A Brief Note on Strength Of Schedule

A group of writers are currently going through a mock NCAA tournament selection process, and earlier today they released their mock seed list. The obvious problem here is that there is still almost a month left in the season, and, for example, Duke and North Carolina and Kansas and Missouri have only played each other once so far, with the second meeting likely dramatically impacting the seeding.

But beyond that, I noticed Missouri as a 1 seed and immediately thought about their strength of schedule. Overall (note: all SOS values are according to KenPom) it's not terrible (72), but their non conference SOS of 313 is historically bad for a team that is talked about as a one seed. How bad? Let's take a look.

Year Team Non-Con SOS SOS
Ohio State 178 18
Duke 64 27
Kansas 109 40
Pitt 223 37
Average 143.5 30.5
Duke 13 3
Kansas 83 21
Kentucky 90 50
Syracuse 139 44
Average 81.25 29.5
North Carolina 27 12
Connecticut 68 18
Louisville 50 15
Pitt 44 9
Average 47.25 13.5
Kansas 39 10
Memphis 11 64
UCLA 79 17
North Carolina 34 8
Average 40.75 24.75
North Carolina 47 6
Florida 145 45
Kansas 94 57
Ohio State 35 8
Average 80.25 29
Connecticut 164 34
Duke 35 6
Villanova 46 5
Memphis 18 86
Average 65.75 32.75
North Carolina 18 2
Illinois 58 34
Duke 96 6
Washington 24 27
Average 49 17.25
Duke 38 5
St. Joes 8 45
Kentucky 85 19
Stanford 211 98
Average 85.5 41.75
Kentucky 21 8
Arizona 8 22
Oklahoma 75 31
Texas 39 15
Average 35.75 19

Examining it a bit more closely, Missouri's non-conference SOS of 313 is the worst on this list by nearly 90 spots. Their overall SOS of 72 would currently be the second weakest on this list next to only 2004 Stanford, who went undefeated until the final regular season game. To put it into perspective, their overall SOS is even worse than the 2006 Memphis team, who played in the 16th ranked conference. With (at least) three games against top 40 teams left Missouri's overall SOS will likely rise. They certainly are a good team, ranked 8th in KenPom and having lost only two games, but the fact remains that strength of schedule wise Missouri would have the weakest profile for a #1 seed since 2003.

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