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Tag:The Poll Attacks
Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 3:46 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

UNLV should be ranked ahead of Illinois.

Only six Associated Press voters don't understand this.

But hopefully those six will learn their lesson in this week's Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Leaving UNLV off your ballot is wrong.

Leaving UNLV off your ballot that includes Illinois?

That's way wrong.

But six AP voters -- Bill Cole, Elton Alexander, Pete Glibert, Roger Clarkson, Ron Morris and Rod Beard -- managed to do exactly that this week, and so now they find themselves in the middle of the Poll Attacks. Merry Christmas, fellas. Did you see what UNLV did to Illinois on Saturday in Chicago? The Rebels won 64-48. And, no, head-to-head matchups aren't the deciding factor on everything. They can't be. But UNLV doesn't only have that 16-point victory over the Illini in Illinois, the Rebels also have a better overall body of work.

UNLV has wins over No. 5 North Carolina and No. 25 Illinois, and the Rebels' only losses are at No. 13 Wisconsin and at Wichita State, which is receiving votes in the AP poll.  Meantime, Illinois has zero wins over schools currently ranked. So UNLV has better wins than Illinois, no real bad losses and -- don't forget this -- a dominant win over the Illini in Chicago. In my opinion, both schools should be ranked. So I'm not killing Illinois. All I'm saying is that UNLV should also be ranked. And definitely above Illinois. Because ranking Illinois while not ranking UNLV is almost as dumb as Will Barton being an official candidate for an award given annually to the nation's top point guard.

Coaches poll:
Would you drop a team because it lost a game when three players fouled out?

Of course you would.

We all would.

Which is why I have no problem with the coaches dropping Xavier from ninth to 15th in this week's poll even though Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dez Wells did not play in Sunday's home loss to Oral Roberts, because they essentially fouled out of the game before it started via the roles they played in that brawl against Cincinnati. They were all suspended because of their actions. So why shouldn't Xavier pay a price for that?

An injury?

That's nobody's fault.

That's why Ohio State didn't suffer when Jared Sullinger's absence cost the Buckeyes at Kansas.

But Holloway, Lyons and Wells are responsible for putting their team in a bad spot just like when somebody else's starting center picks up two dumb fouls early and puts his team in a bad spot. When that team loses, we don't excuse it and say, "But that team wouldn't have lost if its center would've played smarter." So why should we excuse Xavier's loss and say, "But the Musketeers wouldn't have lost if Holloway, Lyons and Wells would've acted appropriately against Cincinnati?"

Answer: We shouldn't.

So I'm OK with how the coaches handled Xavier.

It's similar to how we handled the Musketeers in the Top 25 (and one).

And I realize this is sort of a reverse Poll Attack, but whatever. I wanted to make that point.
Posted on: December 12, 2011 2:31 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 3:54 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

Did somebody really leave Xavier off a Top 25 ballot?

Yes.

And I just used the Poll Attacks to zip him up.

Associated Press poll: You can be disgusted by the scene from Xavier-Cincinnati the other day and turned off by Tu Holloway's post-brawl comments, but the Musketeers are still a damn-good basketball team. They are 8-0 with wins over Vanderbilt, Purdue and UC. They look the part of a top-10 team and should be ranked accordingly.

Which is why it's crazy for The State's Ron Morris to have Xavier unranked.

There are lots of ways to send messages as a sports writer. You can write a column. Or blog. Or Tweet. Or go on a radio station and rant and rave about college players inciting a fight and then, with irresponsible words, basically endorsing the fight after the fact. But the AP poll is supposed to be a ranking of basketball teams without bias. It shouldn't matter what you think of John Calipari's vacated Final Fours or Jim Calhoun's probation or Jim Boeheim's misguided attack on Bernie Fine's accusers or Xavier's role in a nasty brawl. You should just rank the basketball teams as basketball teams based on some combination of expectations and results, and if you don't think Xavier is one of the best 25 teams in the sport then you're not good at looking at box scores or evaluating with your own eyes.

Again, the Musketeers are really, really good.

They belong on everybody's ballot.

Sixty-four of the 65 AP voters understand this. Xavier is in the top 10 of 55 ballots and in the top 13 of 64. The only person to leave the Musketeers unranked was Ron Morris. He made a mistake.

But Ron's not alone in the mistake-making department.

How could he be?

