I love Seth Davis.
But I'm confused by his ballot.
And I will explain both of these things in more detail in these Poll Attacks.
Associated Press poll: Seth Davis is my colleague and friend and someone who has always been supportive and helpful. He's also the lone AP voter to leave Maryland unranked.
So I'm in a pretty tough spot here, I think.
Basically, I have three options:
- Ignore Seth's Maryland-less ballot.
- Rationalize Seth's Maryland-less ballot.
- Explain why Seth's Maryland-less ballot is difficult to justify.
Obviously, I can't do No. 1, if only because Maryland fans were tweeting me about Seth's ballot seconds after Seth posted it Sunday night, which distracted me from trying to watch Kanye West rap on his back. So that's a no-go. But I do believe I can actually rationalize Seth's Maryland-less ballot, if you made me, and the way I'd do that is by pointing out that Seth didn't have Maryland ranked last Monday, either, and almost nobody complained. And if you didn't have Maryland ranked last Monday, and all Maryland did since last Monday is barely beat Indiana at home and barely beat Penn State on the road, it's reasonable, I guess, to not rank Maryland this week, too.
Plus, Maryland is 39th at KenPom.
So if you're a big believer in KenPom, and you also didn't believe in Maryland last week, then maybe, just maybe, you could argue against Maryland again this week. I guess.
Consider that the rationalization.
(And it's pretty decent rationalization, if you don't mind me saying.)
But, honestly, I don't believe most of it, if only because I spend every morning looking at the resumes of teams, and it's impossible, in my opinion, to find 25 schools with more accomplishments and as few disappointments as Maryland. That's why I have the Terrapins ranked 14th in the Top 25 (and one), and, I'm assuming, that's why Jerry Palm has them projected as a No. 3 seed for the NCAA tournament, because the body of work is solid.
Maryland is 21-5 overall, 9-4 in the Big Ten.
The Terrapins have five top-50 RPI wins, among them wins over two schools Seth did rank this week -- Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Meantime, Maryland has zero losses outside of the top 60, and four of the five losses are losses in true road games. The lone other loss is a home loss to Virginia, and that's nothing to be ashamed of considering Virginia is 9-0 in road games, leading the ACC and ranked second in this week's Associated Press poll.
Now let's compare that résumé to the team Seth ranked 25th ... Valparaiso.
Valpo is 24-4 with one top-50 RPI win and three losses to schools ranked outside of the top 130. In other words, Maryland has five times as many top-50 wins as Valpo, and Valpo has three losses way worse than Maryland's worst loss. So while I'm all for throwing a so-called bone to the so-called little guy, to do so at the expense of a Maryland team with a legitimate resume is difficult to make sense of unless you just ignore the résumés.
In fairness, perhaps that's what Seth's doing.
I don't know.
But, again, he's a colleague and a friend and I genuinely like him.
So let's just move on, OK?
This is uncomfortable.
Coaches poll: My favorite shorts are my Boise State shorts. But that alone is not enough to make me understand how a coach could have the Broncos on a ballot this week.
Boise State is 18-7 with only two top-50 RPI wins and four losses to schools ranked outside of the top 75. So the Broncos have twice as many bad losses as they have quality wins, and they're coming off a loss to a Fresno State team that's ranked 208th at KenPom and 213th in the RPI. According to Jerry Palm, Boise State is way on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament bubble right now, and I agree. And, if that's the case, then it's reasonable to wonder how a coach could list Boise State on any Top 25 ballot.