Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: February 23, 2009 6:15 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2009 3:29 am

Stupidity, you are about to be exposed.

It's time to Poll Attack !

AP poll: I'm not sure how two voters moved Oklahoma from No. 2 to No. 1 on their ballots after a loss to unranked Texas. But I'll let that slide, I guess, because though it makes almost no sense, it at least makes (slightly) more sense than leaving Connecticut No. 1 after it lost on its home court to the team that should be No. 1 on everybody's ballot, namely Pittsburgh.

We all saw Pitt beat UConn last week, right?

I was there.

I wrote about it and everything.

It really happened.

And it's primarily why UConn can't be ahead of Pitt.

At least the folks placing Oklahoma No. 1 could discount the loss by claiming that Blake Griffin only played 11 minutes, and that it came on the road, and that if he wouldn't have been concussed the Sooners might've recorded the win. To be clear, I disagree, because key players play limited minutes all the time in this sport, and we don't discount losses across the board when it happens (although if you want to do it, fine, but I'll just point out that DeJuan Blair only played 20 minutes in each of Pitt's losses because of foul trouble). Plus, OU was losing at the moment Griffin was injured. So it's not like the Sooners fell apart after the injury (like Saint Mary's fell apart at Gonzaga last month after Patrick Mills went down), meaning there's nothing on this planet suggesting Oklahoma was going to win that game the other night regardless of whether Griffin played or not.

But whatever.

I'm not here to make that point.

I'm more concerned with how somebody could leave UConn ahead of Pitt, because in this case we have two teams with similar bodies of work (though Pitt's is clearly better, and I'll explain that momentarily) and a recent head-to-head match-up to settle the debate. Again, Pitt just beat UConn. At UConn. And when you combine that with the fact that Pitt has the exact same overall record (25-2) against a better schedule, plus a better RPI ranking, better ranking at, more quality wins, better losses and no home losses (UConn has two), then it's pretty clear that Pitt should be ranked No. 1 in the country.

I mean, I took all that time to explain it Saturday night.

The least the AP voters could do was listen.

And do you want to guess who it was that voted UConn No. 1 and Pitt No. 2?

(Seriously, you're going to love this.)

It was our old friend George Geise from Montana, a future first-ballot Poll Attack Hall of Famer who has been featured in this blog many times for his inexplicable voting habits. You can read some of his past transgressions here and here and here and here . And when you go to sleep tonight, pray for him, because at this point it's clear George needs all the help he can get.

Coaches poll: Why is Saint Mary's getting votes?

I was fundamentally against the idea even when Patrick Mills was playing because of a lack of quality wins, though I could tolerate it because I believed the Gaels were Top 25-ish. But now Mills is hurt, and Saint Mary's is 4-4 since the injury, 20-5 overall against Division 1 opponents and saddled with more losses outside the top 50 (three) than it has wins inside the top 50 (two).

Does that sound like a top 25 team?

Of course it doesn't.

But the Gaels still got four points in the Coaches poll.

Only thing dumber than that is Utah State getting 22 points.

I mean, Utah State has a body of work even less impressive than Saint Mary's, and at least Saint Mary's has an excuse. You watch, if Utah State doesn't win the WAC tournament, the Aggies -- who just lost to a Mills-less Saint Mary's team, by the way -- are going to miss the NCAA tournament, and people will go crazy. But then somebody else -- it'll probably be me -- will point out how Utah State has exactly one top 50 victory and a 3-3 record against the top 90 of's RPI, and then all those people will have to be quiet because they'll have nothing tangible to back their argument, and I'll look so smart I won't know what to do with myself.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2009 7:35 am

The Poll Attacks

Lots of flaws here ... primarily: " I disagree, because key players play limited minutes all the time in this sport, and we don't discount losses across the board when it happens (although if you want to do it, fine, but I'll just point out that DeJuan Blair only played 20 minutes in each of Pitt's losses because of foul trouble)" ... and yet the UCLA Bruins sit in the Top 25 and One with the notation that they're there (presumably) because Jrue Holliday only played 16 minutes in their latest embarrassing loss.

Why doesn't Memphis move up?  Poor RPI.  Most voters think a close loss to Duke is better than pounding UTEP.  Why doesn't North Carolina move down, even when everyone but Lawson (and maybe Hansborough) looked disinterested in their loss to Maryland?  Because they're UNC; they can look disinterested and still force a team to OT.

