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04 December 2006

Polls, polls, polls

posted by Pete @ LetsGoNova.com
12/04/2006 03:40:00 PM
The weekly college basketball polls are out, and there are a few interesting things to note.

The UCLA Bruins are number one in both the AP poll and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, as they should be. They are undefeated, playing great, and return a bunch of talent from last year's national runner-up squad.

Undefeated Pittsburgh of the Big East is number two in both polls, receiving first-place votes in each. Wins against Tennessee and former #1 Ohio state have vaulted Carolina into the #3 spot. Ohio State and could-have-been Villanova opponent Alabama round out the top five. Xavier, Villanova's only loss, was #24 in the AP poll, and was 27th in votes received in the coaches poll.

Villanova made significant gains in both polls this week, with the Wildcats looking strong and riding a 4-game win streak. Villanova received the 38th-most votes in the AP poll, and are tied for 39th amongst the coaches. This is a nice jump from last week, when Villanova was tied for 47th in the AP poll and did not receive any votes in the coaches' top 25.

What will it take for the 'Cats to crack the top 25? Well, a convincing win at Oklahoma Wednesday wouldn't hurt, although the Sooners only got 4 votes in the AP poll, and none in the coaches survey this week. Oklahoma at 4-2 is still a tough opponent, as both its losses have been against very good teams: Memphis and Purdue.

If a win in Norman won't cut it, winning out the rest of 2006 against Drexel, Rider, La Salle, and Temple would almost certainly do the trick. The next time the 'Cats face anyone who received any votes at all in this week's polls, though, is January 3 against West Virginia in Morgantown, and then at home versus DePaul three days later.

That's right, the DePaul Blue Demons earned 6 votes in the AP poll. At 3-4, DePaul is the only team with a losing record to receive votes in either poll. Now, DePaul's win over Kansas was impressive, and a great win for the Big East, I admit. But with losses to the likes of Northwestern and Bradley, DePaul's RPI would be 192 if calculated today. Indeed, no one in the ESPN/coaches poll was crazy enough to vote for DePaul, so it seems a few voters in the AP poll didn't do their research after watching the Kansas game. I hope DePaul eventually proves me wrong, but I don't think it should be receiving votes at this point in the season, given its current record.

As for the rest of the Big East, Marquette is #17 in the AP and #20 in the coaches poll. Uconn is the AP poll's #19 team, but rose all the way to #10 in the coaches poll. Syracuse sits at #21 in both polls. Goergetown dropped out of the rankings in both polls, but received the 27th most votes in the AP. In the coaches poll, the Hoyas are currently tied with Villanova at 39. Notre Dame and West Virginia received votes in the AP poll, but not in the coaches poll, and Louiville got some votes from the coaches, but not the AP.

All in all, the Big East remains in a strong position in both polls, and that can only get better once conference play starts and the league's best rise to the top.

Both full polls are here.



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