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Blog Entry

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

Posted on: February 8, 2010 9:32 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2010 8:25 am
 
(The Week 13 People's Poll can be found here)

The People's Poll is meant to provide a voice to the average college basketball fan, free from media and homer bias. Sometimes, the people need to be reminded of this. The result: The People's Poll Attack


Poll of the Week

Before I announce the winner(s), let's do a quick comparison of two teams:

Team one is 19-4, with an RPI of 3 and an SOS of 4. They are 3-3 against the Top 25, and 10-3 against the Top 100. They've done well to not lose at home, but have lost on the road by 14 points to a team with an RPI of 109 and a home loss to my pathetic Tar Heels.

Team two is 17-5, with an RPI of 8 and an SOS of 1. They are 5-2 against the Top 25, and 10-5 against the Top 100. They did lose a home game this week, which some people are calling brutal despite South Florida having an RPI of 50 (i.e. it's not as bad as everyone is trying to make it out to be).

So in summary, team one has two more wins, 1 fewer loss, and a better RPI. Team two has a better SOS, a better record against the Top 25 and a better "worst loss" (Marquette vs. NC State). Pretty even comparison eh? How could I ever decide which team to rank ahead of the other.... OH YEAH, team two beat the living piss out of team one 8 freaking days ago!!!

I guess by now most of you have realized that I'm comparing Duke and Georgetown. And I guess you've likely figured out my big beef with this week's poll - people ranking Duke ahead of Georgetown. I get that the Hoyas lost to South Florida this week, which is not what a Top 10 team should do, but they also beat Villanova (aka the previously 2nd ranked team in the country)! And like I mentioned, Georgetown's win over Duke was not a close, hard-fought game. The Hoyas were up by 23 points with four and a half minutes left in the game - that's a beatdown to the tenth degree!

Now on to the "winners" for the week. The following people blew it in their poll this week in my opinion:

- Pels, KVSkubball, jasonwells1982, Jermtheworm33, wachoosay, hoosierguy1019, Duckbill30, gezemice, bksballer89, s0merand0mdude, KUnflMLBnba+, ski-u-muh1, reamo37, Crazy_kitty, SpotTEmINd, WIzard

For those of you counting, that's 16 polls or 40%. At least these people can take some comfort that the Coaches blew it this week too.

Special shout-outs go to:

- Schildkrotte. I can see you're stubborn, well so am I. Cornell at 7 is still ludicrous. I get that they went 2-0 this week, but that was over Yale and Brown who have a combined RPI of 10,000 (or something in that neighbourhood). I'm sorry, but there's a cap as to how high a team with an RPI of 49, SOS of 174 and top win against a team with an RPI of 90 can go, and it is nowhere near the Top 10. Try maybe 20-25.
- SpotTEmINd for not ranking New Mexico or UNLV, but yet ranking BYU. Which makes no sense, since BYU lost to both teams in the last two weeks

Blatant Omissions:

Those guilty of blatant omissions have left a consensus top 15 team out of their poll, with the consensus being the AP, Coaches, GP and People's polls. While everyone's entitled to their opinion, these people are pushing it:

- Badgers Ballers --> Texas

Until next time!
Comments

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 13, 2010 10:57 am
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

Apparently, the burden of being so high in my poll was too much for them.  Frown
I am forced to retract everything about the quality of Cornell's team at this point, after not just an Ivy League loss, but a 15-point loss to a 3-14 team led by a short left-hander who looks more like my cousin than a ball player but managed to use his two-handed set shot from 26 feet to destroy Little Red.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Cornell will find it's appropriate spot in the poll this week.



Since: Feb 24, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2010 3:57 pm
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

Mid-major (and Ivy) basketball is better than most people are willing to concede.
Schild, I agree with you here, but having Cornell as high as you do is ridiculous.  I am a Cornell alum, and I can't even put them anywhere close to that high.  It has to do with who you played and who you beat, and to a certain extent, the eye test. 

I completely agree with you that based on the eye test, Cornell is a top 25 team.  Just like Davidson was 2 years ago, but didn't get the credit for it.  However, they haven't played enough top tier teams or even beaten one to deserve something that high.  They have some good wins that look better when other top teams have played that same team (Alabama for one).  However, the comparison argument is limited at best. 

Somewhere 20-25 is probably right, although I don't think you would get too much criticism if you had them in the upper teens.  Top 10 is just way too much of a stretch.



Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 11, 2010 12:07 pm
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

FWIW, taking the "Top 20" non-power six by CBS RPI, you get a record of 37-34 in games against power-six teams.  According to Dickie V (I try not to listen, but it's impossible), the power six have lost some 60 games against mid-majors (or below).  Granted some (a lot?) of that is the Pac-10 and some conference lightweights, but ...

