Fans like to crow about opposing squads being perpetually overrated whilst their own is annually undervalued. I like to look at numbers1.
In the first table I took the average projected Big 12 finish (these are based on coaches picks) and compared it to average actual final Big 12 finish and then created an overrated/underrated indicator (projected – actual).
If your team has a negative number that means they’re overrated and a positive number means underrated. Zero means they’ve been correctly rated. This averages out all 16 Big 12 seasons and ties are not accounted for, I just went straight up off how the Big 12 site had them listed.
Also, I left A&M and Mizzou in just for fun.
Obviously there’s a bias at the top and bottom — Kansas isn’t overrated on a yearly basis but since they’ve been picked to finish 1st 12 times (including this year) they’re inevitably going to draw a negative number because if they finish 2nd that means they’re “overrated.” The opposite is true of Baylor.
The most intriguing one to me is Mizzou. They’ve had 11 years (and we’ll get to this more in a minute) where they placed below expectations. OSU also has one of the higher overrated marks — but it’s not to the extent that it should worry anyone.
Also interesting is how this mark differs under the three coaches OSU has had.
Sean: -2.5 (!)
So the average projected rank and the average actual finish tell a broad story, but I want to look more specifically at every season.
This next chart shows the number of times a team met or exceeded their preseason expectations vs. the number of times they didn’t meet or exceed them (all charts are sortable by column btw — just click on the top cell of a row).
The “amazing” column represents a season in which a team exceeded preseason expectations by five or more spots (obviously something Kansas has never had the ability to do).
The “disaster” column represents a season in which a team fell five or more spots below preseason expectations (something Baylor has rarely had the opportunity to accomplish).
Oklahoma State has never had an “amazing” or “disaster” year. This is mostly because they’ve had steady squads and have been picked to finish in the top 5 eight times (rendering the ability to have an “amazing” year not possible).
They have, however, not exceeded expectations 10 times, second most to Mizzou since the inception of the Big 12. Here are the years they failed to meet preseason expectations
1996-97 – picked 4th, finished 8th, missed tourney
1998-99 – picked 1st (only time), finished 5th, lost to Auburn in the 2nd round
1999-00 – picked 3rd, finished 4th3, lost to Florida in the regional final4
2001-02 – picked 3rd, finished 4th, lost to Kent State in the 1st round
2004-05 – picked 2nd, finished 3rd, lost to Arizona in regional semis5
2005-06 – picked 4th, finished 7th, missed tourney
2006-07 – picked 3rd, finished 7th, missed tourney
2007-08 – picked 7th, finished 8th, missed tourney
2009-10 – picked 6th, finished 7th, lost to Pitt in 2nd round
2010-11 – picked 8th, finished 9th, missed tourney
For the rest of the Big 12, here are the “amazing” years:
Iowa State (1999-00)
Texas Tech (2001-02)
Iowa State (2011-12)
That 96-97 Colorado team was picked to finished 11th in the Big 12. They ended up finishing 2nd as Chauncey flirted with a 20-5-5 line for most of the year. Baylor made a similar jump in 09-10, mostly because LaceDarius and Tweety might have literally been unconscious for five straight months (averaged 34 combined) and Ekpe Udoh submitted a lottery pick season.
And the “disaster” years:
Iowa State (1997-98)
Iowa State (2001-02)
Texas A&M (2011-12)
The biggest fall was that 09-10 OU team (picked 3rd, finished 11th) that probably provided Jeff Capel with his eventual undoing. They were coming off a 30-6 season but Willie Warren got injured, Tommy Mason-Griffin took every shot he saw, and Tiny Gallon couldn’t shoulder the load. They finished 13-18 and lost their last nine games.
All in all a pretty interesting snapshot of the Big 12 although I do confess it doesn’t tell the entire story (see absence of Kansas mentions).
- The “stats are for losers” shirts are being printed. ↩
- The defense for Eddie and Sean here is that Ford’s team has never been picked to finish higher than 6th, Eddie’s team was only picked to finish lower than 6th one time. ↩
- Pretty stunning that this team finished 4th in the Big 12, really. ↩
- F Mike Miller. ↩
- F Salim Stoudemire. ↩