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: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:52 pm

The Poll Attacks

Parrish is ok at ranking the teams. But a full bubble watch is .

Since: Mar 14, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:45 pm

The Poll Attacks

I truly believe that the Big east is way over rated, all 16 of the teams play 11 to 13 of their non conference games at home (pencil in a W) this gets them all high RPI ratings then they beat up on each others home courts some of the "better" teams win a few on the road and their RPI skyrockets. come tourney time if 10 or 11 get in half will be gone before the round of 32 starts

Since: Apr 8, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 10:07 pm

The Poll Attacks

Gary, go check out the Bracket Matrix. Unless you feel that "everyone who understands how to project such things" is limited to you (not out of the question), the general consesus after this weekend is that Duke has moved up to a one seed. Opinions are opinions, and we are all entitled to them, but as a professional journalist, you should keep your facts straight.


Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: February 21, 2011 9:34 pm

The Poll Attacks

You would like to think the tourney peopl would be better than the pollsters but how many times do you have to see Duke get the easiest road to the Final Four to know that is not historically true?  Why would this year be any different?

Since: Feb 14, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2011 9:05 pm

The Poll Attacks

Please tell me you are joking? UNC looks better than EVERY Big East team? You mean the same UNC team who lost at Georgia Tech (a team that lost by 17 points to the mighty Kennesaw State) by 20 points? I'll take it that you wrote that statement with tongue in cheek. Because you cannot seriously believe that UNC is better than Pitt, Notre Dame, Louisville, or G'Town. Or that Nova, Cuse, WVU, or SJU would not play a close game with UNC on a neutral court. Can you?

Since: Jun 3, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:57 pm

The Poll Attacks

oh they are tested and have experience.  Heck any K team benefits from just having K right?  However do you remember the teams they played to win it last year???  Come on.  Not exactly a tough road.  Mid major in the final...a basket away from losing?  I agree tested makes sense...but the 2010 Duke Team may be the least dominant Champ in over 20 years.

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:55 pm

The Poll Attacks

KenPom -- the site that has been eeriely accurate a predicting tourney success the last 5 years, including picking Duke to win last year when no one gave them a chance -- has Duke #1 today. 

Look at how he did with his YE rankings over the last few years.

If Kyrie gets to feeling frisky, I think calling Duke a "weak #3" is just plain hatin'. 

Since: Jun 3, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:55 pm

The Poll Attacks

Wow....Butler, MSU, KSU in the final top 25????  I'd like some of what you are smoking.  Might you be a Dookie?  I agree that Nolan Smith and Seth Curry are great shooteres...with Smith proving leadership.  However unless Singler decides to man up and Irving grows a new toe....the team just isn't tough or tested enough for a run through real competition.  Temple will be a good test...hey at least its at home.  The performance in NYC proves that all Duke can really do is shoot offensively.  They don't penetrate anything close to each other team in the current top 10.  So basically an off shooting night = doom.  Hard to not see that happening in the most likely 5 tough games they will get next month.  Even if the fix is on again like last year and they get a cakewalk to the Final 4 and get a mid major in the final....I say they lose at or around the sweet 16.  K can't teach the type of toughness necessary for this group.  Sheyer is really missed when it comes to heart.  The Plumlees don't come close to matching the drive Zoubek had starting in around mid Feb.  Now sure thiungs may click but I just dont see it.  Duke in my mind right now is the last 1 or the first 2....doesn't matter much at all.  Polls are garbage and fuel website views and talk.  Duke is a very hated team so why not make them 1 and fuel the fire?  Its good business.

Since: Jul 16, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:49 pm

The Poll Attacks

@95pittfan - I hate Duke as much as anyone, but to say that Duke's talent is "untested".  I would call an NCAA championship last year a pretty solid "test".  They lost a couple of players (Scheyer, et. al.) but they still have Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, the older Plumlee and 6 others back from last year's championship team.  Quite a stretch to say that Duke's talent is "all untested".

Just sayin'.

Since: Jan 24, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:43 pm

The Poll Attacks

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