Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: December 5, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 5:08 pm
By Gary Parrish

Leaving Georgetown unranked is dumb. Leaving Georgetown unranked when you rank Alabama and Memphis is even dumber. But multiple Associated Press voters did it this week. Their punishment is an apperance in the Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Did you watch that Georgetown-Alabama game last week?

It was terrific, wasn't it?

Hollis Thompson hit a 3-pointer near the buzzer to give Georgetown a 57-55 win in Tuscaloosa in a game that suggested both are Top 25 teams, and so it should surprise no one that both are in the AP poll this week. But why is Alabama two spots ahead of Georgetown?

Both schools are 7-1.

They have comparable resumes.

Both have good wins.

Neither has a bad loss.

But Georgetown has a road win over Alabama and should be ranked ahead of the Crimson Tide. That's not even debatable, is it? Look, head-to-head results can't be the absolute deciding factor in polls. Otherwise, you'd need UNLV ahead of North Carolina and UCF ahead of Connecticut, and that doesn't make sense. But a head-to-head result should be the determining factor when two teams have comparable bodies of work -- especially if the road team won that head-to-head matchup -- and that's precisely the case with Georgetown and Alabama.

Georgetown has two wins over currently ranked teams (No. 16 Alabama and No. 21 Memphis) and its one loss came to No. 13 Kansas. Alabama has two good wins (over Wichita State and Purdue), but neither came against a ranked team, and the Crimson Tide's lone loss came to Georgetown. So while the bodies of work are comparable, Georgetown's is obviously better. And -- I can't stress this enough -- the Hoyas just won at ... Alabama.

So, again, why is Alabama two spots ahead of Georgetown?

Answer: I have no idea.

But Michael Phillips is as responsible for it as anybody else.

He works at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He has Alabama ranked ninth.

He has Georgetown unranked.

And that's the dumbest AP ballot I could find this week.

Dude has Alabama and its 7-1 record ranked ninth, Memphis and its 4-2 record ranked 17th and Georgetown and its 7-1 record -- its 7-1 record that features wins over Alabama and Memphis -- completely unranked. That is stupid but apparently not unique to Michael because other AP voters, inexplicably, did the same thing. Bill Cole of the Winston-Salem Journal has Alabama 11th, Memphis 21st and Georgetown unranked. Elton Alexander of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer has Alabama 14th, Memphis 19th and Georgetown unranked. Gary Laney of The Advocate has Alabama 12th, Memphis 19th and Georgetown unranked. And Jason Franchuk of the Provo Daily Herald has Alabama 16th, Memphis 18th and Georgetown unranked.

I'm sure all of those voters are smart guys.

But I bet none of them could intelligently defend those ballots.

Coaches poll: I like Ed Conroy and I think he's got Tulane headed in the right direction just like he had The Citadel headed in the right direction before he left for Tulane. The school made a good hire and he's off to a nice start in his second season -- proof being the Green Wave's 9-0 record that was enough to get them two votes in the Coaches poll.

First, let me say this: Good for Tulane.

That school and that city have been through so much over the past seven years, so seeing Tulane receive any sort of notoriety during a perfect start to a basketball season is nice on some level, and I don't even mind it, really. But let's be honest. The Green Wave don't belong on anybody's Top 25 ballot because all perfect records are not created equal.

Kentucky, for instance, is 8-0.

The Wildcats have wins over No. 6 North Carolina and No. 13 Kansas.

That's an impressive perfect record.

And Ohio State is 8-0, too.

The Buckeyes have wins over No. 5 Duke and No. 12 Florida.

That's also an impressive perfect record.

But Tulane's perfect record is different.

The Green Wave have a win over a Division II school and eight wins over Division I opponents with a combined record of 19-41. They've topped zero teams who happen to have winning records against Division I opponents, which is a round-about way of saying that Tulane hasn't beaten anybody of note. Which is fine. Seriously, it's fine. If I'm Ed Conroy, I'm scheduling the exact same way because winning early in a tenure is by far the most important thing. At the end of the season, nobody is going to sit around debating Tulane's strength of schedule. Conroy's boss will only care if the Green Wave improved in the win-loss column, and they're almost certainly going to do that.

So things are going as well as they could possibly go.

If you're a Tulane fan, celebrate this start.

