Blogpoll Ballot: Week 8

While the full Blogpoll ballot will not be published until Wednesday, my Blogpoll ballot undergoes yet another major shakeup. This is to be expected with resume ranking early in the season, as teams have less of a body of work to fall back on after a loss; on the flipside, a team can leap-frog a lot of other teams with a quality win or two. Both of these extremes are evident this week, as Pittsburgh fell from 6 to 25 after losing to Dayton and also losing Levance Fields to injury. Tennessee, on the other hand, moved up 6 spots after beating Gonzaga (and Xavier last week).

A quick reminder: this poll is determined by the team’s resume, not perception, who is hot right now, or who will be in the Final Four in March. This poll reflects what each team has done so far in the season. Justifications after the jump. Without further ado, here is the poll:

  1. Memphis

  2. North Carolina

  3. Kansas

  4. Washington State

  5. Michigan State

  6. UCLA

  7. Tennessee

  8. Butler

  9. Texas A&M

  10. Vanderbilt

  11. Indiana

  12. Dayton

  13. Duke

  14. Marquette

  15. Ole Miss

  16. Rhode Island

  17. Texas

  18. Villanova

  19. Oklahoma

  20. St. Mary’s

  21. Arizona

  22. USC

  23. Providence

  24. Wisconsin

  25. Pittsburgh

Firstly, you will notice that Georgetown is nowhere to be found on my poll. That is not any reflection of the quality of the team or how I think that they will do in March; the simply have only one RPI Top 100 win (Alabama) and thus, at this time, do not deserve to be included. Fear not, I am sure that they will be in subsequent polls and will go deep into March Madness.

Memphis retains the top spot after adding another impressive win. North Carolina moves up to number 2 because of the drubbings of Valparaiso and Nevada last week; both these schools have good RPI rankings now, but these wins should devalue as conference play gets underway. This is another way of saying that UNC is very close to the 3rd and 4th place teams, Kansas and Washington State. Washington State certainly hasn’t done anything wrong, however their schedule has taken a downturn while others have beat more quality opponents.

One of the toughest calls in the entire poll was ranking Michigan State ahead of UCLA. The head-to-head win was extremely compelling evidence, however Michigan State’s resume outside of that loss was just too strong to be denied. Let’s put it this way however: neither of these teams should be worried about their rankings as both will be favorites to reach the Final Four.

Tennessee’s three quality wins over Xavier, Gonzaga, and West Virginia vaulted it up to the 7th spot in the poll. Similarly, Butler moved up to number 8 based on its wins over Florida State, Southern Illinois, and Texas Tech. Texas A&M and Vanderbilt rounded out the top ten.

Another surprise was Dayton in 12th. Dayton’s big win over Pittsburgh merely augmented its already strong resume. Two teams that suffered this week were Duke and Marquette, who have a paucity of quality wins. Duke gets the nod at 13 based on its head-to-head win. Ole Miss comes in at 15th with solid wins over Winthrop and Clemson. Rhode Island is 16th, while Texas falls to 17th after losing to Wisconsin at the buzzer.

Villanova and Oklahoma were another two teams whose resume were very similar. While Oklahoma has one more quality win, they also have two more losses. In the end, that put Villanova at 18 and Oklahoma at 19. St. Mary’s moves back into the poll at number 20 as their wins are stronger than most give them credit for.

I did not penalize Arizona heavily for losing at Memphis without Jerryd Bayless as they come in at 21. USC stays steady at 22, while Providence and Wisconsin move into the poll for the first time, the latter after their impressive win over Texas.

Pittsburgh fell all the way to 25. This was a combination of the fact that their profile, besides the Duke win, is extremely thin, and the loss of Levance Fields for at least two months.

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