Every Monday (or Tuesday) throughout the college basketball season, I will be reviewing both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls based on where Big Ten teams stand throughout. Why didn’t I do it for the preseason polls you may ask yourself. Well personally, I think preseason polls are dumb, but more on that later.
Anyway, the first weekend of college hoops is in the books, the media pundits and voting coaches have cast their ballots. Whether or not their choices incite nationwide protests remains to be seen.
- #6 Indiana Hoosiers
- #9 Wisconsin Badgers
- #13 Michigan State Spartans
- #15 Purdue Boilermakers
- Maryland Terrapins (100)
- Ohio State Buckeyes (9)
- #5 Indiana
- #11 Wisconsin
- #13 Michigan State
- #15 Purdue
- #24 Maryland
- Michigan Wolverines (3)
Just by looking at the listings in both polls, it is easy to see that there are a few minor discrepancies between the media and coaches. Common ground was found with Michigan State and Purdue as both groups agree that they are the No.13 and No.15 teams in the nation respectively.
Indiana obviously had the biggest movement after Friday night’s win over then No.3 Kansas. The coaches view Indiana as a top-5 team after the first weekend, the media pundits view the Hoosiers as team just outside of it.
The difference in being the 5th and 6th team really is marginal at best. The biggest effect it will have on our lives is whether the media refers to Indiana’s opponents as having a showdown with a top 10 team or a top 5 one. See, marginal.
But Indiana’s movement reveals one reason why I am not a fan of preseason polls. With every team having at least one game under its belt, I don’t think anyone can argue that IU currently does not have the best resume in the nation. 1-0 and that one win is against a team that was ranked 3rd.
I personally think we could use, at least, another week before the initial polls debut. The reason Indiana is not ranked No.1 after this weekend is due to the bias that Duke and Kentucky were the top teams before anyone stepped foot on hardwood.
Both of those teams combat my argument by facing a top 15 opponent this week. I think college football has it right by revealing the college football playoff standings at the end of October-early November. Major media outlets refer to those standings from then on.
Why can’t we get a system a few weeks in that points towards the teams in place for the 37 at-large bids and NCAA Tournament seeding?
Maryland trends along the same line, as the Terrapins were punished for winning their season opener at home against American 62-56. I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, that the media poll dropped Maryland out, as that poll lends itself to more knee-jerk reactions. The coaches did drop Maryland three spots as well.
Essentially, the polls right now line up with the general consensus of how the Big Ten outlook has been perceived in the preseason. Six or seven tournament teams out of the conference seems to be what everyone is feeling.
The four teams in both polls have to have something catastrophic happen to not make the field of 68. Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin are teams that will focus on seeding rather than just getting in. Maryland is expected to be in comfortably. Ohio State and Michigan will be two of the conference teams that have to scratch and claw their way in.
The good thing abut early season polls is that they do allow for a lot of movement. Expect that in the next week as the Big Ten schedule this week has a couple of blockbuster games (Michigan State-Kentucky and Purdue-Villanova) bolstered by a slate of quality games as invitational and challenge season is upon us.
Same time next week folks, feel free to comment below about how dumb my view on early season polls is.