Tag:Ohio State
Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:49 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 3:12 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Pittsburgh is fourth in the AP poll and sixth in the coaches poll.

And two AP voters ranked the Panthers ninth.

I won't stand for any of it.

I'm about to get my Poll Attack on.

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com.)

Associated Press poll: For the AP portion of this week's Poll Attacks, let's play blind body of work.

You ready?

Let's go!

----- TEAM A -----

Record: 24-3
Record vs. RPI Top 25: 6-2
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 7-3
Losses outside RPI Top 25: 1
Double-digit losses: 0
Wins over teams currently ranked in the AP poll: 5

----- TEAM B -----

Record: 23-4
Record vs. RPI Top 25: 0-2
Record vs. RPI Top 50: 2-3
Losses outside RPI Top 25: 2
Double-digit losses: 2
Wins over teams currently ranked in the AP poll: 0

Team A is Pittsburgh and Team B is Arizona.

Is there any question which team has the better body of work?

Pittsburgh has more wins, fewer losses, better wins and better losses than Arizona, and the Panthers have beaten five currently ranked teams while Arizona has topped zero. Still, Jerry Tipton and Myron Medcalf both have Arizona ranked No. 8 and Pittsburgh ranked No. 9. This is proof that it's possible to be a great beat writer and still slip on your Top 25 ballot every once in a while. They're wrong, but I forgive them. As for the coaches ...

Coaches poll: The Duke Blue Devils are No. 1 in the AP and coaches polls even though they have just one win over a fellow Top 25 team (North Carolina). Even though they have a loss to an unranked team (Florida State) and another by 15 points to a team (St. John's) that just broke into the rankings this week. Even though they are sixth in the RPI. And even though they are still projected as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament by everybody who understands how to project such things.

So the top of both polls are silly.

But what bothers me most is Pittsburgh at No. 6 in the coaches poll.

I don't care if you rank by body of work or quality of play, there's no way to conclude that five teams deserve to be ranked ahead of Jamie Dixon's Panthers. As I told you earlier, Pitt is 24-3 with five wins over teams also ranked in the coaches poll -- specifically No. 5 Texas, No. 11 Georgetown, No. 14 Villanova, No. 15 Connecticut and No. 20 Syracuse. For the purposes of comparison, No. 1 Duke (25-2) has one win over a team also ranked in the coaches poll. No. 2 Kansas (25-2) has two. No. 3 Ohio State (25-2) has two. No. 4 San Diego State (27-1) has zero. No. 5 Texas (23-4) has five.

In the loss column, obviously, Ohio State is best. The Buckeyes' only two losses are at No. 8 Purdue and at No. 12 Wisconsin. They're the lone team with at least six wins over top-50 RPI schools and zero losses to schools unranked in the latest coaches poll, which is why I put Ohio State No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one). For the purposes of comparison, No. 1 Duke has lost to one currently unranked team (again, Florida State), No. 2 Kansas has lost to one currently unranked team (Kansas State), No. 4 San Diego State has lost to zero currently unranked teams and No. 5 Texas has lost to two currently unranked teams (Southern California and Nebraska).

Got all that?

Good.

Here's what it means: Texas might have comparable wins to Pittsburgh, but the Longhorns have worse losses (not to mention a loss to Pittsburgh). And Duke, Kansas and San Diego State might have better (and by better, I mean fewer) losses than Pittsburgh, but the Blue Devils, Jayhawks and Aztecs can't touch Pitt in terms of quality wins. Ohio State? Yes, OSU is rock-solid; that's why I have OSU No. 1. But it's difficult to justify having anybody besides Ohio State ahead of the Panthers, and it's impossible to justify having a total of five schools ahead of Pittsburgh.

That said, know this: Pitt would without question be a No. 1 seed if the NCAA tournament started today

So take solace in that, Pitt fans.

The selection committee is smarter than the men who vote in the coaches poll, I assure you.
Posted on: February 20, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2011 4:22 pm
 

Doubt what's possible with Painter? Never again

I had Purdue ranked third in the preseason Top 25 (and one).

Then Robbie Hummel tore his ACL.