But voters have to use context when putting together a ballot, and the truth is that there are probably more than 100 schools that would be undefeated against Tulane's schedule. Bottom line, the Green Wave do not belong in anybody's Top 25. Not yet. Let them win at Syracuse -- or even play Syracuse competitively on Dec. 22 -- and be 15-0 or 14-1 after a January 4 game at UCF, and then we'll talk. But for now, ranking Tulane is a little silly. Again, I don't mind it, really. I can't be mad at Tulane or New Orleans. But these are the Poll Attacks, and Tulane getting votes is the silliest thing in this week's coaches poll.

Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:13 pm

The Poll Attacks

During the season rating a team on one victory is bizzare , ie , the Alabama - Georgetown situation , With that type of thinking team A could go W 1 L 26 and team B goes W 26 L 1 , team A's only victory was over team B so with that type of thinking team A must be rated higher than team B , Do we discount the other games , The Tulane argument , teams with same record can rate differently . Example Ohio St & Kentucky , both 8-0 , I have Ohio St at 10.981 and Kentucky at 10.264 (This kills me I am a hardcore UK fan ) I have Alabama at 7.353 and Georgetown at 4.361 ( both at 7-1) but with different schedules , Tulane at 9-1 is at 2.730 . This mathmatical rating change everyday with every game played. Prior to the conference schedule rankings mean nothing .

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:03 am

The Poll Attacks

The scary thing is that there are voters who merely mail in their votes without thinking about it.  Its a shame, but it happens.  Does it really matter?  Not this early in the season.  Come February, the voters better wake up because their actions, or lack thereof, influences the selection committee.  

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2011 2:47 am

The Poll Attacks

There are certainly a bunch of teams ranked in an order other than how I would rank them, if it were up to me. That being said, how is a voter - one with a bias, as most voters/fans do have - to compensate for a team such as Louisville, who is playing without it's full compliment of players (due to injuries)? Should a voter give the Cardinal a little extra juice because they are playing injured, or should they look only at the product that is on the floor? If I am looking at only the product on the floor, then I say Louisville is a top 8-15 team (I'm ignoring wins/losses by all teams...looking only at talent, and predicting how they'd play come march). If the Cardinal has their whole line-up with all players healthy, then I would say that they are likely a top 4-7 team. UNC, which has a crappy loss to UNLV, should still be ranked in the top 5-7. Why? Because their talent puts them there. Now, if Barnes, Henson and Marshall were injured... UNC is a top 12-20 team.... and I don't care who they beat or lost to. If Ohio State lost Sullinger, Craft and Buford to injury, and finished the season undefeated... I would expect them to lose by the 2nd round of the tournament... regardless of where their ranking/seeding was.

Does a team like Fordham or Tulane deserve to be mentioned with Louisville, just because they are undefeated? NO! Why? Because Louisville's "TALENT" decides half of their ranking... just like every other school's.

UNC had the pre-season #1 ranking due to their talent. They lost a couple games, and dropped in the polls. Yet, when they played the team that was considered to have the 2nd best talent (pre-season #2), UNC lost by only a point at the end of the game. That says that UNC's talent is definitely all that it was hyped up to be, but just hasn't completely meshed. Ohio State, Duke, Baylor, Syracuse, Louisville,etc... all have top talents... and will all remain near the top of the polls unless they play way lower than their talent suggests they should (see last season's Michigan State team...a pre-season #2), in-which case they will get dropped like a bad habit by the poll-voters.

But rejoice Louisville, Georgetown, Indiana (and any other fan who feels their team has been slighted), you will be able to see your team prove all the voters wrong come March, when they go on a roll, and win the NCAA Tournament, and are crowned national champion.

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 6:14 pm

The Poll Attacks

Hey get over it. Alabama is playing for the National Title, stop crying. Since when does a team lose one game and fall from 12th to I don't know 25th behind a Georetown team that should have been ranked to begin with. How far did NC fall after losing to UNLV? What year is this? Larry Johnson had a great game. I have an idea, keep BAMA out of the NCAA basketball tournament...that will show them. Attack this poll.

Since: Dec 6, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:51 pm

The Poll Attacks

UK played ODU on a neutral court in Connecticut not at home.  Still wasn't a pretty game just wanted you to have your facts straight.

Ah ok, thank you for the correction Sir.  That does make the 10 point W look a little better.

Since: Mar 27, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2011 4:37 pm

The Poll Attacks

UK played ODU on a neutral court in Connecticut not at home.  Still wasn't a pretty game just wanted you to have your facts straight.

