Blog Entry

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

Posted on: February 21, 2011 1:39 pm

Posted by MATT JONES

The Coaches' Poll is a joke. I know it, you know it and the American people know it. The actual coaches who allegedly participate (you and I both know that in reality it is the Sports Information Director or some assistant to the coach who completes the poll each week) never do as good a job of analyzing the teams as those in the media. Thus you inevitably end up with some odd assortment of teams, usually based upon a pick by number "which team didn't lose this week" system that requires little thought and no analysis.

But even with my usual low expectations for the poll of coaches, this week was still shockingly bad. I will freely admit that picking a No. 1 team in America this week was difficult. With the top four teams all losing last week, figuring out which to place on top of the heap could lead to a varying set of opinions. But one thing is certain. You couldn't really decide which team was the best in America by simply going down the list and finding the highest team that didn't take a loss. No group of minds would be so simplistic as to use that strategy to pick a top team, would they?

Yes they would. For reasons only known to the underlings in the athletic departments who made the list, the coaches picked Duke to be the No. 1 team in America. Ignoring every bit of logic or reason that exists, the coaches went with the one indefensible pick for the top spot.  You can make a reasonable case for the other five contenders:

Ohio State: Two losses, both to teams who are perfect at home on the season. The Buckeyes were in both games and both teams to which they lost will be a top four seed in March. Ohio State is also the most complete all around team in America and probably the best suited to face the variety of attacks they will face in March.

Kansas: The Jayhawks are No. 1 in the RPI (although that is becoming less and less important as our statistical knowledge increases), are 7-2 versus the top 50 overall and one of the two losses is to a fellow Top 5 team. The Kansas State loss was bad, but for a team that has otherwise dominated opponents, they can't be forgotten on the heels of one effort.

Pittsburgh: The forgotten team in the group. Pittsburgh has beaten 7 teams in the Top 25.  No one else is close. The Panthers play in the best conference and have a win over fellow contender Texas. Dropping Pitt to sixth means that you as a voter simply saw they were in 4th last week and thought, "well I must punish them by dropping them two spots," without recognizing that the loss occurred on the home floor of a team with five Top 20 home defeats.

Texas: The team playing the best basketball in America. The Longhorns have the most talent, have only lost once in conference and are crushing teams in every manner possible. Plus, they have the best win of the season, a road victory at Kansas. Yes there are four losses on the resume, but if we are picking the best team, Texas is it.,

San Diego State: I don't like the case for the Aztecs, but one at least exists. They only have one loss, it is to fellow Top 8 team BYU and they have beaten Gonzaga, Wichita State, St. Mary's and UNLV, all of which will be NCAA contenders. If total losses are most important to you, then San Diego State wins. Plus, at least this year, the Mountain West is pretty close to the ACC overall.

The only team I can't understand putting in the top spot is Duke. The Blue Devils were embarrassed at St. John's (contrast that with how Pittsburgh played the Johnnies this week) and have only ONE game (nevermind win) against the Top 25 in college basketball. The ACC is painfully weak and all of Duke's best victories are over likely bubble teams. With the same number of losses as Ohio State and Kansas, a much weaker resume than Pittsburgh and Texas and less overall wins in a similar conference than San Diego State, how can you pick the Blue Devils?

Oh, I know. Because they were the highest team that didn't lose last week. Nice job once again coaches. 


Since: Aug 16, 2009
Posted on: February 21, 2011 11:26 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

Duke beats a high school team from Atlanta and moves up to #1?  Looks like too many people are fawning all over Coach K.  Face it folks, the ACC is no better this season that the PAC-10 or Mountain West.  Even the CAA and A-10 would give most of the ACC a run for their money.  Wake, UVA, GaTech are really bad this year, NCSt bad, and Maryland kinda average.

I hope UNC knocks off the dookies next week and then Clemson beats them in the ACC tourney and they just go away......

