Tag:Top 25 (and one)
Posted on: March 4, 2009 3:54 pm

Everybody likes the same 25 teams

A reader pointed this out the other day, and I think it's kind of interesting, so I'll relay the message that this is one of the weird weeks where the first 25 schools I ranked in Sunday night's Top 25 (and one) are the exact same 25 schools that were ranked Monday in the AP and Coaches polls, just in different orders.

Honestly, I don't think that's ever happened.

And it's also worth noting that the Top 25 (and one) , AP poll and Coaches poll also have the same schools ranked first through 10th, just in different orders. So what that means is that the top 10 and top 25 are pretty easy to identify at this point. Or, more likely, the world is full of copy cats.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 21, 2009 11:58 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2009 11:10 am

Your new No. 1: Pitt (and it's not debatable)

Pittsburgh, you may now proceed to the top of the national rankings.

That's the end result of a wild Saturday on which No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 North Carolina both lost (to unranked Texas and unranked Maryland), clearing the way for the Panthers -- who beat top-ranked Connecticut last Monday -- to rise to the top of the Top 25 (and one) late Sunday night, then the AP and Coaches polls on Monday. It's the only logical move, so much so that I imagine Pitt will get all 72 first-place votes in the AP poll and all 31 in the Coaches poll. Anything short of that will be proof that somebody with a vote isn't paying attention, and if such a person presents himself (or herself), that person will be Poll Attacked on Monday afternoon.

Here's all you need to know:

  • Pitt is 25-2 overall.
  • Nobody has more wins or fewer losses.
  • Pitt has compiled this record against a schedule rated 12th nationally.
  • Pitt has six wins against the top 25 of CBSSports.com's RPI rankings.
  • Nobody else has more than four.
  • Both of Pitt's losses came on the road.
  • The losses were to the schools ranked seventh (Louisville) and 12th (Villanova) in the latest AP poll.

So to summarize, the Panthers have more good wins (i.e., wins against the top 25 of CBSSports.com's RPI rankings) than anybody, just as few losses as the other elite teams, and no bad losses (like Oklahoma's loss to Arkansas, North Carolina's loss to Boston College, Connecticut's loss to Georgetown, etc.).

Best I can tell, that makes Jamie Dixon's team the easy No. 1.

Any other opinion is a faulty opinion.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 16, 2009 2:14 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2009 2:15 pm

Dear Gary (on Duke's ranking)

BOSTON -- Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Great article this morning on Duke. You're one of the best, if not the best, college basketball columnist out there today. Just wondering though, how do you rank Duke eighth ahead of both Clemson and Wake Forest? You even said it yourself in the article; Duke is overranked. You're really telling me they are the eighth-best team in the country? Better than a Clemson team that waxed them by 37? It's pretty obvious Duke will get bounced by a more athletic team in March, but it's people like you who inflate them by ranking them so high. Then again, I can't complain because I'm sure you have more common sense than half these AP voters. Keep up the good work.

-- James

What people don't realize, for whatever reason, is that somebody has to be ranked eighth.

I mean, you can't just go like this (but trust me, I considered it):

1. Connecticut
2. Oklahoma
3. North Carolina
4. Pittsburgh
14. Michigan State
15. Memphis
16. Louisville
17. Duke
18. Clemson
19. Wake Forest
20. Missouri
21. Villanova
22. Marquette
23. Kansas
24. Illinois
25. Xavier
26. LSU

Translation: In order for teams to drop, others must move up. It's simple, really. So I ask, in all seriousness, which teams did you anti-Duke guys want to see make a leap in the Top 25 (and one) that would put them ahead of Duke?

The Clemson team that just lost to Virginia?

Or the Wake Forest team that just lost to N.C. State?

Or the Marquette team that just lost to Villanova?

Or the UCLA team that just lost to Arizona and Arizona State?

Or the Xavier team that just lost to Dayton?

Or the Butler team that just lost to Loyola (Illinois)?

Or the Kansas team that just lost to Missouri?

Or the Utah State team that just lost to Boise State?

Or the Syracuse team that just lost to Connecticut?

Or the Ohio State team that just lost to Wisconsin?

