What could a preseason No. 15 ranking mean for Mizzou?

The Missouri basketball team’s No. 15 ranking in the AP Preseason Top 25 Poll is tied for the eighth-highest preseason ranking in school history, as well as the highest starting point for the Tigers in the Mike Anderson era.

The ranking is a nod to Missouri’s rising national profile, but if the last 10 years are any indication, the ranking far from guarantees the team any conference or postseason success. For reference, I compiled a list of the last 10 teams voted No. 15 in the AP preseason poll, aiming to highlight the tremendous variability between teams ranked in that spot:

Season Team Record Conference Finish Postseason Final Ranking
2009-10 Michigan 15-17 8th None NR
2008-09 Arizona State 25-10 4th NCAA Second Round 19
2007-08 Texas 31-7 T-1st NCAA Elite Eight 7
2006-07 Boston College 21-12 4th NCAA Second Round NR
2005-06 Alabama 18-13 2nd NCAA Second Round NR
2004-05 Maryland 19-13 8th NIT Semifinals NR
2003-04 Wisconsin 25-7 2nd NCAA Second Round 10
2002-03 UConn 23-10 2nd NCAA Sweet 16 23
2001-02 Michigan State 19-12 4th NCAA First Round NR
2000-01 Notre Dame 20-10 1st NCAA Second Round 19

Follow the jump for observations on what recent history says about the preseason No. 15.

  • Exactly half of the preseason No. 15 teams finished the season unranked in the final AP Poll.
  • All but two of the teams ranked lower in the final AP poll than in the preseason poll.
  • Eight of the teams at least qualified for the NCAA Tournament. However, only two of the teams won more than one tournament game.
  • The last three years have provided a glimpse at the high and low points for No. 15 teams during this century. 2009-10 Michigan fell apart and became the only team on the list to finish with a losing record and miss postseason play altogether. Instead, Michigan’s season ended on an incredible last-second shot from Ohio State’s Evan Turner in the Big Ten Tournament. 2007-08 Texas, on the other hand, split the Big 12 regular season title with Kansas and eventually lost in the Elite Eight to Memphis, a school which would later have to vacate its win that season for use of an ineligible player (presumed to be future NBA first overall pick Derrick Rose).ici

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