Poll Attacks: How does one AP voter rank Hawaii over Baylor?

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It’s silly to not rank Baylor.

It’s even sillier to rank Hawaii.

One AP voter did both of those things this week.

So now he gets to take his turn in the Poll Attacks.

Associated Press poll: Each week there’s a school on some Associated Press voter’s ballot that has no business being on anybody’s ballot, and also a school omitted from some Associated Press voter’s ballot that should obviously be on everybody’s ballot.

And both of those things happened on the same AP voter’s ballot this week!

The AP voter in question is Zac Boyer.

He works for The Washington Times, and he doesn’t have Baylor ranked this week, even though Baylor is 14-3 with two top-30 KenPom wins and zero losses outside of KenPom’s top 25. You can do your own homework, if you want. But, as somebody who looks at this stuff every single morning, just trust me when I tell you there’s no way to find 25 schools that are more deserving of being ranked than Baylor. It’s impossible. And yet, Zach has 25 schools not named Baylor ranked on his AP ballot, most notably Hawaii.

Now let’s take a look at Hawaii.

Hawaii is 15-2, which is nice without context.

But do you know how many quality wins Hawaii has?

Answer: Zero.

The Rainbow Warriors have zero top-100 KenPom wins.

Baylor has four.

The Rainbow Warriors have a loss outside of KenPom’s top 50.

Baylor has zero.

The Rainbow Warriors lost at Texas Tech.

Baylor won at Texas Tech.

And, beyond all that, Baylor is ranked 21st at KenPom while Hawaii is ranked 56th, which, let me be clear, is great for Hawaii. Coach Eran Ganot is doing a fabulous job. But there’s a pretty big difference between being great-for-Hawaii and Top 25 good, and, somewhere along the way, Zac Boyer, quite clearly, lost track of that.

If you’re ranking vacation spots, sure, put Hawaii ahead of Baylor.

No argument here.

But this isn’t a Top 25 vacation spots poll.

This is a Top 25 men’s college basketball poll.

And having Hawaii ahead of Baylor in that is nonsensical.

NCAA Baylor Hawaii
Baylor is a much better team than Hawaii. (USATSI)

Coaches poll: It’s not the biggest deal in the world because, let’s be honest, none of this is the biggest deal in the world. But Maryland being a spot ahead of Xavier in the Coaches poll is a classic case of preseason expectations still dictating the rankings.

Because Xavier clearly has the superior body of work.

Take a look:

—– XAVIER —–

Record: 16-1
Wins over other ranked schools: 2
Top 50 KenPom wins: 5
Losses outside of the Top 25: 0

—– MARYLAND —–

Record: 16-2
Wins over other ranked schools: 0
Top 50 KenPom wins: 1
Losses outside of the Top 25: 1

Pretty clear on the surface, right?

Now let’s take a deeper look at the bodies of work …

Xavier owns victories over No. 24 Butler and No. 25 USC while Maryland’s best win — and Maryland’s only top-50 KenPom win — is over Connecticut. Meantime, Xavier also owns three other top-50 wins — specifically wins over the schools ranked 31st (Michigan), 33rd (Cincinnati) and 47th (Dayton) at KenPom. So Xavier obviously has better wins — literally five times as many top-50 KenPom wins — than Maryland.

As for the losses, the Musketeers’ lone loss came at No. 4 Villanova in a game in which their point guard, Edmond Sumner, was injured in the opening minutes. Meanwhile, Maryland has two losses, most notably at Michigan, a place where Xavier won by 16 points.

Yep, Maryland lost 70-67 at Michigan. Xavier won 86-70 at Michigan.

And yet the coaches still looked at all of the information at hand — or, more likely, most coaches probably considered none of this — and decided to rank Maryland ahead of Xavier, presumably because Maryland was ranked third in the preseason Coaches poll, and that matters more to most coaches than the fact that a Big East school unranked in the preseason has created a much better body of work to date.

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