For some reason, our total number of votes in the BlogPoll dipped a bit this week. I'm not sure why, since it's not like there's anything happening in the world of college basketball that would distract our loyal cadre of bloggers from ...
Oh, right. That Tournament thing. That thing with the brackets, and the 32 games in two days, and the Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery calls, and the North Dakota St.'s, and the Big 12 vs. the Ivy League, and the North Carolina fast breaks and Eric Maynor floaters and Blake Girffin monsterjams and John Calipari's hair and the net-cutting and the "One Shining Moment" ... right, that thing, the best annual sporting event in America. I guess that's as good an excuse as any.
Those of us who did pull ourselves away from our brackets long enough to fill out a ballot combined to come up with this:
BlogPoll Week 6
|2||North Carolina (6)||23.4||1.3||--|
Also Receiving Votes: Louisiana St.(2.4), Brigham Young(2.2), Illinois(2.1), Utah St.(0.9), Ohio St.(0.4), Siena(0.4), St. Mary's(0.3), Dayton(0.3), Oklahoma St.(0.2), Tennessee(0.2), Wisconsin(0.1), Temple(0.1), Baylor(0.1), Robert Morris(0.1), Mississippi St.(0.1), North Dakota St.(0.1), California(0.1), Texas A&M(0.1), Southern California(0.0),
Total Ballots: 29
As expected, weekend conference tournament warriors Louisville, Syracuse, Florida St., Missouri, and Purdue all saw big bumps. Tourney flameouts UCLA, Marquette, and Wake Forest all experienced punishing drops. Joining this league of losers was ... well, I'll let the East Coast Bias explain: Clemson losing to Georgia Tech is the turd of all turd performances.
I think Depaul victims Cincinnati might have something to say about that, but nonetheless that seems reason enough for a five-place drop for the Tigers.
Following their loss to eventual bid thieves Mississippi St., LSU was among the handful of teams dropping out of the poll this week. This leaves the BlogPoll once again without a single team from the SEC, the conference a certain Mr. Simpson --and, apparently, the NCAA Selection Committee--would refer to as The Suckiest Bunch of Sucks That Ever Sucked.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
As has been the case for the last couple of weeks, there's some pretty serious dissension amongst BlogPoll voters about what team ought to go at the top of the poll. After their twin Big East regular season and conference tournament championships, Louisville has unsurprisingly surged to No 1 in the poll as well as on the Committee's S-Curve. But they're far from a unanimous choice, thanks in part to the fact that two of the teams also receiving No. 1 votes can still, somehow, fall under the label of "question mark."
One is Memphis, who ground C-USA under their heel for the third straight year but still has its doubters because it's, well, the C-USA. For North Carolina, it's true that the January losses to Wake Forest and Boston College are becoming increasingly distant memories ... but the sight of Ty Lawson on the bench during the ACC tournament while the Tar Heels flailed against Va. Tech and Florida St. is not. Whither the Heels? BC Interruption votes UNC No. 1 and provides the positive spin: We think North Carolina is the best team in the country, despite their semifinals loss to Florida State. With Lawson back for the NCAAs, they should represent the ACC in the tournament well.
But Texas blog Barking Carnival drops the Heels to No. 5 and sees things more than a little differently: Sorry, but Lawson ain’t healthy. Hansbrough dedicates "All Out of Love" by Air Supply to Ty Lawson. The Heels are likely the first number 1 seed bounced if Lawson is dinged.
The Heels had better hope the former view is the accurate one: both potential second-round opponents Butler and LSU are dangerous enough when on their game to make UNC pay if Lawson really isn't his usual self.
This week's poll has also continued the long, slow eviction of its non-power conference representation, as Xavier and Butler both dropped a few slots after tournament losses to Temple and Cleveland St., respectively. From Old Virginia is not in a forgiving mood: The A-10 champion is Temple. Xavier earns a bat to the face for losing to them in the tournament. Xavier's got nice wins and all over Memphis and Missouri, which is why I repented and let them stay in the top 25 in the first place. I almost dropped them entirely for flubbing a mid-major league they have no business losing.
Me, I think that's a bit harsh considering that Temple's a good team that beat Tennessee and had a lot more to play for than the lockey-lock Musketeers. (Ditto Butler and Cleveland St., a team that would knock you on your rear end just for thinking about scoring.) Then again, Xavier's been taking on water in the A-10 for weeks now. Taken as just a loss to Temple, the X shouldn't be dinged too harshly. Taken as confirmation the Musketeers aren't the same team they were before New Year's, the dinging makes a lot more sense.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
So, how much stock do you put in conference tournament performance? If you put a whole lot of stock in it, you've probably got the marathon men from Syracuse pretty high up the ballot after last week's theatrics. If not, maybe you still see the same bunch of Orangemen that lost 7 of 10 from mid-January to mid-February. And so Syracuse stands atop this week's standard deviation chart.