None of these--and more--seem right or "fair".  Clemson has some horrid road losses; Wake has lost to pretty much every ACC bottom feeder (except Virginia) PLUS Duke; Duke has looked mediocre, if not downright abysmal, at stretches.  Michigan State has yo-yo'd--we thought it was a matter of being healthy, then it turns out it's a matter of being good.

Nobody, save Memphis, is asserting themselves out there.  Even if they do it in a "bad" conference, they do it.  They beat the teams they should, and it isn't even close.  In my personal poll, I'm putting them  #3, right behind Pitt (#1) and UConn.

Thank GOD college hoops doesn't have a BCS system but a tournament.  That means that all of this is just hot air.  Even a guy like Parrish, who clearly does his homework and pays attention can get it wrong. 

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2009 1:42 am

The Poll Attacks

As a fan of Illinois basketball, the Penn State game was an embarrasment.  Still, rankings are not determined by one game.  It's a body of work evaluation.  Take a look at the numbers behind Illinois' RPI and you'll have your answer as to why they are still ranked.  I'll just comment that six top fifty wins, including two wins over Purdue and a stomping of Missouri, illustrate my point.  As for your comment about the Big Ten being over-rated - seems debatable considering most conferences that benefit from a good reputation suffer such criticism from some people.  Seems to me you could at least provide some better analysis than "Penn State sucks so the Big Ten is over-rated if Penn State has too many conference wins."  By the way, Penn State's RPI is 62, not exactly crap as you imply. 

Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2009 1:27 am

The Poll Attacks

As a Memphis fan I have to say that I am not surprised that we did not move up more, I can not argue that we have a better resume than any of those teams ahead of us. I am perfectly content with being ranked #5 (or #4 based on which poll) in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for us.  However, I would like to make an argument for the respect of winning at UTEP. Does anyone know who was St. Mary's only loss with Patty Mills?...UTEP. And the day after that UTEP lost to Wake Forest by 3 points. Winning at UTEP is not a victory that should be looked down upon.

Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2009 12:58 am

The Poll Attacks

Reamo.... Do you really think Penn St ould win 8 games in the BE or ACC? ACC, maybe not (although that's only a 16-game conference schedule instead of 18). Big East? Sure. They would get at least five, maybe as many as eight, total gimmes against St. John's, Rutgers, DePaul, Seton Hall, and South Florida. If they can win at MSU and at Illinois, I don't think it's at all a stretch to assume they can pull off at least two or three against the mid-level teams in the Big East.

The top teams in the Big East are tough - nobody has a top quarter that can match UConn, Louisville, Pitt, and Marquette (although UNC-Duke-Clemson is close) - but none of the major conferences have a bottom quarter as bad as the Big East either (although Arkansas-Alabama-Georgia isn't far ahead). Any team that doesn't suck horribly should have no difficulty getting at least five wins against a Big East schedule; in the Big Ten, there aren't more than two, maybe three (if you decide to count Iowa's visit to your home arena) easy wins.

Since: Jan 26, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2009 12:11 am

The Poll Attacks

Reamo.... Do you really think Penn St ould win 8 games in the BE or ACC? No chance! All I am asking is for Parrish to be consistent. Arizona St. is 7-3 against the rpi top 50 while LSU is 2-3, yet he ranks LSU higher. The fact that Parrish does this for a living is even more reason for him to be more consistent with his body of work theory. He obviously uses it for some teams but not others.

Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2009 10:51 pm

The Poll Attacks

What I don't understand is how Clemson doesn't lose a game this week,  yet moves down 2 spots in the polls.  Wake Forest loses a close one (alot closer than the 10-point difference) to a Top Ten team,  Duke, on their home court yet drops out of the Top Ten 3 places.  Then, the Tiger-topper (no pun intended on Clemson), Carolina loses to an unranked team yet only moves down one spot.  Trying to figure all this out is silly because obviously these idiots who do rank the teams aren't even spending this much time before making their choices. 

Does college basketball need a BCS system?  It's a thought worth considering. 

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2009 10:41 pm

The Poll Attacks

How about this one WHY THE HECK is duke ranked 5 spots ahead of Clemson when clemson has one less loss and a 27 point win over duke. Explain that one to me gary.

Since: Feb 26, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2009 10:31 pm

The Poll Attacks

I was talking to Boogieboy by the way.

Since: Feb 26, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2009 10:28 pm

The Poll Attacks

Since: Oct 19, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2009 10:27 pm

The Poll Attacks

The poll doesn't actually make a big difference in seeding at the end.  One year UConn started slow and had a hard time cracking the top 25 because they fell off the radar, finally got in and eventually entered the big east tournament ranked something like #20, and ended up a #2 seed after winning it.

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