Blog Entry

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

Posted on: February 22, 2010 10:46 pm
(The Week 15 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

I guess people felt sorry for me, as this week there were a couple solid entries for poll of the week. In fact, they were so good, we've got two! Congrats to wachoosay and THE MAN.

We'll start with wachoosay. I'm not even going to start on having Butler ranked at #8, I went over this briefly last week, and Gary Parrish covered the topic in his own Poll Attacks. So I'll begin with Georgetown. Sure they lost to Syracuse this week, but Syracuse is a consensus Top 5 team, it was a 4 point loss, and they made a big comeback in the 2nd half - in other words, it's not a bad loss. It's a loss a team in the 10-15 range should by definition expect to have. Also, another shot against them is their 5-5 record in the last 10 games. Look into the details though, and they played Villanova twice, Syracuse twice, Duke and Pitt. By my count that's 5 games against the Top 10 and one against a Top 15 team. That's a rough stretch of games. Going 5-5 doesn't mean they're a bad team, it's means they're not a Top 10 team. But wachoo decided not to rank Georgetown anyway, so apparently he thought teams such as Butler, BYU, Temple, UTEP, Richmond, Gonzaga, Texas A&M, Utah State, and Northern Iowa could all do better, as each of those teams are currently ranked higher. That logic doesn't work for me.

To keep this short, I'll run down the other questionable decisions of his poll - UTEP at 15 and Utah State at 19. If anyone wants me to provide reasoning behind these mentions, let me know and I'll do so in the comments.

Next up: THE MAN. Butler at #8 is still ridiculous, even if it happens twice in the same week. Having Richmond and UTEP ranked is fine, but at 15 and 16 is unreasonable for teams that have an RPI and SOS of 26/80 and 51/124. Combine these rankings with slotting Pittsburgh at 19th, and the logic just isn't shining through for me, or anyone else in the poll as nobody had these teams ranked higher than 19th (you know, aside from wachoosay). Finally, I get that Maryland is second in the ACC, but look to their ACC schedule so far - it's been a breeze. Yes they beat Georgia Tech this weekend, but that was on a last second desperation three at home - not exactly a great win. Combine that with losses to Duke, Wake Forest and Clemson (aka the only top 5 ACC teams they've played), and their current record is due in large part to an easier schedule.

Note: I realize that THE MAN was not the only person to rank Maryland, but I mentioned it for him only because it adds to the questionable nature of the poll overall.

Moving on to some special shout-outs:
- Anyone who has Butler above, say, 15 or so. I will give everyone one final week to reconsider their ranking of a team like Butler, and take into account the idea of a ceiling. Yes they keep winning, but it's against crap.
- livin_the_dream, kkjumper, hoosierguy1019, Duckbill30, Jermtheworm33, Chicago107, ski-u-muh1 and whatruss for all ranking Tennessee ahead of Vanderbilt. Vandy has an RPI of 13 and SOS of 15, compared to 15 and 23 respectively, they have a 7-3 record in the last 10 games, compared to 6-4, and Vandy has beat Tennessee twice in the last month. Ranking Tennessee ahead of Vanderbilt does not make sense to me
- bksballer89, Badgers Ballers and crazylegs0721 for ranking Wake Forest ahead of Va Tech. Combine Wake's loss to Va Tech this week, and their embarassing loss to NC State, and I don't know how this can be justified

Blatant Omissions:

Those guilty of blatant omissions have left a consensus top 15 team out of their Top 25, with the consensus being the AP, Coaches, GP and People's polls. While everyone's entitled to their opinion, these people are pushing it:

- wachoosay --> Georgetown
- gezemice --> Michigan State

Until next time!

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 25, 2010 11:06 am

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

True, we will not see eye-to-eye here, so I'm just going to note that as I was watching the TA&M/Baylor game, I noticed them talking about #10 Butler, and how their performance against the RPI Top 50 with *no bad losses* made them a serious threat for a 3-4 seed.  So it ain't just me, and clearly ranking them at 8 isn't as ridiculous as you think.  Maybe you should watch a Butler game next time they're on, instead of going on an impression formed in December. 

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2010 1:01 pm

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

Clearly you disagree with me on this one schild. I'm not going to waste any more time on this, as you're not going to be convinced otherwise. At the end of the day though, do you honestly believe that Butler can be anything higher than a 4 seed based on their resume to date? If not, then to me, they cannot be ranked above around 15.

