Tag:The Poll Attacks
Posted on: March 5, 2012 8:04 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 8:10 pm

The Poll Attacks: Voter drops IU after two wins

By Gary Parrish

Tom Crean cost himself an AP vote by beating Michigan State and Purdue.

I know that sounds crazy.

But it's true and the focus of the Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: I've been on this Indiana thing for a few weeks because I don't understand how presumed intelligent reporters could watch basketball and/or look at bodies of work of basketball teams and conclude the Hoosiers didn't deserve to be ranked. I had to jump the 15 voters who didn't rank IU two Mondays ago, and that number dwindled to seven last week. It was better, obviously. But seven voters were still wrong.


Now only one voter is still wrong.

It's Jason Franchuk from the Provo Daily Herald.

He somehow decided to omit Indiana from his ballot even though the Hoosiers are:
  • 24-7 overall.
  • on a four-game winning streak.
  • the owners of wins over No. 1 Kentucky, No. 7 Ohio State and No. 8 Michigan State.
  • ranked 10th at KenPom.com and 12th at CollegeRPI.com.
  • 8-4 against the Top 50 and 11-5 against the Top 100.

I don't care if you hate Tom Crean, cream and crimson, John Cougar Mellencamp and Norman Dale -- I don't even care if you're a Purdue fan -- there's no reasonable way to keep Indiana off a Top 25 ballot. It stupid. It makes no sense.

But you know what makes less sense?

The fact that Jason had Indiana ranked 22nd last week.


Jason had Indiana ranked 22nd last week. Then he watched Indiana beat Michigan State and Purdue to move from 22-7 to 24-7. Then he dropped the Hoosiers straight off his ballot. I'm just gonna assume that's an oversight. Has to be, right? Otherwise, man, I don't know.

Coaches poll: It's clearly just a coach throwing an off-the-radar program a bone, so I don't really mind it much. Honestly, I don't mind it all. But Montana getting a vote in the coaches poll is a little silly. Yes, the Grizzlies are the Big Sky's regular-season champions, and their 10-game winning streak has moved their record to 23-6. But they're 2-3 against the Top 100 with three losses outside the Top 130, and that's just not a rankable resume. Again, it neither matters much nor bothers me much. But that doesn't make it any less wrong.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:42 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 3:48 pm

The Poll Attacks: Voter drops KU, just because

By Gary Parrish

Associated Press poll: Fletcher Mackel had Kansas ranked fourth last week.

That was a little high at the time, in my opinion.

But whatever.

I could live with it because after Kentucky and Syracuse the next few spots were up for debate, and KU at No. 4 wasn't unreasonable. So I left Fletcher alone and focused my attention on the 15 AP voters who inexplicably left Indiana off their ballots. But now I have to highlight Fletcher because he's confusing the hell out of me. Again, he had Kansas fourth last week. The Jayhawks then won at Texas A&M and beat Missouri to claim at least a share of the Big 12 title, and now Fletcher has Bill Self's team ranked ... seventh?

Yes, seventh.

So this might be the first time in the history of AP voting that a man has dropped a team three spots after a 2-0 week that featured a win over a Top 10 opponent. Fletcher had Kansas ahead of everybody except Kentucky, Syracuse and Missouri last week. Now he's got Kansas behind Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina and Marquette -- meaning Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina and Marquette all jumped the Jayhawks after the Jayhawks' perfect and impressive week. Following tha logic, my guess is that KU will beat Oklahoma State and Texas this week, win the outright Big 12 title and then fall behind Georgetown, Wisconsin and UNLV on Fletcher's ballot next Monday, at which point Fletcher will also drop Thomas Robinson to Third Team All-American because all this playing well and winning isn't really that impressive.

Coaches poll: Mississippi State has lost five straight games and four of them have come to unranked opponents. So of course the Bulldogs are still getting five points in the coaches poll. That makes sense, right?

Listen, I know coaches are busy this time of the year.

I'm busy this time of the year.

But it's not difficult to click on CBSSports.com and realize the Bulldogs are now a 10-loss team with seven losses to unranked schools, and it doesn't take much time to click on CBSSports.com and see that Rick Stansbury's team has dropped five straight, including a 67-50 decision on Saturday to a nine-loss Alabama team. I'm talking seconds, not minutes. And yet there are still some men somewhere putting Mississippi State on a Top 25 ballot.