First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
|1||House of Sparky||Arizona St.||3.67|
|2||Falcon Nation||Bowling Green||3.03|
|3||Oread Boom Kings||Kansas||2.93|
|4||Joe Cribbs Car Wash||Auburn||2.86|
|5||Making the Dance||Illinois||2.86|
After a few weeks away from the poll, Arizona St. blog House of Sparky returns to vote LSU No. 11, Duke No. 14, Clemson No. 15, and Dayton No. 18 to earn this week's Mr. Bold award. While we're (sort of) on the topic of LSU and where they should be ranked, here's a Fun Fact: Northwestern finished with as many RPI top-50 wins as the the SEC's three NCAA entrants combined. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Southeastern Conference!
Mr. Numb Existence
|1||The Fifth Corner||North Carolina||1.49|
|2||Spartans Weblog||Michigan St.||1.53|
|3||Hammer & Rails||Purdue||1.59|
|4||I Bleed Blue and White||Villanova||1.61|
|5||The Slipper Still Fits||Gonzaga||1.75|
As is only fitting for a blog that takes its name from a strategically-sound if monotonous offense notorious for lulling its opponents to sleep and winning games, UNC-affiliated The Fifth Corner takes home this week's Mr. Numb Existence award for their wholesome, satisfying, and supremely run-of-the-mill ballot.
Next we have the Coulter/Kos Award and the Straight Bangin' Award , which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your basketball team.
The Coulter/Kos Award
|1||I Bleed Blue and White||Villanova||4.83|
|2||The Slipper Still Fits||Gonzaga||2.62|
|3||Hammer & Rails||Purdue||2.24|
|4||Making the Dance||Illinois||1.93|
|5||Spartans Weblog||Michigan St.||0.59|
Back for another week on top of the Coulter/Kos chart is Wildcat blog I Bleed Blue and White . For the past two weeks IBBW has tempted fate by running away with the CK Award, only to be curiously rewarded with a string of impressive and/or dramatic 'Nova wins and now a cushy 3-seed for the 'Cats at home in Philadelphia. So we'll see if (or when) IBBW gets the usual brand of CK Award-based comeuppance, but you should know this: the last time 'Nova received a 3 seed in the East Region was 1995, when the Kerry Kittles-led 'Cats went down to 14th-seeded Old Dominion in three overtimes. Just sayin'.
The Straight Bangin' Award
|1||Tomahawk Nation||Florida St.||-1.72|
|2||House of Sparky||Arizona St.||-0.62|
|3||The Critical Fanatic||Michigan St.||-0.41|
|5||Colonials Corner||Robert Morris||-0.10|
Most voters were pretty impressed by the Seminoles' run to the ACC final. But not so much FSU blog Tomahwak Nation --perhaps remembering the heart-stopping lows of squeezing past Georgia Tech as well as the blissful highs of dethroning Carolina, TN only ranked their 'Noles 20th and earn this week's Straight Bangin' Award.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
|1||The Critical Fanatic||Michigan St.||118|
|2||Tar Heel Fan||North Carolina||114|
|3||March To Madness||San Diego St.||108|
|4||From Old Virginia||Virginia||104|
|5||The Fifth Corner||North Carolina||100|
I'm at a loss to explain what Gonzaga did to drop 9 spots on the ballot of Michigan St. blog The Critical Fanatic , or how Wisconsin deserved a four-spot bump, but everything else here seems to be normal reaction to last week's tournament madness. Still, those two changes are weird enough to power TCF to this week's Mr. Manic Depressive Award.
|1||Inside Creighton Hoops||Creighton||40|
|2||I Bleed Blue and White||Villanova||42|
|3||A Sea of Blue||Kentucky||46|
|4||Black and Green ND Basketball||Notre Dame||50|
|5||The East Coast Bias||St. John's||52|
Remember what I said about some voters not putting much stock in conference tournaments? Safe to say that's how Max at Inside Creighton Hoops feels after leaving his top nine teams unchanged from last week. I might say something here about how maybe we shouldn't put that little stock in Championship Week results, but this is a guy for whom seeing Arizona pop up on the Selection Show "was like getting punched in the stomach by 1985 Dolph Lundgren." I think we can cut him some slack.
That's not all folks, but it's pretty close. The BlogPoll will be dormant during the NCAA Tournament and back for one final round of balloting after things get settled in Detroit. See you then.
The CBSSports.com College Basketball BlogPoll Breakdown is written by Jerry Hinnen. For questions or comments regarding the poll, contact Jerry at jerry -at- warblogeagle.com.