Another week of the AP poll, another week of the Poll Attacks.
It would be wrong to have the first without the second.
Let’s get it!
Associated Press: If you’re reading the Poll Attacks you’ve likely seen the Top 25 (and one), which means you likely know I now have Kansas ranked No. 1, which means you almost certainly understand it’s because the Jayhawks just completed a regular-season sweep of Oklahoma by winning at OU and recording their ninth top-50 RPI victory.
That leads the nation, by the way.
Nobody else has more than eight top-50 wins.
And, if you’re wondering, top-ranked Villanova only has six.
That said, I’m not here to argue it’s ridiculous for AP voters to have Villanova ranked ahead of Kansas, because if you had Villanova No. 1 last week, and you simply don’t want to drop a No. 1 team that doesn’t lose, I can respect that. Or, at least, it doesn’t bother me much. So you can have Villanova No. 1, I guess, and be OK in my book as long as you have Kansas No. 2. And 41 of the 44 voters who have Villanova No. 1 actually do have Kansas No. 2. So they’re OK.
But three voters have Kansas ranked third.
And one of those voters has Kansas behind Oklahoma.
And that’s not OK because that’s undeniably silly given recent events.
Listen, I love Oklahoma. Love. Love. Love. But it’s nonsensical, right now, to have Oklahoma ranked ahead of Kansas when …
- Kansas has more top-25 RPI wins than Oklahoma.
- Kansas has more top-50 RPI wins than Oklahoma.
- Kansas has a higher winning percentage against the top 25 of the RPI.
- Kansas has a higher winning percentage against the top 50 of the RPI.
- Kansas has zero losses at home while Oklahoma has lost at home.
- Kansas is ahead of Oklahoma in every relevant computer formula.
- Kansas is 2-0 vs. Oklahoma with a victory at Oklahoma.
I mean, how could anybody look at all of that and still rank OU ahead of KU?
Answer: I have no idea.
And yet that’s precisely what Scott Wolf did. He works at the Los Angeles Daily News, and he still has Kansas behind Oklahoma on his ballot, as if nothing I typed above is true, as if this past weekend — KU’s 76-72 win at Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon — didn’t even happen.
Does Scott not realize that it did happen?
By the way, I went and looked at the other two ballots that have Kansas ranked third. And, to those voters’ credit, they do at least have Kansas third and Oklahoma lower than third, i.e., below Kansas. So Soren Petro of Sports Radio 810 WHB in Leawood, Kansas and Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald are at least thinking properly strictly as it pertains to the order in which Kansas and Oklahoma should be, even if they have KU low.
But I did find something else interesting on Michelle’s ballot.
She has Texas A&M ranked 18th even though Texas A&M has lost four straight games to four currently unranked schools — specifically unranked Vanderbilt, unranked South Carolina, unranked Alabama and unranked LSU. That’s weird. But here’s what’s even weirder: Michelle also had Texas A&M ranked 18th last Monday, meaning Texas A&M’s losses to unranked Alabama and unranked LSU didn’t cost Texas A&M a single spot on her ballot.
Baylor lost at home by 18 to Texas Tech and stayed 19th on Michelle’s ballot. And USC lost twice — at Arizona State and at Arizona — and stayed 20th on Michelle’s ballot. And South Carolina got murdered at home by Kentucky but stayed 21st on Michelle’s ballot. And Notre Dame won at Clemson, then beat Louisville, but stayed 22nd on Michelle’s ballot. And Utah stayed 23rd on Michelle’s ballot despite a sweep of Washington and Washington State. And Kentucky stayed 24th on Michelle’s ballot even though Kentucky murdered Georgia and South Carolina, which means Kentucky’s 89-62 win at South Carolina didn’t alter Michelle’s ranking of Kentucky or South Carolina one bit.
Seriously, go look at her ballot from last week.
Now check her ballot from this week.
It’s like she just got bored around No. 15 and basically gave up.
Coaches poll: I’m not really too bothered by anything in the coaches poll because you can reasonably rank most groups of teams in a variety of orders, and, without a glimpse at the individual ballots, which USA Today doesn’t provide, it’s impossible to zero in on one silly voter the way I do with the AP poll each week.
So I won’t use this space this week to mock.
I’ll just instead use this space to point out something about North Carolina that I don’t think most realize, and that something is that the Tar Heels only have one top-25 RPI win and just three top-50 wins, which is awfully low for a school ranked fourth in the coaches poll at this point in the season. In fact, no other school in the top 10 has fewer than five top-50 wins.
Here’s a look …
TOP-50 RPI WINS
- Villanova: 6
- Kansas: 9
- Oklahoma: 7
- North Carolina: 3
- Maryland: 5
- Iowa: 5
- Xavier: 6
- Virginia: 8
- Michigan State: 7
- Miami: 7
To be clear, I’m not protesting UNC’s No. 4 ranking because, frankly, I think UNC is a legitimate national title contender, and all four of the Tar Heels’ losses are single-digit losses in true road games, and only one of the losses is to a team ranked outside of the top 30 of the RPI, and that loss, at Northern Iowa, came back in November when Marcus Paige was sidelined with a fractured hand. So rank them fourth if you want. It’s not the craziest thing in the world.
All I’m saying is that there’s a reason I have UNC several spots lower than fourth in the Top 25 (and one), and there’s a reason Jerry Palm has UNC as a No. 3 seed in his latest projected field of 68, and that’s because the Tar Heels are lacking the type of quality wins most other perceived elite teams already have. That doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t get them, of course. It just mean they don’t have them right now.