Louisville is still ranked third on two AP voters' ballots.
The answer is in the Poll Attacks.
Let's get it!
Associated Press poll: Contrary to what some seem to think, the Poll Attacks are not designed to clown the AP and Coaches polls in general. Truth is, I actually enjoy both and think they're mostly a pretty good indicator of which teams are the nation's best. But that doesn't mean there aren't some undeniably silly things to be highlighted each week, which is why I spend every Monday isolating them for my pleasure and (hopefully) yours.
Now check this out ...
The way I always begin this process is by going to PollSpeak.com, which is a tremendous site for my purposes because, among other things, it lists the highest and lowest ranking for each school receiving votes, meaning anything too extreme is basically highlighted. So that's what I did Monday, and I quickly noticed that two voters -- specifically Travis Recek and Ron Morris -- were ranking Louisville third, which is obviously silly for lots of of reasons.
And then I started writing.
Light work, right?
But then, a few minutes later, I decided to look at those two guys' ballots from last week to see how they compared to their new ballots, and what I realized is that the ballots were exactly the same. Seriously, EXACTLY the same. Recek's ballot from Dec. 23 was identical to his ballot from Dec. 30 just like Morris' ballot from Dec. 23 was identical to his ballot from Dec. 30. Weird. So my next move was to go through every single AP ballot and add Louisville's points to make sure the total matched the total of 812 that led to the Cardinals being ranked 14th in the new Associated Press poll, and it did. The total from the ballots listed matched the total the Associated Press was reporting, which meant one of three things.
1. The AP messed up and refiled Recek's old ballot and/or Morris' old ballot.
2. Recek and/or Morris messed up and refiled their own old ballots.
3. Recek and/or Morris saw no reason to change a single thing on their ballots.
So which is it?
I decided to take that question directly to Recek and Morris.
Recek responded this way: "I accidentally sent last week's list in for my vote."
Morris responded this way: "Just didn't see any spots I wanted to change."
And with that, I'll turn it over to you guys.
Is it worse to:
A) Accidentally refile an old ballot?
B) Rank a Louisville team with two losses and no good wins third in the nation?
Feel free to answer below.
Coaches poll: I don't want to turn this entire column into observations about Louisville. But how am I supposed to ignore the Cards being ranked 10th in the coaches poll?
(How am I supposed to ignore that!?!)
I explained the issue with ranking Louisville early Sunday but acknowledged that I still think the Cardinals should be ranked somewhere (despite having zero quality wins) because they were ranked third in the preseason, and it's not like they've taken terrible losses. One loss was on a neutral court to a North Carolina team ranked 19th, the other at Rupp Arena to a Kentucky team ranked 16th. So, sure, the Cards have been disappointing relative to preseason expectations. But are they still one of the nation's best 25? Yes, I think so.
How can Louisville be ranked 10th?
Ahead of both Kentucky and North Carolina?
Despite having no quality wins to offset those losses?
Again, I know what the computers say -- that Louisville is still rated first at KenPom and 12th at Sagarin. But a national poll should for the most part early be a reflection of preseason expectations combined with results, then, around this time, it should be mostly results-driven with few exceptions. That's my opinion, at least, and it's why I don't spend much time worrying about whether, say, Villanova is really one of the nation's best college basketball teams. All I know is that Villanova is 11-1 with wins over Kansas and Iowa and a lone loss at Syracuse, and that's a resume worthy of a nice ranking. Good luck trying to argue otherwise. But is Louisville's resume at this moment worthy of a top-10 ranking? Absolutely not. And I'm not sure how anybody could intelligently argue otherwise.