Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 3:46 pm
By Gary Parrish

UNLV should be ranked ahead of Illinois.

Only six Associated Press voters don't understand this.

But hopefully those six will learn their lesson in this week's Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Leaving UNLV off your ballot is wrong.

Leaving UNLV off your ballot that includes Illinois?

That's way wrong.

But six AP voters -- Bill Cole, Elton Alexander, Pete Glibert, Roger Clarkson, Ron Morris and Rod Beard -- managed to do exactly that this week, and so now they find themselves in the middle of the Poll Attacks. Merry Christmas, fellas. Did you see what UNLV did to Illinois on Saturday in Chicago? The Rebels won 64-48. And, no, head-to-head matchups aren't the deciding factor on everything. They can't be. But UNLV doesn't only have that 16-point victory over the Illini in Illinois, the Rebels also have a better overall body of work.

UNLV has wins over No. 5 North Carolina and No. 25 Illinois, and the Rebels' only losses are at No. 13 Wisconsin and at Wichita State, which is receiving votes in the AP poll.  Meantime, Illinois has zero wins over schools currently ranked. So UNLV has better wins than Illinois, no real bad losses and -- don't forget this -- a dominant win over the Illini in Chicago. In my opinion, both schools should be ranked. So I'm not killing Illinois. All I'm saying is that UNLV should also be ranked. And definitely above Illinois. Because ranking Illinois while not ranking UNLV is almost as dumb as Will Barton being an official candidate for an award given annually to the nation's top point guard.

Coaches poll:
Would you drop a team because it lost a game when three players fouled out?

Of course you would.

We all would.

Which is why I have no problem with the coaches dropping Xavier from ninth to 15th in this week's poll even though Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dez Wells did not play in Sunday's home loss to Oral Roberts, because they essentially fouled out of the game before it started via the roles they played in that brawl against Cincinnati. They were all suspended because of their actions. So why shouldn't Xavier pay a price for that?

An injury?

That's nobody's fault.

That's why Ohio State didn't suffer when Jared Sullinger's absence cost the Buckeyes at Kansas.

But Holloway, Lyons and Wells are responsible for putting their team in a bad spot just like when somebody else's starting center picks up two dumb fouls early and puts his team in a bad spot. When that team loses, we don't excuse it and say, "But that team wouldn't have lost if its center would've played smarter." So why should we excuse Xavier's loss and say, "But the Musketeers wouldn't have lost if Holloway, Lyons and Wells would've acted appropriately against Cincinnati?"

Answer: We shouldn't.

So I'm OK with how the coaches handled Xavier.

It's similar to how we handled the Musketeers in the Top 25 (and one).

And I realize this is sort of a reverse Poll Attack, but whatever. I wanted to make that point.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:41 am

The Poll Attacks

which is funny because Smashed's argument is that IU should be in the top 10, and you've been adamently opposed to this

Good post ctflener,

I wasn't actually arguing that IU should be in the top 10 even... we were arguing about them being in the top 20 in Parrish's pole.  I just took a more extreme view to prove it by showing how they could easily be in the top 10 and how bad parrish's ranking of IU is. 

I do think IU has a comparable body of work.  And I feel that they could easily be a top 10 team.  I don't find top 20 unreasonable, even if I think differently.  I can see the reasoning.  I don't see how they can be left out of the top 20.  That was the point I was making.  This guy ends up proving me right and like you said has to give in with his last post because he himself is showing how they could easily be in the top 10, not just the top 20.  

If you look back, he said in his first reply to my ORIGNINAL post how Harvard should be ranked over IU.  Doesn't include them in his list though.

Oh well.....

Can't reason with the unreasonable.

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:19 am
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Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 8:58 am

The Poll Attacks

Just a note about the Sag rating, When I looked at it, it showed IU at #2 and KY at #3.  It was updated since then.  So my statement about IU bringing up KY SoS more that KY is brining up IU SoS is no longer correct.  It was correct if you use the data from earlier.  The argument is however the same.  If you believe in the Sag's SoS, you must also agree with the ranking of IU at #3.  Simply because the SoS relies on THAT ranking of the teams.

Now I go.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, New Year,  Kwanzaa... or whatever you celebrate.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 8:34 am

The Poll Attacks

So now that I've broken it down team by team for you, *maybe* it'll sink in this time.  Frankly, it was just a lot easier to say that IU was hurt by their poor SoS and lack of quality wins since that's exactly what the above comparison demonstrates.


