Monday, February 4, 2008

Polls are for Politics

OK. Here comes a bitter rant. The Subject: The NCAA Basketball Coaches Poll.

Why does this exist? Why do the coaches get a poll in which to vote on when other than if they play a team or a team is on their schedule, pretty much have no idea what is going on nationally? Most coaches don't even do the voting; they give their vote to an assistant or the A.D. You can use the poll as a basis for who is good and who isn't on as a whole, but how can you take any poll seriously that only gives credit based on number of losses in college basketball?

Take a look at this week's coaches poll released today. Memphis is #1, there is no argument there. They are the lone undefeated team and have quality wins on their resume over USC, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Connecticut, and Cincinnati. That's where they lose me. The #2 team this week is Duke. That's right, the Devils, who are 19-1 and has played just two team in the RPI top 50 (Clemson #27 and NC State #43) since losing to Pittsburgh December 20th. Their best wins both came in November. They beat Marquette in Maui, another team that plays the same style and has no frontcourt. They also killed Wisconsin 82-58, but this was when Wisconsin was still finding themselves.

So Duke hasn't beaten a legitimate team on the road all year and have no front court, something everyone knows, yet they are the #2 team in the country? Does anyone think that on a neutral floor, North Carolina, UCLA, Kansas, and even Tennessee for that matter wouldn't wipe the floor with Duke? As we put in our
Power 16 on Friday, where we had Duke ranked sixth " The Vols do what Duke does, only better; shoot threes and play pressure defense. Really it's a coin toss. Tennessee has Chism, Williams, and hopefully soon, a healthy Duke Crews up front. Duke has Lance Thomas and Kyle Singler, who really is a three man. Advantage Vols."

Kansas has three frontcourt players who would all instantly be the featured post presence if they played for Coach K in Darnell Jackson, Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun. Give me Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Sherron Collins, and Russell Robinson all day over Greg Paulus, Demarcus Nelson, Gerlad Henderson, and Nolan Smith. UCLA? You think anyone on Duke is stopping Kevin Love in the post? You think the Duke three-point shooters would get off while being shadowed by Darren Collison, Josh Shipp, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute? We will see tonight how the Devils attempt to slow down UNC's Tyler Hansbrough. I don't see that happening either.

Don't get me wrong. This is a solid Duke team. They are shooting the ball very well and play great perimeter D, but lately they've had a hard time getting focused. They were trailing at home by nine at the half to NC State a game after trailing by nine at the half at Maryland. We will see what happens when they travel to Chapel Hill Wednesday. The Devils catch a major break as
North Carolina will be without starting PG Ty Lawson who suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday at Florida State. They are already down one PG with Bobby Frasor lost for the season with a torn ACL. Roy Williams will now be down to third-stringer Quinton Thomas.

The bottom line here is that these rankings are laughable. UCLA, with two losses, is now ranked #4 head of Kansas, now the #5 team. Lets see, UCLA has two losses, both at home, including one to USC. Neither of their losses (Texas) are considered bad, but correct me if i'm wrong, but Kansas beat USC at USC and has just one loss, to a ranked Kansas State team in the biggest game in their building in 20 years. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Truly, you could toss a coin between "The Big Four" and I'm not including Duke in that category.

Tonight, make sure you all tune is as my beloved Jayhawks take on their bitter cross-state rival the Missouri Tigers. Mizzou is coming off their best win of the season, a 77-74 stunner against Kansas State where they once trailed by 14. Mizzou is still without leading scorer Steffon Hannah, out with a broken jaw, and no word has surfaced whether coach Mike Anderson has liften the suspensions of Darryl Butterfield and Jason Horton. KU will come in as an angry team. They didn't play well in their 13 point win at Colorado. Said coach Bill Self: "We just didn’t play to our strengths. I was surprised we had 30 points (in the first half), to be honest with you, because we didn’t play to our strengths in the first half.”

I think the Hawks will be out for blood tonight and come out firing. Mizzou blew their wad against K-State Saturday and without Hannah and Horton in the backcourt, they will have a hard time with the stifiling KU perimeter D. Kansas 88 Missouri 68

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