By The Numbers

KenPom ranks Green Bay as Horizon League’s best program

It’s common knowledge that Green Bay’s women’s basketball program is the class of the Horizon League and one of the best mid-major programs in all of college basketball.

But a well-known college basketball resource recently listed Green Bay’s men’s basketball program as the best program in the Horizon League and one of the top 150 programs in the country.

Ken Pomeroy recently released program ratings which rank each men’s college basketball program from 1 to 353 based on success from present day through the KenPom era, which began in 1997.

Duke is the top ranked program in the country followed by Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, and Arizona.

kress court

Photo via Green Bay Phoenix Athletics

“It’s a tradition during coaching change season for fan bases and media alike [to] talk about the status of their program that has a fresh coaching vacancy,” Pomeroy wrote. “The program rankings are designed to provide an objective input into this discussion.”

Green Bay, ranked at #145 out of 353, is at the top of the Horizon League rankings followed by Detroit Mercy (146), Wright State (150), Oakland (154), and Milwaukee (159).

Cleveland State (177), UIC (181), Northern Kentucky (190), and IUPUI (198) round out the top 200 while Youngstown State unsurprisingly ranks as the worst program in the conference at #251.

Horizon League newcomer Purdue Fort Wayne also ranks outside the top 200 checking in at 221.

According to Pomeroy his program rankings methodology is more than just a straight average of past KenPom rankings since 1997. Instead, more weight is given to recent seasons. There is also slight consideration for current conference affiliation baked into the program rankings.

“A straight average is fine, but when a human, especially a coach or player, is subjectively comparing two programs, they are surely allowing for recent history,” he wrote.

Green Bay’s number is a bit of a surprise considering the program has made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in that span and has never finished inside the top 50.  However, the program’s ranking would likely be even higher if the data included 1994, 1995, and 1996, three years in which the program won conference championships and received an NCAA Tournament at-large bid in 1996.

It seems to be a testament to Green Bay’s consistency as a program over that span with only three seasons finishing above 200+ in the final KenPom rankings since 1997: 207 in 2002, 201 in 2003, and 263 in 2018. The Phoenix were a top 100 KenPom team four times over that span: 1999 (96), 2009 (79), 2014 (71), and 2015 (71).

The program ratings are meant to be a guide only and serve as something to talk about over a long off-season.  However, Green Bay’s top ranking in the conference provides proof of the program’s consistency over time and it’s potential to be one of the better mid-major programs in the country.

“Theoretically, the rating should be an indicator of the success we should expect each program to have over some sort of extended period in the future (like many years),” Pomeroy wrote. “But it may be more useful as trying to capture the perception of a program.”

“Consider it a guide to how coaches and players might consider the current hierarchy of college basketball when entertaining job or scholarship offers.”





Categories: By The Numbers

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