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Blog Entry

The Poll Attacks

Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:29 pm
By Gary Parrish

We've got a Murray State problem that needs to be addressed.

And this is a good place to address it.

So let's do some Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Louisville is 14-4 with two losses to unranked teams and zero wins over schools that are currently ranked. Take away everything you thought you knew about the Cardinals in the preseason, focus on what I just told you and then I think, you'll understand why we are no longer ranking Rick Pitino's team in the Top 25 (and one). The Cards have bad losses and no great wins to offset those losses. That's the bottom line. So Louisville does not deserve to be in the Top 25 (and one). Or 23rd in this week's AP poll.

And the Cards sure as hell don't deserve to be 10th.

But guess who has them ranked 10th?

Answer: Ron Morris.

Ron actually has Louisville 10th and Florida 11th even though both schools are 14-4 with two losses to unranked teams and zero wins over currently ranked teams. Meantime, he has Indiana 16th even though the Hoosiers are 15-3 with just one loss to an unranked team and three wins over currently ranked teams, specifically No. 2 Kentucky, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 20 Michigan. I genuinely have no idea how anybody could look at what Louisville and Florida have done and conclude it's A) worthy of a top 15 vote, or B) better than what Indiana has done.

But, somehow, Ron does.

I bet he couldn't explain why he does.

But, according to his latest ballot, he absolutely does.

Coaches poll: I don't think Murray State is one of the nation's 10 best teams.

If you do, that's fine.

I don't have an issue provided you really believe it. But what I do have an issue with is how the Racers are moving up the polls based on little more than the fact that they play in the Ohio Valley Conference and every other relevant team does not. They are advancing because they're spending each week playing grossly inferior opponents while a Big Ten team might host Ohio State one night and be at Michigan the next. Put another way, there are lots of weeks when a split should be considered a good week. But splits almost always move teams down in the polls while 2-0 weeks move folks up. And while that's somewhat OK in most cases because the power-conference schedules tend to balance themselves out over time, this simple approach to ranking creates issues when a solid team from a bad league gets involved.

That's what's happening here.

That's why the Racers are ranked 10th.

So my question is simple: When does it stop?

If Kansas loses to Baylor late Monday but then beats Texas this weekend while Murray State handles Morehead State and SIU-Edwardsville, are voters gonna move the No. 7 Jayhawks below Murray State based on the idea that KU went 1-1 while Murray State went 2-0? I hope not. Because weeks, like overall records, need context, and it's silly to continue to advance the Racers without considering the context of what their wins really show and what others' losses really mean.

That's why we've kept the Racers at No. 20.

Because that's about where they belong regardless of how many consecutive OVC schools they beat.

Since: Jan 22, 2012
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:06 am

The Poll Attacks

Two reasons why Murray State & Kentucky have never played.  Kentucky is one of those states where a lot of people attend the regional universities like Murray State, Morehead, Eastern, Western, etc. and they all root for their school AND are Kentucky Wildcat fans as well.  If Kentucky were to develop rivalries within the state then the Wildcats are forcing people in important markets to make a choice.  This way they can have their cake and eat it too.  Makes sense to me.  You see what happened when Louisville and Kentucky started playing annually as mandated by state law now.  But that game should be played.

The other issue is the old problem of if you beat a Murray State (in most years) it's no big deal and doesn't help your ranking or RPI but if you lose to them? will kill you.  So no upside really.  But it remains an oddity that Kentucky has played every state university multiple times including Morehead, Eastern, Western, Louisville and even Northern Kentucky and Kentucky Weslyan but NEVER Murray State.  Hmmmm.  Kentucky generally avoids Western Kentucky as well as the overall series is balanced.  But not once against Murray?  

People complain about the schedules of teams like Murray State being weak but it's not like they don't TRY to schedule good games.  The big schools have little interest and certainly are NEVER interested in a home and home 2-year deal which is what they want.  Dayton went to Murray this year for a rare appearance.  That didn't go too well.  Hopefully the bracket buster match up in Murray will be a good one.  St. Mary's maybe?       

Since: Feb 6, 2010
Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:48 pm

The Poll Attacks

UK is one of the greatest programs of all time. I just wish the UK fans could comment on the topic. Murray State or even L'ville which are both mentiod in this article. Stop crying about why UK should be ahead of 'Cuse and expand your basketball IQ. You looked good against Tennesse. But the question is the following: What do you think about Murray State's ranking? Have a heart and give the Racers their due.

Why haven't Murray State and UK ever played each other?



Since: Feb 6, 2010
Posted on: January 18, 2012 1:16 pm

The Poll Attacks

Dear Accent,

I am sorry for my misspelling of amateur. I was using my Ipad and didn't noticed the mistake until I was ready to submit. I didn't go back to fix it. I was lazy. It won't happen again. 

As for your comment:

They Racers are not the 10th best team in the country. That was my point. But since it is the  coaches poll  they think differently. Their job is to motivate their players to overachieve. I am not saying that MSU is overachieving . I am just saying that the coaches have given them credit because the sum of their team is greater than the parts ( the players).



Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 8:25 pm

The Poll Attacks

A wise friend said to me "you know how to shut the haters up? Just win!!! Murray State will have to prove themselves in the tournament and just keep the wins coming.

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:32 pm

The Poll Attacks

you got that exactly right u will see them in march and i feel sorry for kentucky wvu will take care of them if they get in the same bracket juss need too get some votes unlike getting them in the rankings but at least the thing that matters there rpi is 18th they will be there in march wasnt givin alot of credit in football look what they did to #15 clemson blew them out did they show america anything i believe they was a little underrated dont u think

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: January 17, 2012 6:26 pm

The Poll Attacks

i agree one hundred percent a weak big east is better than all the confernces combine in basketball wait till marc lets see if the title comes back to big east again this year!!!!!!!!

Since: Mar 1, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:38 pm

The Poll Attacks

The Big Ten Is exactly like the Big East...A couple good teams, a few pretty good teams, and a bunch of bottom feeders.  And each week any team can take out any other regardless of how good we all think they are our are not.  Ask Wisconsin about Iowa...MSU about Northwestern...same as Uconn, Marquette, or Georgetown losing to a Rutgers, Providence, or a St. Johns. 
Sorry MU I gotta disagree this year. Granted the Beast is pretty powerful at the top, maybe more so than the Big Ten (but close) but the Big Ten is much stronger top to bottom this year. FYI Northwestern is ranked #25 in the RPI; if that makes them a bottom feeder then you need to add Louisville to your bottom feeder list. BTW didn't they (NU) beat Seaton Hall? The Big East has 6 teams in the top 30    (37.5%)  in RPI the Big Ten has 6 teams in the top 30 too. (50%). The Big Ten has 9 teams or 67% of its teams in the top 52 of the RPI. The Big East has 7 or 44%. The Big East has far more botom feeders than the Big Ten this year.

Since: Jan 27, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:22 pm

The Poll Attacks

 Syracuse most like will run into Duke or UNC before playing Kentucky.

Since: Jan 27, 2010
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:20 pm

The Poll Attacks

The SEC has the best football and basketball teams period !

"The I don't care about the other conferences"

Since: Mar 1, 2009
Posted on: January 17, 2012 5:13 pm

The Poll Attacks

 And while that's somewhat OK in most cases because the power-conference schedules tend to balance themselves out over time, this simple approach to ranking creates issues when a solid team from a bad league gets involved.

Ya mean like Boise State? Oh, sorry, wrong sport same concept.

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