Blog Entry

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

Posted on: November 11, 2008 12:55 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2008 4:47 pm
Welcome to the first edition of the People’s Poll! I would like to thank everyone who contributed their thoughts and opinions on this week’s pre-season poll. Things turned out the way one would expect with UNC in the top spot and Georgetown continuing to be overrated. An interesting thing to look at is the actual rank of a given team compared to their high and low ranks from individual voters. Seems some teams had a huge discrepancy in their positioning. Look for things to become clearer as the week’s progress and we start basing our projections on performance vs speculation. So without further adieu, I give you the People’s Pre-Season Poll!
 North Carolina Tar Heels logo1. North Carolina (35) 994 The favorite. That’s what UNC will play as all year. With all 5 starters returning from last years Final Four team, this is your clear cut favorite to win it all. The questions for this squad will be how they overcome adversity (injuries) and the huge monkey that will be riding on their backs all season. When expectations are Championship or bust, there is plenty of pressure to go around. This team has the talent but needs to show it has the cohones to accomplish what many say is rightfully there’s. HR-1 LR-3
 Connecticut Huskies logo2. Connecticut (2) 934 After a brief slip from the limelight, this years Connecticut team looks to make a return to glory. When you play in a conference with 76 teams its tough to pick a favorite, but look for UConn to be just that in a stacked Big East. With 4 starters returning AJ Price and Hasheem Thabeet look to make up one of the best 1-2 punches in the game. And as long as Price can stay on the court, this team should be a serious contender all season long. HR-1 LR-12
Louisville Cardinals logo3. Louisville (2) 870 If you’re looking for a team not named Connecticut to win the Big East, look no further than the Cardinals. Lead by a Hall of Fame coach, Louisville looks like one of the few teams that is poised to cut down the nets. We’re curious to see how this squad will be able to overcome the loss of big man David Padgett. If they can find someone to step up to fill the hole in the middle and Edgar Sosa can improve off of a lackluster sophomore campaign, this team could bring a National Title to the Big East. HR-1 LR-NR
UCLA Bruins logo4. UCLA 832 Outside of North Carolina, no other team may have as big of expectations (or as much pressure) as UCLA. Bruin fans yawn at Final Fours and only a National Title will do for this year’s team. With it being a relatively weak year in the Pac 10, there is no excuse for this team not to grab a top seed come March. Lead by Darren Collison and Josh Shipp, UCLA could arguably have the best backcourt in the country. Throw in stud frosh Jrue Holliday and anything less then a title will be a letdown. HR-2 LR-NR
Pittsburgh Panthers logo5. Pittsburgh 781 Jamie Dixon’s name always seems to pop up at the end of each season as coaching jobs open up. But looking at this year’s team it’s easy to see why he’s had no interest in leaving. Pitt has a big three that should experience plenty of success this upcoming year. Look for Fields (when he gets back from injury) Young and big man Blair to make a formidable trio in the Big East. Team there talent with Pitt’s other young pieces and Dixon hopes to be making some noise come March. HR-2 LR-16
Texas Longhorns logo6. Texas 728 How great it must be to coach in Texas. With all 5 starters coming from the lone star state it looks like Rick Barnes has a homegrown squad looking to finally make the jump past Kansas. Expectations are high in Austin but there are a few things that could foil Barnes and co’s hopes of a Big 12 title. Being in the south, UT will have 4 games against Baylor and Oklahoma that will go a long way in deciding the Big 12 pecking order. Look for this team’s success to stem from how well AJ Abrams can adjust to taking over the point from the departed DJ Augustine. HR-4 LR-14
Duke Blue Devils logo7. Duke 710 With Coach K now having a gold medal in his pocket, the Blue Devils look to retake their place atop the CBB elite. Senior leadership and 4 starters returning will allow Duke to give UNC a run for their money in the tough ACC. One of the best things that may happen to Duke this year is the smaller target on their chest due to their counterparts down tobacco road. If Duke can be Duke while flying under the national radar due to UNC’s shadow, they may have a chance to bring home an ACC title. HR-4 LR-12
Michigan St. Spartans logo8. Michigan State 695 If ever there was a year for the Spartans to return to the Final Four, this is it. With the Final Four being right down the road in Detroit there is added pressure for a return to glory. After a solid but somewhat disappointing season last year, Michigan St believes they have the tools to make a title run. The Spartans will play 3 regular season games in the Ford Center this year. They hope it will lay the foundation for a home court advantage come March. HR-4 LR-18
  Notre Dame Fighting Irish logo9. Notre Dame 660 Who would have ever thought the Basketball team would be the best squad in South Bend? What may seem sacrilegious to some is the truth for the golden domers. The Irish have 4 starters back including potential player of the year Luke Harangody. This experienced squad will have a say in who takes home the Big East crown, and if everything falls right, maybe the National Title as well. HR-4 LR-19
  Purdue Boilermakers logo10. Purdue 655 The Boilermakers look for their first Big Ten title in over 10 years. Purdue returns all 5 starters from one of the youngest and most surprising teams in the country last season. Experience and depth will prove to be key for Purdue this upcoming season. As for experience, they got off to a good start with a 5 game road swing through Australia in the off-season. As for depth, we will just have to wait and see. HR-5 LR-16
  Gonzaga Bulldogs logo11. Gonzaga 642 Everyone’s favorite mid-major is quickly becoming a big boy on the CBB scene. The Zags made their 10<sup>th</sup> straight tournament appearance last season, which is more then some of the power programs (Florida) can say. Lead by Jeremy Pargo and Josh Heytvelt, this years squad has veteran leadership and plenty of depth. This is arguably Few’s best team to date and could finally bring a Final Four to Spokane. HR-4 LR-18
  Tennessee Volunteers logo12. Tennessee 558 With the downturn of the football team, Old Rockytop will turn its focus to Bruce Pearls club. After a stellar year last season turned sour in the tournament. Pearl and co. look to rebound and prove that they are the best team in the state of Tennessee as well as the SEC. With only 2 starters returning it may take this squad some time to gel, but they should again prove to be a team to be reckoned with come March. HR-5 LR-19