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2010 12:23 pm

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

Hmmm...funny, I thought there was a team other than BYU that is leading the Mountain West and is ranked in the 9-11 range. You may have heard of them, they have a 12-game winning streak.
Sorry Lobofan2003, let me change my statement to say that they are tied for the lead when looking at the loss column.

As for the Tennessee/Vanderbilt item, I get where people are coming from with Vandy having lost last week... but... it just still doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense since Vandy beat them head to head twice. Having Tennessee one slot ahead of Vandy isn't blasphemy or anything, just seems weird. But with the loss to Florida (and assumng Kentucky wins), this issue should take care of itself. If Tennessee beats Kentucky, by all means slot them ahead of Vandy and chalk the whole situation up as illogical.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:56 am

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

My point, in general, is that putting an arbitrary cap on how high a team can go based upon which conference they play in is an untenable proposition. 

1.  The fact that Memphis "only" made it to the Sweet Sixteen after being ranked highly is not the point.  There are lots of teams that don't make it as far as their ranking.  Kansas losing to Bucknell is just one.  The POINT here is that no one had any problem ranking Memphis highly, and probably deservedly, because: a) Memphis had a past history of performance, just as Butler does; b) they were beating the nobodies in their league handily, just as Butler does.  The years Memphis was ranked, it played fewer quality opponents than Butler has this year--regardless of month--but the media loved Memphis.

2.  My gripe about Gonzaga is this: while they may have beaten some (slightly) better teams than Butler, that too was in November and December.  Since then, they've played the WCAC.  Worse, they've LOST to the WCAC, and not the "good teams" (Portland and St. Mary's), yet when people had them as high as 8 or 9, there was no carping at all.  Why not?  Gonzaga's record against the Top 50, etc., is not that far off from Butler's, so if Gonzaga has no ceiling, why should Butler have one?

3.  The Mountain West may indeed be a four-bid league, but how AT THIS POINT, does that help BYU's case?  They lost the only game they played against New Mexico.  They lost at UNLV.  Their best in-conference win to date is at San Diego State, another team that will never see the Top 25, followed by a home win against UNLV.  Their OOC schedule is, um, pathetic, and even there they managed to lose to the one quality team they played, Utah State.  Yet no one is talking of CAPPING BYU's rise; why not?  Because of who they will play later that might be ranked? 

4.  The Virginia Tech commentary is made with this in mind: people will discount schedule based on name and conference.  Virginia Tech's OOC schedule was perhaps the worst not just among Power Six teams, but in the nation, period.  Excreble would be too kind.  The ACC schedule, up to the Duke game, was soft.  They haven't faced Georgia Tech yet, or Florida State, or Maryland.  Played no one, in other words, until last week.  Got trounced by Duke, beat a schizoid Wake team.  Okay, fine; they're 24-5.  But let's face it: the ACC is down this year--not down like the Pac-10 is down, but down like the SEC is down, and if they can't beat Duke, no win Tech is going to get is really better than any win Butler already has.  So why shouldn't they be capped?  Butler plays "creampuffs" in the regular season, Tech plays them in the pre-season.  What's the difference?

6.  I'm not arguing that you need to look at a single game and say: "Oh, yeah, Butler's just as good as Duke because they both lost to Georgetown by similar margins." They didn't lose by similar margins, of course, for one.  The larger argument is this: Butler gets punished for losing to Georgetown, while Duke remains in the Top 10 after being blown out.  Why?  Because they're Duke, basically, and everyone "knows" that Duke has and will continue to beat quality teams, right?  No one, including you, is willing to say Duke should be capped, are they?  Well, see the ACC argument above.  They're short on quality teams this year.  Hell, after Duke, the next six teams are or should be, really, bubble teams--except they play in the ACC, and everyone "knows" that means quality.  Do I think Butler could play Duke's schedule and come out 25-4?  Possible, but doubtful.  Of course, I would have said the same about Duke, pre-season.  Butler should, therefore, be given the benefit of the doubt.  The difference between 25-4 and 20-9 is not so great as people think.  To say arbitrarily--and it IS arbitrary--that "Butler would never make it in Conference  X or Conference Y and therefore we should put a limit on how high they are ranked ... " that's just wrong.  It's wrong when people say it about Boise State and TCU in football, and it's wrong when people say it about Butler in basketball.

