Poll Attacks: It appears one AP voter has no idea Arizona State just throttled Xavier
The Musketeers moved from 17th to 12th on a ballot after a 102-86 loss to ASU
It was not surprising when Arizona went from No. 2 to completely out of the Associated Press poll Monday after losing three straight games -- including one to unranked NC State and another to unranked SMU -- at the Battle 4 Atlantis. What was surprising, though, is that the Wildcats still got 34 points in the AP poll despite a 3-3 record featuring zero quality wins, two losses to unranked opponents and a ... 25-POINT LOSS TO PURDUE!
Who in the world is voting for Arizona?
Thuc Nhi Nguyen, David Cloninger, David Cobb and Jesse Newell, that's who. And that three of the four (everybody except Newell) have Arizona ranked ahead of a Purdue team that has more wins, fewer losses, a higher KenPom rating and two better victories than any of Arizona's victories -- including a 25-POINT VICTORY OVER ARIZONA! --- is especially silly. But I've written and talked about Arizona's early struggles enough. So I don't want to spend any more time on the Wildcats. Because I've got something even sillier to discuss.
The sillier thing is the ballot belonging to Luke DeCock -- a columnist for the News & Observer. But before I tell you what he did on this Monday's ballot, it's important to look at last Monday's ballot, where DeCock had Xavier ranked 17th. That was totally reasonable at the time, by the way, given that Xavier was 3-0 and coming off of an 80-70 victory at Wisconsin. But now Xavier is 5-1 with just one top-50 KenPom win and a 102-86 neutral-court loss to Arizona State, which is why Xavier dropped from 15th to 21st, one spot behind Arizona State, in this week's AP poll
So how did DeCock handle Xavier's surprising loss?
Answer: He moved Xavier up five spots!
Xavier really did spend Friday losing by 16 points to Arizona State, and DeCock really did spend Monday rewarding the Musketeers by moving them from 17th to 12th on his ballot. Swear to God, hand to heart, DeCock moved the Musketeers up five spots after they lost by double digits to a team that wasn't ranked at the time. And what's even funnier is that he didn't rank Arizona State at all this week -- meaning the 6-0 Arizona State team that owns a 16-point victory over Xavier is nowhere to be found on DeCock's ballot, but the 5-1 Xavier team with a 16-point loss to Arizona State is steadily climbing.
Though I've long insisted (and proven) that too many AP voters have no idea what they're doing, even I don't think anybody is this ridiculous. DeCock just missed the result, right? He has no idea Xavier lost to Arizona State. That's the only explanation.
Or so I thought.
In other words, DeCock was aware Arizona State beat Xavier by 16 points. He just incorrectly submitted his ballot -- which is careless but still a valid explanation for why he had Xavier 12th. But what that doesn't explain is why he wanted to rank a 5-1 Xavier team with a 16-point loss to Arizona State 21st on his ballot but did not want to rank a 6-0 Arizona State team with a 16-point win over Xavier at all. So that's still a little goofy. But whatever. I've spent too much time on this already.
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