Here we go again, with me unveiling my Top 25. As we progress, I've slowly moved away from the computers. They are still kinda-sorta my base, and I lean on them plenty, but I'm more freely moving teams up-and-down that the numbers don't say belong. A perfect example of this is LSU, which is ranked somewhere in the lower 30's when combining KenPom rankings and Sagarin's predictor. Yet, their record has them belong in the Top 25, so I slid them in. Just like me sliding the Bruins down quite a bit lower than they supposedly belong, and Oklahoma getting bumped up.
In any case, that's all. More actual analysis of the poll after the jump. And, as always, feel free to leave any-and-all comments and criticisms in the comment section, no matter what I do, people complain. And that's how it should be, really.
|Last week's ballot|
A lot of it, this doesn't make perfect sense. I mean, I dropped Missouri 3 spots, among others, for doing absolutely nothing wrong. But, honestly, until I saw that delta column right there, I didn't think for a single second about last week's ranking. Louisville belonged a lot higher last week, but their blowout loss to Notre Dame really soured me on them. However, they seem to have completely recovered, so I'm back to objectively evaluating them.
Here is a quickie breakdown of the poll, in 5-pick segments...
1-5 (Pitt, UCONN, UNC, Memphis, OU)
Pitt was an easy choice at #1, despite North Carolina's higher ranking in the computer polls. Still, a loss to an average-ish team like Maryland doesn't let you bump up to #1, no matter what. Still, they aren't penalized too much, as it was only one loss, after all, and UCONN barely drops at all for losing to my current #1 team in the country. Memphis kept on winning, and Oklahoma sneaks into the Top 5 because of others' mishaps.
6-10 (Duke, Louisville, Michigan State, Missouri, Gonzaga)
Duke is higher than I'd like them to be, but I couldn't completely justify anyone else being ahead of them. I don't think they are that good of a team, but man, is their offensive impresive. Louisville, like I said, moves to where they should ahve been all along. They belong in the Top 10, are Top 10 talent-wise, and I'm kind of regretting me sliding them down so far last week. But, that 43-point loss to Notre Dame really freaked me out. Michigan State only lost in West Lafayette this week, a damn tough place to play, and deserve to be ahead of the Tigers and the Zags. Not by much, though. I nearly put both teams ahead, but couldn't quite pull the trigger. Missouri's general lack of success away from the Paige held them back, and the Zag's blowout loss to Memphis still freaks me out. And yes, I know Memphis is #4.
11-15 (ASU, West Virginia, Kansas, Clemson, Purdue)
This is an interesting mix. Two computer darlings, relative to their MSM notoriety (West Va and KU), and three teams that don't match up as well with the numbers, but have fine resumes. ASU got the nod for their recent hot streak, West Va went second because of their ungodly KP-and-Sag numbers, Kansas coming in at 13 for similar reasons. A win Monday night, and Kansas is a Top 10 team. Easy. Clemson had an embarrassing loss last Sunday that I still can't get over (@ Virginia), and Purdue is still being semi-punished for their terrible opening in the Big 10/11. Still, they are certainly a team on the rise.
16-20 (UCLA, Villanova, Marquette, Utah, Wake Forest)
UCLA had a bad loss Saturday afternoon, but the numbers still love 'em, and they have the resume to back it up (kind of, at least). Villanova had a big win Sunday afternoon in Syracuse, and besides a blowout loss in Morgantown awhile back, they've been smoking recently. Same kind of thing with Marquette, except the blowout loss was to those Wildcats from Villanova, and that was paired with a terrible loss to South Florida. Utah's on fire in the MWC, and have a pair of tremendous wins (vs. Gonzaga and a 30-point win against LSU). I'm way, way, way down on Wake, but they still have a couple of big-time victories, and deserve to be Top 20. Just barely, though.
21-25 (Illinois, Washington, BYU, LSU, Texas)
Illinois was slated for a big rise, for me at least, before scoring all of 33 points at home against Penn State. I wanted to drop them completely for that, but I didn't want to get too irrational, and they certainly deserve to stay in the Top 25. Washington nearly got swept down in LA, but they still beat USC, so that's good. They probably should be higher, given the fact they are leading the Pac 10 and I have two teams ranked above them, but whatever. BYU, my darling last week, drops for two reasons. One, I did have them too high last week (whoops), and two, they lost Saturday night to UNLV. Ouch. Still, the computer numbers love 'em, so they stay. LSU, who is hated by the stats, sneaks in based off of their 8-game win streak, their 11-1 SEC record, all of that stuff. And, finally, Texas. Their loss on Monday night makes them ranking them slightly difficult, but they had a big-time win Saturday night. Their non-con was so damn good, I'm willing to give them considerable benefit of the doubt.
And, honestly, I couldn't pick another, solitary deserving team. I toyed with Syracuse, but they just lost today at home. Xavier, I love 'em, but they've struggled incredibly as of late. Kentucky's struggled recently, too, and pretty much, after that, there are just 10-loss teams. I could have gone Cal, but they just lost to Oregon State. Arizona was actually #26 on my final ballot, but their loss tonight barely nudged them out. Boy, are they better than expected, though.
Again, any-and-all comments are appreciated.