Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: November 30, 2009 10:05 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2009 4:20 pm

I just returned home from California.

I'm sick.

I'm tired.

I'm sick and tired of dumb voters.

The only cure is to Poll Attack the stupid and their stupidity.

AP poll: You know how people eat turkey on Thanksgiving, then get really tired and fall asleep?

That's got to be what happened to John Bohnenkamp.

How else to explain Bohnenkamp -- the sports editor of The Hawk Eye newspaper in Iowa -- putting Illinois at No. 21 on his AP ballot despite the Illini losing to unranked Utah on Friday and unranked Bradley on Saturday? It's the type of inexplicable move on which the Poll Attacks were created. Understand, Utah has losses to Idaho and Seattle, plus a 77-55 loss to Oklahoma State while Bradley has double-digit losses to BYU and Oklahoma State. So it's not like the Illini lost to Syracuse and Texas over the weekend. They lost to Utah and Bradley. And it's not like the Illini have great wins to offset the bad losses. They've only beaten Wofford, Northern Illinois, Presbyterian and SIU-Edwardsville.

So how does a 4-2 team with no good wins and two bad losses end up No. 21 on Bohnenkamp's ballot?

I have no freaking idea.

He's either still asleep, clueless or careless.

There's no other explanation.

Coaches poll: Do the games matter?

That's a serious question.

Do. The. Games. Matter?

I ask because I sat courtside in Anaheim last Thursday and watched Minnesota beat Butler 82-73, at which point the Gophers advanced to the semifinals of the 76 Classic while the Bulldogs went into the consolation bracket. Minnesota went on to finish 1-2 in the 76 Classic with a win over Butler and losses to Portland and Texas A&M, ending the week with an overall record of 4-2. Likewise, Butler went on to finish 1-2 in the 76 Classic with a win over UCLA and losses to Minnesota and Clemson, ending the week with an overall record of 4-2.

In other words, Minnesota and Butler had the same record last week.

They have the same record now.

And their records only include reasonable losses.

Honestly, there isn't much difference between Butler's body of work of Minnesota's body of work, except for that Butler doesn't have any notable victories and Minnesota has one notable victory ... over Butler! So shouldn't that be the tiebreaker? Shouldn't Minnesota's win over Butler have Minnesota ranked ahead of Butler? Of course it should. But Butler is No. 20 in the Coaches poll and Minnesota is ninth in "others receiving votes." That sort of logic -- or lack of logic -- is also what has Michigan State ranked No. 9 and Florida ranked No. 17 even though Michigan State is 5-1 with a loss to Florida while Florida is 6-0 with a win over Michigan State.

So I ask again: Do the games matter?

To me, they do.

That's why I have Minnesota ahead of Butler and Florida ahead of Michigan State, because head-to-head competition (particularly on a neutral court) should serve as a tiebreaker when two schools' bodies of work are similar. Minnesota's body of work is similar to Butler's body of work just like Florida's body of work is similar to Michigan State's body of work. The only differences are that Minnesota beat Butler and Florida beat Michigan State. They should be ranked accordingly at this point in the season unless, of course, the games don't matter.

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 9:28 pm

The Poll Attacks

Um, Gary, another overlooked one: Louisville ahead of UNLV considering Vegas won head-to-head last week. 
I'm not saying UNLV is that good - though obviously last week they were better than the Cards.  Louisville is certainly not top 25 worthy at this point.  Beating App St? Morgan St? E Tennessee? and 2-4 Arkansas (who even lost to Morgan St)?  Hard to argue even top 50 at this point considering there are a ton of one loss teams who have beaten beter competition thus far in a young season. 
If teams are ranked at this point based on potential and not results, than rankings in men's hoops are no different than the crap that exists in college football.
Vegas should be ahead of the Ville.  At least this week...

Since: Nov 3, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2009 4:44 pm

The Poll Attacks

Parrish knows the games matter.  His point is that the voters make it look like they don't.  To watch a team lose and then vote them higher than the team that beat them, just because they are the "better team" in the long run, is just wrong.

Since: Nov 3, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 4:33 pm

of course games don't count in polls

only the number of future NBA players on a team does.  If a team has several, it MUST be better than one that has only one or even none.  Right?

Same as with football, where teams with several losses but with plenty of future NFL talent (e.g., LSU, Oklahoma, USC) will always get more credit than teams that simply play well as a team (e.g., TCU, Boise State).

Since: Oct 8, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 3:48 pm

The Poll Attacks - Butler

You didn't even mention the fact that Butler is ranked ahead of Texas A&M in the coach's poll. Seriously, are you kidding me?  Butler had two losses in the 76 Classic. They lost to Clemson and Minnesota. Texas A&M had two victories in the 76 Classic. They beat Clemson and Minnesota. Yet the coaches still have Butler ahead of Texas A&M.  If it was just one team or if the games were played at different points in the season, then ok, I guess I could see it. But they just played in the same gym, in the same tournament, within days of each other and Texas A&M beat the same two teams that beat Butler. Really, Coaches? You're going to rank Butler ahead of Texas A&M. Really? Come on, you can't be serious!

Since: Jan 16, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2009 1:58 pm

A little early for poll attacks.

As another poster said, it is only a few weeks into the season, so its really hard to gauge how rankings should be put together. 

With 347 teams, it's inevitable that some are going to get overlooked, and there will be occasions where someone like MSU can lose to Florida but still be ranked higher.

Your point is fair about Florida.  They have 2 good W's over MSU and Fla St.  The problem is that the other 4 teams they have played suck, really bad.

MSU has the loss to FL, but a W against Gonzaga.  Their other 4 wins aren't against ringers by any means, but they are dramatically better than Florida's....okay, a bit better, but still clearly better.

Butler and Minnesota are pretty similar.  I don't think either should be ranked, but both will get back there.

Since: Jan 12, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 1:57 pm

The Poll Attacks

If you actually read the article, you would have noticed that he did not base his assessment on just on the head-to-head matchup.  He clearly stated that it was also with having otherwise similar seasons.  In other words, all other things are essentially the same and the only significant difference is the game between them.  Given that scenario, there is no solid reason for believing that the beaten team is better. 

Your example of LeMoyne is asinine and simply shows you were not paying attention.  I'd expect no less from a bear fan.

Come on, O&B, next time sit back and actually think before you speak or type ok?

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 12:02 pm


Butler beat UCLA not Long Beach St. and Butler also beat NW who just beat notre dame and iowa st...also butler is one of few teams with two true road victories already in the young season...just saying.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 12:00 pm


Butler beat UCLA not Long Beach St. and Butler also beat NW who just beat notre dame and iowa st...also butler is one of few teams with two true road victories already in the young season...just saying.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 11:59 am


Butler beat UCLA, not Long Beach...and I would say a win over Northwestern is somewhat credible seeing they beat Harangody and Notre Dame and Iowa St...just saying though.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2009 11:26 am

The Poll Attacks

Should a team's prior year experience not count Gary if most of the team returns?  Let me ask you this, do you think Vegas would favor Florida if they were playing Mich St again tonight?  I doubt it because even though the games do matter, they can't be the only factor when evaluating the best teams in the country during the first few weeks of the season.

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