Iowa State has eight wins against top-50 RPI schools and just one loss outside of the top 25 of the RPI. Someday, everybody will realize that. Till then, the Poll Attacks will flourish.
Let's get into it!
Associated Press poll: Within minutes of my friend and CBS colleague Seth Davis releasing his ballot on Twitter late Sunday, Iowa State fans were encouraging me to destroy him in the Poll Attacks for ranking the Cyclones 22nd, which is 14 spots lower than I have them in the Top 25 (and one). Truth be told, I always get suggestions for the Poll Attacks. They're forever appreciated and often helpful. So, yeah, I was locked and loaded and aimed at Seth. But when the AP poll was released Monday afternoon, I noticed one thing, and that's that Seth isn't even the worst offender when it comes to shortchanging Iowa State on a Top 25 ballot.
The worst offender is Mike Barber.
He has Iowa State ranked 25th -- which is three spots lower than Seth!
I'll be honest, I feel a little silly again devoting this space to Iowa State after I spent last week's Poll Attacks screaming about Iowa State's body of work. But whatever. I think I read, once upon a time, that you're supposed to scream until people hear you. So that's what I'm going to do. Beause I don't understand folks who can't appreciate Iowa State's body of work.
Again, the Cyclones have eight top-50 RPI wins.
Only three teams in the entire country have more.
Beyond that, Iowa State has just one loss to a team outside of the top 25 of the RPI. So, if you rank teams based on, you know, accomplishments, I don't see how you could have the Cyclones outside of the top 10, and I sure as hell don't understand why anybody would have them outside of the top 20. And yet Mike Barber has Iowa State ranked 25th this week.
And that's not even the best part.
The best part is that Mike had Iowa State ranked 22nd last week.
That means Mike had the Cyclones underrated last week, then dropped them three spots on his ballot this week after they beat Texas by nine points and TCU by double-digits. Put another way, this Iowa State team with more top-50 wins than everybody except Kansas, Arizona and Michigan, and just one loss outside of the top 25 of the RPI, dropped three spots on Mike's ballot after a week in which the Cyclones went 2-0 with a win over a Texas team Mike had ranked 10th last week.
Make sense of that if you can.
And, Fred Hoiberg, you really do owe me.
I should, at this point, at least be the Deputy Mayor.
Coaches poll: Mark Few and Jamie Dixon have been two of college basketball's most consistent winners for more than a decade, and one of the things that comes with that is the benefit of the doubt. Simply put, they get the benefit of the doubt -- meaning you assume, for the most part, that their teams are top 25-caliber teams until they prove otherwise, and I'm as guilty of this as anybody. But we've reached the point where placing either Gonzaga or Pittsburgh on a Top 25 ballot doubles as a denial of what's actually happening on the court, because what's actually happening on the court is good for neither Gonzaga nor Pittsburgh.
Let's go over Gonzaga's resume first.
The Zags, coming off of a weekend loss to San Diego, are 23-6 with with a 1-3 record against the top 50 of the RPI -- and two losses to schools ranked worse than 150. They don't have a single win over a team currently projected by Jerry Palm to earn an at-large bid, and the truth is that Gonzaga should now be closer to the bubble than a Top 25 ballot.
Pitt's body of work isn't much better.
Yes, the Panthers have avoided losses to schools ranked outside of the top 150. But they're 20-7 overall after Sunday's home loss to Florida State (55th in the RPI), and they're 1-6 against the top 50 with the lone victory coming over Stanford two days before Thanksgiving, meaning Pitt has just one so-called "quality" win ... and it came roughly three months ago. The Panthers still project as an at-large team, and I actually think they're pretty good. But, by the end of February, the national rankings should reflect what we know more than what we think, and what we know is that neither Pitt nor Gonzaga have resumes worthy of inclusion on a Top 25 ballot.
And yet both still got votes in the coaches poll this week.
Old habits die hard, I guess.