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POLL POSITION

Rankings & Polls | Message Board  | Kevin McNeill Archive

By Kevin McNeill

Mcneillklock@aol.com

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 Position is a new weekly feature on CHN.

 

 

 

 

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