Nobody loves South Carolina more than an AP voter from South Carolina.
That’s the focus of this week’s Poll Attacks.
Associated Press poll: Aaron Brenner is getting beat up pretty good on Twitter by Villanova fans because he has the top-ranked Wildcats seventh on his ballot. And though I do think seventh is too low for Villanova — I have Jay Wright’s team ranked third, for what it’s worth — I actually don’t think seventh is insane. And the reason is because I believe you could make a reasonable case right now that six or seven different teams deserve the No. 1 ranking. And if you subscribe to that opinion, then, by definition, any of those same six or seven teams could also reasonably be ranked seventh.
It’s a math thing.
And that’s why that’s not the thing that struck me about Brenner’s ballot.
What struck me about Brenner’s ballot is that he’s a South Carolina-based writer who has unranked South Carolina ranked 12th, which is five spots higher than anybody else and, yeah, kinda crazy. To be clear, I love what Frank Martin’s doing, and I don’t have an issue with anybody ranking his Gamecocks even though I’m not. They are 20-3, after all, and coming off of a win at Texas A&M. So ranking South Carolina is reasonable. And did I mention Frank Martin is awesome and possibly the SEC Coach of the Year?
That’s awfully high for a team with just one top-50 RPI win and three losses outside of the top 50, especially when so many other schools have better bodies of work. Like Miami, for instance. The Hurricanes have six top-50 RPI wins and three losses outside of the top 50, and yet Brenner has Miami one spot below South Carolina. And then there’s Oregon, which has eight top-50 RPI wins and just two losses outside of the top 50. So Oregon has way better wins, obviously better losses, a better KenPom rating, a better RPI, a better everything, basically. Regardless, Brenner has Oregon three spots below South Carolina.
And he didn’t rank Louisville at all.
Louisville has three top-50 RPI wins and just one loss outside of the top 25.
But the Cardinals are nowhere to be found on Brenner’s ballot.
So, Villanova fans, I hear you. Be mad if you want. But it’s easier to explain Villanova at No. 7 than it is to explain South Carolina at No. 12, and, there’s just no way in the world to rationalize a ballot that doesn’t include Rick Pitino’s Cardinals.
Coaches poll: Steve Pikiell has never made the NCAA Tournament, and he’s never coached in a league other than the America East. So he mostly operates off of the national radar. But the 48-year-old former UConn player has really done a nice job at Stony Brook.
The Seawolves were 4-24 in his first season.
But they’ve won at least 22 games in five of the past six seasons, and they’re on their way to doing it for the sixth time in seven seasons, proof being that Stony Brook is now 19-4.
Do the Seawolves have any top-50 RPI wins?
Their resume basically consists of three wins over schools (Princeton, Hofstra, Albany) ranked between 60th and 95th in the RPI, and that’s it. And their four losses are to Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Northeastern and Western Kentucky, the latter two of which have sub-140 RPIs. In other words, there’s not much there, and that’s what I was going to use this space to point out, that it’s silly for Stony Brook to be getting a top-25 vote in the Coaches poll considering only seven of Stony Brook’s 19 wins are against schools with top-200 RPIs.
But who wants to be that guy?
I mean, it’s still true. Stony Brook doesn’t have a top-25 resume. But who cares? Let’s let Stony Brook enjoy its vote in the poll and just focus on the writer from South Carolina who has South Carolina way higher than anybody else, and Louisville nowhere in sight.