WSU HOOPS

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Cougs sitting tight at No. 7 on my BlogPoll ballot

Posted by Jeff Nusser on January 22, 2008

After a wild weekend of basketball, this was by far the hardest BlogPoll ballot I’ve had to cast this year. Not only did I have to figure out who my new No. 1 would be, I also had to figure out how to rearrange the top 10 to reflect the weekend’s wins and losses.

Here’s the best I could come up with.

I moved Kansas up to No. 1, simply because I think they are a better team than Memphis. Yes, I know I’ve been ranking Kansas behind Memphis the entire year. But Kansas is convincing me with each passing week that it is the best team in the country. The Jayhawks are explosive on offense and play Bill Self’s trademark rugged defense. Consider this: They are third nationally in offensive and defensive efficiency. That’s impressive.

The question then became how far to drop North Carolina and UCLA. Ultimately, I decided both teams were still better than WSU, despite the Cougs’ nice win against Oregon. I know UCLA dropped below the Cougs in the major polls, but after the way UCLA beat down WSU, I couldn’t bring myself to drop them any farther than No. 6. Teams have hiccups; UCLA had its hiccup in a week when it only played one game and lost to a talented, if inconsistent, squad.

I dropped North Carolina below UCLA because the loss to Maryland was hardly a hiccup — that team had been begging for a loss for two weeks. The Heels have some serious defensive problems that must be addressed.

Of course, this all comes down to my own personal philosophy of a Top 25. I don’t believe in “poll inertia” in which a team keeps moving up with each win or moves down with each loss. I try to evaluate how each team really is playing and go from there. So here’s the rest of it, the jumbled mess that it is. No comments below the poll today — too busy. The number in the parentheses is last week’s ranking.

1 (3)    Kansas
2 (2)    Memphis
3 (5)    Tennessee
4 (6)    Duke
5 (4)    UCLA
6 (1)    North Carolina
7 (7)    WSU
8 (8)    Indiana
9 (14)    Georgetown
10 (15)    Michigan St.
11 (18)    Wisconsin
12 (19)    Texas
13 (16)    Vanderbilt
14 (17)    Ole Miss
15 (12)    Pittsburgh
16 (11)    Butler
17 (25)    Stanford
18 (13)    Dayton
19 (NR)    Villanova
20 (NR)    Drake
21 (9)    Texas A&M
22 (10)    Marquette
23 (21)    Arizona State
24 (NR)    Baylor
25 (22)    Xavier

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