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Poll Attacks: Why can't folks see in Iowa State what I see in Iowa State?

I can't figure out why folks keep underrating Iowa State, and I have no idea how anybody could put the Cyclones, with that body of work, 25th on an AP ballot. But somebody did. And their prize for doing so is a spot in this week's Poll Attacks .

Let's get it!

Associated Press: There is no bigger discrepancy between the AP poll and my Top 25 (and one) than the discrepancy between where they're ranking Iowa State and where I'm ranking Iowa State, and I genuinely don't understand how the Cyclones can be 17th in the AP poll unless you just disregard actual wins and losses and penalize them because of a low KenPom rating and/or some eye-test you're administering from a couch.

Because the body of work is really nice.

Iowa State is 19-5 with seven top-50 RPI victories, just one loss outside of the top 25 of the RPI, and zero losses outside of the top 75 of the RPI. To help put that resume into context, you need to know that Kansas has 10 top-50 RPI wins, and that Syracuse and Arizona both have eight. And that is the total list of schools with more top-50 RPI wins than Iowa State.

That's it.

Kansas, Syracuse and Arizona.

Those are the only teams with more top-50 wins than Iowa State. And, again, Iowa State's losses aren't bad. Two are to Kansas (No. 1 in the RPI), one is at Texas (No. 22 in the RPI), another is at Oklahoma (No. 25 in the RPI), and the fifth is at West Virginia (No. 69 in the RPI). So what I decided to do Monday afternoon is identify the AP voter who ranked Iowa State lowest and write about the most indefensible things I could find on his ballot.

The AP voter who ranked Iowa State lowest is Tom Keegan.

So here we go ...

Tom has the Cyclones ranked 25th -- which is 15 spots lower than the Top 25 (and one), eight spots lower than the Associated Press poll, and six spots lower than the Coaches poll. This is baffling for all of the reasons stated above. But it's especially baffling considering Tom has Iowa State ranked behind Ohio State, North Carolina and Arizona State on his ballot because the profiles belonging to those three schools don't even compare to Iowa State's profile. None of those schools have better wins than Iowa State. All of those schools have worse losses than Iowa State.

You got a moment?

I'll break it down for you here:

----- IOWA STATE -----

Wins against top 50: 7
Losses outside top 25: 1
Losses outside top 100: 0

----- OHIO STATE -----

Wins against top 50: 3
Losses outside top 25: 4
Losses outside top 100: 1

----- NORTH CAROLINA -----

Wins against top 50: 5
Losses outside top 25: 4
Losses outside top 100: 3

----- ARIZONA STATE -----

Wins against top 50: 4
Losses outside top 25: 3
Losses outside top 100: 1

So, to summarize, Iowa State has ...

  • four more top-50 wins than Ohio State, three more top-50 wins than Arizona State, and two more top-50 wins than North Carolina.
  • three fewer losses outside of the top 25 than Ohio State and North Carolina, and two fewer losses outside of the top 25 than Arizona State.
  • zero losses outside of the top 100 while North Carolina has three, and Arizona State and Ohio State each have one.

The numbers are undeniable, right?

What could possibly be the argument against ISU's body of work?

And how could anybody reasonably have Iowa State behind OSU, UNC and ASU?

Coaches poll: I'm not going to get too worked-up about Villanova being ranked ahead Creighton because I like Villanova and still have the Wildcats ranked seventh in the Top 25 (and one) thanks to a body of work that features wins over Kansas and Iowa, and zero losses to anybody other than Syracuse and Creighton (twice). But I have Creighton ranked sixth -- i.e., one spot ahead of Villanova -- and the reason is because I simply believe that when two schools' resumes are similar then the one school that has pounded the other twice should probably be at least a spot higher.

That's not crazy, is it?

Creighton and Villanova are close to each other in the KenPom ratings, in the Sagarin ratings, and in the RPI, and Creighton actually has two more top-50 RPI wins than Villanova. Creighton, of course, has three losses outside of the top 25 of the RPI, and Villanova has none; that shouldn't be ignored. But, still, the bodies of work are close enough to where it's sensible to give the edge on a weekly ballot to a Creighton team that's 2-0 against Villanova thanks to a 28-point road win over the Wildcats and a 21-point home win over the Wildcats.

Just so we're clear, head-to-head results aren't that important.

Not when you're judging entire bodies of work.

But, again, Creighton's body of work is comparable enough to Villanova's to where it looks a little silly, I think, to have the Bluejays behind the Wildcats based on what we've seen when those two teams have lined up and, you know, played basketball and stuff.


Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
 
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