Why Miami should be No. 1

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
5:43
PM ET
The No. 1 ranked team in the AP Poll has lost five weeks in a row. The top three teams all lost in the last week.

With so much parity, who really is the No. 1 team in college basketball?

How about the team that has the longest active win streak among Power 6 teams, the only Power 6 team undefeated in conference play, the team that is a perfect 11-0 with all of its top players?

The Miami (FL) Hurricanes haven’t lost a game since Christmas. They’re off to a 10-0 start in the ACC, the first team other than Duke or North Carolina to do so since the 1980-81 Virginia Cavaliers. They’re the first team since ACC play began in 1953 to defeat both Duke and North Carolina by at least 25 points in the same season (according to the Elias Sports Bureau).

Miami has won 11 straight games –- no other Power 6 team has an active win streak of more than five games.

The Hurricanes’ only three losses came without one of their key players –- they lost to Florida Gulf Coast without Durand Scott, and to Arizona and Indiana State (in overtime) without Reggie Johnson.

Miami has the highest BPI in college basketball with all of its top players (Shane Larkin, Trey McKinney Jones, Kenny Kadji, Scott and Johnson). BPI defines “top players” as players who are top five on the team in minutes per game and have played at least half of the team’s games.

When debating who the No. 1 team is in college basketball and who deserves the top ranking in the polls, it usually alludes to which team is currently the best team at the moment.

When looking at the likely top candidates for No. 1 –- Miami, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Syracuse, Gonzaga and Duke -– Miami has the highest BPI with each team’s roster as is at the current moment. As it stands, each of those teams has all of its top players except for Michigan, which is missing Jordan Morgan (ankle injury), and Duke, which is missing Ryan Kelly (foot injury). Of those seven teams, Duke has the lowest BPI with its current roster.

The college basketball season gets cranked up after the New Year, when conference play gets underway. Since Jan. 1, Miami has the highest BPI in the country.

Which team plays the best against the best teams?

Miami has won six of its seven games against teams ranked in the BPI top 50, the best such win percentage (85.7) among teams to play at least five such games.

Miami has the best BPI against top-50 teams since Jan. 1 among teams to play at least five such games, and it’s not even that close. The Hurricanes, who are 5-0 in those games, are the only team to play at least five games against BPI top-50 teams since January 1 and not lose a game.

Miami certainly had a few lackluster performances before the New Year when it wasn’t at full strength –- the loss to Florida Gulf Coast, the 19-point loss to Arizona, and a narrow eight-point win over Stetson -- but the Hurricanes have brought their ‘A’ game as much as any team.

No team has more “Game BPI” scores of 95 or better than Miami (12). BPI takes into account margin, pace, location, opponent and key players missing for each “Game BPI” and then averages those scores to calculate a team’s BPI for the season. Miami’s 99.8 “Game BPI” in its 90-63 win against Duke is the best performance by any team this season.

Which team do the fans think should be No. 1? We asked fans to tweet their choice at @ESPNStatsInfo on Twitter and the verdict was overwhelming: Miami got more than half the votes.

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