RTC Blogpoll – Summer 2009 Edition

Posted by zhayes9 on July 28th, 2009

I’m proud to re-introduce a feature here at Rush the Court – the RTC Blogpoll.

From November through March during the college hoops season, check back here every Monday for the rankings of our four main scribes- myself, rtmsf, nvr1983 and jstevrtc- combined into one, fantastic Top 25 ranking. Take that, AP and coaches!  The aggegrate of our own internal poll will constitute what we submit to the larger national Blogpoll each week. 

To get our loyal readers into hoops mode even for a few minutes during the long offseason, here’s a summer edition of the rankings with commentary provided by yours truly regarding each ranked team. Look for this feature on a weekly basis during the 2009-10 campaign (which, as I concluded while compiling this poll, cannot come soon enough).

rtc summer blogpoll 2009

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This Week’s Blogpoll

Posted by nvr1983 on March 8th, 2009

Once again I had trouble with coming up with an order for these teams because they keep on losing games they shouldn’t. I feel like it’s easy to classify them into groups, but hard to differentiate within those groups outside of the top 10. Anyways, leave your praise or criticism in the comment section.

Rank Team Delta
1 Pittsburgh 1
2 North Carolina 1
3 Memphis 3
4 Connecticut 3
5 Louisville
6 Oklahoma 2
7 Michigan St.
8 Duke
9 Wake Forest 1
10 Villanova 1
11 Gonzaga 3
12 Kansas 3
13 Washington 5
14 Missouri 2
15 Xavier 4
16 UCLA 1
17 Butler 6
18 Purdue 5
19 Louisiana St. 7
20 Clemson
21 Syracuse 3
22 Illinois
23 Florida St.
24 Arizona St. 3
25 Marquette 8
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Texas (#25).
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This Week’s RTC Blogpoll

Posted by nvr1983 on March 1st, 2009

This week’s poll was tough because so many top 25 teams lost and it’s kind of hard to compare the relative strength/weakness of each loss. I also wasn’t sure what to do with Marquette. I dropped them quite a bit because of the loss of Dominic James, but I came away impressed after watching their loss at Louisville particularly with Jerel McNeal having an awful day.

Rank Team Delta
1 Connecticut 2
2 Pittsburgh 1
3 North Carolina 1
4 Oklahoma 2
5 Louisville 1
6 Memphis 1
7 Michigan St. 2
8 Duke 1
9 Kansas 7
10 Wake Forest
11 Villanova 3
12 Louisiana St. 5
13 Purdue 6
14 Gonzaga 1
15 UCLA 6
16 Missouri 2
17 Marquette 6
18 Washington
19 Xavier 1
20 Clemson 7
21 Arizona St. 9
22 Illinois
23 Butler
24 Syracuse
25 Texas
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Florida St. (#23).
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Blogpoll – 02.23.09

Posted by nvr1983 on February 23rd, 2009

It has been difficult to rank teams this year because it seems like there isn’t any consistency among the top 25 teams outside of the top 5 or 6, which have been consistently good lately (with an occasional off-night, which I’m willing to give college kids. Feel free to leave praise and criticism in comment section.

Rank Team Delta
1 Pittsburgh 3
2 Oklahoma 1
3 Connecticut 1
4 North Carolina 3
5 Memphis 1
6 Louisville 1
7 Duke 1
8 Villanova 1
9 Michigan St. 4
10 Wake Forest 1
11 Marquette 3
12 Arizona St. 2
13 Clemson 1
14 Missouri 1
15 Gonzaga 6
16 Kansas 2
17 Louisiana St. 8
18 Washington
19 Purdue 3
20 Xavier 3
21 UCLA 1
22 Illinois 7
23 Florida St.
24 Syracuse 2
25 Texas
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Butler (#19), Utah St. (#24).
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Blogpoll Roundtable 02.19.09

Posted by rtmsf on February 19th, 2009

As a member of the CBB Blogpoll, we’ve been asked to join the weekly roundtable, where we’ll be answering a series of questions about the state of the season.  A Sea of Blue is this week’s host – be sure to stop by over there to see some of the other blogs’ answers (ed. note: we tried and failed to keep our eyes on our own paper).  

Who really looks like the best team in college basketball this season?

