Posted on: February 15, 2010 10:14 am
Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: I'm afraid I'm going to have to call you out on your rankings this week for having Gonzaga ranked above Wake Forest (to be fair, I have yet to see anyone put them the other way around).
---- Wake Forest ----
Wins over likely tournament teams: A-Gonzaga, H-Xavier, H-Maryland, H-Georgia Tech
Wins over bubble teams: H-Richmond, H-Virginia, A-Virginia
Losses : H-William & Mary, A-Purdue, A-Miami, A-Duke, A-Georgia Tech
---- Gonzaga ----
Wins over likely tournament teams: N-Wisconsin, A-Illinois
Wins over bubble teams: N-Cincinnati, A-Portland, A-St. Mary's, H-Portland, A-Memphis, H-St.Mary's
Losses: A-Michigan State, H-Wake Forest, N-Duke, A-San Francisco
So what we see here is that Wake has more victories over tournament teams, Gonzaga has more wins over bubble teams (using this definition pretty loosely), and the losses are comparable -- the Duke losses about cancel out, as do the Purdue and Michigan State set of losses. Gonzaga's loss to Wake at home is similar to Wake's loss to Georgia Tech on the road. That leaves the William & Mary and Miami losses for Wake and the San Francisco loss for Gonzaga. Of those, the San Francisco loss is the worst of the bunch, but Gonzaga also has one fewer loss. I'd give a small advantage to Gonzaga there. So, the resumes look fairly similar except that Wake has that head-to-head win, which goes a long way in my mind toward jumping them past the Zags. In any event, I don't see any justification for having the teams that far apart in the Top 25 (and one).
I can appreciate the effort, Lowell.
And you make a nice argument.
My counterargument would be that Gonzaga only has one bad loss as opposed to Wake's two bad losses. Beyond that, I'd point out that Wake gets more opportunities to play likely tournament teams and bubble teams based on nothing more than league affiliation. So just counting good wins isn't fair to a WCC team. Instead, I'd suggest we look at what each team has done against good teams. Against the list you provided, Gonzaga is 8-3 against likely NCAA tournament teams and bubble teams with one bad loss (San Francisco) while Wake Forest is 7-3 against the same group with two bad losses (William & Mary and Miami).
Yes, Wake Forest did beat Gonzaga earlier this season. But it was by two points, and it happened more than two months ago. I don't think you can let that sway you too much at this point. At the time, it mattered. Now, not nearly as much. Either way, you make good points, and this is the type of question I enjoy. It's thoughtful and well-researched, much better than a "How can you not rank Northern Iowa, you idiot? They've won a bunch of games!"
So a tip of the hat to you, Lowell.
But don't attack the Poll Attacker.
It's suicide via email.
Posted on: January 31, 2009 4:48 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2009 4:52 pm
I was genuinely considering putting Wake Forest atop the Top 25 (and one) .
Now, not so much.
Wake Forest lost on a buzzer-beater at Georgia Tech just three days after beating Duke on a buzzer-beater, meaning the Demon Deacons managed to beat the nation's top-ranked team (Duke) and lose to the ACC's last-place team (Georgia Tech) in a span of four days, which is typical, I guess. After all, we've already seen North Carolina dominate Michigan State and lose to Boston College, Louisville top Pittsburgh and lose to Western Kentucky, and Oklahoma beat Texas and lose to Arkansas.
I suppose Wake Forest beating Duke and losing to Georgia Tech in the same week makes perfect sense.
Because this season is crazy.
And Saturday served as another reminder.
Posted on: January 29, 2009 3:19 pm
Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Oklahoma No. 1? Maybe. UConn No. 1? Maybe. But the true No. 1 stands tall. Neither Oklahoma nor UConn could beat both UNC AND Duke, which is why Wake Forest should be No. 1. Do you follow the crowds, Gary, or do you THINK? There's no other choice but Wake Forest.
I hate people like this.
Honestly, I do.
