Associated Press voters are notorious for moving schools up in the rankings after a week of wins and dropping schools after a week featuring a loss, with little regard for context. I’ve never really understood why this happens. I just know that it happens. But it shouldn’t happen. And this Monday’s poll is a perfect opportunity to reverse that silly trend.
Are you an AP voter who had Oklahoma No. 1 last Monday?
Then you should keep Oklahoma No. 1 this Monday.
Because the Sooners still deserve that ranking.
Lon Kruger’s top-ranked team went to the Ferrell Center on Saturday and handled No. 13 Baylor easily. The final score was only 82-72. But the Sooners led by as many as 24 in the second half, when Player of the Year candidate Buddy Hield scored 14 of their 45 points.
Hield finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.
He made seven of the 10 shots he attempted, including four from beyond the arc.
So now Oklahoma is 16-2 with six top-50 KenPom wins and four victories in true road games. The Sooners have beaten No. 4 Villanova by 23 points, No. 6 West Virginia by two points, No. 13 Baylor by 10 and No. 19 Iowa State by four. The only losses on the resume are a 109-106 triple-overtime loss at Kansas, and an 82-77 loss at Iowa State.
That’s a strong body of work.
In fact, it’s the nation’s strongest body of work.
If anybody is a threat to Oklahoma’s No. 1 ranking, it’s probably No. 2 North Carolina — provided, of course, UNC wins Sunday at Virginia Tech. And, let me be clear, I really like North Carolina. The Tar Heels are 17-2. But they only have four top-50 KenPom wins compared to Oklahoma’s six, and they have two losses to unranked schools — first Northern Iowa, then Texas — whereas Oklahoma has zero. And UNC only has two true road wins compared to OU’s four. And North Carolina only has one win over a currently ranked team — a home win over No. 7 Maryland — compared to Oklahoma’s four.
Consequently, it’s reasonable to conclude Oklahoma has better wins than North Carolina, better losses than North Carolina, and a better resume than North Carolina. More to the point, it’s right to conclude Oklahoma has better wins than North Carolina, better losses than North Carolina, and a better resume in general than North Carolina.
So do the right thing Monday, AP voters.
Don’t punish OU for losing a tough road game it was technically supposed to lose.
Look at the entire body of work.
And if you do that, you’ll see, that Oklahoma deserves to remain No. 1.