I will AGAIN, try to explain to you why YOU can not use the sag's SOS.  You do not believe IU is the number #2 ranked team in the country.  Basically thats its.  I will explain further.  If IU isn't the second ranked team in the country then the ENTIRE ranking system INCLUDING its SOS calculations are wrong.  In this system, IU is bringing up KY sos MORE THAN KY is bringing up IU schedule.  Get it.  IU is #2, KY is #3....  Look at the rest of the ranking do you agree with it?  Because the sos is based on that ranking. 

If you use it and believe what your using YOU MUST AGREE IU is the #2 team in the country.

In addition,  YOU consider a team with 12 wins no losses a better record than 11 wins no losses, BUT consider 10 wins and two losses as SIMILAR.  That is unreasonable (not surprised)

You don't mention losses in your reason (probably because they don't help you).  They don't count for anything.  Just quality wins, similar record and SoS.  Losses count too.  eg.  you have Wisonsin with 10-2 (say that is a similar record but SY isn't similar to IU) your reasons they are above IU is similar record (isn't) Better SoS, (based on a system you don't agree with) More quality wins.. and then don't mention the 2 losses making them 2-2 against the sag top 50.  The losses have to be used also.  With the exception of a record that is truly similar.... only 5 other have a truly similar record. 

Finally, you have several teams that Parrish has in his top 20 with a "damned if I know"  WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG.   Especially since you only listed 17 with 3 "damned if I knows" which would put IU  into the top 14.  not 22.

THAT IS WHY I WANTED YOU TO COMPARE.  You have proven me correct.  Your the bias one, look how you say 10-2 is similar 11-0 but 12-0 is not.  That reaks of bias. 

Not gonna spend as much time today refuting the same thing over and over.   Look for my replies to say see my other posts :)


I disagree with you about your feelings on the polls.  They are intended to rank the best teams in the country.  That IS EXACTLY what rankings are.  I am pretty sure voters don't get a handbook telling them to use a specific formula.   However I will concede, just like I did with TollyMcTroller, that it does affect some voters FOR REASONS POINTED OUT BY .  If everyone voted with the same reasons you and your buddy say, well all votes would be the same.  I know for a fact, IU has  many, many votes in the top 15,  That is where I would put them.  Maybe as high as 10.  My argument saying that IU has a similar body of work to the top 10, remains undefeated, has a top 5 win, and what I think is the largest marging of victory against non ranked teams (can't be sure only looked at the numbers of the blowouts)  was to show how rediculous it was to not rank them in the top 20,  thats it.  Never was saying IU should be in top 15 or 10 in AP or Coaches (even thought I think they are top 15 maybe 10) I can see how a consensus of voters could put them where they are.  I don't see how parrish can leave them out of his top 20.  THATS WHAT MY OP WAS ABOUT.  This is where you go to post it.   I think you are crazy if you don't think IU is a top 25 team.  Hard to sway anyone with that " far out
" of a view.  Guess we will just have to disagree. 

Only got testy have tollymctroller started calling names.

Thats it.  Can't spend all day today.  Actually have some things to do...

Happy Holidays everyone.  See ya next year.  Things will be cleared up by then : P

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 6:14 am

The Poll Attacks

I understand your point, and I hear it all the time.  However, this is called "belief perserverance".  You believe something beyond the point it has been proven untrue or inaccurate.  The problem with belief perserverance in a setting like this is that critical thinking is needed to answer the question:  who is the best?  Critical thinking and belief perserverance do not work well together.
Critical thinking and belief perserverance can coexist fine together, and in fact, in the ealry season, if you're bothering to rank teams based on a small faraction of the actual season, (which you'll note is exactly what's being done here) it can help to balance out overreactions by people.

as I just demonstrated below, IU is ranked within a few spots of where they should be (at least in the polls that have any impact on anything, and aren't just published on a lone website to generate page hits) according to basic resume comparisons.

And yes, you can argue that all we have to go on right now is the games that have been played so the resumes speak for themselves.  I don't think that is true.  We also have intellect and common sense.  

Sure, you could argue that IU is one of only a few undefeated teams, and of those teams IU has the best win, thus they should be ranked very high.  I think that is a way overly simplistic view of things.   

I can look at IU's schedule and see every game that they've played thus far was a game that any team ranked in the top 25 should win, with the exception of the UK game.  So while those wins certainly aren't hurting IU's case for a higher ranking, they aren't helping it eaither.  

The only thing that makes me think that IU *might* be better than their current ranking is the UK win.  And a great win it was. But it is still just one quality win.  Common sense tells me that teams get upset all of the time.  Sometimes it is really an indication that a team was over/under rated, but just as often, it is a fluke upset.  