Because rather than make a reasonable argument for Wake Forest -- and there is a reasonable argument to be made -- AW starts with a ludicrous statement, that neither UConn nor Oklahoma could beat both UNC and Duke. Really? Why not? If Boston College can beat North Carolina (which it did) and Michigan can beat Duke (which it did), then how are we to conclude that UConn and/or Oklahoma couldn't beat North Carolina and Duke, particularly if UConn and/or Oklahoma had home games against those two just like Wake Forest did?
See, it's a stupid premise.
But like I said, there is an argument to be made in Wake's favor.
The place to start is to highlight that the Demon Deacons have three wins over opponents with Top 10 RPIs (UNC, Duke and Clemson) while Connecticut and Oklahoma have zero. So while the Huskies and Sooners have more quality victories (UConn is 9-1 against the Top 100, OU is 14-1 against the Top 100 and Wake Forest is 7-1 against the Top 100), neither can match Wake Forest's top three victories. That's the argument, and I could accept that argument. But to suggest that UConn and Oklahoma couldn't beat North Carolina and Duke is silly, because if UConn and Oklahoma had home games against North Carolina and Duke then I assure you that UConn and Oklahoma would be favored to win those games.
Posted on: January 17, 2009 9:51 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2009 9:57 pm
CLEMSON, S.C. -- It'll be a debate, because people love to debate.
But there really shouldn't be any debate at all.
So go ahead AP voters -- and you too, coaches -- and slot Wake Forest No. 1 on your ballots now that top-ranked Pittsburgh has lost at Louisville. Why? Because otherwise you'll be wrong, that's why. Dino Gaudio's team is 16-0 with wins over No. 5 North Carolina, No. 10 Clemson and No. 21 Baylor. One of those games was at home (UNC), one was on the road (Clemson) and the other came on a neutral court (Baylor) -- meaning the Demon Deacons have proved they can beat you here, there or over yonder, and they have all the ingredients of a traditional No. 1 team.
His name is Jeff Teague.
At least three future NBA players?
Their names are Jeff Teague, Al-Forouq Aminu and James Johnson.
A strong defense?
They have one of the five most efficient defenses in the country, according to KenPom.com.
So while I like Duke, Connecticut and Pittsburgh plenty -- you have my permission to rank them second, third and fourth, if you want -- the reality is that none of them can match Wake Forest's body of work, if only because Wake Forest's body of work doesn't include a loss. The lone one-loss team that can even try to make a case for the No. 1 spot is Duke, which is 16-1 overall and 4-1 against schools currently ranked in the AP Top 25; that's impressive, no question. But Wake Forest is 16-0 overall and 3-0 against schools currently ranked in the AP Top 25, and that's the difference, to me.
Duke and Wake Forest both have good wins.
But Duke lost at Michigan.
And Wake Forest hasn't lost anywhere.
So that's why the Demon Deacons deserve to be No. 1 in any respectable ranking.
And you can rest assured that's where they'll be in mine -- i.e., the Top 25 (and one) -- come late Sunday night.
Posted on: January 17, 2009 12:19 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2009 3:55 pm
CLEMSON, S.C. -- I'm not big on sports betting because I'm convinced there's no way to consistently win, regardless of what you might hear on your local sports talk radio station. But I did find it interesting this morning that No. 1 Pittsburgh and No. 2 Wake Forest are both technically "underdogs" today, according to SportsBook.com.
Louisville is a 1.5-point favorite over Pitt at Freedom Hall.
Clemson is a 2.0-point favorite over Wake Forest at Littlejohn Coliseum.
So if you believe the oddsmakers, Clemson should be the lone undefeated team left in Division I basketball by the end of the night, and if it goes down that way it should be quite a scene here this afternoon, which would make my second consecutive weekend in ACC country (I was at North Carolina-Wake Forest last Sunday) just as wild as the previous.
Posted on: January 5, 2009 10:48 am
Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: You vote North Carolina No. 1 every week, then they lose and all of a sudden Pitt is No. 1? Get a life, Gary. UNC is the best team in the nation and still should be No. 1.
