Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:49 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 3:12 pm
Pittsburgh is fourth in the AP poll and sixth in the coaches poll.

And two AP voters ranked the Panthers ninth.

I won't stand for any of it.

I'm about to get my Poll Attack on.

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of

Associated Press poll: For the AP portion of this week's Poll Attacks, let's play blind body of work.

You ready?

Let's go!

----- TEAM A -----

Record: 24-3
Record vs. RPI Top 25: 6-2
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 7-3
Losses outside RPI Top 25: 1
Double-digit losses: 0
Wins over teams currently ranked in the AP poll: 5

----- TEAM B -----

Record: 23-4
Record vs. RPI Top 25: 0-2
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-3
Losses outside RPI Top 25: 2
Double-digit losses: 2
Wins over teams currently ranked in the AP poll: 0

Team A is Pittsburgh and Team B is Arizona.

Is there any question which team has the better body of work?

Pittsburgh has more wins, fewer losses, better wins and better losses than Arizona, and the Panthers have beaten five currently ranked teams while Arizona has topped zero. Still, Jerry Tipton and Myron Medcalf both have Arizona ranked No. 8 and Pittsburgh ranked No. 9. This is proof that it's possible to be a great beat writer and still slip on your Top 25 ballot every once in a while. They're wrong, but I forgive them. As for the coaches ...

Coaches poll: The Duke Blue Devils are No. 1 in the AP and coaches polls even though they have just one win over a fellow Top 25 team (North Carolina). Even though they have a loss to an unranked team (Florida State) and another by 15 points to a team (St. John's) that just broke into the rankings this week. Even though they are sixth in the RPI. And even though they are still projected as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament by everybody who understands how to project such things.

So the top of both polls are silly.

But what bothers me most is Pittsburgh at No. 6 in the coaches poll.

I don't care if you rank by body of work or quality of play, there's no way to conclude that five teams deserve to be ranked ahead of Jamie Dixon's Panthers. As I told you earlier, Pitt is 24-3 with five wins over teams also ranked in the coaches poll -- specifically No. 5 Texas, No. 11 Georgetown, No. 14 Villanova, No. 15 Connecticut and No. 20 Syracuse. For the purposes of comparison, No. 1 Duke (25-2) has one win over a team also ranked in the coaches poll. No. 2 Kansas (25-2) has two. No. 3 Ohio State (25-2) has two. No. 4 San Diego State (27-1) has zero. No. 5 Texas (23-4) has five.

In the loss column, obviously, Ohio State is best. The Buckeyes' only two losses are at No. 8 Purdue and at No. 12 Wisconsin. They're the lone team with at least six wins over top-50 RPI schools and zero losses to schools unranked in the latest coaches poll, which is why I put Ohio State No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one). For the purposes of comparison, No. 1 Duke has lost to one currently unranked team (again, Florida State), No. 2 Kansas has lost to one currently unranked team (Kansas State), No. 4 San Diego State has lost to zero currently unranked teams and No. 5 Texas has lost to two currently unranked teams (Southern California and Nebraska).

Got all that?


Here's what it means: Texas might have comparable wins to Pittsburgh, but the Longhorns have worse losses (not to mention a loss to Pittsburgh). And Duke, Kansas and San Diego State might have better (and by better, I mean fewer) losses than Pittsburgh, but the Blue Devils, Jayhawks and Aztecs can't touch Pitt in terms of quality wins. Ohio State? Yes, OSU is rock-solid; that's why I have OSU No. 1. But it's difficult to justify having anybody besides Ohio State ahead of the Panthers, and it's impossible to justify having a total of five schools ahead of Pittsburgh.

That said, know this: Pitt would without question be a No. 1 seed if the NCAA tournament started today

So take solace in that, Pitt fans.

The selection committee is smarter than the men who vote in the coaches poll, I assure you.

Since: Dec 11, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2011 8:35 am

The Poll Attacks

The Pac will get 3 in and, like last yr, all will get to the sweet 16.

Last year Cal did not make the Sweet Sixteen, I believe they lost to the national champions.

