By Gary Parrish
Associated Press poll: Thanksgiving weekend is tricky.
Lots of family time.
Lots of shopping.
Good football on television.
It's easy to lose track of things in college basketball, I know. But my god. There are websites all over the place -- including, of course, CBSSports.com -- where box scores from every game played can be found, and it just seems like AP voters ought to take a few minutes and look at them before submitting their ballots. If they did, the Poll Attacks would be much more difficult to file every week. As it is, this is simple stuff.
So thank you, Mark McCarter of the Huntsville Times.
You've made my job simple on this Monday.
And I hate that it's you because I like you and we go way back. But come on, man. You put Cincinnati 25th on your ballot despite the fact that the Bearcats are 3-2 with home losses to Presbyterian and Marshall. That's two home losses. To Presbyterian. And Marshall. What does Cincinnati have to do to get off your ballot? Would a loss to Miami-Ohio this week do it? What about two losses this week -- to Miami-Ohio on Tuesday and Georgia on Friday? Surely that would be enough, right?
Also, why no UNLV on your ballot?
The Rebels are 7-0 with a win over North Carolina.
That's slightly better than 3-2 with home losses to Presbyterian and Marshall.
Obviously, I could go on for another 300 words. But that's enough. Because the Houston Chronicle's Sam Khan voted Villanova 24th, and that's similarly silly and needs to be addressed. The Wildcats are 4-2 with neutral-court losses to Saint Louis (by 12 points) and Santa Clara (by one point). I suppose that's better than home losses to Presbyterian and Marshall, but not much better. I genuinely have no idea how Sam could still be ranking Villanova, but I also have no idea how Sam can rank Memphis seventh -- 12 spots of the Michigan team that dominated the Tigers and at least sixteen spots ahead of the Georgetown team that he didn't rank despite it also beating the Memphis team he still believes belongs in the top 10.
In fact, I don't even know why he'd rank Memphis at all right now.
I'll explain that next ...
Coaches poll: Memphis will win Conference USA.
The Tigers are too talented to do anything but win Conference USA.
But at some point, to some degree, the results have to matter, and the Tigers' results through four games don't suggest they are, at this moment, the top 10 team most believed they'd be in the preseason ... or even worthy of the No. 21 ranking the coaches gave them Monday. Memphis is 2-2 with a home win over an Atlantic Sun team (Belmont) and a double-overtime win on a neutral court over a team picked 11th in the SEC (Tennessee). The Tigers' losses are a double-digit defeat on a neutral court to No. 15 Michigan and an overtime loss to unranked Georgetown, also on a neutral court. Simply put, that's not good enough.
Now I know what you're thinking: How can CBSSports.com rank two-loss FSU but not two-loss Memphis?
Answer: Florida State's two losses are better. And FSU deserves more of the benefit of the doubt. The Seminoles are 5-2. Their losses are an overtime loss to a team we have ranked 11th (Connecticut) and a five-point loss to a team we have ranked 22nd (Harvard). Beyond that, FSU's ranking isn't based on potential nearly as much as Memphis'. The Seminoles were good last season -- third in the ACC with an 11-5 league record and a trip to the Sweet 16 -- and they returned the bulk of that roster. Meantime, Memphis was awful last season. The Tigers went 10-6 in Conference USA, basically played well for just one week in El Paso, won the C-USA tournament and got the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. So their preseason ranking was always based more on recruiting rankings and the idea that they'd this season be more like the team that pushed Arizona to the buzzer in their postseason opener last season than the team that finished fourth in C-USA, and, again, I think they will eventually. But through four games, they haven't. And that's why I can't make sense of Memphis still being ranked this week when so many other teams deserve it more.
The Crimson are 6-0 with a win over Florida State.
The Hoyas are 4-1 with the lone loss being a close loss to No. 14 Kansas.
And Georgetown beat Memphis.
How could anybody rank Memphis but not Georgetown right now?
Either way, again, Memphis will be fine in time; I still believe that. The roster remains really, really talented. But should the Tigers be ranked 21st on Nov. 28 -- ahead of Saint Louis, FSU, Harvard and Georgetown? No, absolutely not. It really can't be justified by anything that's ever happened on a basketball court.