7.  We'll never know if Ohio State is a Top 50 RPI team without Evan Turner, will we?  I bet they would be though, because when you look at your Top 50 RPI right now, that's a pretty broad band.  ODU is still there, and so is Florida, and Cornell, and St. Mary's, and Rhode Island, and Maryland, and ... Take a look at the RPI and think again, is one point.  The larger point is: if you want to compare the "whole resume," fine.  Records, OOC schedule, great; let's compare.  But we all know it comes down to--and in fact, your ENTIRE argument is based on--"what good teams have you beaten".  Tell me that's not true, and we'll compare the "whole resume."  The comparison against Top 50, Top 75, Top 90, or whatever, wouldn't change much, and it certainly won't change your mind to say that Butler is 12-0 v #101-200, will it?  The crux of the matter is, Butler's record against the Top ... whatever, is as good as those teams, really. They've played two fewer games is all.  Is there any factual reason to suppose that they would win (or lose) both games if they played them?  No; it's all conjecture.  So you might suppose if they had to play Villanova at home on Monday and then go play at Pittsburgh that Butler would lose both (which WVa did); I might just as easily suppose that they would win both, and we'll never know who's right because they will never play.  For you to say though, that because Butler doesn't have the opportunity they cannot POSSIBLY be as good ... well, again, I'd say that's wrong.

8.  My point about SOS is this: where would you like to make the cut and start capping teams?  Will it be based on what conference they play in, what their SOS is, what their RPI is?  SOS, in any case, is a very flexible measure.  If Tennessee loses the rest of their conference games and flames out in the tournament, Kentucky's win over the Vols becomes less of a factor and the Wildcats' SOS goes down.  Right now, it's hard to say whether Kentucky's win over UConn is a quality win or not, isn't it?  Maybe Butler's win over Xavier will look better in a couple of weeks and their SOS will improve.  My argument is this: SOS, in particular, is a number in flux.  Like the RPI, it is based upon someone's judgment of which teams and which conferences are "quality" at a random point in time.

Overall, the point is this: Butler should be judged on its merits and not penalized for the competition they don't have the opportunity to play.  If you want to cap Butler, then you have to cap Virginia Tech as a penalty for playing the Sisters of the Blind in the pre-season.  If you want to cap Butler, then you have to cap Gonzaga, and then you might as well just say: lose to a team rated below 150 (or pick a number) in the RPI and you can never be ranked above 15 (or pick a number).  If you want to cap Butler based upon what they did in November and December--because that's the last time you saw them play and that's your "lasting impression"--then stop watching everyone else and cap them based on where they stood on 1 January.

I'm arguing first and foremost for doing what the people's poll (and attacks) are supposed to do and judge a team on its merits, not name or conference.  In other words, no cap.  EVER.  I'm arguing second that Butler's resume IS as good, on numbers, worst loss, number of wins v. Top 50 RPI, Top 25 teams, whatever, as teams that are ranked (without quibble) 6-7-8-9, and if those teams can be ranked there, why not Butler?

Since: Dec 18, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2010 10:31 am

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

One more thing about Tenn/Vandy... I'm with Hoosierguy on this one.  I too had Vanderbilt 1 spot ahead of Tenn last week, and when Vanderbilt lost this week while Tenn won both games (Including a decent road win at South Carolina), I couldn't do anything but move them ahead of Vanderbilt again.  While it was hard to do, I couldn't in my right mind see any other choice.  I'd either have to move Vanderbilt up despite having lost this week, or move Tennessee down despite having picket up 2 wins this week.... A Catch 22 if you will. That being said, with Tenn's loss to Florida yesterday, it is likely they will be behind Vandy the rest of the way. (Although knocking off Kentucky would basically cancel out the Florida loss and I'd probably be stuck with another hard scenario next week between the 2 teams next week)

Since: Mar 4, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2010 3:20 am

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

The team that wins the Mountain West (or leads it as BYU is now) deserves to be ranked around the 9-11 slot Hmmm...funny, I thought there was a team other than BYU that is leading the Mountain West and is ranked in the 9-11 range. You may have heard of them, they have a 12-game winning streak.

