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Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: December 7, 2009 5:00 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2009 8:28 pm
 

What's easier: Killing the BCS or killing the AP and Coaches polls?

I say both.

Let's Poll Attack !

AP poll:
It's to the point where I'm now getting text messages from people telling me whom to Poll Attack while I'm driving down the road. Swear to Tiger Woods, that happened Monday. The text said simply, "Check out Roger Clarkson's ballot. What a mess."

Naturally, I checked out the ballot of Roger Clarkson of the Athens Banner-Herald .

Man, what a mess.

First, he has Pittsburgh ranked 18th even though Pitt has no relevant players from last season's team, no good wins and a 16-point loss to Texas. There is absolutely nothing -- not preseason expectations, not current body of work, not anything -- to suggest Pitt is one of the best 25 teams in America, much less No. 18. But that's where Roger has the Panthers ranked. And would you believe that's not even the dumbest thing on his ballot?

(Trust me, it gets better!)

Roger also has Louisville ranked 20th. That's the same Louisville team that's 5-2 with no good wins, the same Louisville team that lost to UNLV (the Rebels are three spots below Louisville on Roger's ballot, by the way), the same Louisville team that's coming off an 87-65 home loss to a Charlotte team that earlier lost 101-59 to Duke. In other words, Louisville just lost by 22 at home to a team that lost by 42 at Duke. And yet Roger ranked Louisville 20th in the nation.

(But wait, there's more!)

Roger also has Washington ranked 16th and Texas Tech unranked even though Washington just lost at Texas Tech, and Texas Tech remains undefeated. And Roger has North Carolina ranked No. 8 and Syracuse ranked No. 13 even though North Carolina is 7-2 with a 16-point loss to Syracuse, and Syracuse remains undefeated. And Roger has Michigan State ranked No. 9 and Florida ranked No. 15 even though Michigan State is 6-2 with a loss to Florida, and Florida remains undefeated.

Man, what a mess.

Coaches poll: OK, follow me here.

Missouri State is 7-0 with a win over Tulsa.

Tulsa is 7-1 with a (lone) loss to Missouri State and win over Oklahoma State.

And Oklahoma State is 7-1 with a loss to Tulsa.

So to summarize, Oklahoma State has lost to Tulsa, which has only lost to Missouri State, which is undefeated. And yet the coaches have those teams in reverse order. OSU got 17 points, Tulsa got five and Missouri State got zero. I would ask you to make sense of that, but it's impossible to make sense of that, so let's not waste each other's time.
Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: December 10, 2009 11:16 am
 

The Poll Attacks

MTCAT,

I recognize some of the flaw in using the RPI this early in favor of or against any team... my primary usage of the RPI was to show George Mason's current caliber.  It was being argued that Nova's ONE point victory over unranked G. Mason should still be viewed as a “quality” win b/c G. Mason would be a tournament team.  I stated that it was premature to declare G. Mason as a tournament bound team (which is now 4-5), and therefore, stated that Nova's performance in that victory should be viewed negatively.  Nova was one unranked team’s field goal away from not even being rightfully considered in the top 3 or 5 discussion.  Again, this is all subjective, and I realize the purpose of the polls isn't to create any kind of concrete notions, but when fans pontificate about how great their team is b/c they haven't lost, I would ask that they then look at the performances.  And I think I may be very right about Villanova as they struggled into the final 5 minutes of last night's contest to put away another unranked team in St. Joseph's.   




Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: December 9, 2009 6:56 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

metalscholar,

I have no respect for any argument based upon early December's RPI.  Any serious analyst of college basketball performance knows that such computer-generated "rankings" (such as kenpom, sagarin and the CBS RPI) are totally uiseless this time of year.  There's not a large enough sample size for these type of rankings to be statistically reliable.  Wait until February to try to derive something meaningful from them.

IMHO the last item that should be used in an argument about which team is better is a poll.  Computer-generated or not, all polls are opinions.  This is easily demonstrated by the regular occurance of an "upset".  Teams do not play the in the same manner every game.  Be it the opponent, the venue, the rivalry or the "underdog" or "favorite" label, teams will step-up their efforts to make a point, or overlook another opponent and not bring their "A" game that night.  Statistics are numbers that show "trends", thay don't reveal how well or poorly a particular team will perform at any one time.

Polls are for fans to express their favoritism by elevating the opinions about their team and disparaging the opinions on the worth of other teams.  Polls are an intricate part of college basketball.  They give fans something to argue about.  Don't make them into something they're not.



