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: Mar 25, 2010
Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:07 pm

The Poll Attacks

if Duke played (and beat) BYU/SDSU this year instead of Mich.St/Kan.St, maybe BYU/SDSU would have flamed-out like MSU/KSU.   

Since: Nov 30, 2006
Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:02 pm

The Poll Attacks

Considering the Top 25 is changing every week, and unranked teams, are becoming ranked teams, and yada yada yada, lets just go with wins/losses vs Top 50 RPI

Whoa there, you made a pretty big assertion there, so I challenge you to take it a step further. Rather than look at the Top 50 in RPI--which will leave many of them OUT of the tournament--look at the records against the Top 25.

Pitt's record against the Top 25 is 6-2.

Duke is no where near that mark. So don't just pick stats that make your Duke team look better than they are. You may think you have the talent at Duke, and maybe you do, but right now, it's all untested.

Since: Mar 25, 2010
Posted on: February 21, 2011 8:01 pm

The Poll Attacks

understand KU, Ohio.St, and SDSU receiving #1 votes, but what MORONS gave Pitt #1 votes?  If Pitt lost to St.Jphn by 1 while duke got blown out, then St.John should get #1 votes.

If Pitt is the best team in BE and looks like at-best sweet-16 teams, will rest of BE teams flameout before then?  ACC, Big12, and Big10 has at least a that could put 6 wins-in-a-row, but which BE team look like they can even put 3 wins-in-a-row?  I just don't see any BE teams near final-4 this year.

BTW, right now, UNC looks much better than any BE teams with 6 losses.

Since: Nov 30, 2006
Posted on: February 21, 2011 7:54 pm

The Poll Attacks

But I don't think Pitt passes the same "eye" test that those three teams do.

I'm pretty certain that "eye test" factor is NOT a deciding parameter in RPI, Sagarin, Pomeroy, or any other poll used to rank teams, including their eventual seeding.

You may choose to use your own "eye test" when picking your bracket, but don't start throwing in ambiguous and subjective standards just because you don't like a particular team

Since: Jan 30, 2008
Posted on: February 21, 2011 7:38 pm

The Poll Attacks

Considering the Top 25 is changing every week, and unranked teams, are becoming ranked teams, and yada yada yada, lets just go with wins/losses vs Top 50 RPI

Duke.  6-2  (7-2 with win Wednesday)
Pitt 7-3  
Ohio St.  7-2
San Diego 4-1
BYU 7-1  ( 1 losse outside top 50)
Texas 7-2 (2 losses outside of top 50)
Kansas 7-2

So really when your talking about quality wins the majority of these schools are neck and neck.  Duke is #1 right now because they haven't been losing games recently, which means they have been playing better basketball right now, hence the 'current'  ranking.  

All of these teams could end up losing in their respective tournaments.  Pitt could lose to Louisville this week, and could lose in the Big East Tournament.   Ohio will probably run the table for teh rest of the season, but COULD lose in the Big Ten tourney.  Texas might lose to KSU next week, or they could win out and face Kansas in the Big 12 tourney (1 team will lose obviously) .   San Diego & BYU face each other before the MWC tournament.  There's a couple losses.  Duke has to go to chapel hill the last game of the season before the ACC tournament, etc... etc..

So basically win your conference, win your Tournament = # 1 seed. 

Since: Feb 21, 2011
Posted on: February 21, 2011 7:24 pm

The Poll Attacks

Duke is no better then #3 and that's a weak #3...
SDSU#1... BYU#2... Kansas#3... (NCAAW have UCONN#1... STANFORD #2...)
didn't STANFORD beat UCONN!

Since: Jan 12, 2009
Posted on: February 21, 2011 6:54 pm

The Poll Attacks

Duke had Kansas State, Michigan State, and Butler on the schedule, all top 10 teams in most pre-season polls.  Not Coach K's fault that they weren't as good as expected.  They also have played and lost to St. John's, now a top 25 team and will play currently and pre-season ranked Temple this week.  The schedule, admittedly, is much weaker than planned, especially with the ACC generally being down.  And the Blue Devils still have 14 wins against the top 100 in the RPI, second only Kansas' 15 wins among teams in the top 10.

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 6:47 pm

The Poll Attacks

...maybe Duke should schedule someone tough, like BYU or SD State.
Get a clue about scheduling, Dave.  Almost every schedule in the country was decided and all but locked into place during last season.  You can't blame Duke for having what turned out to be a schedule full of massive underachievers and cupcakes.  Nobody would have anticipated that Marquette, Kansas State, Michigan State, and Butler would have all dropped compared to last year.  On paper, Duke''s schedule for 2010-11 was a pretty decent one.  As for the rest of the ACC schedule turning out so soft, most folks didn't see that one coming either and there's not a damn thing you can do when your conference is down-- you just have to run the table and pump up your record.

Oh, just to refresh your memory...Duke beat three Big East teams they played last year on the way to the National Championship -- UConn at Madison Square Garden, St. John's at Cameron, and West Virginia at the Final Four in Indianapolis.  The lone Big East loss was to Georgetown at the Verizon Center in DC.  The last thing you can accuse Duke of is not scheduling and playing quality teams from quality conferences.  Last year, Duke played UConn, Wisconsin at the Kohl Center (a nasty place to play for everyone), St. John's, Gonzaga at MSG, Georgetown, and Tulsa in late February.  Without wearing the hater hat, you can't honestly accuse Duke of not scheduling tougher opponents.

Since: Jan 11, 2010
Posted on: February 21, 2011 6:27 pm

The Poll Attacks

I guess when you are a Duke fan, you cannot understand logic.  There is no way Duke should be a #1 seed.  They will lose in the second round.  Mark my words....  Sorry that you cannot handle the facts.  Tell your coach to play a tougher non-conference schedule and maybe schedule some road games next year.  It will make your team stronger.

Since: Apr 13, 2007
Posted on: February 21, 2011 6:24 pm

The Poll Attacks

All the Duke haters said the same thing last year. How'd that turn out?

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