Monday, January 21, 2008

Deciding the vote for week #11 of the Blogger's Poll

We are about to submit the NHT vote for week #11 of the Blogger's Poll Top 25. Some of the picks may be seen as a bit off-the-wall, because we do not follow the typical poll mentality of a team going up if they win and down if they lose. Instead, each week we pick the best 25 teams using our "secret" formula. The formula is so secret we are not even allowed to look at it ;-)

So the first thing to determine is who is #1. Well, as we mentioned before, there is something lacking with UNC as we saw once again. Memphis is good but they have not played as many tough games as the other teams. Tennessee is on the rise, but I have to see more from them before I give them a top five rating. I'm getting the same feeling when Texas was a high flyer. So it's wait and see for Tennessee!

So that leaves *gasp* the Kansas Jayhawks at #1. They do have loads of talent and a reasonable chance to win almost all of the remaining regular season games, but I don't seem the winning it all in April just yet.

I think most people are over-reacting on the UCLA loss. As much as I dislike the way
Ben Howland is neo-slugfesting the storied Bruins program, they are a very hard team to beat. And they lost to the Condoms in the Battle of Los Angeles. Tim Floyd is a master mind at these type of games. Let's not forget Davon Jefferson is junior-age, Taj Gibson is senior-age, OJ Mayo is sophomore-age, so they may not have as much college experience, but they are certainly not kids. I believe Dwight Lewis had at least one year of post-graduate as well. Danielle Hackett counters that since he arrived on-campus a year earlier. Anyway, we've been high on USC since the start of the season, and we think they are one of the top 25 teams, despite their issues.

Similar to UCLA, Georgetown is another team that is tough to beat which is why we rank them so high. They are not going to wow teams with +30 or +50 dunkfests, but they'll beat them where it counts. Allowance for their Pitt loss was made :)

This puts the detested, infested Dookies at #6, while Indiana gets the #7 spot because we couldn't find anyone else to put at the #7 spot.

Tennessee is #8 for the reasons we mentioned above - despite their high RPI/SOS! The qualitative component of our rating drops them down at the moment. Sorry Vols fans :)

Izzo State is #9 despite their 10 point game at Iowa ;-) We are still not sold on this team, but we have to rank teams in the top 10 even if we don't believe they are top 10 caliber teams! That's the theory of poll voting relativity ;-)

Washington State neo-slugfests at #10, and the Dayton Flyers are the top non-BCS team at #11.

At this point, it's really a big mess as to who we think is next! Oh what a mess with capital M!

So here we go, Butler at #12 because they are the big fundamental and that is at times worth a few extra points in close games. Next we putting the two teams that gave us the biggest headache, Xavier and Arizona. Arizona gets a boost because of the whole Lute Olson situation, and Xavier because well, they are good when they are good :) We always discount in-state or inter-city rivarly losses because they are rivarly games - both X and Zona lost one this year.

By the way, for all the results, RPI and SOS numbers, we use KenPom's RPI as our reference.

Moving along, at #15 we issue a "strong buy" on Oregon which probably means they are going to lose their next five games ;-) It looks like the Ducks are now finding themselves, and they don't depend on mighty mouse making wild shots as much. Maaaarty Leunen has developed into a very solid college player, and so has Malik Hairston.

At #16 we have Marquette, which is the Big East version of Oregon in some ways. A&M and their growing pains are at #17. Ole Miss is at #18 based on the numbers, we haven't seen them play this season, so we have to go by the numbers.

Then we have the run and gun duo of Texas, and Vandy. Bonus points for playing basketball, and not neo-slugfest!

The full force Louisville Cardinals are looking very good, and despite the Gonzo loss over the weekend, they are jumping into the top 20!

Then at #22 we have USC because the combination of Tim Floyd and the talent on the court is hard to beat, despite of their growing pains and such.

Next we have three "honorary" mentions, Baylor at #23 having a solid season, Drake at #24 doing well in the Valley of Darkness, and Gary Walters doing an excellent job at Cleveland State by the Lake. His hire was not a mistake by the lake!

We could have easily put at a dozen other teams in the top 25, but we are only allowed to pick 25! However, some teams were left out for specific reasonsWi:

  • Clemson: They lost at home to the moustache. Clemson of years passed is back!
  • Pitt: Beating Georgetown at home is a good start, but the new team without Fields and Cook has to prove itself again. Sorry Pitt, no benefit of the doubt from me
  • Arizona State: Good record so far, but quite a few cupcakes. More Pac-10 road wins needed before they get a top 25 vote. The ASU of years past showed up in the 2nd half of the Stanford game
  • Wisconsin: Not enough quality wins.

    The following teams could have easily been included: Rhode, UMass, St. Mary's, Mississippi State, Stanford, West Virginia, Nova (their NC State loss was due to a zebra), Ohio State, Florida, Arkansas, Jorge Mason, Kansas State, etc...


    John said...

    How could you not even include Wisconsin in your Top 25? The Badgers are probably one of the Top 10 teams in the nation. Just because they had a tough outing at Cameron Indoor and lost a tough game to Marquette early in the season does not mean that they're not any good now.

    ncaahoops said...

    I toss out the AP/Coaches polls because they are a beauty contest that moves teams up and down when they win or lose.

    Consider that Wisconsin has won only two games against teams with an RPI better than #114. They won at Texas on a last second three and then a fumble when Texas and Rick Barnes feel asleep.

    Their next best win is at home - beating Valpo.

    They played a cupcake schedule, with just two OOC road games and two in-conference.

    They are 6-0 in the Big Ten against a very soft schedule. The best team they played against had an RPI of #114 or so.

    They look like an NIT champion to me, not a top 10 team :)

    Paymon said...

    I really enjoy this site and regret that I do not visit as often as I should.

    I love the reference to "Jorge Mason". I thought myself and a few friends were the only ones who called it that.

    Also, great points on Wisconsin and moreso on polls. The only poll that matters (if any matter at all) is the one at the end of the year.

    As for Bucky, it's absurd to posit that they're a top 10 team. I've seen them a number of times and they've gelled, which gives them the subjective "it" factor (i.e. poise on the road, chemistry, ability to play well late in games, multiple players who can defeat the opposition). I would rate them in the 15-20 range, but understand the reasoning for freezing them out.

    Great work!

    ncaahoops said...

    Thanks for reading this crazy blog! I wish I could update it more often!

    The "Jorge Mason" just came to me in this post. I don't think I used it before. I was between that and Giorgio Mason :)

    I don't give credit to teams for soft schedules and sub-par wins, which is why some of them are not included. With 330+ teams, it's easy to pile up easy wins, especially at home, and have impressive records.

    I think that at least 40 (if not more) teams could have the same or a better record if they played the same schedule Wisconsin played. Which is why I left them out.

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