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Archive for the ‘Rankings’ Category

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.

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Cougs fall to No. 8 in both polls

Posted by Jeff Nusser on January 14, 2008

The Cougars’ fall from the ranks of the unbeatens didn’t result in a precipitous drop in the polls, as WSU dropped to No. 8 in both polls today. Honestly, that’s a little better than I expected — it goes to show you that most people are convinced the Cougs are legit and recognize the difficulty of winning at Pauley.

Personally, I’ll be putting the Cougs squarely at No. 7 on my BlogPoll ballot, as I refuse to rank Georgetown ahead of WSU until the Hoyas show me they can beat anyone of substance.

LATE UPDATE: Georgetown — hot on the heels of a narrow escape against UConn — just lost to Pitt. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Posted in News, Rankings | 1 Comment »

Cougs drop one spot on my BlogPoll ballot

Posted by Jeff Nusser on January 9, 2008

After a couple of weeks off for the holidays — between driving from house to house all over Western Washington at Christmastime to spending seven days in Anaheim, five of them at Disneyland, there just wasn’t a lot of time to watch basketball — I’ve resumed casting my ballot for the BlogPoll Top 25, the most recent results of which you can find to the right of your page.

The most notable change on my ballot, which you’ll find below, is that I’ve dropped the Cougs below UCLA. It may not be fair, given that the Cougs didn’t lose to UW, but it wasn’t exactly an overwhelming performance, either. On the other hand, UCLA going into the Bay Area and beating both Stanford and Cal — both of whom had been playing excellent basketball up until that point — warranted some recognition.

Apparently, the other pollsters agreed, as the Bruins moved up into a tie with the Cougs at No. 4.

Of course, we’ll know for sure who is the better team, if only for a month or so, on Saturday. Can’t wait for that one — Cougs then Seahawks? I’ll be in heaven. (It actually could conceivably be the most ruinous six hours of my weekend, but I don’t want to think about that.)

So, without further ado, here’s my ballot, along with some brief comments at the end:

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Posted in BlogPoll, Rankings | 1 Comment »

Cougs jump up to No. 6 in BlogPoll; Citadel game on TV

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 19, 2007

The latest edition of the BlogPoll Top 25 has been released, and the Cougs have unexpectedly leapfrogged both UCLA and Georgetown to climb to No. 6. I’m not sure what caused the change, given that no one really played last week, but I’ll take it. If you look at the full results, you’ll see just how little separates those three teams, so perhaps someone didn’t get a chance to cast their ballot this week and that made the change.

Also, one quick correction. The game tomorrow night against The Citadel at KeyArena actually is on TV — Fox Sports Northwest. Sorry for the mixup. It’s been a TV game all along. I’ll have a game thread up early afternoon tomorrow, and my plan is to watch the game at home and post thoughts as the game goes on. They’ll probably be things along the lines of, “Wow, what a great pass by Stephen Sauls to put the Cougs up by 35,” but whatever.

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BlogPoll ballot changes little after quiet week

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 18, 2007

The middle of December generally are the most quiet — and boring — two weeks of the college basketball season. Most BCS schools play only a game or two over the stretch and take on especially weak opponents thanks to end-of-term finals.

Who do these people think they are? As if academics are more important than our viewing enjoyment or something!

Anyway, the result is that my BlogPoll changed little from last week, given that there were so few upsets — with the notable exceptions of Oregon and Xavier — and so few games to actually tell us something about how teams are playing. I mean, beating the North Carolina A&F&T Culinary Institute by 50 doesn’t really give us a whole lot of insight.

So, without further ado, here is my ballot. Comments and observations follow. The full BlogPoll will be released later today or tonight — look for that on the right-hand side of the page. If you’re curious who the guys are who vote on this thing, check out the links under the “BlogPoll Roll” header on the right side of the page.

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Cougs hang steady in both major polls

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 17, 2007

The Cougs are hanging tight at No. 6 in the latest coaches poll and No. 7 in the latest AP poll, both released this morning. No big surprise here, what with the light schedule of games across the country as teams finish up finals and the lack of any major upsets. Things will pick up again this week.

Look for my BlogPoll ballot, and the newest edition of the overall BlogPoll, tomorrow.