Included on the list of victims:  Texas A&M (New Mexico); Villanova (Temple); Oklahoma State (Rhode Island); Wisconsin (Gonzaga); Missouri (Richmond); Florida (Richmond); Mississippi State (Richmond); Georgia Tech (Dayton); Georgetown (ODU); Oklahoma (UTEP).

Current Top 25 teams that haven't lost to a mid-major:  Kansas, Syracuse (not counting LeMoyne), Duke (not counting NC State), West Virginia, Purdue, Kentucky, Kansas State, Michigan State, Tennessee.  That's it, by my count: 10.

Mid-major (and Ivy) basketball is better than most people are willing to concede.



Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 11, 2010 11:33 am
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

Yes and no, Canuck.  IMAO, if the tournament started today, Cornell is worthy of about a 3-4 seed--which means Top 12.  I expect that, when the tournament does start, the best seed they can expect ("the seed they deserve") is going to be 6, because the committee values RPI, SOS, etc.  

And yes, I have them at 7 (which would be a 2 seed) and I see the contradiction.  I'm ranking them at 7 based on what I've seen, and the Ws and Ls.  Parrish will say that he doesn't care so much about a game as the Body of Work, but he's clearly full of it.  Baylor beat one team and jumped 12 spots into his Top 25; that sort of thing happens all the time.  I'm saying that I really think Cornell is as good as any team that would get a 3-4-5-6 seed in the NCAAs.  Right now, it's a massive jumble out there, with "quality" teams losing to teams they have no business losing to; Cornell isn't doing that.  Yes, their SOS stinks because no one thinks highly of the Ivy League.  But people thought better of it when Harvard beat William and Mary and William and Mary in turn beat a "power six team".

This is the crux of it; year after year, non-"Power six" teams get penalized for the league they play in, when they proved in November, December, and January that they can play with the big boys.  The "November isn't March" argument cuts no ice with me.  I realize good teams improve over time, and I realize that teams change.  As I noted, UNC in December was still a good team; UNC in February is a mess. 

The fact remains though, that teams like Cornell and Butler are good, capable teams as well; they too, improve over time and change.  Butler right now --not that I think they're Top Ten; I think Cornell would beat them handily--is a better team than the Butler that lost to all of those "quality teams" in December.  Can I prove it? No.  Could it be that they look better because they are playing lower quality opponents?  Yes, possibly.  But the eye test says no.

Cornell could be 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ... they're in that range, right now, IMAO.  Where exactly they end up each week depends as much on who else wins or loses as what they do.  It's hard to keep a struggling Michigan State ahead of them right now, for instance; and it's hard to keep Georgetown far ahead of them when the performance of the two teams v. Syracuse is about the same, and the Hoyas are busy re-making Jekyll and Hyde.  So this week they're at 7.  Teams may pass them; it will be hard for them to move up because, yes, they don't play anyone.  They may lose to a nobody and get punished for it (about six spots seems to be my norm, for some reason).  If I put them at 9, would it make you happy?



Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2010 4:37 pm
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

 IMO, the only thing worth paying attention to is who won. Not by how much, and not by whether or not the subs were put in. Georgetown beat Duke @Georgetown. Big deal

You need to explain to me the validity of this claim and how it doesn't lead to flaws within rankings? You absolutely need to take everything about games into account as opposed to just the final score.

What your statement essentially implies is that for a team like Ohio State, you should completely ignore the fact that they were without Turner when they lost those 3 games without him, and dock them hard for losing to a bad Michigan team. Is that really fair? No, that's why you need to look beyond the score and look at details of the games.

When making an arguement about the current rankinegs, don't use a bracket that predicts the future, use one that puts teams in based on their resumes now.Jerry Palm's does this, which is who I referenced.




Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2010 4:21 pm
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

But we shall see, I hope, if or when the committee gives Cornell the seeding they deserve (I'm thinking a 6) instead of just assuming, as most pollsters do, that they're "just the Ivy League" and sticking them as a 14--but even there, I'll pick them as the upset.Did you just spend an entire post trying to explain why you feel Cornell belongs to be ranked in the top 10 and then state that they deserve a 6 seed in the tournament? Does that not mean you really feel they deserve to be somewhere in the 21-24 range in the rankings?

As for your reference to Butler, I flat out forgot to mention that. I had flagged it, but it slipped my mind when I wrote the Poll Attacks. I'll make sure to look for that stuff again next week, as you're right, Butler has no right to be ranked that high.



Since: Nov 29, 2008
Posted on: February 9, 2010 11:19 am
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

Look beyond the final score s0merand0mdude. It was a 23 point game with 4 minutes left before Georgetown took out its starters and put in its subs. When the top players for each team were playing each other, Georgetown destroyed Duke. IMO, the only thing worth paying attention to is who won. Not by how much, and not by whether or not the subs were put in. Georgetown beat Duke @Georgetown. Big deal, they had home-court and five days of rest compared to Duke's three. Duke still has only one loss to a team outside of the Top 25, Georgetown has three. Bringing me to my next point...What do you mean Georgetown "has three losses to teams like this"? Check out Palm's latest bracket projections, which are made assuming the tourney starts today. Marquette and Old Dominion are both in the tourney, and South Florida is on the fence. NC State isn't even on the fence. When making an arguement about the current rankinegs, don't use a bracket that predicts the future, use one that puts teams in based on their resumes now. shows only South Florida in, with Marquette and Old Dominion on the fence. That aside, I was making a point about Top 25 teams, not tournament teams.



Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2010 11:18 am
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

Believe me, it's not just stubborness.  It's the fact that having seen Cornell play a few times, I really believe they're as good as anyone else ranked 4-34. 

The SOS and RPI things don't impress me.  As you noted yourself: "There's no such thing as an impartial computer."  SOS and RPI are predicated on someone's perception of "how strong" a team or a conference is at any given time.  Even over the course of the year, the final RPI and SOS are "swayed" by that.

But allow me to go one further.  Yes, Cornell's best win is over a team that has, now, an RPI of 90.  Did you note that when they actually played though, Harvard's RPI was 39?  And a week before that it was 35.  That's how much RPI changes.  Let's face it: playing UNC in November was different than playing the Heels now.  Teams change, and using a number spit out by a computer that claims to take in the whole season is really just averaging.

Next step, losses.  Cornell's worst loss is to a team with an RPI of 64 and an SOS of 9.  In other words, the worst team they lost to, by your measures, is a pretty good team.  Let us now look at some of those other teams that the mighty powers you trumpet as superior to Cornell have lost to:  South Florida has an RPI of 52, SOS of 26; North Carolina State has an RPI of 106 and an SOS of 95; Notre Dame's numbers are 60 and 61; San Diego State's are 41 and 56; Green Bay has an RPI of 118 and SOS of 153.  Shall we go on?

Now, you'll argue that Georgetown, Duke, West Virginia, New Mexico, Wisconsin and all of your other "superior teams" have to play such a heavy schedule, day in and day out, that such "slips" are inevitable.  But that argument hasn't proven out with Boise State or TCU in football, and there's nothing to say that it won't work out here.  Further, you have no beef with people who put Butler up in the Top Ten, and look at THEIR body of work: RPI is 15, SOS is 49.  Best win: they beat Xavier, at home.  After that, it's the win against Ohio State without Evan Turner, and a win at Northwestern.  Losses to: Georgetown, UAB, Clemson, and Minnesota.  The Golden Gophers' numbers: 61 and 45.  So Butler has lost to a team "worse" than Cornell, yet somehow you have no trouble with them being ranked 10-12? 

Bah, I say, bah.  RPI, SOS, whatever ... Big Red looks and plays as well as any of those teams people are ranking 4-34, and could beat any of them, methinks, on any given day on a neutral court.  But we shall see, I hope, if or when the committee gives Cornell the seeding they deserve (I'm thinking a 6) instead of just assuming, as most pollsters do, that they're "just the Ivy League" and sticking them as a 14--but even there, I'll pick them as the upset.



Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2010 8:44 am
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

Winning by 12 at home is an accomplishment, but it's not the be-all end-all of who should be ranked over whom, especially when the winner is the home team. Sagarin, an impartial computer, has Duke ahead of Georgetown. KenPom, another impartial computer, has Duke ahead of Georgetown. Geroge town has lost more games, and just this week lost to a South Florida team that has never been considered Top 25 material. Georgetown has three losses to teams like this, Duke has one. Duke deserves to be ranked ahead of Georgetown at this point.
  1. Look beyond the final score s0merand0mdude. It was a 23 point game with 4 minutes left before Georgetown took out its starters and put in its subs. When the top players for each team were playing each other, Georgetown destroyed Duke.
  2. There's no such thing as an impartial computer. All computer systems are inherently limited based on the data taken into consideration in the formula. Computers would also be challenged to properly take results such as Duke vs. Georgetown into account, as it wouldn't adjust for the fact that Georgetown subs were playing Duke starters at the end of the game, which led to a closer score in the end.
  3. I conceded that the Hoyas have lost more games - go read my rationale above. There are things in Georgetown's favour when comparing to Duke though, and I said these two teams would essentially be a toss-up on who to rank above the other if not for the head to head meeting
  4. What do you mean Georgetown "has three losses to teams like this"? Check out Palm's latest bracket projections, which are made assuming the tourney starts today. Marquette and Old Dominion are both in the tourney, and South Florida is on the fence. NC State isn't even on the fence.

You've failed to convince me that my argument is irrationale. I see no justification at all that Duke should be ahead of Georgetown.




Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2010 8:27 am
 

The People's Poll Attack - Week 13

G-town lost to Nova AT Nova earlier this year...The game last week was at G-town.  Just in case you want to fix thatWinkHmmm... I could have sworn I'd saw it was at Nova. But you're right. Wording changed, thanks for the catch.


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