Since: Dec 9, 2009
Posted on: December 9, 2009 4:32 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Yes! Congratulations on someone finally noticing Missouri State! They have the 5th best RPI in the country, and quality wins over Auburn and Tulsa, (as well as Air Force, if you want to count that as quality). The Bears have a 4 game road stretch coming up where they play SLU, Arkansas State, Arkansas and their first conference games against Evansville. If Missouri State can win at least 3 of those including the Arkansas game, I think you will see them break the top 25. 



Since: Feb 17, 2009
Posted on: December 9, 2009 1:46 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Sorry man but you're thinking of 1996 preseason poll and we were 2nd...to guess who??? Calipari's UMass squad...kind of ironic :)
PS - you gotta love parrish and his beloved dookies. GARY guess who lost to wisconsin :)



Since: Sep 5, 2009
Posted on: December 8, 2009 9:13 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

KFED

Here's a link to last year's preseason rankings.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/ranki

ngs?seasonYear=2009&weekNumber=1&am
p;seasonType=2



Since: Sep 28, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2009 7:27 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Well. Everybody now knows... Roger Clarkson is an idiot. 




Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2009 6:38 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Admittedly, I'm not going to spend a single moment researching this.  UNC would seem to have done this once, probably twice in the last three-ish years.  You sure about Kentucky 98?



Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: December 8, 2009 6:30 pm
 

Villanova's questionable ranking

Firstly, I would not be so quick to presume all four of those listed teams that Villanova has beaten as “tournament bound”: George Mason and Maryland are not currently within the top 65 RPI teams.  And while we are on this discussion, Purdue has also beaten Wake Forest, currently the #58 RPI ranking and receiving votes weekly in the AP and Coaches poll, so the Boilers have victories over two tournament bound teams in Tennessee and Wake Forest. 

Secondly, you are right… a victory over a team that is unranked within the AP/Coaches poll can still be a “quality” victory.  But a “quality” victory is relative to the expectancies of the competing teams.  When the level of domination and play within a game that we expect to see is not witnessed, this diminishes the quality of that win.  During the tourney, when a #1 seed defeats the #16 seed by a field goal, this is not a “quality” win because a larger margin is expected; as such, when the nation’s #3 team (Villanova) defeats two teams that are not nationally ranked by an unexpectedly low margin (George Mason by 1 point, Dayton by 6 points), this diminishes the quality of the victory; hence, the significance of spreads.  The closer the ranks, the closer we should expect the margin of victory to be and vice versa.  A team receiving #1 rankings on any ballot should not have already had two closely contested victories over unranked opponents: games, that if not won, would have eliminated that team from the top 5 discussion entirely due to the significance of the unexpected loss(es).  This is Villanova’s story and not Purdue’s.  On these grounds, I question Nova’s ranking.




Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: December 8, 2009 6:27 pm
 

Villanova's questionable ranking

Firstly, I would not be so quick to presume all four of those listed teams that Villanova has beaten as “tournament bound”: George Mason and Maryland are not currently within the top 65 RPI teams.  And while we are on this discussion, Purdue has also beaten Wake Forest, currently the #58 RPI ranking and receiving votes weekly in the AP and Coaches poll, so the Boilers have victories over two "tournament bound" teams in Tennessee and Wake Forest. 

Secondly, you are right… a victory over a team that is unranked within the AP/Coaches poll can still be a “quality” victory.  But a “quality” victory is relative to the expectancies of the competing teams.  When the level of domination and play within a game that we expect to see is not witnessed, this diminishes the quality of that win.  During the tourney, when a #1 seed defeats the #16 seed by a field goal, this is not a “quality” win because a larger margin is expected; as such, when the nation’s #3 team (Villanova) defeats two teams that are not nationally ranked by an unexpectedly low margin (George Mason by 1 point, Dayton by 6 points), this diminishes the quality of the victory; hence, the significance of spreads.  The closer the ranks, the closer we should expect the margin of victory to be and vice versa.  A team receiving #1 rankings on any ballot should not have already had two closely contested victories over unranked opponents: games, that if not won, would have eliminated that team from the top 5 discussion entirely due to the significance of the unexpected loss(es).  This is Villanova’s story and not Purdue’s.  On these grounds, I question Nova’s ranking.




Since: Nov 28, 2009
Posted on: December 8, 2009 6:07 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

Really? Cause that year this crazy team from somewhere in North Carolina (TOTALLY OBSCURE) was the preseason #1. And the National Champs were Kansas that year. Is Kansas in North Carolina? Hmm.... think about it!


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