On “look” alone, it has to be Pittsburgh.  The Panthers have only sustained two losses, and in both of those losses (@ Louisville and @ Villanova), the manchild known as DeJuan Blair was in foul trouble.  But will that translate in March this time around?  Remember, the Panthers have never played past the Sweet 16 in the history of the program.   Why is this year any different?  For one, Pitt’s offensive efficiency is the best it’s ever been (currently #3 nationally).  For another, they have a scoring option from each of the key positions on the court (point/wing/post) in Levance Fields, Sam Young and Blair.  We hesitate to think Pitt will win it all this year, but we have to believe that this is a Final Four team.

Is Blake Griffin the Player of the Year already, or can somebody catch him?

Over.  Blake Griffin is your 2008-09 POY, and it’s not even close.  The only player that could have caught him in the last month was Stephen Curry, but his recent injury plus some media backlash (ahem) about his play in “big” games this year has rendered that point moot.  We all know how sick Griffin’s numbers are (23/14/3 assts), but Oklahoma has had only one slip-up despite several close games they could have dropped. 

What currently ranked team is the biggest disappointment so far this year?

Michigan State.  We’re tired of hearing excuses about this team.  They were top 5 to begin the year, and they’re still top 10 in most polls, but they have a bigger tendency to completely quit than any other team near the top of the rankings.  Witness the shellacking at Ford Field by UNC in December or the recent rape at the hands of Purdue just this week.  Maryland of all teams also destroyed them earlier this year.  The pieces are supposedly there, with Kalin Lucas, Goran Suton, Durrell Summers, Raymar Morgan and so forth… but from our view it appears that there are no great players here, just a collection of very good ones. 

Predict the next team to beat Oklahoma.

The easy choice is at Texas or at Missouri in the next couple of weeks, so we’ll be a little contrarian and predict a home loss to Kansas on Big Monday next week.  KU is playing much better than anticipated this season, and Bill Self’s defense is good enough to shut down everyone except Blake Griffin in that game.  We like the Jayhawks to do it, especially if OU is elevated to #1 in next week’s polls. 

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This Week’s RTC Blogpoll

Posted by nvr1983 on February 16th, 2009

As part of the new Blogpoll, we’ll be posting our poll on RTC.net that will then be used to create a composite Blogpoll that will be released at a later date. I’m pretty sure this is how it is supposed to work, but if it isn’t this post will probably disappear pretty quickly.

This week was a rather difficult one to rank teams since so many of the top 25 teams lost to teams they probably shouldn’t have. As always, I’m open to your suggestions. I may not agree with them, but I will take them into consideration for future voting. Feel free to leave compliments or complaints in the “Comment” section.

Rank Team Delta
1 North Carolina 2
2 Connecticut 1
3 Oklahoma 1
4 Pittsburgh
5 Michigan St. 5
6 Memphis 5
7 Louisville 2
8 Duke
9 Villanova 5
10 Arizona St. 12
11 Wake Forest 4
12 Clemson 3
13 Missouri 5
14 Marquette 2
15 Illinois 5
16 Purdue 1
17 Xavier 4
18 Kansas 2
19 Butler 4
20 UCLA 14
21 Gonzaga 3
22 Syracuse 3
23 Florida St.
24 Utah St. 5
25 Louisiana St.
Last week’s ballot
Dropped Out: Minnesota (#21), Texas (#23).
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Week 6 Blogpoll

Posted by rtmsf on January 8th, 2009

Here we go (through Mon. night’s games)…

week-6-blogpoll-010809-v2

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Week 5 Blogpoll

Posted by rtmsf on January 1st, 2009

Here’s this week’s blogpoll.  Keep in mind that the votes were tallied including games through Monday night only…

blogpoll-123108

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Week 4 Blogpoll

Posted by rtmsf on December 26th, 2008

Here we go with Week 4′s Blogpoll…

2008-09-week-4-blogpoll

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Week 3 Blogpoll

Posted by rtmsf on December 17th, 2008

Here it is, through Monday night’s games…

08-09-blogpoll-week-3

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Week 1 Blogpoll

Posted by rtmsf on December 4th, 2008

We delayed the start of the Blogpoll this year so we could get a better sense as to the first few weeks of the season, so here it is.  The blogpoll is represented through Monday night’s games (although records are current).

08-09-blogpolll-week-1

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How Accurate are Preseason Polls?

