The discrepancy between where I have Florida ranked (15th) and where the Gators are ranked in the Associated Press poll (23rd) is a good example of how my approach differs from the approach of a typical AP voter. Here's what I mean: I tend to not care about a team's number of losses as much as I care about its "bad" losses, and I do not think you have to beat top-10 teams to prove you're a top-25 team.
Lots of AP voters -- and millions of fans -- struggle with this concept, though.
They often insist a one-loss team deserves to be ranked ahead of a three-loss team with little regard for schedule context. And they constantly penalize schools for losing games they were supposed to lose.
Which brings me back to Florida.
The Gators are 12-3 with a 77-72 neutral-court loss to No. 5 Gonzaga, an 84-74 neutral-court loss to No. 7 Duke and an 83-78 loss at No. 9 Florida State to go with three top-50 KenPom wins -- specifically neutral-court wins over Miami and Seton Hall, and an 81-72 victory at Arkansas. Now I'm not going to sit here and tell you that's the best resume in college basketball; it's not. But it's definitely better than, say, Saint Mary's resume that features a home loss to an unranked team (UT Arlington) and only one top-50 KenPom win (Dayton).
Regardless, SMC is two spots ahead of Florida in the AP poll.
This is what I'm talking about.
And here's my point: Florida is undervalued -- by most and especially by Dave Borges, the lone AP voter not ranking the Gators at all. As someone who ranks teams daily, let me tell you, I have no idea how anybody could rank 25 schools without getting to Florida at some point. The only possible knock against the Gators is that they don't have great wins, and that's fair. But they still have better wins than some ranked teams (like Saint Mary's). And they definitely have better wins than the schools Borges put 24th (Nevada) and 25th (SMU) on his ballot.
Full disclosure: I'm uninterested in writing anything that might be interpreted as anti-Nevada because that comeback over New Mexico was awesome and fun. So let's just focus on SMU, OK? SMU is 14-3 and, to be clear, absolutely worthy of top-25 consideration. I have no issue with anybody ranking SMU. My only issue is with somebody ranking SMU ahead of, and instead of, Florida.
SMU has two losses to unranked teams (Michigan and Boise State); Florida has zero. SMU only has one top-50 KenPom win (TCU); Florida has three. And Florida is 12 spots ahead of SMU at KenPom and 14 spots ahead of SMU in Sagarin.
So it doesn't matter what you value.
If you like good wins, Florida has more than SMU. If you hate bad losses, Florida has fewer than SMU. If you're into computers, the computers prefer Florida over SMU.
So why would anybody have Florida behind SMU?
I really don't see a single way to justify it.