Poll Attacks: How did one voter keep Xavier ahead of Villanova?

The Big East played a balanced and complete schedule that concluded over the weekend.

But at least one AP voter didn’t notice.

So he gets what he gets.

This is the final Poll Attacks of the season.

Let’s get it!

Associated Press poll: I voted Chris Mack the Big East’s Coach of the Year because he’s taken a school that was unranked in the preseason straight into the top five of the AP poll, which means his team is really good and one that’s exceeded all reasonable expectations.

Checks both boxes.

That’s COY stuff, I think.

That said, can anybody explain why an Associated Press voter would have Xavier ranked ahead of Villanova? Because Associated Press voter Fletcher Mackel has Xavier ranked ahead of Villanova, and I really don’t think there’s a single way to rationalize that based on things that have actually happened on a basketball court this season.

First and foremost, Villanova won the Big East while finishing two games ahead of Xavier in the standings — and that should count for something considering the Big East uses a balanced schedule where everybody plays everybody home and away. Villanova and Xavier have comparable wins, I acknowledge. But Xavier has three losses outside of the top 25 of the RPI, including two outside of the top 75, whereas Villanova only has one sub-25 loss, and zero outside of the top 50. So Villanova has the superior resume, which is why every Bracketologist in the world has Villanova as a 1 seed and Xavier as a 2 or 3 seed. Beyond that, Villanova is ahead of Xavier at KenPom, in the KPI, in the Sagarin, in the RPI and in every other computer formula I’ve ever seen in my life. And Villanova and Xavier split two games this season, meaning it’s not like Xavier has a head-to-head edge.

Seriously, I don’t get it.

And please don’t take this as a slight toward Xavier. Because this is not a slight toward Xavier. You can reasonably have Xavier in the top five of your ballot. Xavier is good. That’s not the point. The point is that there’s no sensible way to have Xavier above Villanova on a ballot, and, I think, even a smart Xavier fan would have a hard time disagreeing with that.

Coaches poll: I never, at any point this season, thought Saint Joseph’s was really one of the best 25 teams in college basketball. But the Hawks kept winning, and they were leading the Atlantic 10, so I had no real issue with folks including them on a Top 25 ballot.

But you can’t have Saint Joe’s on a Top 25 ballot now.

Phil Martelli’s team closed the regular season with losses to St. Bonaventure and Duquesne, and the Duquesne loss was at home. So Saint Joe’s didn’t win the A-10, after all. And Saint Joe’s is now on a two-game losing streak. And the Hawks’ resume now features just two top-50 RPI wins to go with three sub-50 losses, one of which was that home loss to a Duquesne team that’s ranked 152nd at KenPom.

Is that worthy of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament?

Yes.

Is that worthy of a Top 25 ballot?

No.

Which is why it makes no sense for the Hawks to get points in the Coaches poll.

But they did.

Because some coaches aren’t paying attention.

Or something.

There is no reason for Xavier to be ahead of Villanova. (USATSU)

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