Since: Oct 29, 2008
Posted on: February 21, 2011 11:18 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

That's funny you can use the transitive property against Duke (haters) but not FOR Duke??

Kansas got crushed by K-State and Duke dominated K-State in Kansas (I was there).  I've yet to see one of you "media" guys point that out.

Duke is the defending Champion.  They were the top ranked team that didn't lose this week.  How can you be so shocked at the logic of it? 

Besides, on a neatral court you can't without a doubt say any of those teams would beat Duke for certain.  Just feel happy Kyrie Irving got hurt or you Duke haters would really have something to whine about right now.

Since: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:57 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

Duke is #1 because they are a solid team. They have punched their ticket, but others have work to do.

Since: Feb 24, 2008
Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:21 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

I couldn't agree with Matt more.  Duke is probably top 10, but not #1.  It's time for these pollsters to look at the teams schedule, who they played, who they beat and who they lost to.  There are teams like Texas that will schedule anybody non conference, teams like Pitt that have to slug it through the Big East and on and on.

Duke played one, ONE, top 25 team.  A joke.  I hope NC mops em up.

Forget RPI, look at BYU and SDSU non conference schedules.  Not really a schedule that makes one wince with how many decent teams they scheduled.

I realize polls are just opinions, but shouldn't they at least be educated opinions?

Since: Sep 25, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:06 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

Nothing wrong with a little Duke bashing! Laughing

Since: Dec 1, 2010
Posted on: February 21, 2011 9:47 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

"Oh, I know. Because they were the highest team that didn't lose last week. Nice job once again coaches."
wish you would have just said that at the beginning of this rant, uh aritcle.  could've have a couple minutes of my life back.   who cares who's ranked what, polls are for show.  at the end of the day, out of those 6 teams mentioned, 1, MAYBE 2, are gonna be in the final four.  and what they're ranked in the third week of february is of the utmost importance.  i'm sure we'll all think back to this article in april and it will all be relevant.  putting stock in a poll now is about as useful as putting stock in a preseason poll.  but don't worry, it will all be sorted out.  it's called the ncaa tourney.  great job matt.  all the interesting topics used up?

Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: February 21, 2011 9:26 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

Hahaha.  I don't imagine skullface will come on here after that ridiculous comment about St. John's.  At least be educated to post on here buddy.

And last I checked, MSU and KSU are both fringe teams to make the tournament right now.  Doesn't matter what they WERE ranked.  They were both overrated from the beginning.

Since: Sep 3, 2009
Posted on: February 21, 2011 6:45 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

Big East is very overrated.  Other than Villanova they just play thugball and when they play in the NCAA tournament, thugball losses.  That's why the ACC and Big Ten win - they play basketball.  Duke, Ohio State and Purdue will be final four if they are in different regions

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 6:42 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

It's not hate.  It's a little something called REALITY.  I have no problem admitting my Gators are a second tier team in a second tier league.  Sad thing is, put the SEC East up against the top 6 in the ACC, and I'll take the SEC east (I'd take the ACC as a whole).  When you look at the body of work, Duke is still number 4 or 5 (they have an arguement against Kansas, that's it).  But, with the NCAA as a whole down this year with no dominant teams, you might win it all, or you might not even make it past the first weekend, and I'll say that about all 8 #1 and #2 seeds.  It's that wide open this year.  Just don't get too hyped on beating Ga Tech.  The other teams all lost on the road to RPI top 50 caliber teams, and they have much better quality wins.

Since: Feb 21, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2011 4:58 pm

Duke No. 1 in Coaches' Poll...Why?

Everyone that's not a duke fan just finds a way to hate.....6 in rpi 35strength of schedule to date wit 2more games vs top25 teams....we beat m state when they were ranked 4 beat k state were ranked 6 beat unc were ranked 19 will beat temple next game top 25 will beat unc again top 25...12 wins to date vs teams rpi top 100 9 top 50

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