Even Mississippi State fans think that's dumb.

Renardo Sidney has punched teammates for things less stupid.

Posted on: February 20, 2012 6:27 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 6:32 pm

The Poll Attacks: IU belongs on everyone's ballot

By Gary Parrish

Did you include Indiana on your Top 25 ballot?

If so, you're cool.

If not, you're Poll Attacked.

Associated Press poll: Indiana's loss at Iowa was bad. No denying that. But should it have been enough for some voters to omit the Hoosiers from their ballots? Absolutely not. And yet 15 AP voters -- including my pals Seth Davis and Dick Vitale -- left Indiana off their ballots, which is confusing because there's no way to conclude Tom Crean's team doesn't have one of the nation's best 25 bodies of work. They own wins over No. 1 Kentucky, No. 8 Ohio State, No. 11 Michigan, No. 20 Notre Dame and NCAA hopefuls Purdue, Northwestern and North Carolina State. Meantime, four of their seven losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 16. So they really only have three bad losses.

Iowa was one of them.

Again, that's an undeniable statement.

But almost everybody outside of the top 15 has at least three bad losses, and almost nobody outside of the top 15 owns the wins Indiana owns. Bottom line, what happened here is what happens too often in college basketball, i.e., a total overreaction based on the outcome of one 40-minute game that happens to be the most recent thing we've seen. The Iowa loss cost Indiana a few spots in our Top 25 (and one), as it should've. But it should not have cost the Hoosiers as much as some voters made it cost them. They're 15th at KenPom.com and 19th at CollegeRPI.com, and I think that's about right. They belong in the 15-to-20 range. Any formula suggesting otherwise is a bad formula. Any ballot suggesting otherwise is a bad ballot.

Coaches poll: I like Saint Mary's and think the Gaels will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament. But that doesn't mean they should be ranked 23rd in the latest coaches poll. Or 24th. Or 25th. Or at all. Saint Mary's is 23-5 against a schedule that ranks 108th at CollegeRPI.com and 185th at KenPom.com and features two non-Division I opponents. The Gaels have three losses to unranked opponents. They are 0-2 against currently ranked opponents, and both of those losses (to Baylor and Murray State) came by double-digits.

Are they playing well now?


They've dropped three of their past four.

Are they healthy?


Both starting guards are hobbled.

So there is literally nothing tangible on which to base SMC's ranking. The Gaels might well win the WCC title, and that'll be a nice accomplishment. But at this moment, as I type, they're just a banged-up team lacking quality victories that's lost three of their past four games. The coaches voting for them must be the same coaches who are still voting for Mississippi State -- that SEC outfit that's dropped three straight to unranked opponents.
Posted on: February 13, 2012 4:34 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 4:42 pm

The Poll Attacks: Not ranking Wisconsin is dumb

By Gary Parrish

The Poll Attacks are now taking reader requests.

Read and see.

Let's go.

Associated Press poll: I was gonna spend this space Poll Attacking anybody who voted for Creighton because the Bluejays shouldn't be on anybody's ballot, plain and simple. Plus, I warned voters Saturday against ranking Creighton. And I hate it when people don't listen to me. So I sat down at this computer ready to tear apart the eight voters who voted for Creighton. But then I got a Tweet from a reader.
@GaryParrishCBS Pete Gilbert needs a good poll attacking. Wisconsin unranked, Murray St. left in the top 10.
Needless to say, I shifted gears.

What the F, Pete Gilbert?

How can anybody not have Wisconsin ranked?

The Badgers are 19-6 overall, 8-4 in the Big Ten, and they've won seven of their past eight with the lone loss coming by single-digits to No. 6 Ohio State. Five of their six overall losses are to teams that are currently ranked. The Badgers are top five at KenPom.com, top 25 at CollegeRPI.com, No. 11 in our Top 25 (and one) and on 64 of the 65 AP ballots. In other words, pretty much everybody (and every computer) in this world thinks Wisconsin belongs in the top 25 ... except Pete Gilbert, who omitted the Badgers but put Murray State in the top 10.

Now I don't wanna spend too much time on Murray State.

