Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: February 18, 2008 5:43 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2008 8:13 pm
 

Wisconsin belongs between Purdue and Indiana.

If you voted differently this week you voted wrong this week.

And I'll explain why in the Poll Attacks ... right after I destroy the credentials of Kent State and Cornell

AP poll: Kent State and Cornell got votes this week. That's proof that voters are either dumb or being different for the sake of being different (or dumb) because Kent State and Cornell -- scrappy as they might be -- belong nowhere near anybody's Top 25 ballot. A team shouldn't be capable of getting votes if it still doesn't have any good wins in the middle of February unless it also doesn't have any bad losses. In fact, I'm going to add that to the official Gary Parrish Rules of Voting Memo I plan to send to all AP voters next October so I can stop spending every Monday exposing flaws.

Frankly, I get bored doing this every week.

It's not even fun anymore.

Anyway, back to Kent State and Cornell.

Kent State is 21-5 overall, and I understand why that might look nice at first glance. But 15 of those 21 victories have come against teams ranked outside the Top 100 at CollegeRPI.com while 10 have come against teams ranked outside the Top 200. Put another way, that's a 21-5 record against a schedule ranked 153rd nationally, and it features no Top 50 wins and two losses to opponents ranked 195th or worse (No. 197 Toledo and No. 286 Detroit). The Golden Flashes have only played two Top 50 opponents. They lost to North Carolina by 29 points and to Xavier by 13 points. And that's why Kent State shouldn't be getting the three points it got in this week's AP poll from the Idaho Statesman's Nick Jezierny.

(If that name sounds familiar it's because Nick is the same voter I Poll Attacked last week. I'm sure Nick is a swell guy. But he might be the worst voter in America. Not only does he have Kent State at No. 23, but he has Butler two spots ahead of North Carolina and three spots ahead of UCLA. I love Butler, but that's ridiculous. And Nick, if you're reading this, you're on your way to induction into the Poll Attack Hall of Fame.)

Cornell's body of work is similarly unimpressive.

Cornell is 16-5 overall, and I understand why that might look nice at first glance. But 15 of those 16 victories have come against teams ranked outside the Top 100 at CollegeRPI.com while 10 have come against teams ranked outside the Top 200. Put another way, that's a 16-5 record against a schedule ranked 237th nationally, and it features no Top 50 wins and two losses to opponents ranked 195th or worse (No. 198 Colgate and No. 208 Bucknell). The Big Red have only played two Top 50 opponents. They lost to Duke by 14 points and to Syracuse by 16 points. And that's why Cornell shouldn't be getting the one point it got in this week's AP poll from The Washington Post's John Feinstein.

(If that name sounds familiar it's because John is ... ah, you know who John is. He's a brilliant author, a living Legend and a gift from God for the Poll Attacks.)

Coaches poll:
No team in the Top 25 of this silly poll has a losing record against the Top 100 at CollegeRPI.com except Wisconsin (3-4 against the Top 100). Yet somehow the Badgers are 10th in the coaches poll -- ahead of such schools as Xavier (10-4 against the Top 100), Connecticut (9-5 against the Top 100) and Stanford (9-4 against the Top 100).

Also ranked below the Badgers: Purdue.

And that's the one that really doesn't make sense.

The Boilermakers are 5-3 against the Top 100, the winners of 11 consecutive games and occupiers of the top spot in the Big Ten standings. If that's not enough, voters should also know that Purdue has beaten Wisconsin -- not once but twice.

1/26/08 (at Purdue): Boilermakers 60, Badgers 56.

2/9/08 (at Wisconsin): Boilermakers 72, Badgers 67.

To be clear, I don't mind Wisconsin being ranked; I like the team a lot, particularly how it owns two wins over Indiana. But it's difficult to make sense of the Badgers being 10th in the coaches poll when the only smart thing to do is to have them somewhere between Purdue and Indiana -- which is why I had Wisconsin at No. 15 in my Top 25 (and one) -- four spots below No. 11 Purdue and one spot ahead of No. 16 Indiana.
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: February 19, 2008 12:58 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

I would rank Purdue ahead of the Badgers as well, based on their incredible win at Wisconsin and their equally incredible winning streak in the Big Ten.  But your analysis of the Badgers based solely on their record against "Top 100" teams is misleading, and shows the danger of using arbitrary cutoffs.  