Then I dropped the Boilermakers into the 20s. And I never returned them to the top 10 -- not even when they started 15-1, mostly because they had, at the time, zero quality wins. Also worth noting: I could never get over the loss of Hummel because I've spent a lot of time throughout the past year talking to Matt Painter about Hummel as a player and a person, and I know how much that coach values that player. Thus, I couldn't help but put a premium on Hummel, too. But in properly valuing Hummel I made the mistake of inadvertently undervaluing Painter, and that's a mistake that was highlighted with Wednesday's 70-62 win over Wisconsin and again during Sunday's 76-63 victory over Ohio State.

Consider this my mea culpa.

I was wrong about what's possible for the Boilermakers.

I was wrong because -- though I've always properly loved E'Twaun Moore -- I misjudged how good JaJuan Johnson would be this season and underestimated what Painter could do with a roster robbed of its perceived most important player. After Hummel's injury, I figured the Boilermakers would finish fifth in the Big Ten. But after Sunday's win over Ohio State, they're 22-5 overall, 11-3 in the Big Ten and second in the league standings.

Purdue couldn't finish fifth now if it lost each of its remaining games.

So, yeah, I was wrong.

The Boilermakers would've been great with Hummel.

Everybody knew that.

But what I've learned this week is that they're pretty darn good without him, too -- perhaps Final Four good.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 19, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2011 5:49 pm
 

The top 10 is stacking losses, one after another

It started last Saturday when Ohio State fell at Wisconsin. Then Kansas lost at Kansas State on Monday. Then Georgetown lost at Connecticut on Wednesday while Wisconsin lost at Purdue. And then, on Saturday, Pittsburgh lost at St. John's, Notre Dame lost at West Virginia and Texas lost at Nebraska, meaning we've seen the schools ranked first, second, third, fourth, eighth, ninth and 10th in the latest AP poll lose over the past eight days.

Four of those losses were to unranked teams.

All of them were on the road.

So, more than anything, this stretch is a reminder that winning road games is difficult without exception. But it also highlights how vulnerable even the so-called best of the best are this season, and it should make for an interesting NCAA tournament because the top seeds aren't going to seem invincible. Assuming it's true that believing you can win is the first hurdle an underdog must jump, let's go ahead and acknowledge that the eight and nine seeds will have more realistic dreams than usual of the second weekend because they're going to see the one seeds as beatable.

Take the schools projected as one seeds now, for instance.

The Pittsburgh Panthers? They've lost to two currently unranked teams. The Texas Longhorns? They've lost to two currently unranked teams. The Kansas Jayhawks? They've lost to a currently unranked team. The Ohio State Buckeyes? Well, they haven't lost to any currently unranked teams. But they have played one-possession games with three currently unranked teams (Penn State, Northwestern and Minnesota), and that alone suggests they're capable of losing to almost anybody even if they beat almost everybody.

In other words, who's scary good?

Who scares you?

Though neither Kansas nor Kentucky made the Final Four last season, both were intimidating outfits heading into March Madness. Nobody wanted any part of those rosters, and it was a major surprise when the Jayhawks and Wildcats were eliminated early. This March nothing will be a surprise. Any of the one seeds could make the Final Four or lose in the opening weekend. Granted, the former is more likely than the latter. But I've seen enough so-called elite teams lose over the past week to know nothing is guaranteed.
Posted on: February 15, 2011 8:33 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 8:42 am
 

And my new top four would be ...

1. Ohio State
2. Pittsburgh
3. Texas
4. Kansas
 
So, yes, it would be exactly the same as the top four from the latest Top 25 (and one) that was published Sunday night, i.e., roughly 24 hours before Kansas State ran Kansas off the court and cruised to an 84-68 victory at Bramlage Coliseum. Why no change? Because I think the gap between my No. 4 (Kansas) and my No. 5 (Notre Dame) was too wide for one KU loss on the road to a rival to completely close it. In other words, I would leave Kansas No. 4 after this loss at KSU for the same reason I left Ohio State No. 1 after that loss at Wisconsin, because the Jayhawks' body of work suggests that remains where they ought to be positioned.

Kansas is still 6-2 against Top 50 RPI teams with no losses outside of the Top 35.

