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.

Seriously?

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.
Comments

Since: Jan 16, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2010 6:51 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

You think those are bad, some idiot ranked Michigan St one spot ahead of Texas (both have comparable resumes).  The same MSU who has four B10 losses now, the same one who was beaten pretty soundly by... wait for it.... Texas.

Glass houses, that's all I have to say.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2010 6:18 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

 

Well, come on Gary. Don't be two-faced. Mizzou has a far superior , and is playing great ball right now. I'm guessing many pollsters didn't actuall watch the Missouri-Baylor game, the Missouri-Texas game, or even pay attention to Mizzou's double digit win on the road in the BIG 12 Saturday. Have you people forgotten so quickly the number of non-conference teams that were able to win the the home court of a BIG 12 team this season? Add it up, you only need 1 digit on one hand. Mizzou has 3 such road wins. Have people forgotten that it isn't all about the RPI, and that Power Rankings are significant indicators of likely tournament participants as well?

For the record, Mizzou spanked Texas, and the score doesn't indicate the level of control Missouri execised over Texas in the second half of the game. A couple meaningless 3 pointers in the waning seconds of the game made it look close, even though it wasn't close at all. Mizzou also played the whole game in Waco against the #24 Baylor Bears within 8 points, and it was a tie game in the last half minute of the game. This is a Baylor team that has lost only 1 time at home this year.

Mizzou rolled Nebraska in Lincoln by 15 points 3 days after Nebraska barely lost in Manhattan to K-State.

Mizzou is stepping up it's game the same way it did last year, and will be a team not too many are eager to face come tourney time.

 

Parrish was talking about LAST year's Missouri team and LAST year's Memphis team. Who are you saying Missouri has a stronger resume than?




Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2010 5:54 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

The only team in the Big 12 that is better than Missouri is Kansas. Yes, it pains me to type that, but KU has a damn good team. That being said, come NCAA Tourney time, the Big 12 will be kicking ass again while overranked teams from the Big 10 drop like flies.



Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2010 5:49 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

How about Pitt being ranked 16th in the coaches poll with five straight wins, an RPI of 9, SOS of 4 and three wins over teams in the top 4.

Don't get me wrong, being 10-4 in this year's Big East is outstanding.  Pitt also closes with 4 relatively easy games, which could give them the #2 seed in the Big East Tourney. 

However, you mention "five straight wins", but ignore the fact that Pitt lost 4 out of 5 just prior to this win streak. 

True, they have three wins over Top 4 teams...but after that, what are their best wins?  At Marquette is solid, even though the Golden Flashes aren't ranked.  At UConn was decent, though the Huskies were just beginning their tailspin.  So, despite having "three wins over Top 4 teams", they are still only 3-3 against current Top 25 opponents (losses to Georgetown, Texas, and West Virginia).  Putting them in the middle of the Top 25 (#16) sounds reasonable to me.

(Keep in mind, Pitt's non-conference schedule, which is usually strong, does absolutely nothing to help it this year.)




Since: Dec 15, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2010 5:42 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Seth Davis didn't rank Texas. - Attack your own Gary!

Bob Sutton ranked Kansas State 10th.

3 AP voters have Butler unranked, worse than Ron Morris



Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: February 22, 2010 5:25 pm
 

The Poll Attacks


One thing you neglected to mention about Memphis last yr is they also beat a good Tennessee team in Knoxville to go along with the C-usa streak.
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.



Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2010 5:24 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Gary,
     I am not going to attack the pollsters at all here.  Ranking is a complicated and difficult process and so many people allow their blind passions to argue a point.  This I understand as I am guilty of the same passions.  But most of the people on the web site turn the discussion into a childish and immature issue of name calling and silly insults.  I would much rather read opinions that talk about basketball.  Specifically player abilities and team match ups instead of the name calling.  This web site should deduct credibilty numbers from negative and childish posts more aggresively.  I think that would increase the quality of the posts.  I don't know if you hear this very often but...good job Gary...keep working.



Since: Nov 30, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2010 5:21 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

That being said, you have Utep ranked 2 spots behind Butler. Utep has reeled off a bunch of wins in C-usa just like Memphis a year ago but have lost a handful of marquee out of conference games. They had a chance to beat Byu at home minus their leading scorer and still lost. One thing you neglected to mention about Memphis last yr is they also beat a good Tennessee team in Knoxville to go along with the C-usa streak.




Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2010 4:59 pm
 

And yet you still rank Butler ahead of Mizzou.

Well, come on Gary. Don't be two-faced. Mizzou has a far superior resume, and is playing great ball right now. I'm guessing many pollsters didn't actuall watch the Missouri-Baylor game, the Missouri-Texas game, or even pay attention to Mizzou's double digit win on the road in the BIG 12 Saturday. Have you people forgotten so quickly the number of non-conference teams that were able to win the the home court of a BIG 12 team this season? Add it up, you only need 1 digit on one hand. Mizzou has 3 such road wins. Have people forgotten that it isn't all about the RPI, and that Power Rankings are significant indicators of likely NCAA tournament participants as well?

For the record, Mizzou spanked Texas, and the score doesn't indicate the level of control Missouri execised over Texas in the second half of the game. A couple meaningless 3 pointers in the waning seconds of the game made it look close, even though it wasn't close at all. Mizzou also played the whole game in Waco against the #24 Baylor Bears within 8 points, and it was a tie game in the last half minute of the game. This is a Baylor team that has lost only 1 time at home this year.

Mizzou rolled Nebraska in Lincoln by 15 points 3 days after Nebraska barely lost in Manhattan to K-State.

Mizzou is stepping up it's game the same way it did last year, and will be a team not too many are eager to face come tourney time.




Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2010 4:47 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

How about Pitt being ranked 16th in the coaches poll with five straight wins, an RPI of 9, SOS of 4 and three wins over teams in the top 4.


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