I'm going there this weekend.

I wanna be loved.

But I will point out that the Racers have zero wins over currently ranked teams and a home loss to Tennessee State, which is ranked 141st at CollegeRPI.com and 184th at KenPom.com. Murray State is good, no question. But top-10 good? That's a stretch. And at least 15 spots better than Wisconsin? That's a bigger stretch.

So get it together, Pete.

Let's not do this again next Monday.

Coaches poll: And now to Creighton ...

Because the same Bluejays who got 20 points in the AP poll got 30 points in the coaches poll, meaning the coaches are 50 percent sillier than the writers, which sounds about right, actually. For those who haven't been keeping track, Creighton stopped making shots a little more than a week ago and began what is now a three-game losing streak. So Greg McDermott's team is 21-5 with two wins over top 25 teams and four losses to teams that are currently unranked. They're probably gonna lose their league by two games. They're not headed the right direction. Bottom line, there was a time and place to be ranking Creighton. But now is not that time. And here is not that place. So let's let the Bluejays start shooting better than 30 percent from 3-point range again before we start considering them for top 25 ballots again. Deal?
Posted on: February 6, 2012 3:01 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:21 pm

The Poll Attacks: Marquette over Duke is wrong

By Gary Parrish

This is a good time to pick on Duke if you like picking on Duke. The Blue Devils just lost at home to Miami. That's bad. But Coach K's team still has a pretty good body of work, and I'm about to show you just how good in this week's edition of the Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: I haven't played "Blind Résumé" in a while.

Let's do it now ...

----- Team A -----

Record: 19-4
Wins vs. currently ranked teams: 4 (No. 7 Kansas, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 19 Virginia, No. 22 Michigan)
Losses to currently unranked teams: 2 (Temple, Miami)
CollegeRPI ranking: 3
KenPom ranking: 16
Strength of schedule: 1

----- Team B -----

Record: 19-5
Wins vs. currently ranked teams: 2 (No. 21 Wisconsin, No. 24 Louisville)
Losses to currently unranked teams: 3 (LSU, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame)
CollegeRPI ranking: 12
KenPom ranking: 22
Strength of schedule: 18

You might have figured out using context clues taught in elementary school that Team A is Duke and Team B is Marquette, and you might've also concluded from the information provided that there's no way to rank Duke below Marquette. Unless you're Jon Wilner -- who has Marquette ninth and Duke 13th on his AP ballot. That's wrong for three reasons:
  1. Ninth is too high for Marquette.
  2. Thirteenth is too low for Duke.
  3. Those schools are in the wrong order.

Duke has just as many wins as Marquette against a tougher schedule, twice as many wins over currently ranked teams, fewer overall losses and fewer losses to currently unranked teams. The Blue Devils are also rated higher by every respected (and disrespected) computer formula. So I really don't know how anybody could put them on a ballot below Marquette. And I love Marquette! But come on, man. That doesn't make sense.

Coaches poll: California is pretty good and capable of advancing in March.

But should the Bears really be getting five votes in the coaches poll?

I don't think so.

They just haven't done much this season.

They're 18-6 overall, which looks OK on the surface. But the Bears are 0-3 against currently ranked teams (No. 4 Missouri, No. 14 San Diego State and No. 16 UNLV), and they've got three losses to unranked teams, including a home loss to Arizona last Thursday. They don't own a single win over a single team with a single point in either poll, and it's not like they're playing well lately, because they've dropped two of their past four games in a bad league. So why, exactly, would somebody put California on a ballot?

Answer: I don't know.

The Bears might be the Pac-12's best team.

And they might advance to the Sweet 16, just because.

But their body of work just isn't Top 25-worthy at this moment.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 3:29 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:46 pm

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

Wisconsin should be on everybody's ballot.

Connecticut shouldn't be on anybody's ballot.

I'll explain why in great detail in this edition of the Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Three voters aren't including Wisconsin on their ballots.

That makes no sense considering Wisconsin is ...
  • 17-5 overall, 6-3 in the Big Ten.
  • on a five-game winning streak.
  • the owner of wins over No. 11 UNLV and No. 20 Indiana.
  • the owner of just one loss to a currently unranked team.
  • ranked No. 2 at KenPom.com with a defense that ranks second nationally.

