I can appreciate a man with conviction. A man who believes in things and stands beside those things. A man who publicly defends himself against criticism and doesn't duck anybody or hide behind his keyboard.
So I can appreciate Graham Couch.
But that doesn't mean his Top 25 ballot makes any sense to me.
Smart guy. Good dude. Works hard.
But we have to talk about his AP ballot.
The Lansing State Journal writer has Kansas ranked 13th this week. That's 10 spots lower than I have Kansas ranked in the Top 25 (and one) and eight spots lower than any other voter has Kansas ranked on an AP ballot.
Needless to say, Kansas fans are outraged! I mean, even the official twitter feed of the Public Transportation section of the Kansas Department of Transportation requested that this Poll Attacks column focus on Couch's ranking of Kansas.
How am I supposed to ignore that?
So here we are.
And now here we go.
Kansas entered Monday with a 16-1 record featuring six top-50 KenPom wins and a lone loss that came more than two months ago on a neutral court to Indiana in overtime. The Jayhawks are sixth in the Sagarin ratings and seventh at KenPom. So how anybody could look at that and determine there are 12 better teams -- especially when Bill Self has a long track record that shows he almost always has a top-10 team -- is confusing The only way to rationalize it, I guess, is to disregard the data and the resume and everything and just play the eye-test card, which is essentially what Couch spent Monday doing on Twitter.
And I'll give him credit.
He is not backing down from KU fans.
But in this case, let's be honest, the KU fans are right.
Kansas has a legit case to be ranked No. 1. Most people have the Jayhawks in the top five. And basically everybody -- including the reputable computers -- thinks Kansas should be in the top 10. The only person I know who doesn't is Graham Couch, who, again, has Kansas 13th. That's six spots below where he has Oregon ranked, by the way, even though Oregon has a resume featuring only one top-50 KenPom win and two losses -- among them a neutral-court loss to a Georgetown team that's 10-8 and currently ninth in the Big East standings.
(Note: There are only 10 teams in the Big East.)
I'm sure Couch would argue that the Georgetown loss came in Dillon Brooks' first game, and that Brooks and the Ducks are way different today than they were then. And that's true. But they still only have one top-50 KenPom win (over UCLA), a road loss to a good team (at Baylor) and another loss to a sub-50 team (Georgetown). In other words, Oregon's body of work is just a slightly better version of Saint Mary's body of work. And Couch doesn't have Saint Mary's ranked at all.
But he has Oregon ranked seventh -- six spots ahead of Kansas.
Like I've written before, you can reasonably have Kansas anywhere from first to fifth. I have the Jayhawks third. But outside of the top 10? That's silliness. And even the Public Transportation section of the Kansas Department of Transportation knows that.