Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: February 15, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2010 4:44 pm

How can a team with more wins and fewer losses than a league rival -- plus a 2-0 record against said league rival -- be ranked behind that same league rival? No idea. But some voters ranked them that way. Their punishment is a Poll Attack!

AP poll: I like Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

Both should be ranked.

That's why I ranked both.

But I have Vanderbilt ahead of Tennessee in the Top 25 (and one), and I can't make sense of any ballot that doesn't also have them in that order, which is why I can't make sense of lots of AP ballots this week. Vandy has more wins, fewer losses, a two game lead on the Vols in the SEC East and ... two wins over Tennessee!

Vandy beat the Vols by nine at Tennessee.

Then beat the Vols by 19 at Vandy.

Just last week.

So it should be fresh in everybody’s mind.

But it's clearly not.

Because Al Balderas of the Orange County Register has Tennessee ranked 13th and Vanderbilt ranked 19th, Jeffrey Martin of the Houston Chronicle has Tennessee 13th and Vanderbilt 23rd, and Dave Borges of the New Haven Register has Tennessee 18th and Vanderbilt unranked. Honestly, I don't care where you have Vanderbilt and Tennessee ranked -- proof being how I won't take issue with my man Seth Davis, who ranked Tennessee 14th. That's seven spots higher than I have the Vols. But Seth has Vanderbilt at No. 13, one spot ahead of Tennessee, so it's all good.

The number beside the name isn't as important as the order.

And if you've got Tennessee ahead of Vandy, you've got the wrong order.

Coaches poll: I've stayed away from getting after those who have been ranking Siena because, honestly, I didn't want to pick on Siena. It's a nice program that's accomplished nice things over the past two seasons, and I was willing to ignore the body of work and let voters give the Saints the benefit of the doubt as long as Siena continued to roll through the Metro Atlantic.

I wasn't going to rank Siena.

But I was OK with others ranking Siena if they wanted.

Not anymore, though.

Not after Friday's loss to Niagra.

And please don't suggest that I'm punishing a small school for losing to a bad team while I don't punish big schools for doing the same, because that's just not true. When Gonzaga loses to San Francisco, Gonzaga at least has nice wins (Wisconsin, Cincinnati, at Illinois, at Memphis, at Saint Mary's) to make up for it. Siena has nothing. The Saints are 22-5 with losses to every likely NCAA tournament time on their schedule (Temple, Georgia Tech, Northern Iowa) plus additional losses to a bottom-tier Big East team (St. John's) and a middle-of-the-pack MAAC team (Niagara).

Siena's best win is probably Northeastern.

And yet the Saints are still getting two points in the coaches poll.

That's one more point than Xavier is getting, by the way, and Xavier is 17-7 with wins over Cincinnati, Charlotte, Dayton, Rhode Island and Florida. Furthermore, all seven of Xavier's losses are to teams Jerry Palm has making the NCAA tournament. And just so we're clear, I'm not saying you have to rank Xavier. What I'm saying is that you can't rank Siena, and you sure as hell can't rank Siena if you're not also ranking Xavier.

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2010 8:52 am

The Poll Attacks

Marnel -

Excellent points...on #1 and #2.
It truly is difficult to see these athletes deal with these situations.

#3 and #4...not so much.

3. Legal troubles?  A Euphemism for alleged criminal activity - alcohol, weapons, and drug charges.
4. Related.

#3 and #4 - result of poor decisions on those involved.

(Is there a systemic issue at UT? In the fall, several football players involved in attempted armed robbery?)

So, in summation, yes 1/2, UT is struggling with some tough losses; however, other 1/ sympathy.

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2010 8:45 am

The Poll Attacks

Sorry BFS-
But last Tuesday night?
That was an ol' fashion whoopin'.

Probably worth about -6 for UT.

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2010 8:43 am

The Poll Attacks

Thank you Gary.
Obviously as a Vanderbilt alum, I have a biased opionion and, frankly, one of complete shock, when I saw the polls.

It means a lot for an objective third party to NOTICE and ADDRESS IT.

That said....I implore all to step back and take an objective look at how -MOST BUT NOT ALL- of the sports media put stock in coach personality/name/etc. in determining teams' comparitive value/poll position.  Can you base it all on the stats/objective?  Are polls just a bunch of dung?

Would UT really be where they vaunted in the voter's minds if Bruce Pearl were not their coach?

Just a thought...

Since: Nov 21, 2008
Posted on: February 16, 2010 2:59 pm

The Poll Attacks

No, that would be San Diego University of the WCC.  San Diego State is something like 17-8 in the Mountain West

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2010 2:03 pm

The Poll Attacks

A repeat of the Big 12 championship in March?

a) the Big 12 Championship hasn't happened yet.
b) I fully expect the Longhorns to be watching said Championship game
c) If you think UT has ANY chance to make it to the National Championship (which occurs in April, by the way) with that sad, pathetic excuse for a Point Guard, who couldn't average 10/game playing D-3 schools, then you just need to take those ugly burnt orange goggles off.

Be happy if UT is playing in the second weekend of the NCAA tournament. That 50 pt win over a brutal Nebraska team hasn't changed a thing.

Since: Mar 2, 2007
Posted on: February 16, 2010 2:02 pm

The Poll Attacks

Did I read correctly that San Diego State (12-12, 5-7) got a vote?

Since: Sep 3, 2007
Posted on: February 16, 2010 1:05 pm

The Poll Attacks

Ahh Tennessee fans bringing up coaches that run their mouth, love it.  The vols coaches run their mouths as well as run to the west coast at the drop of a hat, leaving a Tenn squad defenseless during the home stretch in recruiting.  Vandy and Tenn dont have a chance at a tourney run, so lets just let the rankings go and wait for a repeat of the big 12 championship in March.  KU vs Texas.

Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2010 1:02 pm

The Poll Attacks

Tennessee should be in the top 25 based on there play.
It dosent matter how much they have to overcome, the committee dosent look at that stuff.
It will be tough to beat any really good team but you should be ranked, atleast for now.

Since: Feb 21, 2008
Posted on: February 15, 2010 9:47 pm

The Poll Attacks

Thank you Gary.  Our thoughts exactly.  

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2010 9:31 pm

The Poll Attacks

"3. Arguably the best player on team, Tyler Smith, kicked off team for legal troubles."

"Legal Troubles"  that's like saying Jeffery Dahmer likes a little tongue....

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