Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:29 pm
By Gary Parrish

We've got a Murray State problem that needs to be addressed.

And this is a good place to address it.

So let's do some Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Louisville is 14-4 with two losses to unranked teams and zero wins over schools that are currently ranked. Take away everything you thought you knew about the Cardinals in the preseason, focus on what I just told you and then I think, you'll understand why we are no longer ranking Rick Pitino's team in the Top 25 (and one). The Cards have bad losses and no great wins to offset those losses. That's the bottom line. So Louisville does not deserve to be in the Top 25 (and one). Or 23rd in this week's AP poll.

And the Cards sure as hell don't deserve to be 10th.

But guess who has them ranked 10th?

Answer: Ron Morris.

Ron actually has Louisville 10th and Florida 11th even though both schools are 14-4 with two losses to unranked teams and zero wins over currently ranked teams. Meantime, he has Indiana 16th even though the Hoosiers are 15-3 with just one loss to an unranked team and three wins over currently ranked teams, specifically No. 2 Kentucky, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 20 Michigan. I genuinely have no idea how anybody could look at what Louisville and Florida have done and conclude it's A) worthy of a top 15 vote, or B) better than what Indiana has done.

But, somehow, Ron does.

I bet he couldn't explain why he does.

But, according to his latest ballot, he absolutely does.

Coaches poll: I don't think Murray State is one of the nation's 10 best teams.

If you do, that's fine.

I don't have an issue provided you really believe it. But what I do have an issue with is how the Racers are moving up the polls based on little more than the fact that they play in the Ohio Valley Conference and every other relevant team does not. They are advancing because they're spending each week playing grossly inferior opponents while a Big Ten team might host Ohio State one night and be at Michigan the next. Put another way, there are lots of weeks when a split should be considered a good week. But splits almost always move teams down in the polls while 2-0 weeks move folks up. And while that's somewhat OK in most cases because the power-conference schedules tend to balance themselves out over time, this simple approach to ranking creates issues when a solid team from a bad league gets involved.

That's what's happening here.

That's why the Racers are ranked 10th.

So my question is simple: When does it stop?

If Kansas loses to Baylor late Monday but then beats Texas this weekend while Murray State handles Morehead State and SIU-Edwardsville, are voters gonna move the No. 7 Jayhawks below Murray State based on the idea that KU went 1-1 while Murray State went 2-0? I hope not. Because weeks, like overall records, need context, and it's silly to continue to advance the Racers without considering the context of what their wins really show and what others' losses really mean.

That's why we've kept the Racers at No. 20.

Because that's about where they belong regardless of how many consecutive OVC schools they beat.

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:46 pm

The Poll Attacks

i can agree with that both have a tough schedule but the big east is the biggest confernce in the ncaa baketball division wvu should be ranked yes there 13-5 but look who they have lost games too they had i think 1 bad loss that wasnt a ranked team its pothetic

Since: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:55 am

The Poll Attacks

At the moment the teams that Kentucy has played are 175-146 (54%), the teams Syracuse had played are 211-129 (62%) which means Syracuse has played better teams. Pre season, Kentucky had scheduled 4 teams  in the top 10, Syracuse also had 4 teams scheduled. Kentucky had 5 teams in the top 25, Syracuse had 6 teams. So anyone who says that Syraucse didnt schedule good teams obvioulsy have no clue when it comes to college basketball. They also play in a lot better conference then Kentucky. I'n not saying one team is better than the other(neither are my team) just have some common sense

Since: Sep 10, 2011
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:51 am

The Poll Attacks

It is amazing to me how many UK fans have their panties in a bunch over meaningless rankings on January 16th and this much hate for Syracuse. Didn't realize that Ashley Judd had this many screen names.

Great, UK has wins over some current top 10 teams (including a one-point win over a UNC team that just lost by 33 to Florida State!), but overall both teams have played about the same in terms of their opponents' RPI rankings. I would never claim that Cuse's top wins are as good as Kentucky's top wins, but bottom line, they are undefeated and from a conference just as good if not better than the SEC. They can only play the teams in front of them on their schedule.

Either way, until March rolls around, it is just talk and fans of both teams being homers.

