Hello, and welcome to the inaugural edition of the CBSSports.com College Basketball BlogPoll! The BlogPoll is exactly what you'd expect a "BlogPoll" to be: a top 25 as voted on the Internet's best and brightest college basketball bloggers, rather than coaches or media. We're getting off to a late start this season, but the good news is that much of the good stuff is still ahead of us.
Your first poll reads like so:
BlogPoll Week 1
Rank Team PPB StdDev Delta 1 Connecticut (42) 24.9 0.3 25 2 Oklahoma (3) 23.1 1.4 24 3 North Carolina (1) 22.9 1.0 23 4 Pittsburgh 22.0 1.1 22 5 Duke (1) 20.5 2.5 21 6 Louisville 19.4 2.4 20 7 Wake Forest 17.2 2.8 19 8 Memphis 16.3 2.7 18 9 Clemson 15.8 4.0 17 10 Marquette 15.2 3.9 16 11 Michigan St. 15.0 3.9 15 12 UCLA 14.4 3.6 14 13 Xavier 12.7 3.5 13 14 Villanova 12.7 3.4 12 15 Butler 11.4 4.5 11 16 Kansas 9.3 3.3 10 17 Missouri 6.6 4.8 9 18 Gonzaga 6.1 3.9 8 19 Illinois 5.9 3.6 7 20 Purdue 5.6 4.1 6 21 Arizona St. 5.3 3.1 5 22 Utah St. 3.7 4.4 4 23 Washington 3.2 3.3 3 24 Syracuse 2.5 3.2 2 25 Ohio St. 2.1 3.2 1
Also Receiving Votes: Texas(1.8), Minnesota(1.4), Florida St.(1.4), West Virginia(1.0), Louisiana St.(1.0), Davidson(0.8), Dayton(0.8), Florida(0.6), Brigham Young(0.5), Utah(0.4), California(0.4), San Diego St.(0.3), Miami FL(0.3), North Dakota St.(0.1), Northern Iowa(0.1), East Tennessee St.(0.1), St. Mary's(0.1), Buffalo(0.1), Kansas St.(0.0), Virginia Military Inst(0.0), Southern California(0.0), Siena(0.0), South Carolina(0.0), Arkansas Little Rock(0.0),
Total Ballots: 47
Over the next several weeks you can expect to see some big differences of opinion betwen our poll and the traditional polls , and not just because (as you can see by the "points-per-ballot" listed above) our irregular number of voters means that teams are ranked according to their average ballot position rather than by total points. For starters, one of the frequent complaints of the traditional polls is that they're sometimes slow to react to on-the-court results; I'd like to think that the much narrower margin between Marquette and Villanova in the BlogPoll is due to our voters having noticed that while the Golden Eagles were busy losing to woeful South Florida this weekend, 'Nova was beating the pants off of Syracuse .
But the differences are likely to run much deeper than that. Many of our voters, when asked, explained that they're going to be paying close attention to computer rankings like those issued by Ken Pomeroy or Jeff Sagarin when filling out their ballots. Kansas Jayhawk blog Rock Chalk Talk arrived at their ballot by ... combining the two statistical rankings I think are the best: KenPom and Sagarin . For the most part, the procedure was simple enough. I combined the totals for each relevant team, and the lower the number, the higher you were ranked. Of course, this didn't work out perfectly, and there were a couple of human changes I made. For instance, both Duke and Connecticut tied with 3 points (both were first in one and second in the other), but given their records and their respective weeks (Duke getting plastered and going to OT at home, while Connecticut destroyed L'Ville and beat Michigan), I gave the nod to the Huskies. Of course, not every voter is relying so heavily on numbers: Minnesota blog From the Barn used the AP Poll as a starting point, Michigan St.'s Critical Fanatic is most interest in who's hot "right now," and Tar Heel Fan claims his method past the No. 4 spot involved mascots, noodles, and a wall.
However we arrived at it, the teams this week's BlogPoll favors over the traditional polls are Pitt, Memphis, and most notably Missouri, which doesn't appear in either the AP or coaches versions but checks in at No. 17 above. Teams BlogPoll voters view more skeptically include Purdue and Texas. The Longhorns are No. 16 to the AP and No. 17 to the coaches, but at 4-4 in the Big 12 Texas was left to head the "also receiving votes" category here. Also of note: no SEC team made the BlogPoll's final top 25, with LSU coming the closest.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
This is the section of the weekly BlogPoll breakdown where we examine various polling issues, debates, points-of-emphasis, etc. And why not start at the top? UConn was the overwhelming choice for No. 1, but Ballin' is a Habit --ironically enough, a Connecticut fan--says you ought to take a second look at Oklahoma : The numbers are pretty similar. Oklahoma is third in the RPI, UConn is fourth. The Sooners are 22-1 while the Huskies are 21-1. UConn’s second in the Kenpom rankings while Oklahoma is twelfth. The Sooners are 1-0 against the top 20, 7-0 against 21-50, and 7-1 against 51-100. UConn is 3-0, 5-1, and 4-0. Pretty even right? So what it comes down to is who do I believe is the better team ... As good as the Huskies looked against Louisville, I still believe this team is really going to struggle when they go up against teams that have a big man that can step out and play the perimeter.