  Memphis Tigers logo13. Memphis 535 After a devastating loss in last years Championship game, Memphis looks to rebound. Inexperience may haunt this team early with only 2 starters returning. Add that to a tough ooc schedule and things may start out rough for last season’s runner-up. Look for Memphis to gain experience as the season progresses and to get healthy in a weak Conference USA. Couple the gained experience with talent and Memphis should again be a factor late in the season. HR-3 LR-21
  Oklahoma Sooners logo14. Oklahoma 512 Jeff Capel leads the beast team out of Norman since those of Hollis Price and co. With a potential player of the year candidate in Blake Griffin and a potential freshman of the year in Willie Warren, OU has a great inside outside threat that could lead this team to its first Big 12 title since ’05. The key to this team will be how fast Warren can make the leap to the college game and how PG Austin Johnson can handle the pressure of distributing the rock to a team with big expectations. HR-5 LR-NR
  Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes logo15. Miami (Fla) 359 An up and coming program looks to hold down its position in the top 25. With 4 returning starters, Miami hopes to make the ACC more then just a two horse race. Miami was able to creep up on team’s last season but this year they need to prove that they can play as a favorite. Look for the Hurricanes, the sexy pick in the ACC, to become a legitimate threat to the conference elite. HR-8 LR-NR
  Arizona St. Sun Devils logo16. Arizona State 270 With all 5 starters back, ASU has big hopes for this year. After being snubbed from the tournament last season, ASU looks to rebound with a bit of a revenge factor. Herb Sendek has done a good job of creating Basketball interest in the desert. Now its up to the players to prove that they are not just a flash in the pan. The Pac-10 seems to be wide open outside of UCLA. Will ASU fill the void? HR-13 LR-NR
  Marquette Golden Eagles logo17. Marquette 264 Had Tom Crean not bolted for Indiana; Marquette would have been top 10 material coming into this season. The talent is there, but the questions that surround that talent will be how they accept new head coach Buzz Williams. Marquette should be poised for a run at a Big East title if they can come together as a team and Dominic James can prove that he really is one of the countries elite guards. HR-12 LR-NR
  UNLV Rebels logo18. UNLV 254 Is Lon Kruger one of the best coaches no one is talking about? We think so and he’ll be able to prove it again this year. Not since Tark have UNLV fans been as excited for an upcoming season. Look for UNLV to be the next Gonzaga as they could potentially become a top 25 mainstay. Wink Adams and co. look to make their third straight appearance in the Big Dance along with another Mountain West title. HR-7 LR-NR
  Florida Gators logo19. Florida 210 After a relatively quiet season last year, the gators look to prove they are still one of CBB elites with a return to the tourney. Last years frosh may have succumbed to a since of entitlement coming off of back to back national championships and it may have cost Florida its 11th straight tourney bid. Look for Billy D to re-focus a talented group of young players lead by stud guard Nick Calathes. Florida should be right there to challenge Tennessee for another SEC title. HR-15 LR-NR
  Kansas Jayhawks logo20. Kansas (1) 208 Coming off their first title in 20 years, KU is looking to keep things rolling. After losing all 5 starters and 7 of their top 9 from last years rotation there is probably no reason for KU to start this season in the rankings. Are there 25 better teams then KU at this point? Probably. Are there 25 more talented teams in the country? Probably not. Look for things to start out rough for the Jayhawks with a tough ooc schedule, but we still expect to see this team come March. HR-1 LR-NR
  USC Trojans logo21. USC 201 Anything less then a top 3 finish in this year’s Pac 10 would be a huge disappointment for a talented USC team. The Trojans may benefit with a little addition from subtraction. Gone is OJ Mayo and in is DeMar Derozen. Team up the stud frosh with Taj Gibson, Daniel Hackett and the rest of the USC lineup and this squad is has top 2 talent in the Pac 10. USC will have no one to blame but themselves if things don’t work out this season. HR-14 LR-NR
Villanova Wildcats logo22. Villanova 190 Did Villanova lose anyone of significance off of last years team? If so it’s hard to find them. With all 5 starters back the Wildcats have high expectations coming into the season. This could be your sleeper in a stacked Big East. Jay Wright leads one of his most experienced teams ever at Nova. If there ever was a year for a Final Four run, this may be it. HR-11 LR-NR
  Georgetown Hoyas logo23. Georgetown 174 With the loss of big man Hibbert, the Hoyas look to bounce back from an upset loss in last years tourney. Look for incoming frosh Greg Monroe to pick up where Hibbert left off as the incoming freshman should plan on seeing plenty of minutes early. If Monroe can fill the void down low, the Hoyas may be able to surprise some teams in the Big East. HR-8 LR-NR 
Baylor Bears logo24. Baylor 139 No program in the country has come further then Baylor. From being on the verge of dismissing the program to Big 12 title contender. Scott Drew’s club mirrors that of the football teams that are running rampant in the conference. Score, Score and Score some more. If Baylor has any hopes of becoming more then just a sexy pick they will need to figure out how to play a little D. One of the best backcourts in the country needs to show that they can do more then just put the ball in the hole. HR-11 LR-NR
  Davidson Wildcats logo25. Davidson 136 Last years Cinderella looks to show it has staying power. Davidson was one shot away from a Final Four and history for the Southern Conference. Potential player of the year Stephen Curry assumes the role of pg and will have to learn to create his own shot. No longer will he be able to spot up and benefit from departed senior Richard’s passes. Look for Curry’s ppg to drop this season, as he adjusts to his new role. HR-14 LR-NR
  • Others receiving votes: Wisconsin 130, Wake Forest 120, Syracuse 72, St.Mary's 29, Xavier 27, Kentucky 22, West Virginia 19, Alabama 16, UAB 16, Ohio State 15, Virginia Tech 15, San Diego 6, Texas AnM 2
  • Teams by conference: Big East- 7, Big 12- 4, ACC- 3, Pac 10- 3, Big 10- 2, SEC- 2, Mountain West- 1, Southern- 1, USA- 1, WCC- 1
Big thanks to everyone who contributed! Can't wait to see how things progress and fluctuate throughout the season.

