Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: February 2, 2009 6:28 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2009 6:30 pm

Northern Iowa got a vote.

That's more questionable than Utah State over Dayton.

Let's do the Poll Attacks .

AP poll: I was going to use this space to explain why I think Utah State should not be ranked 25th, but I've decided against that now because it'll just come off like I'm beating up on a WAC school, and I'm not interested in coming off that way. Plus, my entire argument would be based around the idea that the Aggies haven't really beaten anybody (unless you count Utah as somebody). And though it would be a fair argument, that's the same argument that had me doubting Davidson last season , and we all know how that worked out.

So I'll let Utah State slide for now.

Instead, I'll focus on Northern Iowa.

Seventy-one of the 72 AP voters omitted Northern Iowa from their ballots, which means 71 of the 72 AP voters did at least that one thing correctly. Then there's Steve Pivovar of the Omaha World-Herald (which is in a Misouri Valley Conferece city, it's worth noting), who ranked the Panthers even though they've beaten fewer good teams than Utah State.

Guess how many Top 50 wins Northern Iowa possesses?

(Hint: It rhymes with nero .)

Yep, zero.

Which means Steve ranked a team with no Top 50 wins and six losses -- including a 30-point loss to Marquette, a 19-point loss to Iowa, a nine-point loss to Wyoming, and three other losses (Iowa State, Illinois-Chicago and Indiana) to teams ranked outside the Top 125 at

Does that sound like the body of work of a Top 25 team? Of course it doesn't, and the reason is because Northern Iowa isn't a Top 25 team as much as it's a nice team that's stringing wins in a one-bid league, which makes Northern Iowa a lot like Utah State, I guess.

Coaches poll: Again, I'm not complaining about the Utah State Aggies being ranked.

If you want to rank them, rank them.

I'm OK with it.

But what I don't understand is how somebody could rank Utah State (21-1) but not Dayton (20-2).

Dayton has a better win (over Marquette) than any Utah State win, plus four Top 70 wins as opposed to Utah State's one (over Utah). Furthermore, the Flyers have 13 Top 200 wins as opposed to Utah State's eight, and that's because 13 of Utah State's wins have come against schools ranked outside the Top 200 and/or non-Division I teams. That's why the Aggies' strength of schedule rates 205th nationally, why their RPI is 40th (Dayton's strength of schedule rates 155th nationally, its RPI is 32nd). It's also why I'm skeptical of the WAC favorite, and why I don't understand how the coaches could rank them 22nd while leaving Dayton out of the Top 25, because though Utah State and Dayton both have suspect bodies of work, I can't see how anybody could look at the two bodies of work and conclude that Utah State's is more impressive.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Feb 7, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2009 10:59 am

The Poll Attacks

Gary, I appreciate the attention given to UNI (even if it's less than flattering!Smile)  Like many young teams, UNI was struggling to find its identity earlier in the season.  Specifically, our frontcourt played zero minutes of division I basketball last year--(our starting pg, Kwadzo Ahelegbe, was out with a shoulder injury and the other two guards--Johnny Moran and Ali Farokmahnesh are a true freshman and juco transfer, respectively).

In any event, there was a considerable learning curve for this team at the beginning of the season.  What has been wonderful to watch as a fan is how this team is so unselfish with the ball (all starters and the sixth man off the bench are near or at double figures avg scoring), and any of them could go off for 20+ on a given night.  They also play incredible team defense now that they've had time to familiarize themselves with Coach Ben Jacobson's system.

The MVC may be a little down this year due to an abundance of youth throughout the league, but it is still the MVC, which is historically one of the strongest non-BCS basketball conferences in the country.  Therefore, it is no picnic to go on the road in any of the Valley venues and come out with a W, which should make the pundits stand up and take notice when a Valley team, ANY Valley team is 7-0 on the road at this point in the season.

If UNI continues doing what it's been doing on this school-record eleven game run, the national media will take notice soon enough.  My unsolicited advice to you is to be an early adapter to what's happening now in the MVC, but more importantly, getting the jump on your colleagues as to what kind of noise this league is going to make over the next two to three years.

Thanks for the opportunity to post.  I enjoy reading the breadth of reactions.  Take care.

Jim J.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: February 6, 2009 3:40 pm

The Poll Attacks


Believe it or not, teams can actually get better throughout a season.  There is nothing wrong with Pivovar voting for UNI, because they ARE a very good basketball team.  The MVC is down this year, that's true, but still winning on the home floors of traditional MVC powerhouses like Creighton and SIU (not to mention Bradley, Evansville, and Drake) should not be overlooked.  In fact, they haven't lost a road game in the Valley this year.  I don't care how down the MVC is (they're still #8 or #9 in the RPI), 10-1 and undefeated on the road is impressive.