Fletcher Mackel of WDSU-TV in New Orleans and Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News both voted Ohio State ninth after the Buckeyes lost at Kansas. Do you think they know Jared Sullinger didn't play? And that he's coming back? OSU is 8-1 with wins over Duke and Florida. Even if the loss at Kansas would've happened with Sullinger playing, the Buckeyes would still have one of the top-five bodies of work in the country. And beyond that, just use your brain. Does anybody really think there are eight better teams than Ohio State? Because I assure you there are not. If I'm ultimately proved wrong, I'll change my name to Fletcher Wilner. Or something like that.

Coaches poll: If you're ranked 24th you better not lose a road game to the team ranked 10th or else you will punished and dropped from the rankings altogether. That's the lesson from this week's coaches poll. And things like this are stupid every time they happen. Even if I live to be as old as Greg Oden, I'll never understand why voters vote this way.

As I've pointed out before, a team ranked 24th is, by definition, supposed to lose on the road to a team ranked 10th. And when it happens it doesn't mean the losing team doesn't deserve its No. 24 ranking. That's why we kept Harvard at No. 18 in the Top 25 (and one) after its road loss to Connecticut, and also why we kept UNLV at No. 26 after its road loss to Wisconsin. Simply put, I refuse to punish schools for losing road games they're supposed to lose (unless the outcome is really lopsided). Again, it's stupid.

If you didn't think Harvard belonged in the Top 25 last week, fine.

It's debatable.

But a road loss to a higher-ranked team with multiple pros shouldn't have been what moved the Crimson off anybody's ballot. They lost a game a team ranked where they were ranked is supposed to lose. Nothing more. Nothing less. And that result should not have cost them their first national ranking in history.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 5:08 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

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.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 2:28 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 2:44 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

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.

Like Harvard.

The Crimson are 6-0 with a win over Florida State.

Or Georgetown.

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?

That's baffling.

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.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 8:07 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

Can Washington lose at Saint Louis and move up five spots on a ballot?

Yes, apparently.

But it's a stupid ballot.

Let's do some Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Did you watch any of the Coaches vs. Cancer event last week?

I did.

Good stuff.

But guess who didn't?

Answer: Future Poll Attacks Hall of Famer Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News.

How else to explain his ballot?

Mississippi State beat Texas A&M by nine points and Arizona by 10 on consecutive nights to win the CVC. The Bulldogs looked good in the event; Arizona and A&M didn't. But you wouldn't know that from Scott's ballot. He's got Arizona ranked higher than any other AP voter, all the way up at No. 11. And he's got Texas A&M ranked 25th.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs?

They remain unranked on his ballot.

But there's always next week, I guess.

Another interesting ballot -- actually, this one is much more interesting -- belongs to Kevin Dunleavy of the Washington Examiner. He's got Washington ranked 14th even though the Huskies were considered nothing more than a fringe Top 25 team last week -- back before they lost by 13 points at Saint Louis on Sunday. And that's not even the craziest part. The craziest part is that Kevin had Washington ranked 19th last week, which means he moved the Huskies up five spots after a double-digit loss to Saint Louis. Seriously. That really happened. Swear to God.

(Kevin has SLU unranked, by the way. So he moved Washington up five spots to No. 14 after losing to Saint Louis but kept Saint Louis unranked. If anybody wants to try to explain this, I can be reached at cbsparrish@gmail.com.)

Coaches poll: My biggest pet peeve when it comes to rankings is when teams drop in polls following close road losses to higher-ranked teams. I mean, how does that make any sense? If you're ranked eighth you are, by definition, supposed to lose a road game to a school ranked third. And if you lose that road game in competitive fashion, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be ranked eighth. In fact, in some cases, it might mean you should be ranked higher. But under no circumstances should you be punished for losing a close game on the road to a higher-ranked team.

And yet that's exactly what happened to Florida.

The Gators were ranked eighth last week.

They lost 81-74 at No. 3 Ohio State.

And now they're ranked ninth.

Again, the Gators were dropped for losing a close game to a higher-ranked team on the road.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Also dumb: Texas getting 31 points. The Longhorns are 2-1 with a loss to Oregon State. They might be good when all those freshmen grow up, but they're not Top-25 worthy right now.

Also also dumb: Jackson State coach Tevester Anderson voted Ohio State No. 1 last week. He then lost to the Buckeyes by 44 points on Friday. He then dropped them from the top spot on his ballot on Monday. Would a 50-point win have been enough to keep OSU No. 1 on Anderson's ballot? What about 60? Or 90?
Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 3:30 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

NEW YORK -- I'm in Manhattan for Tuesday night's Champions Classic.

But I've still got time for the Poll Attacks.

Here we go ...

Associated Press poll: The first thing I did when the AP poll was released was go straight to Scott Wolf's ballot because the Los Angeles Daily News writer was the focus of the preseason Poll Attacks, and I wanted to see if he learned anything over the past few weeks.

