Blog Entry

The People's Poll Attack - Week 14

Posted on: February 15, 2010 4:51 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2010 4:53 pm
(The Week 14 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

It was a tough one this week, as we're getting a lot of conformity in the polls now that we've got only about a month until Selection Sunday. So while I've singled someone out, this may be the weakest "Poll of the Week" yet.

The winner this week has been here before... wachoosay.

UTEP is currently leading Conference USA with a 10-1 record. However, this doesn't quite mean as much this year with Memphis in a full blown rebuilding year. They have an RPI of 56, but a SOS of 131. They also have only 1 win over a possible NCAA team (UAB), and a 10 point loss to a bad Houston team. Overall, I can understand how a case can be made for them to be ranked, but 18th seems too high. Especially ahead of teams such as Vanderbilt, BYU, Wake Forest and Temple.

Ranking Utah State is also a stretch in my opinion, as the WAC is a one-bid league (i.e. leading the league isn't that special), they've beat only 1 likely tourney team (BYU) and have losses to Utah and Long Beach State.

Like I said above, weak attack.

Special shout-outs to:
- Pels, wachoosay, and THE MAN... their rankings of Butler seem a tad high at 11, 11 and 8 respectively. Yes they've strung together a number of wins, but its against weak competition. I can't help but think back to their struggles earlier against tougher competition and how they are 2-3 against the Top 50. Top 15 seems to high for this team in my eyes. I feel that 18-20 is highest I can go with this team.

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:

- reamo --> New Mexico
- Badgers Ballers --> West Virginia
- theriverrock --> Wisconsin (yes the Coaches' Poll has them at 16, but they also had Duke ahead of Georgetown last week... close enough)
- Duckbill30 --> Gonzaga

Until next time!

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2010 10:28 am

The People's Poll Attack - Week 14

Canuck ... I'm curious about this: "it just is tough for me to justify not putting a ceiling on how high they can go in the rankings."  Really?  Are you saying that, if Butler (for the sake of argument) was 30-0 and every other team in the nation had at least 3 losses, there's no way Butler is #1? 

This argument rages on in football, stoked initially by the mythical national championship share awarded to BYU after a 12-0 year in which they "played no one" and culminating these days in the "what do we do with TCU and Boise State" dilemma.  To me, this smacks of elitism and, I have to say, a bit of naiteve.  Year after year after year, people buy into UNC, Duke, and the other big programs at the beginning of the year and discount mid-majors.  Year after year after year, mid-majors spend the pre-season beating big programs and earning respect, but only getting so far because people: a) discounted them early; b) discount their conference; c) put a cap on how high they are willing to see a mid-major go.

Now, I'm willing to concede that 99.9 percent of mid-majors, with the Gonzagas and Temples being the exceptions, have almost no chance of winning the NCAAs.  Even the Gonzagas and Temples have slim chances at best.  But how can you just say: they will NEVER be above #3 in the nation?  How can you even say that, because a team lost four games in November they can never rise above X in the polls?  Isn't this the equivalent of saying, well, Duke beat Gonzaga in December, therefore Duke must be ranked above Gonzaga for the rest of the season? Yes, Butler struggled in December.  Lots of teams did.  And some teams that swept through December are struggling now.  Isn't the poll a snapshot of how things look NOW?

Justifying a team's ranking based on what they've done ... okay ... putting a cap on a team's ranking...

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2010 11:08 am

The People's Poll Attack - Week 14

Couple comments from my end wachoo.

First, I understand where you're coming from with Butler, but perhaps the issue is that you've had them ranked a bit too high for a couple weeks then. Yes they keep winning, and yes teams ahead of them keep losing, but it just is tough for me to justify not putting a ceiling on how high they can go in the rankings (along with a bunch of other mid-major teams). Like I said, I just can't shake how they struggled in their out-of-conference schedule, so really, they didn't stack up well against the tough part of the schedule. I do understand what you've said though, as I struggle with these types of decisions every week (i.e. New Mexico, BYU, etc.)

Valid comparison of Va Tech and Utah State, though I will still say that you have to admit Utah State has some bad losses, which Va Tech doesn't really have (I'd argue you can't include UNC as a bad loss, since when they lost to them the Tar Heels were still a consensus Top 20 team and not in their free-fall just yet).

And just to say again, I don't have an issue with UTEP being ranked, but 18 seems too high.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2010 8:12 am

The People's Poll Attack - Week 14

In my defense about Butler, all I can say is they keep winning (admittedly in a weaker conference), while teams above them keep losing.  If the Bulldogs lose, it will be to an unranked team, and they will be dealt with accordingly.  As for a cadillac league like the Big East (which is way tougher than the Horizon), shouldn't their teams get punished for losing to unranked teams too?  I have a conspiracy theory that the league was looking at 5 bids only heading into last weekend, and 4 of them lost so they could get more teams in the tournament to get more money to feed the monster of splitting that money among 16 schools.  OK, West Virginia and Pittsburgh played each other, so one of them had to lose.  But Syracuse losing at home to Louisville?  Georgetown losing at Rutgers?  Connecticut winning at Villanova?  The cynic in me thinks a fix is in! (sarcasm).  Back to Butler...the Bulldogs had an unusual week in which they played 3 games.  They won them all (1 home and 2 away) by double digits.  I had them ranked 11th last week, and despite the 3 wins, I didn't bump them up like I might have for teams from bigger conferences.

As for Utah State vs. Virginia Tech, I did consider the Hokies for the poll this week, but frankly, every ACC team I've put in the 17-25 slots this year winds up losing at least once a week, and while the league is very competitive, I got tired of seeing my ranked teams not step up and distinguish themselves.  The Hokies play Wake and Duke this week.  If they win both, they will definitely make it next week.  If they split, it depends on how they played those games and what other teams in the dreaded 17-25 slots do for the week.  If they lose both, forget it.  According to, Tech is ranked 24th today, and Utah State is 25th.  The Aggies non-conference schedule seals the deal for me (ranked 181 vs. 337 for Virginia Tech).  I wanted to rank them last week, but refrained from doing so.  UTEP may be a stretch too, but I think they've asserted themselves for now, as the favorite heading into the CUSA tournament, which is in Tulsa this year.  Sorry for the long post--just wanted to let you know where I was coming from on my perspective.

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