Posted by rtmsf on November 14th, 2008

A question that’s befuddled us for a long time now has been just how accurate are all these preseason polls that every media entity puts out each year are.  Remember last season – all four NCAA #1 seeds made it to the Final Four, but what was equally interesting to us was that those same four teams – Kansas, Memphis, UCLA and UNC – were also the top four ranked teams (in a different order) in both the Preseason AP and ESPN Coaches polls.  With an n=1, we know that the 2007-08 polls were extremely accurate in predicting last year’s F4 teams, but that only tells us part of the story – what we really want to know is how accurate are preseason polls in general?

polling

To try to answer this question, we had to make some concessions.  We believe that, generally speaking, most preseason polls are largely the same, whether AP, ESPN/Coaches, CNNSI, etc.  Take for example, the blogpoll that came out this week.  The top twenty teams that the bloggers chose were mostly consensus picks - no team was left off of more than one ballot, and a total of only thirty-six teams received at least one vote.  That shows a relatively high consistency of thought – groupthink, if you will – about who the best teams in the country will be this season.  So we feel that we can derive some strong basic principles (and save a boatload of time) by examining only one of the major preseason polls – the ESPN/Coaches Poll – because it is the sole major poll that does a postseason version (after the NCAAs) to enable a fair comparison. 

We looked at the last five years where we could find the available pre- and postseason polls (the 2005 postseason poll is incorrect on both the ESPN and USA Today websites), and made some simple comparisons.  Our findings are below the table. 

preseason-coaches-poll-analysis

Findings.

  • In a given year, there are between 50-60 teams receiving votes from the preseason pollsters.  This tightens up to approximately 40 teams receiving votes in the postseason poll. 
  • So how does a team receiving preseason votes equate to the postseason?  Ehhh, not terrible, but not great either.  Over the last six seasons (excl. 2005), if a team received votes in the preseason poll, there was a slightly better than half (54%) chance that it would also get votes in the postseason poll.  That alone doesn’t tell us a whole lot, though.  What if your team was in the preseason Top 25?  Those teams receive votes in the final poll approximately three-quarters (76%) of the time, which at minimum, means that the takeaway is that a preseason team receiving votes will usually make the NCAA Tournament
  • Looking at the distribution of the final postseason polls can tell us a little bit about how accurate preseason pollsters are at predicting how good a team will be.  There appears to be a much stronger tendency to overlook teams that turn out later to be good rather than to overrate teams that turn out to not as good as pollsters thought.  Over half of the teams in a given year (~23) in the final postseason poll will have moved up >5 spots in the rankings from their initial selection; but only a handful of teams (~7) will have moved down by >5 spots from the preseason.  Another ~12 teams won’t move much from its initial standing.  This is strong evidence that pollsters generally have an accurate sense of the abilities of about 30% of teams in a given year, but they’re far more likely to underrate teams (usually by not ranking them at all) than to overrate teams (by a 3:1 ratio). 
  • Some of the more notable examples of the pollsters being right on the money were in 2004, when they rated UConn/Duke as #1/#2, which is exactly where they ended the season.  Florida rated as preseason #1 in 2007 and Kansas as preseason #2 in 2003 were some other clear winners. 
  • The swing-and-a-misses where the pollsters vastly overrated a team were Indiana in 2008 (#9 to #33), Duke in 2007 (#11 to #38), and Michigan St. in both 2006 (#5 to #34) and 2005 (#3 to #41).   
  • The biggest misses where pollsters underrated a team was most obvious in 2003 and 2007, when preseason #31 Syracuse and #39 Florida, respectively, vaulted all the way to #1 by season’s end, and in 2004 when preseason unranked Georgia Tech made it to the F4 and #3 at the end of the year.  The only other preseason unranked team to have made the F4 in the last six years was George Mason in 2006. 

What does this mean for the 2008-09 season?  Well, if your team was ranked in the Top 25, you’re more than likely going to make the NCAA Tournament.  And if you’re already highly ranked, you should feel relatively secure in your position at or near the top – most teams simply don’t have huge drops in rankings from beginning to end of the season.  The good news is that if your team was lower ranked or not ranked at all, but you feel like they’re extremely underrated, history shows that an awful lot of teams move significantly up the rankings as the season goes along.  We’ll leave the guesswork as to who those teams might be to the rest of you guys. 

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