How Did We Do? Reviewing SwimSwam’s Final Men’s NCAA Power Rankings

Men’s NCAAs was a meet to remember, featuring some of the fastest fields in history, four new U.S. Open Records and some intriguing team battles to boot.

After the women’s championships last week, we analyzed how SwimSwam’s final power rankings stacked up against the actual results of the championships.

Now we’ll do the same for the men’s meet, and the results show there were a few teams that greatly exceeded our expectations and some that fell well below where we thought they’d be.

2021-22 NCAA Men’s Power Rankings

Men’s NCAA Results Versus SwimSwam Picks (Top 25)

Actual Finish Team SS Final Power Rankings Difference
1 Cal Golden Bears 1
2 Texas Longhorns 2
3 Florida 3
4 NC State 4
5 Indiana 5
6 Arizona State 7 +1
7 Stanford 9 +2
8 Georgia 8
9 Ohio State 10 +1
10 Virginia 12 +2
11 Virginia Tech 11
12 Louisville 6 -6
13 Harvard 17 +4
14 Alabama 14
T-15 LSU 16 +1
T-15 Purdue NR +
17 Arizona NR +
18 Tennessee 15 -3
T-19 Minnesota 23 +4
T-19 Texas A&M NR +
21 Georgia Tech 20 -1
22 Michigan 13 -9
23 Miami (FL) 24 +1
24 Columbia NR +
25 Missouri 18 -7

WHAT WE GOT RIGHT

We swept the top five, with the Cal pick over Texas seeming somewhat controversial at the time but it ended up being a runaway win for the Bears after the Longhorns faltered in diving.

The Indiana call at fifth over the likes of ASU held up, with the Hoosiers getting some big diving performances to boost them up into the top five.

Georgia, Virginia Tech and Alabama ended up falling in the correct spots, though the movement around them show that were plenty of surprises in the team race relative to our expectations.

LOUISVILLE FALLS TO 12TH

After the women’s team impressed by jumping up to sixth, we certainly didn’t see the Louisville men falling down to 12th. Our final predictions had the Cardinal slotted in at sixth, up two spots from their position in the psych sheet scoring (no diving), but we gave them a boost both due to the performance of the women’s team and their historical ability to step up when it counts.

It ultimately didn’t happen, as the Cards scored 67 fewer points than they were projected to, with the likes of Georgia and UVA outscoring projections in the pool and Stanford and OSU both coming closer to their psych sheet seeds than UL and getting diving points.

OTHER SURPRISES IN TOP 25

The biggest movers up the rankings relative to our picks was Harvard and Minnesota, who both jumped up four spots.

Stanford only moved up two spots, but performed better than we thought overall—there was a sentiment that they wouldn’t be able to have a good double-taper after a big Pac-12 showing, and they swam well.

Harvard outscored their seeded points by 77 to jump into 13th, while Minnesota essentially held serve relative to projections but ended up finishing in a tie for 19th after we had them slotted 23rd.

For Harvard, it was a fitting end to Dean Farris‘ swimming career, as he scored 21 points individually while leading the Crimson to points in all five relays, including a trio of ninth-place finishes. Overall, Harvard scored 70 relay points, so Farris had a hand in 91 of their 103 points.

Michigan dropped in a big way, down nine spots to 23rd, while 25th-place Mizzou finished seven spots lower than we predicted.

MOVING UP AND MOVING OUT

Purdue, Arizona, Texas A&M and Columbia all moved into the top 25 after we had predicted them to be on the outside looking in.

We knew Purdue was good on the boards, but maybe not quite 81 points good. They jumped up into a tie for 15th despite just four points in the pool, while Arizona outscored seed by 20 points and added 18 in diving to place 17th.

The Aggies also got 42 points in diving to tie for 19th, while Columbia had all 30 of their points come on the boards to slide into 24th.

Those teams took out the four schools we predicted in the top 25 that missed: Wisconsin, USC, FSU and Northwestern.

Team SS Final Power Ranking Actual Finish Difference
Wisconsin 19th 34th -15
USC 21st 26th -5
Florida State 22nd 38th (no points) -16
Northwestern 25th 32nd -7

Wisconsin’s success, both individually and on relays, hinged on Jake Newmark, who was dealing with a non-COVID-related illness and dropped a few events and was not at his best when he did race.

Florida State also dropped significantly as we projected them to be relay scorers and it didn’t happen.

USC and Northwestern were both slightly off their projections and fell out of the top 25.

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SwimFan
4 months ago

Texas A&M will be one school to watch next year, they have a scary good recruiting class coming in

Name
4 months ago

Technically speaking, the biggest jump or biggest miss is Purdue, going from not being ranked (i.e. 26 or above) to being T-15. That makes it…. What? +11 best case scenario? Something like that

BearlyBreathing
4 months ago

Was “SwimSwam Official” in the pickems all of the picks from your preview articles?

NC Fan
4 months ago

Wise move James in not throwing the boss under the bus and pointing out that Braden, Robert, and Andrew all picked Texas to win out. If that Mount Rushmore of swim reporters can’t call that significant Bear victory then how are we mere mortals ever supposed to get our pick’ems right?

Admin
Reply to  NC Fan
4 months ago

To be clear: James would be throwing himself under the bus, because before publishing the Power Rankings, I said “James I’m changing my pick to Cal,” and he neglected to update it before publishing, so I had to live with what he put up.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

I have a girlfriend, but she goes to another school 😉

Calbearfan
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

Likely story Braden 🤣

Admin
Reply to  Calbearfan
4 months ago

I brought receipts:
comment image

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

I wonder if we SwimSwam readers would have ever heard about this had Texas won…:p

Ghost
4 months ago

I would say pretty accurate….especially if you aren’t considering diving! Well done!

steer
4 months ago

holy shit deans pecs and shoulders

Steve Nolan
Reply to  steer
4 months ago

right click save as

ArtVanDeLegh10
4 months ago

Michigan

DCSwim
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
4 months ago

comment image

Texmex
4 months ago

USC, ouch

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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