Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: February 22, 2010 4:37 pm

The same guy giving Mississippi State points has Duke ranked 12th.

He's a perfect target for the Poll Attacks .

AP poll: The only school receiving points in the AP poll that isn't also in Jerry Palm's latest Projecting the Field is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs got five points, and I had to know who gave those five points to them. So I did some investigating and discovered it was Ron Morris of The State newspaper in South Carolina. But when I saw his ballot I forgot about Mississippi State pretty quickly, because the Bulldogs' presence wasn't even the dumbest thing there.

The dumbest thing on Ron's ballot was Duke all the way down at No. 12.


Duke at No. 12?

Look, I admit, there are lots of ways to rank teams. You can rank with an emphasis on recent performances, rank using entire bodies of work, rank with your eyes, etc. But there's no way to rank teams that could lead to any reasonable human having Duke 12th.
The Blue Devils are 23-4 and in possession of the nation's second-best RPI. They're leading the ACC, they have NINE wins over projected NCAA tournament teams -- Gonzaga, Charlotte, Clemson (twice), Wake Forest, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Virginia Tech -- and only one loss to a team not projected to make the NCAA tournament (North Carolina State). All four losses came on the road. And yet Ron has Duke two spots behind Michigan State, a team with seven losses and just THREE wins over projected NCAA tournament teams.

I'd love to hear the explanation for that.

Coaches poll: Nobody loves Butler more than I love Butler.

I love the tradition, Hinkle Fieldhouse, Brad Stevens, the type of student-athletes on the roster, Gordon Hayward, the Bulldog mascot, and even Indianapolis ... or at least I favor Indianapolis over Detroit as a Final Four destination. Again, I heart Butler. But the Bulldogs' body of work is ho-hum at best, which is why their No. 10 ranking in the coaches poll is ridiculous.

Butler has topped exactly two teams (Ohio State and Xavier) good enough to earn at-large bids to the NCAA tournament, and the win over OSU came while Evan Turner had a broken back. In fact, Butler is just 2-2 against schools included in Jerry Palm's latest Projecting the Field thanks to wins over Siena and Ohio State (minus Turner, I can't remind you enough) and losses to Clemson and Georgetown. The Bulldogs have additional losses to Minnesota and UAB. So how that translates to a Top 10 ranking is one of the week's great mysteries.

It reminds me of Memphis last season.

The Tigers struggled in the non-league part of their schedule -- lost to Xavier, Georgetown and Syracuse -- and were unranked when league play began. Then they ran through a bad C-USA, stacked wins and moved up the rankings in an undeserving manner before Missouri ran them off the court in the Sweet 16. This is exactly the same. Butler was unranked heading into its first Horizon League game, but the Bulldogs have defeated one bad team after another and similarly moved up the rankings in an undeserving manner.

Simply put, Butler's ranking doesn't match Butler's accomplishments.

I like the team.

And, for what it's worth, I think this Butler team is better than last year's Memphis team.

But 10th in the country with that body of work is way too high.

I have the Bulldogs 22nd.

That's closer to accurate.

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2010 2:33 pm

The Poll Attacks

Pittsburgh is not a top 10 team. They are borderline top 15. Yes, some of their wins are impressive. But their losses are ugly. A top caliber team is consistent. Pittsburgh is not. I'd rank them higher than 16th but no higher than 12th.
I'm a huge Pitt fan and watch every game - and with the "eye test" I'd agree with you - I don't see them as a top 10 team.  But some one has to be ranked 8-25 in a "Top 25" poll.  I don't think anyone would argue that the 1st tier is Kan (27-1), Ken (26-1), Syr (25-2) and Pur (23-3).  The next tier has Duke (23-4), Nova (22-4) and KSU (22-4).  After that you have a big cluster of teams with 6 or 7 losses from the power conferences and teams that are rolling through the mid-majors with only 3, 4 or 5 losses.

I think it's very hard to discern between those teams at all.  How can people say that New Mexico or Butler or BYU couldn't compete with the "good" teams from the power conferences?  The truth is no one knows because they don't play that schedule day-in and day-out.  It's very possible that Butler would go 9-9 in the Big East, but they could also go 13-5 or 12-4.  Really, who knows?

Pitt has lost to Ind, USF & SHU, but they've also beaten Vil, Syr & WVU (split).  Georgetown has lost to Rut, USF, Marq & Old Dominion, but they've beaten Duke, Nova & Pitt.  Ohio St has lost to Mich, UNC & Min, but they've beaten Pur, Wis & MSU...

Every team has some good wins AND some questionable losses.  But other than the top 7, who is really distinguishing themselves from the pack?  Remember NCAAF going into the Bowls?  After Bama, Tex, Cincy, Boise, TCU and Fla, was there really another team that deserved to be ranked #7?  I didn't think so.  Iowa and Penn St were solid, but not overly-impressive at 10-2.  VT at 9-3?  GT 10-2?  Ore 9-3?  Not much there.

Again, after the 1st 7, I could make a case for OR against each team being ranked ahead of another.  That being said, maybe the voters are considering that Pitt's only losses at full strength were @ SHU and home vs. Georgetown (Dixon - best defensive guard on Pitt - was hurt and missed the game when Dominique Jones put up 37 @ USF).  Maybe expectations coming into the season is why WVU is hanging at #8 when they've lost to every good team they've played (except the split with Pitt & OSU).  Maybe that's why Georgetown is #11 since they've beat 7 top 25 teams this year dispite their bad losses...