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2010 8:55 pm

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

To address the main arguments in your post schild:

  1. If anything, the Memphis example from last year proves my point. They did ok in their out of conference schedule, tore through a weak in conference schedule, ended up with a 2 seed, and lost in the Sweet Sixteen. Frankly, if Memphis didn't have Cal State Northridge and Maryland in its first two games last year, they wouldn't have made it out of the first weekend.
  2. Gonzaga would have been included in my blurb, as they are not a Top 10 team, regardless of how many wins in a row they rack up in their conference. I would say their ceiling is higher as, like someone mentioned above, they beat Illinois and Wisconsin, which is better than any wins that Butler has.
  3. BYU is in a different situation than Butler too. The Mountain West is shaping up to be a 4 bid league this year, where as the Horizon will be a 1 bid league. The team that wins the Mountain West (or leads it as BYU is now) deserves to be ranked around the 9-11 slot, as it's a competitive league this year.
  4. Va Tech, for all intents and purposes, was ranked consistently in the 21-25 range this week by the majority of the polls. I think it was geze who ranked them 14 (which for the record I had planned on attacking, but it slipped my mind...), and that is by far an outlier. GP has them at 25 this week too. So I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say they are being shoved up the rankings.
  5. I never said Butler was a borderline team. I said they're likely 15 max, which would have them around a 4 seed. I see no issues with that ranking based on where their resume will get to.
  6. I see what you're doing with the mentions of Duke and Wisconsin, but the argument is useless. You cannot look at a single game for Duke and Wisconsin to prove that Butler's entire resume is better than a 15 rank. Are you trying to say that Butler would have a similar or better record than Wisconsin or Duke if they played the same schedule? Make that argument, and then we can discuss this further.
  7. Again, this top 50 RPI win-loss record only tells a portion of the story in each team's overall resume. Make an argument as to why Butler should be ahead of Villanova and West Virginia when looking at the entire resume, and then we can discuss. And for the record, realistically Butler is 2-3 against the Top 50 - Ohio State is not a Top 50 RPI team without Evan Turner.
  8. You list off some SOS', but Kentucky, Purdue and Temple all have a better SOS, so I'm not sure what your point is. Also, Kentucky has only 1 loss and Purdue 3 losses (compared to Butler's 4), despite having played a stronger schedule. Again, what is your point?

Frankly, I still stand by my statement that Butler needs to have a ceiling. My lasting impression of this Butler team is that against their top competition, they came up short. They also haven't played anyone significant since mid-December (Siena doesn't really count since they're never going to see the Top 25 this year). To me, this team cannot realistically go higher than about 15.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2010 7:37 pm

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

KUnflMLBnba+ summed up my thoughts on Georgetown exactly.  They are 18-7.  There are plenty of ACC teams in that range too, and I didn't rank them this week.  Frankly, I got tired of seeing ACC teams put into my poll only to fall out because they lost a game or two during the week.  This year's bubble is big and there will be lots of teams playing their way onto it and off of it.  Is Louisville in or out at this point?  The Cardinals aren't ranked this week, and their record is 18-9.  They play Georgetown tonight, and a Hoya win will get them back in my good graces, especially if they follow it up with another win later this week.  I just like giving a little pub to teams that seem to be "in form" at the moment, and right now, I think Georgetown is just too flakey to mess with.  I have a feeling they will destroy my bracket this year, because I think they will lose in the first round when I expect them to win, or they could go two or three games if I pick them to lose in the first round.  I agree about the knock on Butler.  8th is probably too high, and I really don't expect to see them get a 4-seed or better when the bracket comes out (maybe 4, but that would be their limit).  However, in their last 5 games they have broken open close contests and won handily with strong second halves.  Sure, the competition isn't as great as you'll find in many leagues, but the Bulldogs are beating these teams in convincing fashion, which is what you would expect from any school that's trying to make a name for itself and impress the Selection Committee. 

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2010 6:49 pm

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

Butler did beat a pretty good Siena team, but 8th is pretty high. I felt my 11th was pretty high. But i'm going to keep them there unless they lose.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2010 6:47 pm

The People's Poll Attack - Week 15

I can understand being on the list for having Vandy behind the Vols. BUT, last week i had Vandy one ahead of Tenn, Tennessse did not lost last week, while Vandy did at home. Yes, they lost to the #2 team in the country. But am i supposed to actually move them up (beacuse others moved down) and drop Tenn, when they didn't do anything wrong. In the end, YES, Vandy might get a better seed that Tennessee (I could argue that though), but last week in the end Tennessee won and Vandy didn't. By this time next week, Tennessee could be #23 in my poll, while Vandy would be #21. Tennessee plays at home against Kentucky. If Tennessee wins, well then Tennessee would have won at home against UK, while vandy would lose. If they lose to UK, then its obvious Tenn should be behind Vandy, Tenn would've lost to vandy twice and UK twice.

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