The 2013-14 NEC Consensus Men’s Basketball Poll

As we start to wind down the preseason festivities and start getting to the actual games being played, there is still one more preseason poll left to tabulate and analyze and that is the 2013-14 NEC Consensus Men’s Basketball Poll. This is a poll I came up with last season taking into account all the NEC preseason polls and predictions made by college previews magazines, major college basketball sites, bloggers who follow the NEC year-round, the NEC coaches and new added this season, Ken Pomeroy’s NEC rankings which gives his preseason prediction on how the NEC will fare.

This season, I used 15 different sources for my consensus poll. They are:

1. Sporting News College Basketball Preview Magazine
2. Lindy’s College Basketball Preview Magazine
3. Athlon’s College Basketball Preview Magazine
4. USA Today College Basketball Preview Magazine
5. NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk NEC Preview
6. ESPN.com Insider’s NEC Preview written by Big Apple Bucket’s John Templon
7. www.midmajormadness.com on SB Nation
8. Daly Dose of Hoops
9. Big Apple Buckets NEC blogger Ryan Peters
10. robertmorris.rivals.com’s (Colonials Corner) Lee Kunkel
11. robertmorris.rivals.com’s (Colonials Corner) Chris Cappella
12. recruitrecon.com
13. The NEC Men’s Preseason Coaches Poll
14. kenpom.com
15. Yours truly, Blackbirds Hoops Journal’s NEC Preview

I decided to go about getting the consensus a couple of different ways this season. One way I went about it was by just taking every source’s NEC prediction and then averaging out the total for each team. So for example, if Wagner was picked second by someone that would be mean get a two, if St. Francis Brooklyn was picked sixth they would get a six and so on and so forth. By this method of just averaging out the predictions, the NEC consensus poll turned out like this (total first-place votes are in parenthesis):

1. Wagner (8) – Avg. Rank: 2.6
2. Robert Morris (2) – Avg. Rank: 2.73
3. Mount St. Mary’s (1) – Avg. Rank: 3.2
4. Bryant – Avg. Rank: 3.8
5. LIU Brooklyn (3) – Avg. Rank: 4.06
6. Central Connecticut State – Avg. Rank: 4.93
7. St. Francis Brooklyn – Avg. Rank: 6.86
8. Sacred Heart – Avg. Rank: 8.06
9. St. Francis University – Avg. Rank: 8.66
10. Fairleigh Dickinson – Avg. Rank: 10

As you see, by this method, Wagner was the consensus pick to win the NEC. They received the most total first-place votes with eight and if you averaged all 15 predictions, their average rank would be a 2.6. A close second was Robert Morris. LIU Brooklyn received the second-most first-place votes but also had the several lower rank votes that brought their overall ranking down. They were picked at high as first in some predictions but as low as 7 in others.

To get rid of the effect of such high-low disparities hurting any one team, with the suggestion through Twitter from John Templon of Big Apple Buckets, I decided to make another consensus poll with the idea of removing one highest and one lowest prediction from each team. This way, it should give a more accurate assessment of how the consensus felt about each team. Under this method, this is what the consensus looked like:

1. Wagner (7) – Avg. Rank: 2.3
2. Robert Morris (1) – Avg. Rank: 2.61
3. Mount St. Mary’s  – Avg. Rank: 3.15
4. Bryant – Avg. Rank: 3.76
5. LIU Brooklyn (2) – Avg. Rank: 4.07
6. Central Connecticut State – Avg. Rank: 5.07
7. St. Francis Brooklyn – Avg. Rank: 6.92
8. Sacred Heart – Avg. Rank: 8.07
9. St. Francis University – Avg. Rank: 8.69
10. Fairleigh Dickinson – Avg. Rank: 10

The result was there wasn’t any change to the consensus rankings. Wagner was still on top and their average rank slightly improved by 0.3. In fact, this method only slightly improved the average rankings of just four teams. The other six teams average rankings actually went down percentage points this way. So in actuality, this method didn’t really help or hurt any team and the jumps and falls in their average ranking was minuscule.

Here are some fun facts uncovered in the NEC Consensus Poll:

– Wagner easily got the most first-place votes but they were also the only team in the consensus top six which received an eighth-place vote (given to them by Lindy’s) which was the lowest rank among the top six. The second-lowest rank they received was one 5th-place vote from the Sporting News.

– FDU was unanimously picked to finish last in the NEC.

– Although LIU Brooklyn received the second-most first-place votes, they also received 5 fourth-place votes, 3 sixth-place votes and a seventh-place votes which brought down their average ranking. They also didn’t receive any second-place votes.

– Bryant didn’t receive a single first-place vote but yet 7 of the 15 sources picked them to finish either second or third.

– Lindy’s Magazine was the wild card of the consensus members. They gave St. Francis Brooklyn their highest ranking (their only 5th-place vote) and gave Robert Morris (their only 6th-place vote) and Wagner (their only 8th-place vote) their lowest ranking of all the members involved.

– Undoubtably, the magazines, who write their articles during the summer and are out in early to mid-September and make their predictions way before the school year starts and before some of rosters are even finalized and major injuries possibly occur, have a more short-sided view of things compared to websites and blogger sites who make their predictions in right before the season begins and have most of the up-to-date information about teams in their evaluations of NEC teams. All three LIU Brooklyn first-place votes came from preseason magazines that were written over the summer.

– Daly Dose of Hoops and the NEC coaches got the highest number of matched picks with 6 of the 10 consensus rankings and both matched the same six rankings (Wagner, Robert Morris, St. Francis Brooklyn, Sacred Heart, St. Francis University, FDU) in their individual picks.

–  Wagner had the biggest disparity between highest and lowest vote (1 & 8), LIU Brooklyn had the second biggest disparity (1 & 7), Mount St. Mary’s was third (1 & 6(twice)).

– St. Francis University didn’t get any votes higher than an 8 or lower than 9. Also, Sacred Heart votes all stayed in a range between 7 and 9. St. Francis Brooklyn had every vote with the exception of one 5th place vote fall between 6 and 8.

– The biggest miss the NEC coaches seemed to have made from their coaches poll compared to the consensus poll is with Mount St. Mary’s. The coaches picked The Mount to finish 6th while the consensus has them finishing in 3rd.

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