So in this case, I'm just looking sor some concrete proof that my perservering belief regarding how good IU is, was in fact incorrect.  The UK win might be an indication I was wrong.  It might not.  We won't know until IU plays some more quality teams.  But I don't think it is unreasonable to establish some sort of trend of quality play and not just rank a team based on one single victory.  

And make no mistake, the IU faithful are basing their argument about IU being underranked based on that UK win.  You know how I know?  Because they were undefeated before they played UK and no IU fans were on here complaining that IU wasn't ranked (high enough).  I even looked back at the Rankings thread prior to the UK game and I found narry-a-comment from IU folks suggesting that they should be considered one of the best teams in the country.  

Since: May 31, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 5:46 am

The Poll Attacks

Basically saying again, IU has a weak schedule and refusing AGAIN to relate it to others ranked above them. 
Fine. Here you go.  Here's the AP rankings down to IU. (please forgive the formatting.  CBS's crappy forum software doesn't seem to have a functioning preview)

Team               Record       Sag SOS      Vs. Sag Top 50      Reason above IU
Syracuse           12-0          192            3-0            Better record.  Better SoS.  More quality wins
Ohio State         11-1          238            2-1            Similar record.  Better SoS. More quality wins
Kentucky           10-1          295            2-1            Similar record.  More quality wins.
Louisville           11-0         185             3-0            Identical record.  Better SoS.  More quality wins
North Carolina    11-2         74               3-2            WAY better SoS.  More quality wins
Baylor               9-0           315             3-0            More quality wins
Duke                10-1          23              3-1             Similar racord.  WAY better SoS.  More quality wins.
Connecticut       9-1           165             2-1             Similar record.  Better SoS. More quality wins.
Missouri           11-0          341             1-0             Everything is the same.  Damned if I know why they are ahead.
Marquette        10-1          178             1-0             Similar record. Better SoS
Florida             9-2            271             0-2             Damned if I know*
Kansas            7-3            18               3-2             WAY WAY better SoS.  More quality wins
Wisconsin        10-2          148              2-2             Similar record.  Better SoS. More quality wins
Xavier              8-1           144              1-0             Damned if I know
Pittsburg         11-1           290             0-1              Damned if I know
Georgetown     8-1             319             2-1             Similar record.  More quality wins.
Indiana           11-0           313             1-0

Baylor is clearly living off of expectations.  They haven't earned a top 10 spot yet, but they haven't done anything to be ranked below IU either.  

Florida is still ranked highly because they are getting credit (rightfully so in my opinion) for playing close games againsat the two top ranked teams in the country, and winning everything else.

I don't really have an answer for Pitt or X.

So basically IU is underranked by 1 or 2 spots if you're comparing their resumes to the other teams ahead of them.  

So now that I've broken it down team by team for you, *maybe* it'll sink in this time.  Frankly, it was just a lot easier to say that IU was hurt by their poor SoS and lack of quality wins since that's exactly what the above comparison demonstrates.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 6:42 pm

The Poll Attacks

I really think that if IU loses to MSU but then went and beat osu, that they would in fact be ranked in the top 10. If they weren't, I would be complaining just like ya'll are. That would be 2 top 5 wins. That would be nearly impossible to deny. But I also think that they currently belong right beyond 10 but within 15. But I REALLY don't want any part of this arguement at this point. It's kinda gotten out of hand. haha

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2011 6:00 pm
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Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2011 5:53 pm
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Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: December 21, 2011 4:08 pm

The Poll Attacks

Wow, Indiana fans can be a testy bunch? Here's the thing about the polls (and has been pointed out by others) The poll does not really tell us who we think is best at that given time, whoa! Not really, no! The polls are an evolving mechanism that slowly moves teams around so by the end of the season, it should be fairly accurate (yet still not perfect) Is Syracuse the best team in the country? ...probably not (pretty darned good but probably not THE best) but when the polls were formed, they were perched fairly high, others lost, they did not and they moved up slowly. Indiana started not ranked, they won and got added as they should have been. But to jump them into the top 10 because of one real good win and a bunch of so-so wins isn't going to happen, that's simply not how the system works! If they conti\nue to win, they will continue to move up! Enjoy watching them rise in rankings, it's fun isn't it? But c'mon, jsut as you might want to claim Syracuse should not be number one because they are simply not the best team, do you actually want to try and claim Indiana is one of the top 10 teams in the country? Hell, I doubt they are really a top 25 team! But Yes, they deserve to be on the list because that's how it works!!!! You simply can not argue Syracuse should not be number one and then go on to claim IU should be in the top 10 using opposite logic!? (good for the goose, good for the gander)

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