into the 2018 projections, let’s quickly recap the 2017 season (do we have to?!? Yes.) There isn’t an easy way for me to look up which teams had the greatest fall between their pre-season projections and their final ranking but UW had to have been right up there. And kenpom wasn’t the only one who pegged the Huskies as better than they ended up being. The Washington Huskies started the season at #78 in the pre-season rankings which was 10th in the conference. By the end of the year they were #163 overall and also 10th in the conference. While the national ranking more than doubled he actually got the conference rank correct it’s just that the bottom of the conference was much worse than anticipated.

Washington gets a bump up from the end of last year but he’s nowhere as high on the Huskies as he was prior to last year as UW comes in at #130 to begin the year. The projections have the offense declining from 111th nationally down to 132nd but the defense improving from 224th to 152nd. Those numbers are good for 11th in the conference ahead of only your Washington State Cougars (an abysmal #240). There is a bunch at spots 8, 9, and 10 as Colorado, ASU, and Cal are separated by only 4 spots at 97, 100, and 101 respectively. However, Pomeroy has admitted that his model suffers with regards to situations like Cal. It assumes that a transfer knows they wouldn’t get playing time and so if a good player transfers then it thinks someone even better must be replacing them. That isn’t the case with Cal where several good players transferred because of the coaching change and a chance to go to a better program. I trust the media poll here which put them below Washington.

Let’s look at how Pomeroy views Washington’s schedule. The non-conference definitely takes on a stars and scrubs look. The Huskies play a trio of teams (Kansas #5, Gonzaga #20, and Providence #25) that are in the preseason top-25. He gives the Huskies a less than 25% chance to win each of those games. However, only two other non-conference opponents are ranked better than #230 in Belmont (128) and Montana (153). That season opener against Belmont in particular is going to be a very good test since they are ranked almost identically to Washington. If the Huskies win handily then it’ll be a sign that the projections may underrate them. The opposite and the season may be doomed from the start.

The Huskies have the most favorable conference schedule possible with regards to winning the most games (as opposed to having chances for premier wins for the selection committee). The three highest ranked teams in the conference are Arizona (3), USC (12), and UCLA (29) and the Dawgs play each program only once. If this Huskies team ends up closer to 80th overall than 130th then they have a very legitimate shot to go .500 in conference. As it stands though, Pomeroy has the Huskies finishing 14-16 overall and 6-12 in conference. Would that be good enough for year 1 under Coach Hop?

Washington Huskies Non-Conference Schedule

Day of Week Date Opponent Home/Road Time Television KenPom Rank
Day of Week Date Opponent Home/Road Time Television KenPom Rank
Friday 11/10 Belmont Home 7:00 PM Pac-12 Networks WA 128
Sunday 11/12 Eastern Washington Home 5:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 233
Thursday 11/16 Providence Neutral 6:30 PM ESPN2 25
Friday 11/17 Virginia Tech/St. Louis Neutral 2/4:00 PM ESPN2 53/168
Friday 11/24 Seattle U Home 12:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 278
Sunday 11/26 UC Davis Home 5:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 256
Tuesday 11/28 Kennesaw State Home 6:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 304
Sunday 12/3 Nebraska-Omaha Home 4:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 245
Wednesday 12/6 Kansas "Neutral" 6:00 PM ESPN2 5
Sunday 12/10 Gonzaga Home 5:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 20
Sunday 12/17 Loyola Marymount Home 3:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 254
Friday 12/22 Montana Home 8:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 153

Washington Huskies Conference Schedule

Day of Week Date Opponent Home/Road Time Television Kenpom Rank
Day of Week Date Opponent Home/Road Time Television Kenpom Rank
Friday 12/29 USC Road 7:30 PM Pac-12 Networks 12
Sunday 12/31 UCLA Road 5:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 29
Saturday 1/6 Washington State Road 1:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 241
Thursday 1/11 California Home 8:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 101
Saturday 1/13 Stanford Home 5:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 61
Thursday 1/18 Utah Road 7:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 58
Saturday 1/20 Colorado Road 3:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 97
Sunday 1/28 Washington State Home 5:00 PM ESPNU 241
Thursday 2/1 Arizona State Home 8:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 100
Saturday 2/3 Arizona Home 7:30 PM Pac-12 Networks 3
Thursday 2/8 Oregon Road 7:00 PM FS1 35
Saturday 2/10 Oregon State Road 7:00 PM ESPNU 70
Thursday 2/15 Utah Home 6:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 58
Saturday 2/17 Colorado Home 5:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 97
Thursday 2/22 Stanford Road 6:00 PM Pac-12 Networks 61
Saturday 2/24 California Road 1:30 PM Pac-12 Networks 101
Thursday 3/1 Oregon State Home 8:00 PM ESPN2 70
Saturday 3/3 Oregon Home 4:00 PM Pac-12 Networks WA 35

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