I wanted to get back to the Scott County vs. Mercer County question from last week. It is probably a moot point now since SC lost to Bryan Station, they are sure to drop below Mercer, but it is still an interesting question: as of Sunday's ranking, why is Scott County ranked higher than Mercer?
First of all, the two teams were very close, so it's really hard to tell the difference between them. They were separated by only 1.08 scaled rating points, so Scott County would have been a 1 point favorite on a neutral court. Another way to look at it: Scott County would have had a 53.3% chance of winning against Mercer on a neutral court. So, trying to slice up the difference is dang near futile. Still, I can point out a couple of things.
Essentially, Scott County was 4-0 against the top 25 to that point, with greater than 10 point wins against each of those four teams, including the 11 point victory over #4 Henry Clay that got them 2.3 points. The other 3 were all pretty good point gainers as well, all in the 1-2 point gain range. Mercer is 1-0 against the top 25, gaining 1.2 points in the 10 point win over #21 Wayne County. Their next two best victories, over #26 Madison Central by 2 and over #34 South Laurel by 1 actually cost them a few tenths of a point, since the games were so close, and Mercer is ranked so far ahead of them. The two wins over Montgomery and the win over Boyle definitely bought Mercer some quality points as they were rather convincing and two of the games were on the road.
With only a 1 scaled rating point difference, one could point to that though, the difference in performance against each team's top 4 ranked opponents as the key driver. Scott County gained 7.1 points in those 4 games, Mercer gained only 1.7. It is always, of course, harder to gain points the weaker an opponent gets so the games mean less and less as you go down the list. Scott County did lose to Montgomery, losing 2.3 points, and Mercer gained points on them in the mid-section of their schedule, having gone 8-0 against teams ranked from 50-64, but it still couldn't close the gap.
Again, all of that said, SC is going to drop this week, perhaps we'll run an interim ranking to see! This at least addresses the question from last week though.