It's just too hard when everyone is jumbled together.

Since: Dec 20, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2010 1:49 pm

The Poll Attacks

I believe if you look at the box score Dixon did play (about 15 mins) as it was his first game back (so maybe you need to do some research) but IU has won 9 games this year. I agree with teams lose to other teams, but not on a neutral court. It will be funny when Pitt loses in the first or second round of the tournament this season.Dixon not only plays way more minutes than 15 per game at this point in the season (he had 37 against Nova), but you can't even try to say that a player's first game back after several months off from injury can truly count as the player being "back in action".  Neutral court has less to do with it than not having two key players in the game for their regular minutes.

At FULL STRENGTH Pitt has only lost to Georgetown, Seton Hall, and West Virginia.  In terms of teams, Seton Hall was a bad loss (I guess), and losing to WVU by 19 wasn't pretty.

But don't try to tell me that some team like BYU or New Mexico or Butler or Gonzaga can even come close to what Pitt has done AT FULL STRENGTH.

It will be funny if the match ups and referees don't completely play against Pitt's strengths and they advance to the Sweet 16 or beyond.

Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2010 8:38 am

The Poll Attacks

Butler is just 2-2 against schools included in Jerry Palm's latest Projecting the Field thanks to wins over Siena and Ohio State (minus Turner, I can't remind you enough) and losses to Clemson and GeorgetownXavier is also in the field, making Butler 3-2 against projected tournament teams.

UAB still has a decent shot at getting in and Minnesota is finally starting to play better after losing Al Nolen.  There's a (very small) chance both of those teams end up making the field.

I'm not saying a top ten ranking is justified; far from it, but the Xavier win is looking better and better, and the Minnesota loss is starting to not look so bad at all.  Losing by 9 after a free-throw parade after being down only 4 with 1:30 left looks quite a bit better than the drubbing Wisconsin took, yes?

I think anywhere from 18-25 is perfectly justified for this team. 

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2010 5:03 am

The Poll Attacks


Did you somehow miss:

"And yet you still rank Butler ahead of Mizzou.", in large font and bold type?

The Butler team about which he was complaining about in his blog? For the very same reasons he was citing, he should rank the Tigers over the Bulldogs.



I'll let you in on a little secret. Most people only read the post, not the title. So yes, I did miss it, and I bet a lot of people did.

Second, no, he shouldn't. Missouri's resume doesn't match Butler's.

Since: Nov 22, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2010 12:36 am

The Poll Attacks

Gary, you forgot to mention that Missouri also lost to Oral Roberts.

Since: Jul 22, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2010 12:33 am

The Poll Attacks

I'll tell you whose body of work sucks. Yours Gary Parrish. Your body of work this year sucks.
I lol'd at the emo homer.

Since: Sep 26, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2010 12:10 am

The Poll Attacks

Pittsburgh is not a top 10 team. They are borderline top 15. Yes, some of their wins are impressive. But their losses are ugly. A top caliber team is consistent. Pittsburgh is not. I'd rank them higher than 16th but no higher than 12th. The SEC is all puff and no fluff. Kentucky has yet to play a real solid opponent. UConn is almost the exception but they are so up and down no one can figure them out. Have Kentucky play a Villanova, a Purdue, a Kansas, a Syracuse, or a Duke and then see how good they really are. Their best win so far? at Vanderbilt. VANDERBILT. This is not top quality opposition here. Good? Yes. Great? No. Kentucky will be the first no. 1 seed to bow out if they come in believing they really are the no. 2 team in the country. Put Kentucky in either the Big 12, Bigh 10, or Big East and that 26-1 record would be closer to 21-6 at BEST. Not saying the Wildcats are bad but come on, they haven't faced anything remotely close to the opposition the other top teams have faced. Their best chance in the pitiful SEC would be to play AT Tennessee but Cal doesn't have the stones for that with this team. Maybe they will cross paths in the SEC tournament. I hope so. Hopefully Tennessee will show up for that one too because they go games in between actually trying. Butler in the top ten really is a joke. That team would be lucky to be top 20 material. Cornell could probably beat them. New Mexico state is a joke too. Don't rank a team like that until they actually beat someone. New Mexico is just another nobody beating up on other nobodies and getting way too much credit for it. Northern Iowa was in the top 25 too. NORTHERN IOWA! You know, where the team is bigger than the crowd that shows up to watch. What a joke ranking them. Please stop ranking these wanna be teams with inflated records. In a power conference none of them would be over .500! You want to be ranked? Beat someone else who deserves to be.

Since: Oct 16, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2010 11:53 pm

The Poll Attacks

You talking about the Tennessee team that finished with 13 losses and fell to Oklahoma State in the first round of the NCAA tournament? I'll give you the win at Gonzaga was damn impressive. But besides that, Memphis' body of work was weak last season, not really much better than Butler's body of work this season.

I'll tell you whose body of work sucks. Yours Gary Parrish. Your body of work this year sucks.

Since: Feb 15, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2010 10:29 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 4, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2010 10:25 pm

The Poll Attacks

Brav...Good Response

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