Again, and I can't stress this enough, pretty much everybody lost last week, and by my estimation there weren't many schools that deserved to make huge moves in the rankings, which is why Duke barely fell. Why is that so hard to grasp? And either way, I would encourage any critics to look at Duke's total body of work -- top five RPI; 7-4 record against the top 50; 10-5 record against the Top 100; no losses outside the top 52, according to CBSSports.com's RPI -- and then try to make a case that the Blue Devils don't belong in the top 10.

Despite their struggles, they are still second in what is arguably the nation's toughest league.

That is a statement that cannot be disputed.

So while I see the same flaws everybody else sees -- and wrote about them last night from Conte Forum -- the reality is that everybody outside of the top four (UConn, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Pittsburgh) is similarly flawed, which is why the Blue Devils can hang around the top 10 despite mounting losses, because, again, there isn't really anybody worthy of moving ahead of them.

Posted on: February 15, 2009 5:48 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2009 7:09 pm

It'll be a late night for the Top 25 (and one)

CHESTNUTT HILL, Mass. -- Just got settled here at Conte Forum for Duke-Boston College, and I wanted to make you guys aware that the new Top 25 (and one) won't be updated until really late tonight, if not early Monday (i.e., after midnight on the east coast). The reason is because Southern California and Arizona State are playing in a game scheduled to tip at 10 p.m. ET, and it would be premature to file the Top 25 (and one) before that's complete.

So get your coffee brewing, my friends.

We're staying up late!

And by the way, don't expect much change in the middle of the rankings.

Or for the teams that lost to be punished greatly.


Because everybody lost.

Seriously, the only schools in the Top 25 (and one) outside of the top four that did not lose this week are No. 7 Michigan State, No. 8 Memphis, No. 20 LSU, No. 21 Illinois, No. 22 Missouri, No. 25 Gonzaga and No. 26 Purdue. In other words, the teams ranked ninth through 19th each took at least one loss, which is yet another example of the parity in college basketball.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 17, 2009 9:51 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2009 9:57 pm

Wake Forest deserves the No. 1 ranking

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.

A star?


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 11, 2009 2:18 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2009 2:32 pm

A late night is coming for the Top 25 (and one)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- I have made the trek from the North Carolina campus to the Wake Forest campus, and now I'm at my hotel getting ready for tonight's showdown between the teams ranked third and fourth in the latest AP poll. Ran into former Wake Forest coach Dave Odom in the lobby; he said he's making his radio debut tonight. But the reason I'm writing is because I just looked at the schedule and realized the game between No. 10 UCLA and Southern California tips at 10:30 pm ET, and this really is a problem for the Top 25 (and one).

As you know -- because it says it at the top of the rankings -- the Top 25 (and one) updates every Sunday night, but that's not exactly true. A more accurate description would be that the Top 25 (and one) updates after the final relevant game each Sunday, meaning it could be as early as Sunday afternoon (when there are no relevant Sunday night games) or as late as Monday morning (when there is a relevant Sunday night game tipping late on the west coast).

Tonight, we have the latter.

So there's no way the Top 25 (and one) will be updated this week until after midnight ET.

But don't worry, I'll be up, and the rankings will be updated ASAP (i.e., shortly after UCLA-USC goes final).

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 5, 2009 10:48 am

Dear Gary (on how I ranked Pitt and UNC)

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.

-- AW

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:

1. Pittsburgh
2. Duke
3. Wake Forest
4. North Carolina

-- BDC

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: January 2, 2009 11:48 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2009 11:48 pm

My top 10 heading into Saturday's games

A lot of you, because of all the upsets this week, have asked what Sunday night's Top 25 (and one) might look like.

Answer: It's still too early to know for sure.

But if I had to update the top 10 heading into Saturday, I'd probably go with something like this ...

1. North Carolina (13-0)
2. Pittsburgh (13-0)        
3. Duke (11-1)           
4. Georgetown (10-1) 
5. Texas (11-2)        
6. Notre Dame (10-2)
7. Wake Forest (12-0)
8. Connecticut (11-1)       
9. Oklahoma (12-1)        
10. Syracuse (14-1)
Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com