Poll Attacks: One AP ballot seems to be ignoring Syracuse’s resume

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Syracuse won the Battle 4 Atlantis by beating Charlotte, Connecticut and Texas A&M last week. But one Associated Press voter either doesn’t care or doesn’t know. (Or both.) Either way, he’s getting a featured role in this week’s Poll Attacks.

Let’s get it!

Associated Press Poll: I used to worry that, at some point, AP voters would get tired of being publicly ridiculed and start paying closer attention to avoid being featured in the Poll Attacks, which would make the Poll Attacks more difficult to do on a week-to-week basis. And I know, from talking to several AP voters, that such is true in lots of cases because, some have told me, I keep them on their so-called toes.

But it’s still not true for everybody.

Some voters continue to submit ridiculous ballots each week.

And this week, one such ridiculous ballot, belongs to John McNamara.

John covers Maryland for The Capital Gazette. He’s a good human. But, my lord, the ballot he submitted this week is indefensible — and not only because it doesn’t include Syracuse. I mean, not ranking Syracuse seems stupid to me considering Jim Boeheim’s team is 6-0 with wins over Connecticut and Texas A&M. But if you don’t think much of Connecticut and Texas A&M, you don’t necessarily have to rank Syracuse on your Top 25 ballot, I suppose.

That’s where John runs into a problem, though.

Because he apparently does think much of Connecticut and Texas A&M.

He has two-loss Connecticut ranked 22nd on his ballot, one-loss Texas A&M ranked 25th on his ballot, and the undefeated Syracuse team that owns victories over both Connecticut and Texas A&M completely unranked on his ballot. Seriously, how does that happen? How can you not rank a school that’s undefeated with wins over two other schools you actually have ranked? It defies logic and a very basic level of common sense. But, as always, I appreciate the carelessness. Because here it is, mid-afternoon on a Monday, and another successful version of the Poll Attacks is already in the books.

Coaches Poll: Seems silly to have Arizona 14th, which is 10 spots ahead of the Providence team that’s also 6-1 and in possession of a win over Arizona. But whatever. I’m certain the voters are noting that Arizona’s lone loss came when Kaleb Tarczewski was sidelined, meaning it’s a loss with an asterisk in some folks’ minds. So this is all the time I’m going to spend on that. To be clear, I disagree with the ranking. But, if you’re really trying, you can justify having Arizona still ranked and even ahead of Providence, I guess.

The bigger issue here is schools still getting votes that can’t possibly be rationalized.

Teams like California. And Indiana. And Wichita State.

California is 4-2 with no top-100 KenPom wins and losses to SDSU and Richmond. Still, the Bears got 43 points in the coaches poll. Indiana is 4-2 with no top-50 KenPom wins and losses to Wake Forest and UNLV. Still, the Hoosiers got 35 points in the coaches poll. And Wichita State is 2-4 with no top-300 KenPom wins and losses to four unranked teams — Tulsa, USC, Alabama and Iowa. Still, the Shockers got two points in the coaches poll.

Now listen: I get that Fred VanVleet A) has been banged-up all season, and B) didn’t play at all in the losses to USC, Alabama and Iowa. But the Shockers are still 2-4 with four losses to unranked teams, and it’s not like VanVleet is going to miraculously be 100 percent healthy with the snap of some fingers. Either way, the Shockers will still be without their second-leading scorer (Anton Grady) and their third-leading scorer (Landry Shamet) for several weeks, if not multiple months. So they’re a 2-4 team that’s going to be shorthanded for the foreseeable future, and that’s why they don’t belong on any Top 25 ballots.

Syracuse (USATSI)
Syracuse won the Battle 4 Atlantis last week. (USATSI)


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