For a lot of voters, that No. 12 ranking from KenPom is something of a deal-breaker, but it's hard to take too much issue with a 15-1 record against the RPI top 100. Another issue confronted by voters was how to deal with the logjam at the top of the ACC. UNC is the consensus lead dog at this point, but sorting out Duke, Clemson, and Wake Forest is trickier, even if (as FriarBlog does ) you simplify the Duke-Clemson issue via the Tigers' emphatic head-to-head win last week. Dayton's Flyers Fieldhouse on the conundrum: Wake Forest has beaten Duke and went on the road and took down Ollie's boys. Points awarded. However, they're trending badly in the last few weeks and have lost three of five. Points deducted. Clemson absolutely pasted Duke this past week, but lost to a pretty meh Florida State team at home. Duke was beaten by both Wake and Clemson, but the way they've won everywhere else is pretty convincing. They're not just winning, but marching through the streets setting fire to everything that can't be brought with them. I suspect Wake is the best of the three, but I have to go with Duke, even if I'm only 51% inclined to do so for the time being.
Hopefully, one of the three will play more consistent basketball this week and we'll get some clarity.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
# Team StdDev 1 Missouri 4.8 2 Butler 4.5 3 Utah St. 4.4 4 Purdue 4.1 5 Clemson 4.0
Missouri is a kind of acid test for how much faith you put in the computer rankings. The Tigers haven't played either of the Big 12's top teams yet and both their conference losses are to the league's lesser lights, but thanks to several blowout wins over potential NCAA Tournament teams (Cal, USC, Baylor) they're a statistical favorite. With that kind of disconnect between their resume and their computer numbers, it's not surprising to see the wide difference in opinion here.
First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
#BlogTeam Avg Error 1 Tomahawk Nation Florida St. 5.18 2 Notes From A Basketball Junkie Buffalo 4.27 3 From Old Virginia Virginia 3.58 4 March Madness All Season Connecticut 3.49 5 Rock Chalk Talk Kansas 3.20
Florida St. blog Tomahawk Nation grabs the "Mr. Bold" baton with a ballot featuing the poll's lone vote for Duke at No. 1, Oklahoma down at No. 7, West Virginia No. 13, and not one but two Mountain West teams in the ballot's lower regions. It's a strange ballot, but there's nothing indefensible viewed through the prism of a fervent belief in the ACC (which TN cops to) and the Pomeroy ratings, which feel even more strongly about the Sooners (thumbs-down) and Mountaineers (thumbs-up) than this.
Mr. Numb Existence
For their efforts in most skillfully approximating the BlogPoll's nascent hivemind--by which I mean, "having the ballot that most closely resembles the final poll at-large"--Notre Dame blog Black and Green wins the poll's first "Mr. Numb Existence" award. This is only too appropriate, since the Irish's seven-game losing streak and plummet from NCAA contention likely mean B&G could use a somewhat number existence at the moment.
Next we have the Coulter/Kos Award and the Straight Bangin' Award , which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your basketball team.
The Coulter/Kos Award
#BlogTeam Bias 1 Notes From A Basketball Junkie Buffalo 2.94 2 House of Sparky Arizona St. 2.70 3 I Bleed Blue and White Villanova 2.34 4 The Critical Fanatic Michigan St. 2.02 5 Cracked Sidewalks Marquette 1.79
Longtime Buffalo and Mid-American Conference blog Notes from a Basketball Junkie has always approached the mid-major vs. power-conference divide in a style that might best be described as "militant," so it's not surprising to see him top the bias chart with his beloved Bulls currently running roughshod over the MAC. In the football version of the poll, the CK Award frequently foretold dire results for the team of the affiliated blogger, so it'll worth watching Buffalo this week (particularly at Ball State this Sunday) to see if the hoops edition wields the same dark power.
The Straight Bangin' Award
The Straight Bangin' Award--given for the most biased vote against one's own team--will almost always be the property of a team that's just suffered some brand of humiliating and/or emotionally devastating defeat. So it goes this week: Gonzaga blog The Slipper Still Fits left Zags off their ballot entirely after an ugly home loss to Memphis, a match-up I'm personally referring to as the Too Big for Our Conference's Britches Classic.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
With no ballots last week, there's no swing this week.
And that's it. Remember that you can check out the ballots of any award winner or runners-up by clicking the green check-marks, and be to sure to check the voters' page to take a peek at the work of all our awesome voters. See you next week.
The CBSSports.com College Basketball BlogPoll Breakdown is written by Jerry Hinnen. For questions or comments regarding the poll, contact Jerry at jerry -at- warblogeagle.com.