Poll Attacks: Providence drops on one ballot after winning at Villanova

I told all AP voters on Saturday exactly how to handle Oklahoma.

Most of them listened.

But some defied me.

Their punishment is a feature role in this week’s Poll Attacks.

Associated Press Poll: I tried to to help them.

I tried to help Associated Press voters by explaining, in great detail over the weekend, why Oklahoma should remain No. 1 despite a loss last Monday night at Iowa State. You can read those words here, if you missed them. But the gist of it is that Oklahoma, after Saturday’s double-digit win at Baylor, still had the nation’s best body of work.

The Sooners are 16-2 with six top-50 KenPom wins. They have zero losses outside of KenPom’s top 15. And both losses were close losses in difficult road arenas — specifically Kansas’ Phog Allen Fieldhouse and Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum.

Again, that’s the nation’s best body of work.

It’s why OU is No. 1 at KenPom and No. 1 in the RPI.

So I spent Saturday explaining to AP voters why they should break conventional wisdom and not drop the Sooners just because Lon Kruger’s team lost a game any team in college basketball would be expected to lose, and, to their credit, most AP voters listened. Thirty-six of the 65 voters kept Oklahoma No. 1. So Oklahoma remained No. 1 in the AP poll.

But there were still some men submitting dumb ballots.

And Jason Butt and John McNamara are two of those men.

Jason and John both dropped Oklahoma all the way to fourth on their ballots — behind North Carolina, Iowa and Texas A&M. That’s silly. And here’s why: For the millionth time, Oklahoma has six top-50 KenPom wins and zero losses to teams currently unranked in the AP poll. Meantime, North Carolina only has four top-50 KenPom wins to go with two losses to teams currently unranked in the AP poll. And Texas A&M only has five top-50 KenPom wins to go with two losses to teams currently unranked in the AP poll. And though Iowa does have seven top-50 KenPom wins, which is awesome, the Hawkeyes also have two losses to teams currently unranked in the AP poll whereas, again, Oklahoma has zero.

Bottom line, Jason and John dropping the Sooners behind any of those schools is wrong.

But dropping them behind all of those schools is completely inexplicable.

Regardless, as hard as it might be to believe, I found something even sillier in the AP poll, and that’s Fletcher Mackel’s ballot. Fletcher had Providence ranked 15th last week, which was reasonable at the time, I guess. Then the Friars beat Butler and won at Villanova, and Fletcher … wait for it … dropped Providence to 18th!

I am not making this up.

Providence beat a Butler team that’s been in the national rankings most of this season, then went on the road and snapped Villanova’s 22-game winning streak against Big East opponents, and Fletcher Mackel dropped the Friars three spots on his AP ballot.

I mean, how does that even happen?

Providence went 2-0 for the week and beat a top-five team on the road.

And that cost the Friars three spots on Fletcher Mackel’s ballot.

Unreal.

Coaches Poll: Jerod Haase is doing a terrific job at UAB — proof being that the Blazers are 17-3 and on a 14-game winning streak. Keep this up, and he won’t be at UAB much longer.

But UAB’s best win is a win over a Stephen F. Austin team ranked 100th at KenPom.

And UAB has three losses outside of the top 100.

The Blazers have played three Power 5 schools — Auburn, Illinois and Virginia Tech — and lost to all three. So while that 17-3 record is the type of thing that’ll earn Haase a nice raise from UAB, or a better opportunity elsewhere, it’s not the type of thing that should be garnering Top 25 votes. And yet UAB got four points in the Coaches poll.

UAB is 113th at KenPom and 101st in the RPI.

Again, Haase is doing a terrific job.

But this is not a Top 25 team.

For some reason, one voter dropped Providence in the most recent poll. (USATSI)

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