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Do college basketball rankings matter?

By Adena Andrews | CBS Sports

Numbers don't win games. Players do.

If that's true, why is so much focus placed on a college basketball team's national ranking? Does it even matter?

At times the numbers seem arbitrary, and Shane Ryan of Grantland.com thinks they mean absolutely nothing.

Unlike in college football, national rankings in basketball don't determine who gets to play for a national championship. Also, this season has already put rankings into question with plenty of shakeups and losses at the top of the polls. It's a weekly debate -- this week's debate -- whether Indiana, Duke or Miami deserves the top ranking.

Regardless of shakeups atop the polls, our very own Seth Davis believes rankings have an important place in the game. In his final thoughts this week on Courtside with Seth Davis, he breaks down the real meaning of college basketball rankings.

“College basketball rankings help set the table, stir debate and provide some context,” Davis said. “For example, when Michigan and Michigan State played (Tuesday) night, that was the first time in history that those two programs met while both teams were ranked in the top 10. That tells you something. It also tells us something to learn that No. 3 Miami has never been ranked this high.

"If you're a casual fan and you turn on a game and you see two ranked teams playing against each other you're more likely to stick around and watch.”

Rankings are the spice in the gumbo of college basketball. They keep things interesting and competitive until we get to March, when numbers don't matter, just hustle.

Davis added, “Our polls have a great deal of meaning, but they don't decide a damn thing.”

Do you think rankings matter? Make your voice heard in the comment section below or on Twitter @Hoopsoncbs. You can also follow Adena Andrews on Twitter@adena_andrews.

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