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:43 am

The Poll Attacks

Watched the Kansas/Baylor game and find it very difficult to believe anyone can go to Kansas and win a ball game.  Kansas is a FINAL 4 TEAM.  Look at their home record.  How many loses over the years on their home floor.  I would like to believe that if MURRAY STATE were to play at Kansas they wouldn't lost by 18 like Baylor.  Either Kansas was that good or Baylor really isn't a great team.  Robinson is without a doubt "player of the year" after that performance. 

Back to MURRAY STATE - remember this team was picked to finish 3rd in the "weak" Ohio Valley Conference.  Thye come together, jelled, etc.   Let them enjoy the moment - don't rain on their parade.  

Since: Jan 27, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:23 am

The Poll Attacks

Syracuse hasn't played any tough games on the road so they should not be ranked #1 they just
fell into that postion because of the weak big east. Pitt can't beat anyone and came within 4 points
in the Dome ? The Big East should only get 4 teams in the tour this year enough of this 8 - 10 team crap.

Since: Feb 17, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:37 am

The Poll Attacks

Just a fun fact for you guys. You can hate Murray State being ranked as high as we are, but you should just be thankful for us. "Jumpin" Joe Fulks, invented the jump shot, and popularized it at Murray State. He then went on to be a HOF NBA player, and held the single game scoring record for 10 years at 63. Just be glad you don't have to watch people shoot flat footed anymore!

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:18 am

The Poll Attacks

Why isnt there a piece on Syracuse? They are the #1 ranked team in the land and have not played anyone in the top 10!
There is no doubt that the Big East is down this year, but there is a big difference between sitting at 20-0 playing from the Big East with wins vs. Marquette, Florida, @NC State, and sitting at 18-0 playing in the Ohio Valley with wins vs Dayton and @Memphis, coupled with a 2 point victory vs Anchorage-Alaska and a 3 point win vs. San Franscisco.  I am not taking anything away from Murray State, but to complare their schedules and then make an argument based on their rankings is a little ridiculous.

Unlike Murray State, you will truly get to find out more about Syracuse in the upcoming weeks as they will be playing tournament teams in at least 5 out of their next 6 games. You wont see Murray State play a tourney team (unless another team wins their conference tourney) until the NCAA Tournament starts -- that is all this article is saying

Since: Nov 13, 2006
Posted on: January 17, 2012 10:00 am

The Poll Attacks

I disagree with Parrish, that's not how those polls work, but either way, no matter how you feel about Murray's ranking, you have to appreciate the fact that at least in this sport they get to prove at the end of the season that they were deserving of the high ranking unlike in football.
If you are a Murray State fan, alumn, or supporter, I would not worry about what the polls have to say. We all remember a few years ago a Memphis team that featured Derek Rose played in a very weak Conference USA  after the powerhouses of the conference left for the Big East, then others to the Atlantic 10 and so forth.  That Memphis team went to the National Championship and if they could shoot free throws would have beat Kansas to win the title.  By no means am I saying Murray State is the 2011-2012 equivalent to that Memphis team (I cant say one way or another, I have never seen them play), because then you also get teams like the St. Joseph team from the Atlantic 10 in 2006 (I believe) that went undefeated, received a #1 ranking, and then loss in the Round of 32, which has also happened to other #1 teams.

What I am trying to say is, the polls in college basketball are for the traditional powerhouses to pat their own backs saying, "we are ranked higher then you", while for others it is an achievement and goal to be ranked in the top 25. That is why college basketball is so special, that is how you get a VCU team going from the "First Four" to the "Final Four" of the NCAA Tourney, or a team from Butler can go to back-to-back title games. As you said, Murray State will get its chance in March to prove itself. March is funny time of the year. It can either validate your season, it can create a cinderella effect, but with a loss in the early rounds it can also leave you scratching your head wondering "what happened?".  There are several great teams that have failed to make the Sweet 16, so even if Murray State does get bumped in the 2nd or 3rd round and doesnt make the sweet 16, dont let that define their season, because there are going to be another some 295 teams that failed to get their either.

Since: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:52 am

The Poll Attacks

Why isnt there a piece on Syracuse? They are the #1 ranked team in the land and have not played anyone in the top 10! Florida and Marquette the only two teams that are even in the top 25, are the only two teams that can be considered competitive! What a cupcake schedule! Ranked #1 and have such a weak schedule and you want to pick on Murray State? 

Since: Feb 17, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:46 am

The Poll Attacks

This is a post I can agree with most

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or