Since: Dec 22, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2009 11:54 pm

The Poll Attacks

the top 25 last year was wayy better

Since: Oct 24, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2009 1:52 pm

The Poll Attacks

I've never seen a GOOD team down by 12-15 in the last few minutes of the game with their subs filling in for starters, since their "going to lose anyway". There is a HUGE difference between a 12-15 point loss and a 25-30 point pounding. Great teams don't get pounded by 25-30 period! Find the last NC team to get beat by 25-30. Or you can expand that all the way out the sweet sixteen, but make sure to include the number of 12-15 point losses and we can compare the total number of losses. I'm pretty sure you would see an exponential number of losses in 25-30 point range relative to the 12-15 range. C'mon that was just a stupid comment.

Since: Nov 16, 2007
Posted on: February 3, 2009 1:15 pm

The Poll Attacks

I love how Gary is basically forcing accountability into the ranking system. Naming names, calling professionals out for there stupidity and personal subjectivities. I love that the rankinga are determined by humans, however getting it to be as objective as possible is only fair to the teams that get cut out for random bouts of retardation that compel a voter to give Campbell university a vote one week just cause they win a couple games in the ASUN.

Since: Jan 26, 2009
Posted on: February 3, 2009 12:13 pm

The Poll Attacks

Gary...If wins is what matters most right now. No one has a better win% than Utah St. If you are going to base it on resumes, they are at least 8 to 10 teams with better(UNLV ,Penn St, Florida St.). LSU had a chance to prove they deserved to be ranked by beating Xavier at home. LSU losing to Utah is not the only reason not to be ranked, just one of many. Beating the mid-pack teams in the SEC doesn't prove anything. They haven't played Florida and Kentucky yet, the 2 best teams in the SEC.

By the way, there is a big difference losing to North Carolina by 30 and to losing to Utah by 30.

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: February 3, 2009 11:49 am

The Poll Attacks

Better get a better start on Sunday night. Coaches Poll, at least took into consideration that UConn & Louisville were playing each other in a day or so and did not hedge their bets as you and the GREAT AP did. You can't have it both ways in this day and age. You have to realize in a "day or so" UConn & Louisville can not both be in the Top 5.

Since: Jan 9, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2009 10:57 am

The Poll Attacks

The Mid-major contribution to this topic is refreshing. Let's at least take comfort in knowing that Utah State's basketball team is making this run instead of their football team. Can you imagine the backlash that would come if a team with this resume was moved into the BCS championship game for the "mythical" national championship in Division 1? College basketball fans KNOW that the championships are decided on the court, and not by popular opinion.

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: February 3, 2009 3:41 am

The Poll Attacks

Don't know much about Utah St but...   Dayton is a decent team. They lack a little inside muscle and the shooting can be an issue. But they're scrappier than Hell. They use all twelve kids and just annoy the heck out the opposition with their defense.

Those two little guards with the matching dreads are as quick as any I've seen. They aren't McD's All Americans But they are entertaining. I love a team that slashes to the hoop. And they do that to survive I hope they make it.

I know that theres only one senior on the team and they got some bigger post help coming next season. Gregory might have something going there with 12,000 at every home game... The recruiting starting to pick up....

The schedule is tougher the rest of the way.. so if they hold on the RPI should go up... But they do have  Xavier twice. Maybe three times if they advance in the A10 tourney. Check them out if its just to see those crazy guards

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: February 3, 2009 12:51 am

The Poll Attacks

I've been saying the same thing about Utah State for the last couple of days... I said the same things about Drake and Davidson last year.

More than half of Utah State's games have been against 200+ rpi.  Their only notable win is Utah, and people can take that for what it's worth.

Utah State could surprise everyone in the post season, but for now they have no right to be in the Top 25.  I am a big midmajor fan but I do not like programs that try and get in the spotlight with 30 wins season against nothing but bottom feeding teams.  As a fan of the Horizon league, I watch them schedule teams like Wisconsin, Marquette, Syracuse, Xavier, Ohio State, Northwestern, and so on... Butler didn't get respect the last two years by beating 202-300 rpi teams, they got respect by beating teams like Gonzaga and Tennessee.

As I said, Utah State could be the real deal, but there is no way of knowing with the schedule that they've played.  If midmajors want respect, they need to man up and earn it.  This is one of the reasons I have never liked the WAC; in football or basketball... they care more about the number of wins than the quality of wins.  Utah State's basketball schedule makes Boise State's football schedule look like the ironman competition... and Boise State's football schedule was in the bottom half of the FBS.

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