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 7:35 am

The Poll Attacks

Finally some love for the Panthers. At least someone remembers Pitts body of work including the win over Texas. San Diego St plays teams no one has ever heard of!

Since: Mar 18, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2011 7:26 am

The Poll Attacks

RELAXBEHAPPY wipe that brown off your nose. Gary Parrish could care less if your his biggest fan as far as your thought on Duke saying marquette would beat us thats a dumb comment we played them on a neutral court and beat them already. And as for my thoughts on garys ranking on duke im fine with it, I do believe we are top 5 top 4. I dont want to be 1 right now ill settle for 1 when the season is over.
No one wants that bullseye on their back. And you must be a pitt fan making excuses on your st john loss. a loss is a loss plain and simple. just say you lost thats it be a man about it.
Look on the bright side Gary Parrish might add you to his friends list

Since: Jan 19, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 3:43 am

Pls use something other than RPI!

Parrish, please use another metric besides the RPI in evaluating teams: KenPom, Sagarin, just to name two.

Unless you really believe the RPI is the most accurate metric out there.

Since: Jul 24, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2011 2:43 am

The Poll Attacks

Another obvious one would be that UConn is ranked over a Louisville team which has now swept the season series (winning at UConn even when still ravaged by injuries).

Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 1:03 am

The Poll Attacks

Quote:  "Pitt is CLEARLY the better team, and they could lose their conference tourney, win the regular Big East season, finshed ranked around 9 or 10, and still be a #1 seed (#2 at the absolute worst).  I think the committee will get it right.  Even if 'Zona wins the PAC-10 and gets around 30 wins, they're no better than a 2-seed--I'd even say a 3."

Really?  Arizona's sophmore layden team has improved tremendously under Miller since getting beat up by BYU, and are playing as good as anyone in the country right now.  Pitt clearly has the better resume...nobody disputes that.  The main reason bein
g they have the opportunity to play 6-7 highly ranked teams at home due to the deep Big East.  You can't say 1 team will beat another team because they have more wins in the top 50.  Individual games are all about matchups.  Try watching Arizona, UCLA and Washington play and your eyes will tell you these teams can beat anyone in the country.  Teams slip up on the road in every conference because teams know one another so well(especially in the Pac since every team plays each other twice / yr).  A loss on the road in the Pac to say...Cal has the false perception of being much worse than a loss on the rd in the Big East to say...St Johns.  I have seen a lot of games this year and there is not much difference between the middle of the Pac and the mid-lvl teams of other conferences.  The BE may be the exception since they are so damn deep there.  In the end, it's proven in the tourney.  The Pac will get 3 in and, like last yr, all will get to the sweet 16.

