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Which Power Conference Basketball Teams Need to Worry About the APR

Earlier today I looked at which power conference football teams have to sweat it out leading up to the NCAA’s release of the 2012–13 Academic Progress Rate (APR) numbers next week. Now it is basketball’s turns.

The biggest difference between football and basketball is that basketball’s smaller scholarship limit (13 vs. 85) means smaller APR cohorts. That means each lost point means more, making the APR more volatile. Basketball’s low APR numbers overall are also driven by low retention scores while football’s bigger issue is eligibility. Retention is a more nebulous problem, harder to attack directly with sport-specific academic rules and more tutors. Because basketball APR numbers fluctuate more than football, I looked not just at schools below the 930 benchmark, but also those with a 2011-12 APR of 940 or below as well.

While the numbers clearly pointed to Tennessee having the biggest threat among football teams from the 2012–13 APR, it is too hard to say with basketball since very high scores are easier to come by just like very low scores. Of all the teams here, Oregon might be the most at risk. Not because of their past APR scores, but simply because Oregon had more departures last year than the other schools according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman’s 2013 Transfer List.

UConn – Multi-Year APR: 897
Single Year Scores:
* 2008–09: 844
* 2009–10: 826
* 2010–11: 978
* 2011–12: 947

UConn would have been subject to a second postseason ban if not for the penalty filters which applied for 2013–14. Those penalty filters apply once more, so UConn’s best bet at avoiding a postseason ban is to earn a two-year APR score of 940. Shabazz Napier mentioned UConn has an APR score of 1000, and if he was referring to the still-to-be-published 2012–13 numbers, UConn will be in the clear.

LSU – Multi-Year APR: 909
Single Year Scores
* 2008–09: 827
* 2009–10: 932
* 2010–11: 957
* 2011–12: 932

Oregon – Multi-Year APR: 918
Single Year Scores
* 2008–09: 870
* 2009–10: 912
* 2010–11: 950
* 2011–12: 952

Oklahoma State – Multi-Year APR: 928
* 2008–09: 875
* 2009–10: 895
* 2010–11: 927
* 2011–12: 1000

LSU, Oregon, and Oklahoma State are all in very similar boats. In all three cases, very low scores will come off this year, immediately boosting the APR. They simply need solid scores this year to avoid a postseason ban. LSU probably has the most wiggle room as it drops the lowest score of the three schools and has three solid scores to go with the 2012–13 number. Oregon needs the best score of the three, not for this year but next year as the Ducks appear set to lose five players from the 2013–14 team.

Syracuse – Multi-Year APR: 933
Single Year Scores:
* 2008–09: 865
* 2009–10: 1000
* 2010–11: 1000
* 2011–12: 878

Syracuse’s slightly schizophrenic APR is good example of why basketball teams are more at risk for APR penalties in this new era than football teams. Syracuse is not at much risk this year because the 865 from 2008–09 will fall off and would need to be replaced with something equally disastrous in 2012–13 to get the Orange banned from the postseason. But Syracuse cannot continue to live on the edge like this. Had the ’Cuse posted less than 1000s in 2009–10 or 2010–11, they may have faced a postseason ban in 2013–14. Syracuse needs to post a solid number this year to avoid needing another 1000 when they start to roll off next year.

Nebraska – Multi-Year APR: 935
Single Year Scores
* 2008–09: 957
* 2009–10: 947
* 2010–11: 896
* 2011–12: 940

Nebraska is carrying one bad year in a set of otherwise decent to solid scores. The Huskers need a solid score this year and next though since their two highest scores will roll off.

TCU – Multi-Year APR: 939
Single Year Scores:
* 2008–09: 945
* 2009–10: 962
* 2010–11: 927
* 2011–12: 918

TCU’s biggest worry is that the APR is trending downwards, although the 918 in 2011–12 could be attributed to a coaching change. The Horned Frogs have more wiggle room than Nebraska this year because their highest score remains and their multi-year APR was higher to being with. But TCU still needs solid scores over the next two-three years to weather the 927 and 918 they will be carrying for a while.

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