For example, you compare Wisconsin's losing record of 3-4 against Top 100 teams to Connecticut's seemingly much more impressive 9-4 record against the same cohort.  This seems to make it ridiculous that Connecticut could be ranked behind Wisconsin.  But take a look behind the numbers.  For example, look at their respective records against another arbitrary cutoff, the top 125:  Wisconsin is 9-4 and Connecticut is 9-5.  It so happens that Wisconsin's wins over mediocre teams happen to be teams that are in that 101-125 cohort and Connecticut has a lot of wins over mediocre teams in the 50-100 range.  Is Wisconsin's win over #101 Valpo completely really so meaningless compared to Connecticut's win over #86 Georgia Tech?  Obviously not. 

Also, it might be worth noting that all of Wisconsin's losses are to team ranked in the Top 25 of the Sportsline RPI.  Connecticut, on the other hand, has three losses to teams not in the Top 25, including a loss to a team outside of your magical top 100 (Providence, #104).  Similarly, Wisconsin has one of the signature wins of the season:  a road victory over a top 5 RPI team (Texas). 

Now, Wisconsin and UConn are both very good teams, and you could certainly make a case that UConn is better and should be higher ranked.  The point is that it isn't obvious, as you seem to make it thorugh your facile use of arbitrary cutoffs, that UConn should be ranked higher, and it's not ridiculous (or "silly") to rank the Badgers higher.




Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: February 19, 2008 12:05 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Gary, the reason Wisconsin is ranked ahead of Xavier is simple.....both teams are 21-4.  Wisconsins 4 losses are all to teams ranked in the top 25 (at Duke, at Purdue, vs. Marquette, vs. Purdue).  Of Xavier's 4 losses, one is to Miami of Ohio and another is to Temple.  Not exactly quality losses.  Not to mention Wisconsin has two nice signature wins at Texas (a top 7 team) and at Indiana (A top 15 team).  I think clearly Wisconsin should be ahead of Xavier. 

As for Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin...that's tough.  Props to Purdue for beating Wisconsin twice.  But Wisconsin beat Indiana twice.  So what if Indiana beats Purdue tonight?  I think Wisconsin is ahead of Purdue due to the quality wins it has as mentioned above, combined with the fact they have no bad losses.  Purdue has losses to unranked teams, yet quality wins over Wisconsin.  They may just match up well vs. Wisconsin.  That's why they play the games I guess.




Since: Mar 5, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2008 10:47 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

I have always thought some of the Poll votes were for sure votes were from fans of a team who have a rivalry with another team. They were taught as children to never pick the rival team above their favorite team.  I don't like it but can understand  after always thinking of their team as better the inability to vote differently.

Thank you for the attack to such flawed thinking.




Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: February 18, 2008 10:01 pm
 

27% of the top 6 combinred losses to one team

I am sure this has never happened before in college basketball history - after 151 games, the top six ranked teams in the country in every poll have lost 27.27% of their combined losses to one team not ranked in the top 6.

Longhorns - 3 of the 11 losses.




Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2008 8:16 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

I agree that Purdue should be ranked ahead of Wisconsin. I think, however, that the problem is more one of the Boilermakers being under-ranked, than the Badgers being too high in the polls. I'd probably put the two teams 11th/12th, with Indiana trailing considerably.



Since: Oct 10, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2008 7:09 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Nice mohawk Gary. Do you have a mullet back there as well? That would be sweet....



Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2008 6:56 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Wisconsin belongs between Purdue and Indiana.

If you voted differently this week you voted wrong this week.
Hooray, I had Purdue, Wisconsin and IU at 15th, 16th and 17th respectively.



Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: February 18, 2008 6:37 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

I do not understand how North Carolina gets to leap in front of Duke and Kansas with the same record but with 2 home loss.


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