Northwestern's start to this season has been so disappointing that Matt Norlander and I discussed it at the top of the most recent Eye on College Basketball podcast, which possibly marked the first time in history that a national college basketball podcast has opened with a conversation about Northwestern.
The Wildcats were ranked 19th in the preseason AP poll. But they're off to a 3-2 start with two losses to unranked teams -- including Sunday's 85-49 beatdown administered by Texas Tech. Consequently, it was unsurprising when Chris Collins' team dropped out of the Associated Press and Coaches polls Monday. But what was surprising is that one voter still has Northwestern ranked 16th.
The Wildcats have lost at home to Creighton, been blasted by Texas Tech on a neutral court and dropped from 18th to 52nd at KenPom. Regardless, Carlos Silva still has Northwestern ranked 16th on his ballot -- some seven spots ahead of where he ranked the undefeated Texas Tech team that just beat Northwestern by 36 points. And, hilariously, he ranked Northwestern 16th but left Creighton completely off of his ballot even though Creighton is undefeated and in possession of a 92-88 victory at Northwestern.
How do you rank Northwestern ahead of Texas Tech and Creighton right now?
It's one thing to leave all three schools unranked. That's reasonable. But there is no logical way to have a 3-2 Northwestern team ranked ahead of a pair of undefeated teams that both own victories over Northwestern.
And here's the craziest part: Carlos Silva works for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal! He covers Texas Tech, tweeted about its blowout of Northwestern all day Sunday, and then still, somehow, decided to rank a 3-2 Northwestern team with a 36-point loss to Texas Tech seven spots ahead of a 4-0 Texas Tech team with a 36-point win over Northwestern. Good lord. Is Silva trolling fans of the school he covers? Does he hate Texas Tech's Chris Beard? What's the explanation for this crazy ballot?
Luckily somebody ask Silva about it via Twitter.
Sure. The win vaulted Texas Tech to No. 23. I had Northwestern 13-14 and dropped them a few spots with the losses, which I felt were against good teams. Early losses in the season, they happen.— Carlos Silva Jr. (@cmsilvajr) November 20, 2017
To that, I guess I'd say this: Yes, early losses do happen. And when they happen AP voters should react accordingly. So, for instance, when a team you have ranked 14th -- which is where Silva had Northwestern ranked last week -- loses two games to unranked teams in the same week, one at home, the other by 36 points, it's probably time to drop that team more than two spots on your ballot. Or, at the very least, it's time to drop that team below the two undefeated teams that just beat them.
Nobody thought Texas Tech was better than Northwestern in the preseason.
That's true, far as I can tell.
But we're 11 days into the season, and now there's plenty of evidence to suggest Texas Tech is better than Northwestern. Texas Tech is undefeated and thus has a better record than Northwestern. Texas Tech is also 25 spots ahead of Northwestern at KenPom. And, most importantly, Texas Tech JUST BEAT NORTHWESTERN BY 36 FREAKING POINTS ON A NEUTRAL COURT!
Any sensible ballot takes those things into consideration.
Only nonsensical ballots do not.