By Gary Parrish
Leaving Georgetown unranked is dumb. Leaving Georgetown unranked when you rank Alabama and Memphis is even dumber. But multiple Associated Press voters did it this week. Their punishment is an apperance in the Poll Attacks.
Associated Press poll: Did you watch that Georgetown-Alabama game last week?
It was terrific, wasn't it?
Hollis Thompson hit a 3-pointer near the buzzer to give Georgetown a 57-55 win in Tuscaloosa in a game that suggested both are Top 25 teams, and so it should surprise no one that both are in the AP poll this week. But why is Alabama two spots ahead of Georgetown?
Both schools are 7-1.
They have comparable resumes.
Both have good wins.
Neither has a bad loss.
But Georgetown has a road win over Alabama and should be ranked ahead of the Crimson Tide. That's not even debatable, is it? Look, head-to-head results can't be the absolute deciding factor in polls. Otherwise, you'd need UNLV ahead of North Carolina and UCF ahead of Connecticut, and that doesn't make sense. But a head-to-head result should be the determining factor when two teams have comparable bodies of work -- especially if the road team won that head-to-head matchup -- and that's precisely the case with Georgetown and Alabama.
Georgetown has two wins over currently ranked teams (No. 16 Alabama and No. 21 Memphis) and its one loss came to No. 13 Kansas. Alabama has two good wins (over Wichita State and Purdue), but neither came against a ranked team, and the Crimson Tide's lone loss came to Georgetown. So while the bodies of work are comparable, Georgetown's is obviously better. And -- I can't stress this enough -- the Hoyas just won at ... Alabama.
So, again, why is Alabama two spots ahead of Georgetown?
Answer: I have no idea.
But Michael Phillips is as responsible for it as anybody else.
He works at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He has Alabama ranked ninth.
He has Georgetown unranked.
And that's the dumbest AP ballot I could find this week.
Dude has Alabama and its 7-1 record ranked ninth, Memphis and its 4-2 record ranked 17th and Georgetown and its 7-1 record -- its 7-1 record that features wins over Alabama and Memphis -- completely unranked. That is stupid but apparently not unique to Michael because other AP voters, inexplicably, did the same thing. Bill Cole of the Winston-Salem Journal has Alabama 11th, Memphis 21st and Georgetown unranked. Elton Alexander of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer has Alabama 14th, Memphis 19th and Georgetown unranked. Gary Laney of The Advocate has Alabama 12th, Memphis 19th and Georgetown unranked. And Jason Franchuk of the Provo Daily Herald has Alabama 16th, Memphis 18th and Georgetown unranked.
I'm sure all of those voters are smart guys.
But I bet none of them could intelligently defend those ballots.
Coaches poll: I like Ed Conroy and I think he's got Tulane headed in the right direction just like he had The Citadel headed in the right direction before he left for Tulane. The school made a good hire and he's off to a nice start in his second season -- proof being the Green Wave's 9-0 record that was enough to get them two votes in the Coaches poll.
First, let me say this: Good for Tulane.
That school and that city have been through so much over the past seven years, so seeing Tulane receive any sort of notoriety during a perfect start to a basketball season is nice on some level, and I don't even mind it, really. But let's be honest. The Green Wave don't belong on anybody's Top 25 ballot because all perfect records are not created equal.
Kentucky, for instance, is 8-0.
The Wildcats have wins over No. 6 North Carolina and No. 13 Kansas.
That's an impressive perfect record.
And Ohio State is 8-0, too.
The Buckeyes have wins over No. 5 Duke and No. 12 Florida.
That's also an impressive perfect record.
But Tulane's perfect record is different.
The Green Wave have a win over a Division II school and eight wins over Division I opponents with a combined record of 19-41. They've topped zero teams who happen to have winning records against Division I opponents, which is a round-about way of saying that Tulane hasn't beaten anybody of note. Which is fine. Seriously, it's fine. If I'm Ed Conroy, I'm scheduling the exact same way because winning early in a tenure is by far the most important thing. At the end of the season, nobody is going to sit around debating Tulane's strength of schedule. Conroy's boss will only care if the Green Wave improved in the win-loss column, and they're almost certainly going to do that.
So things are going as well as they could possibly go.
If you're a Tulane fan, celebrate this start.
But voters have to use context when putting together a ballot, and the truth is that there are probably more than 100 schools that would be undefeated against Tulane's schedule. Bottom line, the Green Wave do not belong in anybody's Top 25. Not yet. Let them win at Syracuse -- or even play Syracuse competitively on Dec. 22 -- and be 15-0 or 14-1 after a January 4 game at UCF, and then we'll talk. But for now, ranking Tulane is a little silly. Again, I don't mind it, really. I can't be mad at Tulane or New Orleans. But these are the Poll Attacks, and Tulane getting votes is the silliest thing in this week's coaches poll.