What Role Do College Basketball Rankings Play in Recruiting New Players?

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There is a direct correlation between a college basketball team's ranking and recruiting power in most cases. Basketball rankings play a critical role in the recruitment of the nation's top high school players in any given year. While teams need not necessarily be ranked to land highly-touted recruits, most of college basketball's elite schools typically also place among the top of team recruiting rankings.

To understand the correlation, one can simply look at the relationship between the final USA Today Coaches Poll of a given season and the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings for the next year.

For example, the 2013-14 season saw 11 teams in the final top 25 poll ranked among the top 25 in team recruiting rankings for the next incoming class; very remarkable, considering that as many as 351 teams have competed at the Division I level in recent years.

Just the same, in Rivals.com's class of 2015 team recruiting rankings, eight schools in that top 25 also finished the previous season ranked in the final top 25 poll. The top three recruiting classes - Kentucky, Duke and Arizona - all finished among in the top four of the previous season's final Coaches Poll.

However, one exception to the rule was UNLV, which managed to land the fifth (2014) and 11th-ranked (2015) classes of prospects despite sub-par seasons during which the Runnin' Rebels did not earn a single vote in each of the preceding years' final USA Today Polls.