Since: Oct 13, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2008 2:33 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

It saddens me that someone living so close would neglect to reference ANY Missouri Valley teams in your top 25 or your "also-ran"s.

I assumed when I read the article that you must be a big market guy, maybe an east coast or west coast guy even.

MVC will have 2 teams in the top 25 this year, most likely.  Unfortunately, even if they have 5, only 2 will get invited to the tournament... and that's if one of them wins the conference tourney.  Billy Packer has more pull than we think.  :)


Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2008 2:07 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

Georgetown is overrated.Very True.

Since: Feb 28, 2007
Posted on: November 11, 2008 2:07 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

I hope so.  Here is a whiner badge from me:


Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:59 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

This is gonna get you a wiener badge.

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:37 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

My only beef is that Kansas got so much love.  Otherwise, I think we collectively did a pretty good job.

My score: I got 21 of the biggest discrepancy was Kentucky, who I had at 23 vs. the overall 31, and honestly I wish I'd replaced them with Marquette, my biggest omission.  Otherwise I had in Wisconsin, Xavier, and Syracuse at the expense of Georgetown, Baylor, and Kansas...six teams which really are very close, IMO.  I also had 9 of the top 10, snubbing Michigan State in favor of Gonzaga (who was 11th).

I think overall there wasn't a lot of bias, and none of the teams that got votes are way out of line.  Go us.

Georgetown is overrated.

Since: Feb 15, 2007
Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:33 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

Is this some sort of automatic generation or did you type this all up by hand?  I am impressed!

It's by hand.. been a slow week at the office.

Interesting that a lot of teams have NRs as their lowest - we got a 3 and a 4 who aren't on all lists. 

Im hoping that the Louisville and UCLA no shows are accidental omissions.. otherwise we may have some issues.

I think everything will clear itself up once we have a body of work to look at.

Since: Feb 28, 2007
Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:29 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

Wow man that is some professional looking list!  Great work!  Is this some sort of automatic generation or did you type this all up by hand?  I am impressed!

Interesting that a lot of teams have NRs as their lowest - we got a 3 and a 4 who aren't on all lists. 

Since: Feb 15, 2007
Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:26 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

One thing I noticed is that after Oklahoma at 14 theres is a pretty big points drop off. I think it goes to show you that the bottom 10 teams are pretty interchangable. Another thing that supports that, is after Memphis at 13.. all the remaining teams had atleast 1 ballot that had them unranked.

Just a couple interesting observations.

Since: Nov 4, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:12 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

Great work!

It looks really good and the picks are pretty solid.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: November 11, 2008 1:12 pm

The People's Poll (Pre-Season)

Excellent work, Jawhk! I'm glad to be a part of it. And yes, there are some discrepancies, I have some teams off by 7 or 8 spots :-)

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