Thursday, June 14, 2012

Scout's 2013 Rankings Hurt Michigan

As I wrote about earlier, Michigan's 2013 basketball recruiting class has been receiving a lot of love from the recruiting services.  ESPN has ranked the class #2 in the nation and as the best in the Big Ten.  Scout has expressed a similar sentiment, but not quite as positive.  Scout has put Michigan's 2013 class as #6 in the nation, but as only the 3rd best in the Big Ten, behind Purdue and Indiana.

I'm not one that claims Michigan's recruits are always underrated like many analysts seem to do, but I would like to point out the differences between ESPN and Scout's rankings.  ESPN's basketball coverage has almost always been superior to Rivals and Scout, so I tend to lean towards their rankings, but that's not the only reason I think ESPN's rankings are more accurate for Michigan's 2013 recruiting class.

Take a look at the Scout100 and the ESPN100 in regards to Michigan's commits.  Both lists are pretty similar when it comes to Michigan's 2013 recruits, but there are two key differences.  First, Derrick Walton is a surprising 9 spots lower on Scout's list than ESPN's list.  To me, dropping from #39 to #48 is a PRETTY big for a player that has been playing very well throughout his career.  The second thing is that Zak Irvin is not even listed on Scout's list of the top 100 recruits in the nation.  This is just insane to me.  ESPN has him ranked as #61 in the country and easily a member of their top 100 players.

I can understand that Walton drops from #39 to #48.  I mean, every scouting service is a little different and are going to value some players over others, it's just natural.  However, how do you drop, at minimum, 39 spots?  Even Rivals has him in their top one hundred players as #63.  To me, this is an obvious miss for Scout's basketball analysts.  This radical of a difference makes little sense and just removes some of the credibility from their entire ranking system.

If you adjust for this blunder by Scout, I think Michigan's class would be near it's current #2 ranking on ESPN.  As I said, I'm not one to demand Michigan's recruits and classes are underrated on a consistent basis, but we have to be real about this, Scout's rejection of Irvin from it's top 100 players is just wrong.  I think Scout does alright in most of their rankings considering that they are primarily focused on football recruiting, but this is something that clearly just does not make sense.

Regardless of whether you consider this a blunder or not (it's a blunder), Michigan's recruiting class is still highly ranked and placed nicely for a solid finish.  Some classes will obviously improve, such as Florida and Duke, which each only have one commitment for 2013, but I still think Michigan could pick-up one more commitment for 2013 and Austin Hatch's rankings will improve once he returns to basketball form, which we all hope he will be able to do in the future.

If Michigan does pick-up another commitment and Hatch's status improves, Michigan may not drop as far as many people might think.  Plus, there's always the chance that one of the recruits might do what Glenn Robinson III did last year and massively improve in the rankings.  Hatch is the obvious player who could have a massive rise in his rankings, but if anybody else does this, I think it will be Irvin, but that's not something anybody can realistically predict and occurs on a regular basis.

Whether these factors happen or not, Michigan should finish with an elite recruiting class in both the Big Ten and the nation.  I think the class could finish better than many of the experts think, but I would guess it finishes a little better than 2012's class and around 10, which would be a solid improvement and symbolize the positive direction of Michigan basketball.

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