Last week’s ballot was admittedly a tough one, with teams around the country refusing to play consistent basketball. As a result, we submitted rankings which we weren’t exactly proud of, but ones which best reflected the muddied state of college hoops this year.
It’s painfully clear now that there is a very thin upper crust in the NCAA this season, and a lot of other mediocre teams filling up the middle. But even amidst that thin upper crust, there’s not much differentiation, as it’s a season in which no one is the clear frontrunner for the national title.
This week’s vote was a little easier, as only ten teams which we ranked were victims of a loss over the last seven days. Below is our ballot from this week, followed by superfluous explanation. If you’re enjoying the new “change” data in the third column, you might also be interested in our previous ballot, from February 23rd.
At first glance, some readers may be confused by the very minor slides from Pitt and Oklahoma. At this point, we feel that a team should be valued more on their overall body of work than simply the results from the last seven days. The recent games certainly must be taken into account, but even Pitt’s road loss to unranked Providence isn’t enough to overshadow the fact that the Panthers have many more quality wins than the Tar Heels. As for the Sooners, they get some leniency when you consider that they lost to a Kansas team which we’ve moved into the Top Ten, and that they did so without superstar Blake Griffin.
Those Jayhawks are our biggest movers of the week, shooting up from No. 15 to tenth in this week’s ballot. Kansas finished the week with an absolute mudholing of Missouri in Allen Fieldhouse yesterday, and they were also aided by the fact that Marquette, Clemson, and Arizona State all lost a pair of games during the last week.
The other portion of our ballot that is worthy of discussion this week is, as always, the troubling bottom five spots. As we mentioned in the introduction, there’s really not any consistency or exceptional quality once you get past the initial contenders, and losses this week by West Virginia and Texas muddied things up at the bottom once again. You may notice that even though Florida State lost on the road against Boston College, they actually climbed a rung in our rankings this week. That’s an anomaly explained by both the Seminoles’ huge win against Clemson on Saturday, and the fact that once again there was a dearth of teams wanting to crack the rankings.
Some bloggers have been ranking Butler, which actually resulted in the Bulldogs checking in at 24th in our consensus poll last week. Considering that they won their pair of games this week, they likely will even climb when the consensus poll is released this afternoon. But the simple fact of the matter is that Butler lost at home to Loyola-Chicago and on the road to Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Wisconsin-Green Bay. Do you honestly think the Bulldogs would be sitting at 25-4 if they played in a conference that was worth a damn?
As we’ve mentioned, the consensus blogpoll will be up later this afternoon. Fast Break will be here for your late afternoon enjoyment, including new bracket projections, bubble watches, and the real polls from the AP and coaches. The Baylor game preview will follow in the late afternoon.