My No. 5, Notre Dame, is 7-3 against Top 50 RPI teams with one loss outside of the Top 35.

(Most people's No. 5, Duke, is 6-2 against Top 50 RPI teams with one loss outside of the Top 35.)

Is it close and debatable?

Sure.

But if the NCAA tournament started today, I'd still have KU as a No. 1 seed along with Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Texas. Notre Dame, San Diego State, Duke and BYU would be my No. 2 seeds. Georgetown, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Villanova would be my No. 3 seeds, and Florida, Louisville, Purdue and Vanderbilt would be my No. 4 seeds.
Posted on: February 12, 2011 9:23 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2011 9:45 pm
 

OSU will stay No. 1 in the Top 25 (and one)

MADISON, Wis. -- Kansas will likely be No. 1 when the AP and Coaches polls update Monday.

If not Kansas, then Texas (especially if Matt Norlander has his way).

It'll be one or the other, and I can almost guarantee it because voters in those polls typically move winners up and losers down regardless of the details. So get ready for a new No. 1, but the top of my Top 25 (and one) will remain the same. I'm not dropping Ohio State even after Saturday's 71-67 loss at Wisconsin because, I mean, who wouldn't -- and doesn't -- lose at Wisconsin? If we're gonna start punishing teams for that, we might as well start punishing teams for wearing baggy shorts. Or chest-bumping. Or doing all the things all college teams do -- like lose at Wisconsin.

Beyond that, I still think Ohio State has the nation's best body of work.

The Buckeyes are 24-1 with wins over three teams ranked in the top 30 of the AP poll (No. 14 Purdue, No. 17 Florida and No. 26 Minnesota), and the only loss came by four points at No. 13 Wisconsin -- a place where the Badgers have won 35 of their past 36 games, a place where last season's national champion Duke Blue Devils also lost. Meantime, Kansas is 24-1 with just two wins over teams ranked in the AP top 30 (No. 15 Arizona and No. 19 Missouri), and the Jayhawks one loss is a nine-point loss at home to No. 3 Texas.

Road loss to Wisconsin > Home loss to Texas

Thus ...

OSU's resume > KU's resume

As for Texas, well, the Longhorns (22-3) have better wins than Ohio State and Kansas.

That's undeniable.

But they also have three losses -- one on a neutral court to No. 4 Pittsburgh, one at home to No. 10 Connecticut and one on the road (by 17 points) to unranked Southern California -- and I don't think you can just disregard that, and I don't believe the big wins are enough to cancel out the three losses. Reasonable minds can disagree, of course. But that's my mindset. So while I would definitely have Texas ahead of Kansas (remember, Texas won at Kansas), I can't bring myself to jump Texas ahead of Ohio State -- not when it would be based on little more than Ohio State's final-minute loss at a place where visitors almost never win.

Anyway, that's why I'm keeping OSU No. 1.

I'll figure out the rest of the rankings late Sunday.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 12, 2011 12:30 am
Edited on: February 12, 2011 12:41 am
 

The No. 1 and undefeated Buckeyes are underdogs

MADISON, Wis. -- I just landed here in Wisconsin and realized the Ohio State Buckeyes -- those 24-0 and top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes -- are a 1.5-point underdog Saturday against No. 13 Wisconsin, according to Sportsbook.com.

That's the power of the Kohl Center.

This is the first time the Buckeyes have been an underdog all season, and lots of people -- including yours truly -- believe Wisconsin will put a blemish on their presently unblemished record come Saturday afternoon. Either way, OSU will probably lose eventually -- if not this weekend then at some point over the next few weeks. Needless to say, there are odds on that, too. Click this link to check those out.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 11, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Videos, videos and more videos!

You want to watch me preview seven of this weekend's games with Jason Horowitz?

Click this link.

You want to hear me talk about myself for 20 minutes?

That's this link.
Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Fredette leads POY straw poll

The results of the latest AnnArbor.com National Player of the Year straw poll are now available.

They reflect the exact ballot I turned in yesterday.
  1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
  2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
  3. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
Nolan Smith (Duke) and Derrick Williams (Arizona) round out the top five.

Click this link to see all of the results.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com