He did not.

Scott still has Kansas ranked third and ahead of North Carolina even though Bill Self called him "nuts" for doing it, and he still has Arizona ranked sixth even though the Wildcats have lost an exhibition and looked average in their first three games, and even though Josiah Turner has been wildly immature and ineffective. Sean Miller actually benched the freshman point guard for Sunday's game against Ball State. And yet Scott still has this team ranked sixth -- one spot ahead of Ohio State and six spots ahead of Syracuse.

It's senseless.

I tried to help him.

But I just can't get through.

Maybe next week.

Another wild ballot belongs to The State's Ron Morris.

He has Michigan State ranked sixth and Vanderbilt ranked eighth and, my God, that's inexplicable. I mean, nobody loves Tom Izzo more than me -- he's my traveling buddy, remember -- and I still believe in Vanderbilt despite Sunday's loss. But Izzo's team is young and probably not even one of the nation's top 20 teams right now, and Vanderbilt's loss to Cleveland State has to be considered. Neither school should be anywhere close to the top 10 right now. That's why Jeff Goodman and I have Vanderbilt ranked 19th and Michigan State unranked.

Another school we have unranked: UCLA.

But Ron has the Bruins ranked 18th.

I'll explain why that's silly in the coaches poll section of the Poll Attacks.

Coaches poll: Last week was the first week of the regular season, and I realize the 31 men who vote in the coaches poll were busy. Hell, I was busy. But I wasn't too busy to realize UCLA lost a home game to unranked Loyola-Marymount.

That's why the Bruins are no longer in the CBSSports.com Top 25 (and one).

Makes sense, right?

What makes no sense is that UCLA still got 10 points in the coaches poll.

Maybe, just maybe, putting the Bruins on a ballot could be justified if they lost at the buzzer to a quality and underrated team. But that's not what happened Friday night in Los Angeles. UCLA never led in the second half and fans started leaving with five minutes remaining. The final score was 69-58. And hurting UCLA's cause even more is the fact that Loyola-Marymount backed its big win with a 58-51 loss to Middle Tennessee State, meaning the team that beat UCLA by 11 on Friday lost to MTSU by seven on Sunday.

And yet the Bruins still got 10 points.

That speaks to the brand of UCLA.

Or, more likely, how silly some coach (or two) -- plus Ron Morris -- is somewhere.

Photo: US PRESSWIRE
Posted on: October 28, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 1:12 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

There are lots of ways to get in the Eye On College Basketball Blog. You can break a story. Or write something tremendous. But the easiest way is to submit a stupid AP ballot. Scott Wolf from the Los Angeles Daily News is proof.

(It's time to Poll Attack!)

---- Associated Press Preseason Poll Attacks -----

Let me put this simply: Scott Wolf is either joking or dumb.

There's no in between.

Because there's no rational argument to be made for anybody other than North Carolina (or maybe Kentucky) being ranked No. 1 this preseason, and that's just the first of many odd decisions on Wolf's ballot. He has Connecticut No. 1. I like the Huskies. They're talented. But they can't be ranked No. 1 ahead of an experienced and super-talented North Carolina team right now. That's silly. And Kansas at No. 3? Seriously? Kansas might not finish in the top three of the Big 12, and Bill Self is on record stating this team has more question marks than just about any team he's ever coached. Thomas Robinson should be great, and Tyshawn Taylor is solid. But four of the top five scorers from last season are gone, and half of the recruiting class didn't qualify. And yet Scott still has Kansas ranked third -- one spot ahead of North Carolina.

(Note: I texted Self, told him one voter had his team ranked ahead of North Carolina and asked for his thoughts on said voter. "He's nuts," Self replied, and that sums it up pretty well.)

Yes, Scott Wolf has the Tar Heels ranked fourth overall and one spot behind KU. It's nutty and absurd -- even more so than having Connecticut first. How can a team with four possible All-Americans and seven possible pros be ranked fourth? And how can Arizona be ranked sixth? Derrick Williams doesn't play for the the Wildcats anymore, you know? (That's why they were only picked third in the Pac-12's official preseason poll.)

Honestly, the whole thing is a mess from top to bottom.

You can look at it here.

Might be the worst ballot I've ever seen.

And let me be clear: I don't mind ballots that are different because this stuff is subjective, especially in October. But voters ought to be able to defend their choices with some sort of intelligent argument, and there's no way to defend this ballot with an intelligent argument ... unless, of course, the Morris Twins, Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers and Nick Collison are all back on KU's campus, and Self and I just haven't realized it yet.
 
 
 
 
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