Since: Feb 16, 2009
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:43 am

The Poll Attacks

LOL You Duke fans are hilarious and so are you undercover Duke fans.  Congratulations on your number one ranking by the Press and Coaches but like Gary said, they don't do the seating at the NCAA Tournament the selection committee does.  Whose smarter, well I'll have to say the coaches are smarter at coaching a game, and the selection committee is smarter at making selections for the NCAA Tournament.  Well, I need to elaborate on that a little.  The selection committee is made up of a group of men who as a team make decisions based upon facts, information and unfortunately for some of you, the majority of it is defined as "Body of Work".  All of what happens during the year in college basketball is geared toward the NCAA Championship.  Almost every team wants to be in it, and almost every team wants to win it.  We have history to examine, which allows us to see who normally wins in reference to their seed.  We have history that identifies that body of work which determined the seeds of those teams.
For the record, Gary's not a clown, he didn't get owned by stronger basketball minds, etc., etc., etc.,.  He's a very good sports writer and there are some of us who appreciate this site and the job that he does.  We all have an opinion and I like his because it's more based upon facts, information and current body of work.
For you Duke fans, who got blown out in Madison Square Garden by St. Johns not just at the end of the game, but at the beginning and throughout.  Duke was never in the game and looked as if they we're completely out played in all aspects of the phrase.  Pitt was not only in the game from the beginning against St. John's in the garden, but had them beat.  Pitt didn't lose the game, St. John's won it with a lucky/controversial acrobatic amazing effort by Hardy with 1.2 seconds remaining.  Duke got blown out.  St. John's is tied for 4th in the Big East with 3 other teams, which means they could be anywhere between the Big East's current 4th thru 7th place team.  Duke got blown out by them.  You Duke fans will probably respond with "oh that was on the road, in a place where everybody gets blown out".  Everybody doesn't get blown out there, just Duke.
Secondly, Duke barely beat Marquette at Duke by 5 in a close game to the end.  Marquette is currently in 11th place in the Big East all by themselves.  On a neutral site and if they played again today.  Marquette would beat Duke also.  But that's not going to happen again so all we have to go by is what has happened and what is current.
Everybody knows that in both the AP and the Coaches Poll not much thought is put into who's number 1.  It starts out as a guess at the beginning of the season and when you lose you drop down and when you win, you move up.  Gary's Poll is not like that.  His poll is based upon something and it's called a body of work.  Those other polls are based upon personal opinions of each writer and coach.  None of them have publicly engaged anyone in the basis of their decision, neither are they obligated to do so.  You lose, you move down, you win, you move up.  Some voters move you down 1, some voters move you down 10.  Some coaches move you up 1, some coaches move you up 5.  We determine a voters credibility by his vote.  Most of the voters we have no clue what their vote it.  WE KNOW WHAT GARY'S IS!
That's called honest, open and fearless writing.  In spite of what the nay sayers say.  In spite of the constant ridicule and name calling.  He continues to give us a forum to not only voice our opinion, but to interact with one another.  Some of us are mature and engage in an adult like manner and some of us behave as children or at least the way that we communicate suggest that we are less mature.  The last thing on this subject is that when Gary's wrong, he admits it and apologizes.  That has to do with integrity.  We don't get that with the other Polls.  We don't even get to interact.  I think we should. In fact, I have an Idea for a show, if I could get ESPN, or CBS to give an old retired veteran a job.
Last but not least, there are 365 teams in Division 1.  My question is do you think that all 365 coaches should get a vote?  Do you even understand why there are only 31 first place votes in the coaches poll and where they come from?  What about in the points columns?  Do you understand how teams are given those points?  Where those points come from?  The fact is that in the Coaches Poll, 1st place thru 6th place we're separated by less than 80 points.  PITT and Texas were separated by 3 and PITT and San Diego State were separated by 8 points.  That's not a whole lot.
I'm a true PITT fan, and I"m like the panthers and Jamie Dixon.  Losing to St. John's in the Garden doesn't bother me.  PITT played a great game.  The fans in that stadium and on television were treated to a great game.  We never quit and we played all the up to the last second.  Also, I have no problem congratulating Duke and other teams on their rankings in the AP and Coaches Poll.  Why do you Duke fan's have a problem with where your ranked in Gary's Poll?  PITT is ranked 2, 4 and 6 in three different polls.  There number 1 in my poll and heart, but I don't have to have everyone else see things my way.
Why can't we all just get along?  Thanks for another great week GARY PARISH.  I appreciate this site, is gives me something to do.  I LOVE COLLEGE BASKETBALL.

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:42 am

The Poll Attacks

Parish, well done, sharp as a tack Commander.

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:00 am

The Poll Attacks

Well, if playing 5 of 12 non-conference games at home qualifies as "11 to 13," then I guess West Virginia is overrated and I need a math lesson.  Never let facts get in the way of a good rant.

Since: Oct 6, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 11:40 pm

The Poll Attacks

I think at times the hoops voters treat b-ball in a similar way to the football voters: if a team loses, then they lose ground in the rankings.  But that's where hoops differs from football.  'Zona got the nod because they went 3-0 last week, while Pitt went 1-1.  Pitt is CLEARLY the better team, and they could lose their conference tourney, win the regular Big East season, finshed ranked around 9 or 10, and still be a #1 seed (#2 at the absolute worst).  I think the committee will get it right.  Even if 'Zona wins the PAC-10 and gets around 30 wins, they're no better than a 2-seed--I'd even say a 3.  Body of work doesn't come into play as much as it should in hoops (unless you're Duke, of course).

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