Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: January 3, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 4:02 pm
Arizona lost at Oregon State late Sunday.

One voter apparently didn't get the memo.

He'll suffer the consequences in the Poll Attacks.

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of

Associated Press poll:
Let me start by saying that Lindsey Wilhite's top seven is perfect.

It looks like this:
  1. Duke
  2. Ohio State
  3. Kansas
  4. Syracuse
  5. Pittsburgh
  6. San Diego State
  7. Connecticut
That's exactly how the first seven of the Top 25 (and one) looks, too. So, needless to say, Lindsey (from the Daily Herald in Illinois) got off to a nice start, and he's pretty good for the most part. I mean, I don't know why he ranked Cincinnati (undefeated with no good wins) 22nd and left UCF unranked (undefeated with a win over Florida), but whatever. My issue is this: Lindsey ranked Arizona 24th.

Arizona entered the weekend with no good wins and two losses -- one of which was reasonable (87-79 to Kansas in Las Vegas) and another that was not (87-65 to BYU in Salt Lake City). So ranking the Wildcats last week would've been a mistake. But how in the world can anybody rank them after Sunday night's 76-75 loss to an Oregon State team that had previously lost to Seattle, Texas Southern, Utah Valley, Colorado, Montana and George Washington?


How. In. The. World?

Arizona is now 12-3 with no good wins, a reasonable loss to KU, a blowout loss to BYU and a head-scratching loss to Oregon State. The only explanation is that Lindsey worked on his ballot early like I do every Sunday afternoon and constructed it as if Arizona would win (I do similar things every Sunday afternoon). So from our top seven to how we operate on Sunday afternoons, Lindsey and I are similar. Where we part is that I don't file anything until every team I'm considering is done for the day, and Lindsey (again, I'm assuming here) goes to bed early on Sundays because "True Blood," "Boardwalk Empire" and "Eastbound and Down" are all out of season. In theory, not a bad move. But if it leads to you ranking Arizona, well, something's got to change.

Coaches poll: The thing I like best about Lindsey's ballot is that he has UConn at No. 7.

Any lower is wrong.

I mention that because the coaches have UConn ninth, which isn't a big difference but still wrong because the only one-loss team that can reasonably be ranked ahead of UConn (at this point) is the one-loss team that just beat UConn, i.e., Pittsburgh. If you want to rank all the undefeated teams (except for Cincinnati and UCF) ahead of UConn, I'm OK with it. I have Duke (13-0), Ohio State (14-0), Kansas (13-0), Syracuse (15-0) and San Diego State (15-0) ranked ahead of UConn, and Pittsburgh (13-1), too. But do those who dropped the Huskies drastically after last week's loss at Pittsburgh realize that UConn (11-1) is the nation's only one-loss team whose lone loss came on the road to a team currently ranked in the top 10? And do they realize UConn is one of just two one-loss teams with two wins over teams currently ranked in the top 20?

The the other is, of course, Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh has wins over No. 9 UConn and No. 12 Texas.

Connecticut has wins over No. 11 Kentucky and No. 19 Michigan State.

(And both of UConn's key wins came on a neutral court.)

Tennessee (wins over No. 5 Pittsburgh and No. 7 Villanova) is the only team besides Pittsburgh with two wins better than UConn's best two wins, but the Vols are irrelevant to this conversation because they have four bad losses. Again, UConn's only loss came at No. 5 Pittsburgh. So if anybody can explain why the Huskies are behind Villanova (no Top 25 wins/one loss came to currently unranked Tennessee) and Missouri (best two wins are over No. 20 Illinois and No. 24 Vanderbilt/one loss came to No. 13 Georgetown in Missouri), please do because I can't figure it out.

I have no idea what the future holds for UConn, obviously.

But anything lower than a No. 7 ranking in the present is wrong.

Since: Apr 19, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2011 12:12 pm

Ohio State

Ohio State began their conference play on the road against the two weakest teams in the conference. Two road games (2-0) and two wins against two more weak teams. Yes, they won, but by 5 points against Iowa?

The only reason why they are undefeated is their scheduling. Obviously.

I hope they stay in the top five all season. Big Ten represent. We will soon see if they are just as good as they seem to be... when they play somebody!

Anyone think that Jared Sullinger will be Big Ten Player of the Year? If he simply is able to perform as he has in the preseason against Purdue and Michigan State, I think, along with OSU's current hype, he'll have the favor over the likes of John Leuer and JaJuan Johnson.

Since: Mar 5, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2011 6:34 pm

The Poll Attacks

It makes more sense then you might think. Purdue hasn't played any ranked teams yet and they lost to Richmond. Michigan St. has 3 losses vs. teams that are now in the Top 10 (Duke, UCONN, and Syracuse) and the 4th loss versus another ranked team Texas. And they have beaten 2 ranked teams, Washington and Minnesota.