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Yet another reason to love Andy Katz

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 13, 2007

As if you needed more evidence that this is a slow week.

I was taking a look at ESPN.com’s Power 16, a poll compiled from votes by the site’s stable of college basketball experts, to see how the Cougs were stacking up. They checked in at No. 8, same as the week before. Then I looked at the individual ballots, and virtually all of them had WSU ranked between 6 and 8, which seemed pretty fair to me. They also all were basically identical in their top 10.

Then I came across the ballot of one Andy Katz. He dared to be different. Observe:

1. Texas
2. North Carolina
3. Memphis
4. Kansas
5. Washington State
6. Duke
7. Pitt
8. UCLA
9. Georgetown
10. Xavier
11. Indiana
12. Michigan State
13. Vanderbilt
14. Marquette
15. West Virginia
16. Arizona

I love the guts to put this ballot together. Ranking the Cougs No. 5 — where I had them on my latest BlogPoll ballot — and ranking Georgetown No. 9. The Hoyas have proven so little this year, it’s nice to see someone finally recognize that. (The vote of Pitt at No. 7 is a little confounding, given that the Panthers’ first road game of the year was that 1-point squeaker against UW, though.)

Anyway, kudos to Katz for daring to be different. This is what passes for news as we wait out the days until The Citadel.

Posted in Around the 'Net, Rankings | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Cougs up to No. 5 on my BlogPoll ballot

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 12, 2007

Last week, I moved WSU down two spots to No. 7 on my BlogPoll ballot thanks to some less-than-convincing wins. Yes, the Cougs had beaten Baylor on the road, but they had not exactly looked spectacular in digging themselves out of yet another early hole.

Color me convinced now.

On the heels of last week’s impressive victory over Gonzaga — something ESPN.com’s Andy Katz called “one of the best true road wins of the season” — I’ve moved the Cougs up to No. 5 on my BlogPoll ballot, jumping over UCLA and Duke. If you read my post-game post, you know just how impressed I was. This is just an extension of that.

The other pollsters, however, were not as impressed. The Cougs remain steady at No. 8 in the overall poll (on the right-hand side of the page), although Nos. 6-8 are all tightly grouped in the voting.

Since I didn’t have time to work on comments this week, here is my ballot (minus the spiffy spreadsheet layout), with some notes below: Read the rest of this entry »

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Cougs down to No. 7 on my BlogPoll ballot

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 4, 2007

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know I participate in the NCAA Top 25 BlogPoll, voted on by 15 bloggers around the country. Last week, I moved the Cougs up to No. 5 on my ballot, feeling they were as strong as any team in the country outside of the big four of North Carolina, UCLA, Memphis and Kansas.

But after yet another questionable start against Baylor — and the unbelievable rise of Texas — I felt I had no choice but to move the Cougs down to No. 7 this week.

Both Texas (No. 3 on my ballot) and Duke (No. 6) passed WSU. While I’ll acknowledge the victory over Baylor to be a good win — coming from behind, hostile environment, underrated opponent, etc. — it still doesn’t mask the larger issue for me.

The Cougs still aren’t playing great defense. The average NCAA team scores about a point per possession, and the Cougs have allowed four of their opponents to approach or exceed that mark. WSU needs to be around .9 points per possession to be effective. To translate, that’s a six-point difference in a 60 possession game — a pretty sizable amount.

And that’s what’s got me finally having to come to terms with moving them down. I hope like heck they give me a great reason to move them back up after Wednesday night.

See below for my full ballot. The full poll results will be released tonight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cougs steady at No. 6 in coaches poll, drop in AP Top 25

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 4, 2007

Sorry I’m about a day late on this, but in case you didn’t see it, the Cougs hung tough at No. 6 in the coaches poll, but dropped to No. 8 in the AP poll.

I’m not at all surprised by the drop in the AP poll. The writers who have been paying attention — and they tend to be more savvy than their coach counterparts — will note the struggles the Cougs have had against Boise State, Air Force and Baylor. Plus I think Duke has looked especially impressive with a lot of TV games. The Cougs have had no such luxury, with its one national TV game taking place on the accursed ESPNU.

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