Monday, February 06, 2006

Attention College Basketball Pollsters...


Here's some interesting information:

1. Texas 7-1 19-3
2. Kansas 6-2 15-6
3. Colorado 5-3 15-4
3. Oklahoma 5-3 14-5
3. Nebraska 5-3 15-6
4. Iowa State 4-4 14-7
4. Texas Tech 4-4 12-10
5. Kansas State 3-5 12-7
5. Oklahoma State 3-5 13-9
6. Texas A&M 3-6 13-7
7. Missouri 3-6 10-10
8. Baylor 1-7 1-7

Now someone please explain to me how we can be ahead of Colorado and Oklahoma in the league standings after beating both of them head to head, and not have a ranking while they hold on to theirs? Seriously. It's a freaking conspiracy.

On the plus side, Wichita State is finally getting some respect. They got a good mention on ESPN the other day, and picked up 6 votes in the ESPN poll. Not there yet, but it will be nice to see them in the NCAA tournament if they keep it up.

Good work guys. And good luck to Jim Wooldridge.

14 comments:

yopele said...

Well, you said it. Looks like I don't have to. The thing that really irritates me (and I'm sure that it's just the way the voting happened to turn out) is that Colorado lost the only game it played last week and didn't drop a spot on the coach's poll; and Northern Iowa was also able to retain it's 25th position on the ESPN poll after losing one of its two games. Had these losses been to ranked teams, I might have understood it. But Colorado lost to Iowa State and Northern Iowa lost to Indiana State, whose record is 2-11 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Go figure!

yopele said...

Correction:

N. Iowa is 25 on the AP poll.

Paul said...

Sorry, unless KU beats Texas, I don't think they should be in the poll quite yet..they just don't have the resume yet, only recently getting a NCAA worthy resume, after a lousy start to both the year and conference season.

And yopele...UNI destroyed Ind. St. this last week, it was Southern Illinois that lost to Indiana state, which by the way, just got Moss back (they lost him at the start of their losing streak)

UNI lost to Creighton @ Creighton, a very solid team.

Brad Raple said...

C'mon Paul! The polls aren't supposed to reflect how good a team was, but how good a team is. Right now we're playing pretty well, and have the top defense in the country. Of course we started out weak. Our starting lineup has been 100% freshmen, sophomores who didn't play much last year, and a walk-on. It stands to reason they're getting better with experience. I'm still pulling for WSU though. They're the one team I'd root for against KU in the Championship game, if it ever comes to that. It would be unprecedented, to say the least.

Brad Raple said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
yopele said...

Thanks for the correction, Paul. I would, however, say that your criteria of beating Texas before making it into the top 25 is asking a bit much. Most of the teams in the top 25 that have played Texas lost to Texas; and if beating Texas is a requirement, then the top 25 should comprise no more than 3 teams.

The fact is, discounting the first 7 games of the season, KU has certainly played like a top 25 team. It's record is 11-2; it handed Nebraska its worst loss ever; it has beaten several ranked teams; and lost all 6 of its games by a total of 25 points (the two games in this stretch by a total of 7). Show me another team that isn't ranked that has this type of resume. Better yet, show me the 25 superior resumes (from the last 13 games) in the top 25 .

Paul said...

I don't think they have to beat Texas to be ranked in the future, but as of now, I don't think they've had that many 'great' wins to counter-act the crappy losses they had early on...though they are getting closer (My point was, if Texas was in the current list, then they should be ranked)

KU has been really good -- they have a lot of talent, but they have been incredibly bad, losing when they really shouldn't have, and they've lost some bad games not that long ago.

I fully expect KU to be ranked soon, but I don't fault the pollsters at all for not ranking KU yet -- they only recently got their RPI above 60.

Even though there are several teams that don't deserve to be ranked, there are a few that should.

yopele said...

While I can understand how KU hasn't yet made the top 25, I can't agree with the current list. Talk about bad starts in the Big 12, Colorado started out 0-2 - worse than KU. It had barely cracked the top 40 when its 5-game win streak vaulted it into the rankings. And the only teams that it beat that are in the top half of the big 12 were K-State and Nebraska. Not that impressive, if you ask me.

I believe what happened is that the voters looked at Colorado's record and decided that it was a team deserving of a top 25 spot. That's it. They didn't care how good the team was, or even how good it had played recently, as evidenced by the fact that it was able to hold its spot after losing the only game it played in a week's time.

I completely disagree that KU has been really bad. As I've mentioned, it has lost the 6 games by an average of just over 4 points. It lost to Nevada and Arizona, teams that have both been ranked. It lost to two of its rivals and conference foes: K-State and Missouri (Top 25 teams lose to rivals every year). It lost early in the season to Arkansas and St. Joes, but it was just too immature a team to pull out wins. Disappointing losses, sure, but KU doesn't have a single bad loss on its record, in my opinion.

I'm willing to compare the losses that KU has had against most of the top 25. I'm also willing to compare KU to any mid-major team that you may feel is more is more deserving of a top 25 spot. The reason KU isn't ranked is because some voters have paid more attention to records than anything else. And the reason KU isn't a top 40 RPI team is largely because the teams KU lost to that were ranked (like Arizona and Nevada) crumbled as the season wore on.

Since I'm a KU fan, given the team's record, I've been forced to look at the season very critically. And despite some offensive breakdowns that have occurred too consistently for my taste, the team that has been taking the floor every game for the last month or so would play even up against last year's team. No doubt in my mind. And the people that vote in the polls should be knowledgable enough about the game to see what I see. That is, to see past 4 early season losses, and see a team, that while at times inconsistent, has been in (i.e., has had the opportunity to win w/ less than 3 minutes remaining) every game it has played. And that's more than you can say about many of the teams in the top 25.

