Purdue keeps dropping in the Associated Press poll and has fallen completely off of three AP voters' ballots. This is silliness that will not be tolerated. Here is this week's Poll Attacks column ...
Associated Press poll: One of the first things I do each week in advance of writing this Poll Attacks column is look for ballots that don't include teams I think should be on every ballot. Today, this exercise led me to the ballots of Patrick Murray, Krista Pirtle and Doug Doughty. Because those are the three Associated Press voters whose ballots do not currently include Purdue.
Their ballots used to include Purdue.
Just not anymore.
Here's the deal: Murray, Pirtle and Doughty all had Purdue ranked 16th in the preseason. But now the Boilermakers are nowhere to be found on their ballots, and that's because Purdue has lost two of its first eight games, and AP voters, these three included, often penalize teams for losing with no regard for context.
But context matters.
And here's the context: Purdue's two losses are a 79-76 loss to No. 1 Villanova and a 71-64 loss at No. 11 Louisville. That's it. Two single-digit losses to top-11 teams, one of which came in a true road game. And it's those two single-digit losses to top-11 teams that have caused Purdue to drop completely off of three AP ballots.
And before somebody tries to suggest that Murray, Pirtle and Doughty dropping Purdue from 16th to unranked after losses to No. 1 Villanova and No. 11 Louisville is no different than me dropping Xavier from from No. 6 to No. 18 in the Top 25 (and one) after a loss at No. 4 Baylor, let me say this: Yes, it's very different. Here's why: Purdue has won every other game on its schedule by at least eight points and basically maintained its KenPom rating, which was 15th in the preseason and is 16th now. Meantime, Xavier only beat Lehigh 84-81 and was subsequently taken to overtime by a terrible Missouri team in advance of losing by 15 points at Baylor. And the Musketeers' KenPom rating has dropped from 11th to 18th.
In other words, dropping Xavier out of the top 10 is sensible.
Xavier hasn't been too sharp.
But Purdue has been fine.
Bottom line, if you had the Boilermakers ranked 16th in the preseason, like Murray, Pirtle and Doughty did, there's no good reason to not have the Boilermakers ranked 16th now. All they've done is win convincingly or lose close games to top-11 teams. And close losses to top-11 teams, with no other concerns on the resume, shouldn't take Purdue, or anybody else, completely off of Associated Press ballots.
Coaches poll: Arkansas could prove to be a Top 25 team at some point, I guess. But the Razorbacks weren't in the preseason. And now they're 6-1 with zero top-70 KenPom wins and a 14-point loss at Minnesota.
Regardless, at least one coach has Arkansas ranked this week.
My question: Based on what?
This isn't that hard, folks.
When almost nobody considers you a Top 25 team in the preseason, and nearly a month into the season your resume features a double-digit loss to an unranked opponent and zero top-70 KenPom wins, and you're 49th in KenPom and 44th in Jeff Sagarin's ratings, then you shouldn't be showing up on Top 25 ballots.
Maybe someday Arkansas will belong on Top 25 ballots.
But that day is not today.