This week I cast my first ballot in the College Basketball Blogpoll, run by the excellent blog March to Madness . Let me tell you, its a lot harder to actually make the ballot than it is to criticize others’. This week there was considerable upheaval in the Top 25, as no fewer than 12 of the Top 25 teams lost. Here is my best stab at it, with attempted justifications after the jump.
- North Carolina
- Washington State
- Texas A&M
- Michigan State
- Southern Illinois
- George Mason
The top is pretty self-explanatory. Memphis has looked the best so far, and has comparable wins to UCLA and UNC. UCLA again has a better win (Michigan State) than UNC does (BYU), even though they have not looked as good doing it. The first real hard choice was Georgetown over Kansas. While Kansas did win in overtime last night, they looked listless and disinterested for stretches at home, and had a hard time running their offense against an Arizona team that has massive defensive flaws. For that reason, I dropped them below Georgetown.
6-8 were fairly easy: Duke, Washington State, and Texas all had quality preseason tournament victories this week. Now, I am on record as liking Louisville, and their loss to BYU (an excellent team by the way) did nothing to change that. Could you argue that they belong below Texas A&M and Butler? Certainly. That’s just my prerogative.
The middle of the teens are filled with teams that all had “quality losses” last week. I ranked them in order of how they looked in their losses; Marquette looked really good in their last two games in Maui, Indiana lost to a very good Xavier team solely because they had a really cold night shooting, Tennessee got swamped by Texas’s hot three-point shooting, and Michigan State looked extremely stilted offensively against UCLA.
I honestly did not see Southern Illinois get blown out by USC and only read the recap, but perhaps Johninho could enlighten me. Until then, I’m willing to give the Salukis a pass. Villanova and Gonzaga both played fairly well in their preseason tournaments, but both lost once. The bottom of the poll is a jumble. How do we evaluate teams like Oregon and Syracuse, who each have lost once? Do we leave them out in favor of undefeateds with borderline wins? They stay in this week, but I won’t lose sleep over dropping them. BYU, Xavier, and George Mason are all mid-majors that have losses, but their wins put them solidly in the top 25.