I'm a Purdue fan and I understand the logic. You can't just look at the records, you need to look at how they got there.

Since: Nov 16, 2009
Posted on: January 4, 2011 2:31 pm

The Poll Attacks

How. In. The. World do you have Michigan State above Purdue in your rankings?  Your credibility goes flying out the window just based on that.  Michigan State has 4 losses in case you haven't noticed.  Purdue has 1.

Since: Mar 12, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2011 10:56 am

The Poll Attacks

I'm not sure how you figure Big Ten is the number one conference but that is clearly debateble.   It is clearly arguable that playing through K-State and Kansas ' entirre conference is as tough or tougher than the Big Ten.   Big Ten usually has four or five good teams and weak lower half.

Thus far, in any event, its sorta hard to brag or determine anything from what Ohio State has done thus far.  A win over Florida  is nice but the rest of the schedule was a steamroll through the drek of college basketball (11 wins at home against teams 100 or worse RPI).  Not much to holler so loudly about.  Could even say at this point if they are the bestr of the Big Ten based on who they have played so ne sense pciking a fight with KU.

Since: Feb 5, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2011 8:58 am

The Poll Attacks

You are right bucks 45. This aint football. You are on a basketball thread, trying to put down (Kansas) one of the most storied programs in all of College basketball. For you to be a OSU fan and trying to make fun of KU is laughable at best. OSU has a good team this year and Sullinger is a beast. However, I would'nt go around beating my chest just yet if I were you. They look real good so far, but lets see what happens when they get tested.

Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: January 4, 2011 2:00 am

The Poll Attacks

the polls and rankings really do not matter too much apart from the top 4 or so. There is a tourny and 68 teams get to make it now, and of those 68 i am willing to bet that everyone currently in the top 10 will make it. SO, dont cry about it, anyone. 

Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2011 11:56 pm

The Poll Attacks

The Big 10 is overrated (especially in football although Iowa did beat my Missouri Tigers) as always. While one team is usually pretty good, the rest of that league blows every year. (This could be said of most conferences to be honest.) One good thing about NCAA basketball is that there is a tournament at the end of the year which takes care of it all.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: January 3, 2011 10:52 pm

The Poll Attacks

here we go again attack the machine(THE OHIO STATE)this ain't football where 14-0 and crushing people ,KU is nice but who will they play this season other than K.State and tx won't matter much though come march kansas will be 33-2 give or take a win or two,or loss or two,number one seed out west and they will get beat 2nd round or sweet sixteen like they do every YEAR!!!so don't worry where were ranked the big ten will take care of itself as the number one conference.also that schedule was set up because of all the freshman we have this year to get them ready for big ten play,and they did what they were supposed  to do, crush them!now this young team has a swagger and confident that will lead them through a tough league.IUPUI who!

Since: Sep 12, 2007
Posted on: January 3, 2011 10:38 pm

The Poll Attacks

Maybe OSU is ranked second because they have beaten everyone they have played so far by double digits. Their closest game was an 11 point win. They average just under 83 points per game and only give up 54.7 on defense. Their avg margin of victory is jost over 28 ppg.

Dukes numbers are better as they avg 89.3 per game and just over 63 on defense with an avg margin of victory of almost 26 ppg. They have had three close games winnig two by 5 points and one by 8.

Kansas also has great numbers. They avg 84.5 ppg and give up 60.2 on defense. Their avg margin of victory is 24.3. They also have had three close games winning by 1, 2, and 8 points.

When you look at the SOS Kansas has had the toughest sched followed by Duke and then OSU who has had a very easy schedule.
All three of these teams have done what they have needed to do and I think they are all deserving of their current ranking. If they all continue to play as they have to date I think they should all be #1 seeds in the big dance. 

Lets not say that any of them don't desrve where they are ranked, they all have earned there current status. 

Since: Apr 19, 2008
Posted on: January 3, 2011 8:58 pm

Ohio State

The one team out of the top seven that has only played moderate opponents (South Carolina, Florida, Florida State) throughout the preseason is Ohio State. IUPUI is no close to moderate and OSU was lucky enough to hang on with Sullinger's free throws. Free throws do win games, but to have a freshman have to score 40 points to beat IUPUI at home doesn't read, "top seven".

Other than having a strong starting lineup, probably the best in the nation, why does that automatically make them #2 over teams like Kansas? They beat Florida on the road, yet that win looks less and less impressive as the season heads into Big Ten play. Right now, that's the Buckeyes' best win of the season.

All I'm saying is it's too early to depend on assumptions you have on a team before they are challanged. Give it a few weeks and we will know. They should be trailing prior-challanged teams... even ones with quality losses, in the polls. Until they play somebody else other than a struggling Indiana team that's looking just as hopeless as last season then let them talk.

No reason for talk about if they should be in front of Duke! It's all assumptins and predictions. It's not the preseason polls anymore. Time to go by results.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or