Since: Dec 6, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 3:35 pm

The Poll Attacks

Parrish and Goodman love turning that critical eye on Louisville for winning an ugly game against a ranked team, but god forbid they turn that critical eye on UNC and Duke, who have actually lost games to turn a critical eye on.  North Carolina lost to then unranked (and now also unranked) UNLV, who's only quality win is against UNC.  They also just got dusted by Wichita State, who's only quality win is guessed it, UNLV.  Duke got utterly thrashed by Ohio State.  As I have previously mentioned, UK beat Old Dominion at home by 10 points.  Old Dominion.  Who plays in the CAA.  Old Dominion.  Who is 5-3.  If Louisville gets all this heat for barely beating an injured Vandy team with a depleted roster, what exactly does that say of UK's, UNC's, and Duke's respective performances with all the pieces in place?  In Goodman and Parrish's Top 25 (and 1), Louisville is dropped one spot for beating Vandy.  UNC is elevated one spot for losing to UK.  Their reasoning?  That the Louisville/Vandy game was a terrible display of offense, and the UK/UNC game was the most astonishing clash of top-tier programs in the history of any sport Worldwide.  I watched both games from beginning to end, and if the offense was non-existent at times in the UofL/Vandy game, so was the defense in the UK/UNC game.  Fans who watched the game will remember a defensive set for UK where three UK players were in position with ample time to pick up the UNC ball-handler.  Instead of defending though, they elected to hang back while he calmly strolled up to the 3 point line and jacked one up, Terrence Jones screaming at them the whole time.  And UNC, as we all know, figures the more time they spend on defense is less time they spend on offense.  If Louisville played so lax on defense, you would see players getting benched, injuries or not.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not here to bash on UNC or Duke (UK's record obviously speaks for itself), I'm not saying that both of them will not be among the nations elite teams this season.  Hell, I'm not even saying that Duke or UNC couldn't beat Louisville.  Louisville is quite obviously injured, more so than any other elite program in the early season, and they do struggle offensively at times (though they do show flashes of brilliance in critical stretches, see Kuric, Kyle).  All I'm saying is that if your going to criticize an undefeated L'ville for beating ranked Vandy (notice Xavier did not get any flak for beating Vandy in OT also, simply because of the location of the game), you'd better be critical of UNC for losing to a bad team and Duke for getting blown out by a good team.  Parrish and Goodman knock L'ville because Big East basketball places an emphasis on defense, and they, both being ignorant homer tools, think that any team that doesn't place an emphasis on offense first is bad.  If that were true, why did the fundamentally sound Big Ten just dust the ACC in the challenge?  Why did the aggressive Big East style defense just rout the SEC by a margin of 2-1?  Maybe because the SEC and ACC are garbage BB conferences with three elite programs between them.  Three teams that are very talented, capable of winning the whole thing, and just as capable of underperforming (see Ohio State, UNLV, Old Dominion) just like a whole host of other top tier programs this year.  But don't tell Parrish and Goodman that, L'ville might drop out of the Top 25 (and 1) entirely next week.

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:43 pm

The Poll Attacks

This guy needs a life.  Seriously. Its December buddy.  Who cares?  Early in the season you are looking more at how well you project teams then record.  Alabama loses again they will fall down.  If Georgetown loses they will too.  Not exactly rocket science.  When the end of the year rolls around that is when you can start this crap.  When you see Alabama make the tournament and Georgetown doesn't.  Then you can complain.  Until then shut up.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:33 pm

The Poll Attacks

None of these rankings (or losses by specific teams) matter at this point in the season because the national championship is decided on the court, starting in March. UConn finished NINTH in the Big East regular season standings last season, but won the NCAA title by getting on a roll at just the right time.

Since: Dec 6, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 2:28 pm

The Poll Attacks

Didn't I reply to this already?  If so, I apologize.  For Louisville to be ranked in the Top 10 now is absurd.  If Louisville played UNC, UNC would be favored by 10 and would likely win by more than that.  Of course, if Louisville hit 15 threes or more they might have a chance to upset UNC.  Louisville would  have no chance to score on the inside.  Overall, UNC is better at every position than Louisville.  If they played 10 games, UNC would likely win 8 (or more). 
Meant the post below to be in reply to this stupidity. 

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