So while I can understand the criticism of the team for the early losses, I can't agree that KU has been a bad team at all this year. It has played badly - but so has every other team from time to time.

yopele said...

I think this argument will be moot if KU beats Iowa State on Saturday. There is simply no way that that Colorado can still be considered top 25 material after two straight losses. And either Iowa or Indiana, whichever loses their matchup on Saturday should drop out as well, since each has lost a game this week. And even if one of the two doesn't fall far enough, LSU is playing Florida at Florida; and I bet Florida is pissed after losing to S. Carolina.

TheMemoWriter said...

Ok, we're #22 now. Ready to be nice?

yopele said...

Who isn't being nice?

Personally, I think Paul was, as most of the poll voters were, putting too much emphasis on early season losses. I'm not saying they shouldn't matter, but as Brad said, the poll is of the Top 25 team that week. For example, if your team is sitting at number 1 and loses 5 straight games, it shouldn't be in the top 25 any longer - even if its record is 20-5 at that point.

I totally understood Paul's point, I just disagreed with his analysis of KU's season. I also understand his veiled attempt to underemphasize the competition level distinctions between the major and mid-major conferences. But, shit, I be ringing the bell of the MVC if I were him, too. The progams are gaining more and more national prominence, as they should.

But you place any one of those teams in the Big 12, and it would be lucky to break into the top half. It's simply a matter of teams playing with 2, 3 or more future NBA players vs. teams whose athletes will become car salesmen. Northern Iowa's record, as evidenced by its loss to the only Big 12 team it played, would be nowhere near 21-4. I have no doubt.

I'm not saying that teams from the MVC can't or won't beat Big 12 teams - Creighton thumped Nebraska. But Kansas, with 3 freshmen and 2 sophomores, killed Nebraska.

I agree that the MVC should be hyped; it deserves it. But when analyzing the best teams in the nation, we need to compare apples with apples - and not get too distracted by better records against lesser competition. And its important to remember that the polls should reflect the best 25 teams in the nation at that point in time - NOT the best teams from a month ago.

That's all I was saying, and I thought I said it nicely.

TheMemoWriter said...

I guess I feel a bit differently about this than you guys. First of all, regardless of what the polls are intended to reflect, they do not reflect the best teams of the week. They've never really done that. Maybe they should, but the entire season has always been taken into effect. Otherwise, the polls would be much harder to make sense of. Teams would constantly be moving all over the place.

So, you might say, "then what's the point of the polls?" To which I would answer: "there is no point!" Sports polls in general are stupid, but at least in football they are used for a purpose, so it makes sense to pay attention to them, even if they are wrong. But in basketball, they're really there for the sole purpose of telling viewers who is supposed to be good and who isn't. Why should we care what they think? Its stupid.

But I don't believe that when you start the season 3-4 you should really be complaining about not getting respect. The people who make the polls are human and they don't watch every game. Of course they're going to look at the team's records. And up until recently our record was worse than most everyone above us. Did we have more talent than several of the ranked teams? Yes. But what had we done with it? Not much. But now we're on a roll, and the dopes who make the poll have ranked us again. So it all works out. But either way, if we take care of business, we're in the tourney and we can all drink and be merry.

yopele said...

For the record, Jason, I disagree with 95% of your reply (Do I detect a football bias?). But at least we can agree that your last 12 words are the most important.

yopele said...

I guess I'll make one more comment here. I don't see how the last two games (actually the two prior to the Oklahoma State one) definitively demonstrated that KU was a good enough team to now be receiving votes for the Power 16 when the wins were against teams still unlikely to make the tournament.

I think the truth of the matter is that Brad and I were actually right, and KU was being ignored by most voters. I mean, to effectively tell the team that beating Oklahoma won't get you into the rankings, but if you can beat Iowa State at Allen Field House then you've demonstrated that you're top 25 material. Bullshit!

Unless you are purely going by record (in which case Bucknell should be Top 10) or putting too much faith in computer-generated ranking systems (which don't account for early season blunders of youth, amongst many other factors, such as injury to a once powerful team), to claim that the recent victories of KU were what established that it is truly a poll worthy team is mere folly.

I'll say it again: if you don't watch the games, you won't be able to accurately judge the team. Some of the pollsters were apparently committing this error. (And here I'll acknowledge Jason's point that they can't watch every game, so I'll cut them a little slack - even though watching one game might have influenced their votes.) But at least they could have looked at any of the other factors I listed and concluded that maybe it was a better team than the one that lost its only game of the week. Of course they will acknowledge that KU is a good team now. Hindsight is always 20/20. But KU hasn't suddenly become a good team as a result of beating Nebraska or Iowa State.

If I really wanted to see the opinions (as analogously expressed by the votes in the polls) of either an uninformed or biased person, I could just ask for the opinion of an athletically-challenged spinster or, alternatively, that of my K-State-, Missouri- or MVC-fan friends. My biased friends will always shoot me straight and tell me how I've overlooked something that makes KU worse than what I think it is. And occasionally they will be right.

I think I have openly declared my own bias. And I acknowledge that all the points brought up in this discussion were valid (aside from the beating Texas one) though I agreed with few that weren't made by Brad or myself. I was merely asking the nearly impossible: That the top 25 teams in the nation be represented in the Top 25 poll.