February 27, 2006
College Basketball: AP &
Coaches Poll Discussion
In case you missed it,
Boston College (#12 AP/Coaches) bested NC State (#19 AP/Coaches) 74-72 in a
double-overtime nail-biter. However, many people suggested this was just a
battle of two over-rated ACC teams, and it now appears that poll voters
share in that sentiment. BC dropped one spot despite beating a team that
was then ranked in the top 15 (but lost to Virginia), while NC State dropped
7 spots to 22 after losing back to back games against UNC and now BC.
Still think this is not
shaping up as a rematch of the 1999 title game? There have only been two
#1s all season – Duke (#1 AP/Coaches) and UConn (#2 AP/Coaches) - just like
the 1999 season. At the end of the regular season in 1999, Duke’s record
was 32-1, and UConn was 28-2. Duke is now 27-1, and UConn is 25-2.
However, one difference is that seven years ago it was Duke that was
considered the favorite to win it all because they had so many weapons,
whereas UConn was relying heavily on its two stars (Rip Hamilton and Khalid
El-Amin). What does this mean? Well nothing, except that if these two meet
in the national semifinals instead of the title game, someone at the NCAA
Selection Committee needs to lose their job.
Speaking of which, Indiana
won Mike Davis’s final home game as Coach of the Hoosiers, a 78-71 victory
over Michigan State (#25 AP, #23 Coaches), a bittersweet win at best,
although it puts them right back on the bubble. It’s one thing for a coach
to retire from a school he loves and stick around until the end of the
season to say goodbye. It’s quite another when a coach quits because he
doesn’t like coaching there and thinks the school would be better off with
“one of their own.” I have never known anyone who decided to quit their
job, stormed into the boss’s office and declared: “take this job and shove
it…in two months.” But I guess you can in college basketball.
It just doesn’t make sense.
At least with an interim coach, the kids have a chance to familiarize
themselves with a new coach, someone who wants to be there, and maybe change
their minds and reconsider transferring. Not at Indiana. Thanks to Mike
Davis’s goodbye and good riddance tour, at least 3 top players by my count
are leaving with him, including Robert Vaden, who scored 21 against the
Spartans on Sunday. It’s just an ugly situation.
Outside of Navy’s run to the
Elite Eight in 1986, no Patriot League team has made it past the second
round in the NCAA Tournament in over half a century. No Colonial team has
made it past the second round – ever. I mention this because the Patriot
League may have their best team since that David Robinson-led Navy squad in
Bucknell. Two other teams in the “Others Receiving Votes” category this
week are George Mason and UNC-Wilmington – both of which can make some noise
this year come tourney time should they both get it. This could be a banner
year for these unheralded conferences.
Finally, congratulations to
Wichita State for winning the Missouri Valley Conference regular season
title outright. We’ve been hearing plenty about the MVC this season, but
mostly concerning Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Creighton and even
Missouri State. Somehow the Shockers got lost in the mix. Well, no more.
If these guys somehow land in the Tournament as a double-digit seed, don’t
be surprised to see them as a popular upset pick in your office pool. Not
that anyone has one of those of course.
Kevin McNeill's Poll
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