I seriously can't think of any way to justify not having Wisconsin on a Top 25 ballot.

So who are the guilty parties?

One of them Jack Bogaczyk. He didn't rank Wisconsin but he did rank Louisville -- a school that has one more loss to a currently unranked team than Wisconsin has and two fewer wins (i.e., zero total) over a currently ranked team than Wisconsin possesses. Another one of them is Steve Wiseman. He didn't rank Wisconsin but he did rank Harvard -- a school that has one more loss to a currently unranked team than Wisconsin has and one fewer win over a currently ranked team than Wisconsin possesses. And the third one is Nick Jezierny. He didn't rank Wisconsin but he did rank Connecticut ... and I'm about to explain just how silly Nick is for doing that.

Coaches poll: You know how many losses Connecticut has to currently unranked teams? Six. You know how many wins Connecticut has over currently ranked teams? Two. And the Huskies have lost three straight and five of their past seven. And yet somehow Jim Calhoun's team is still getting 21 points in the coaches poll (and two points in the AP poll thanks to my buddy Nick, who has UConn 24th on his ballot).

My question: How could anybody vote for Connecticut right now?

I mean, I like the roster, too.

But the team is undeniably average.

The Huskies have played 20 games and accomplished very little. They've lost to UCF on a neutral, to Seton Hall, Rutgers and Tennessee on the road, and to Cincinnati and Notre Dame at home, and none of those schools are in the latest coaches poll. The best wins are over No. 23 Harvard, No. 24 Florida State and unranked West Virginia, and two of those wins (FSU and Harvard) occurred ages ago. So, again, how could anybody vote for Connecticut right now? The only explanation is that a handful of coaches must've accidentally submitted ballots from last season. Either that or a handful of coaches are dumb or careless or both. And I'm actually surprised that Nick is the one writer voting for UConn because he's a knowledgeable lad. So I felt compelled to ask for an explanation. He responded with this: "I'm giving UConn [the] benefit of the doubt. I think no one wants to see them in March, but I can see why you want to attack me."

I was somewhat OK with that response because Nick basically acknowledged that his UConn vote isn't based on actual results of games. He just assumes the Huskies will be good eventually, and that's good enough for him. Granted, that's not how I believe somebody should be voting in late January. But whatever. At least Nick knows UConn doesn't have a body of work that's worthy of a Top 25 vote. That's all I wanted him to realize.

But he couldn't stop there.

My man just had to Tweet again.

"And I still think it would be a better use of your time to write about one of 340 men's bball teams than analyze ballots," Nick typed, to which I responded: "And I think it would be a better use of your time to watch Connecticut."
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:29 pm

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

We've got a Murray State problem that needs to be addressed.

And this is a good place to address it.

So let's do some Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Louisville is 14-4 with two losses to unranked teams and zero wins over schools that are currently ranked. Take away everything you thought you knew about the Cardinals in the preseason, focus on what I just told you and then I think, you'll understand why we are no longer ranking Rick Pitino's team in the Top 25 (and one). The Cards have bad losses and no great wins to offset those losses. That's the bottom line. So Louisville does not deserve to be in the Top 25 (and one). Or 23rd in this week's AP poll.

And the Cards sure as hell don't deserve to be 10th.

But guess who has them ranked 10th?

Answer: Ron Morris.

Ron actually has Louisville 10th and Florida 11th even though both schools are 14-4 with two losses to unranked teams and zero wins over currently ranked teams. Meantime, he has Indiana 16th even though the Hoosiers are 15-3 with just one loss to an unranked team and three wins over currently ranked teams, specifically No. 2 Kentucky, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 20 Michigan. I genuinely have no idea how anybody could look at what Louisville and Florida have done and conclude it's A) worthy of a top 15 vote, or B) better than what Indiana has done.

But, somehow, Ron does.

I bet he couldn't explain why he does.

But, according to his latest ballot, he absolutely does.

Coaches poll: I don't think Murray State is one of the nation's 10 best teams.

If you do, that's fine.