OK, that's one note from this morning.
Here's another ...
Dear Gary: What time do you make your Top 25 (and one) decisions for the following week? With North Carolina's loss -- on its home court to an unranked team that led the entire second half -- how can UNC still be No. 2 in the country? Wake Forest beat BYU at BYU in front of 26,000-plus fans, and Duke thrashed Virginia Tech. So how is Carolina ranked ahead of those two teams? The rankings should be:
As you might be able to tell, the first guy is a North Carolina fan, the second a Duke fan.
So you can understand why they see things differently.
I'm a fan of being right.
And that's why I have Pitt first, UNC second, Duke third and WFU fourth, and I can defend my position.
Let's start with Pitt over North Carolina.
The reason I went that way is because the Panthers have a win (at Georgetown) that is better than any win UNC possesses, and when you combine that with the fact that UNC has a home loss to Boston College while Pitt has zero losses, well, I think Jamie Dixon's team has earned the top ranking. Who has played the better overall schedule to date? North Carolina, no question. But if the knock on Pitt is that it has merely played Georgetown, Florida State and a bunch of grossly inferior opponents, I would just point out that the Panthers haven't lost to any of those grossly inferior opponents, which is something North Carolina can no longer claim.
As for UNC over Duke and Wake Forest, to me that's logical. Though the Tar Heels don't have a win as nice as Pitt's win at Georgetown, they do own wins over Michigan State, Notre Dame and Kentucky. Wake Forest (even with the win at BYU) can't touch that body of work, and though Duke has some nice wins of its own (over Michigan, Purdue, and Xavier), I still think UNC's win over Michigan State is better than any win Duke possesses, and that's why I believe UNC should be ranked second, slightly ahead of Duke and Wake Forest.
Posted on: November 7, 2008 10:19 am
Edited on: November 7, 2008 10:21 am
Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Who do you think will be a surprise Elite Eight or Final Four team this season? Could it be the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are trying to make a statement from their earlier disappointments? Could it be UNLV, which by a slim few are projected to be for real? Or do you have somebody else in mind?
First, Gonzaga making the Elite Eight will not be a surprise. That's a preseason top 10 team with one of the nation's best rosters. So regardless of what the Zags have or have not done in the past, it should shock nobody if they end up in the Elite Eight or even the Final Four.
Anyway, how about this: Let's identify teams ranked outside the top 20 of the AP poll who might make an Elite Eight.
I'll list four.
2. Wake Forest
3. Ohio State
I picked all four based on the idea that they have the talent to advance. I love Syracuse's roster (specifically Jonny Flynn), Wake Forest and Ohio State have great young players and Alabama intrigues me because of the possibilities with Ron Steele and JaMychal Green. So anyway, I guess those are my "surprise" teams for this season.
Posted on: October 8, 2008 3:11 pm
Ryan Kelly is going national.
Or at least going on national television.
The 6-10 power forward from Raleigh -- ranked as the 11th-best prospect in the Class of 2009 -- is expected to announce his college decision Thursday night on ESPNU, according to Scout.com's Dave Telep. Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Georgetown are the six schools still under consideration for John Wall' AAU teammate. Kelly has visited all six schools in either an official or unofficial capacity, and when he commits that will take six of the top 15 recruits in the Class of 2009 off the board.
Here's Scout.com's Top 15 ...
1. Derrick Favors (uncommitted)
2. John Wall (uncommitted)
3. John Henson (committed to North Carolina)
4. Xavier Henry (uncommitted)
5. Renardo Sidney (uncommitted)
6. DeMarcus Cousins (committed to UAB)
7. Lance Stephenson (uncommitted)
8. Kenny Boynton (uncommitted)
9. Abdul Gaddy (committed to Arizona)
10. Avery Bradley (committed to Texas)
11. Ryan Kelly (uncommitted)
12. Daniel Orton (uncommitted)
13. Jordan Hamilton (uncommitted)
14. Alex Oriakhi (committed to Connecticut)
15. Dominic Cheek (uncommitted)