I don't have an issue provided you really believe it. But what I do have an issue with is how the Racers are moving up the polls based on little more than the fact that they play in the Ohio Valley Conference and every other relevant team does not. They are advancing because they're spending each week playing grossly inferior opponents while a Big Ten team might host Ohio State one night and be at Michigan the next. Put another way, there are lots of weeks when a split should be considered a good week. But splits almost always move teams down in the polls while 2-0 weeks move folks up. And while that's somewhat OK in most cases because the power-conference schedules tend to balance themselves out over time, this simple approach to ranking creates issues when a solid team from a bad league gets involved.

That's what's happening here.

That's why the Racers are ranked 10th.

So my question is simple: When does it stop?

If Kansas loses to Baylor late Monday but then beats Texas this weekend while Murray State handles Morehead State and SIU-Edwardsville, are voters gonna move the No. 7 Jayhawks below Murray State based on the idea that KU went 1-1 while Murray State went 2-0? I hope not. Because weeks, like overall records, need context, and it's silly to continue to advance the Racers without considering the context of what their wins really show and what others' losses really mean.

That's why we've kept the Racers at No. 20.

Because that's about where they belong regardless of how many consecutive OVC schools they beat.
Posted on: December 26, 2011 3:22 pm

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

Only one voter isn't ranking UNLV. And only one voter isn't ranking Michigan State. Turns out, it's the same silly voter. He's about to get Poll Attacked.

Associated Press poll: I explained last week why it was wrong to leave UNLV off a ballot.

And this week it's even more wrong.

But one voter still did it.

His name is Roger Clarkson.

And I'll bet you the $100 gift card to Macy's I got for Christmas that he couldn't intelligently defend his ballot. He's the only one of the 65 AP voters who isn't ranking UNLV or Michigan State. But guess who Roger is ranking? Illinois and Gonzaga. And I'm about to explain why that's sillier than fighting stupid crowds to return unwanted gifts on Dec. 26.

UNLV, Michigan State, Illinois and Gonzaga are all two-loss teams, so I can see why somebody in a rush might look at the records and think they're the same. But they're not the same. The bodies of work that belong to UNLV and Michigan State are undeniably superior to those belonging to Illinois and Gonzaga ... at least in part because UNLV has a win over Illinois in Illinois and Michigan State has a win over Gonzaga at Gonzaga. Of the four teams, nobody has better wins than UNLV and nobody has better losses than Michigan State. The Rebels own wins over North Carolina, California and Illinois, and the Spartans' only two losses are to North Carolina and Duke on neutral courts.

And did I mention UNLV beat Illinois in Illinois?

And that Michigan State beat Gonzaga at Gonzaga?

And that UNLV and MSU are both inside the Top 20 at KenPom.com.

And that Gonzaga and Illinois are both outside the Top 25 and KenPom.com.

Bottom line, rank UNLV, Michigan State, Illinois and Gonzaga if you like. We actually have UNLV, Michigan State and Illinois all ranked in the Top 25 (and one), and I am, in theory, OK with Gonzaga, too. But what I'm not OK with is ranking Illinois and Gonzaga without ranking UNLV and Michigan State. Why? Because it's makes no sense. I've looked at it every way imaginable, and it makes no sense. But if you can explain it, feel free to email me at cbsparrish@gmail.com and give it a shot. In the meantime, I'll be not returning presents, mostly just laying around.

Coaches poll: I've highlighted this nonsensical voting habit before. But it keeps happening, so I'm going to keep writing about it in hopes that one day the nation -- or, at the very least, the coaches who vote in the coaches poll -- will realize that a team losing to a higher-ranked team does not not necessarily mean the lower-ranked team doesn't deserve its ranking.

Yes, I'm talking about Illinois.

The Illini were ranked 24th last week.

They lost by four points on a neutral court to Missouri, which was ranked eighth.

And somehow that convinced voters that Illinois didn't need to be ranked 24th anymore. Or even 25th. Again, it's crazy because a school ranked 24th is supposed to lose on a neutral court to a team ranked eighth. And when it happens, the team ranked 24th shouldn't be penalized for it, especially when the loss only comes by four points.

Just so we're clear, let me say this: If you don't think Illinois is a top 25 team, that's fine. It's debatable. But if you thought the Illini were a Top 25 team last week, why would you think they're not a Top 25 team this week? Because of a four-point loss to a team ranked eighth? Surely you see how stupid that is.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com