#20 State & #1 Duke continue collision course; WRAL continues to be awful

The college basketball polls have seemed quite wonky this season (and every season). We’ve chronicled some of this in our message forums, including this specific example from CBS’ Seth Davis last week when he dropped NC State at least four spots while the Wolfpack was in the middle of nice win streak against a series of respectable opponents.

25. North Carolina (NR)
Dropped out: N.C. State (22), Wyoming (25)
For once, I had some real thinking to do about which teams to shoehorn into the bottom of my ballot.

Wyoming is now one of just four unbeaten teams in America, but since the Cowboys’ best win came at home against unranked Colorado, I couldn’t keep them in. Thus, I had to pick between N.C. State, Creighton and Kansas State to open up a spot on my ballot for North Carolina. Kansas State was the easiest keeper, since it has the best win amongst those three (over Florida in Kansas City). N.C. State’s best win was by four points over UConn in New York City, and it lost to Oklahoma State by 20 and to Michigan by seven. Creighton lost to Boise State at home, but it has wins over Wisconsin, Saint Joseph’s, Evansville and a road win at Cal. Close call, but I went with the Jays.

The new AP poll is out today and Duke justifiably remains at the top at #1. After (at least) five teams ranked ahead of NC State last week suffered defeats over the weekend, the Wolfpack inched up to #20 this week.

While I was writing this entry I ran across this blog entry on WRAL.com where it appears that they’ve taken an AP feed and added some local perspective. Good God it is bad. Take a look at this section:

North Carolina State jumped three spots in the latest poll to No. 20 after a 2-0 week that included wins over UNC Greensboro and Boston College. Despite the close call in the Wolfpack’s conference opener, a 12-2 record and the fact they were victorious in each game on the week was enough to move them ahead of Cincinnati and St. John’s – each of whom suffered losses to unranked teams.

North Carolina is unranked in the latest poll, but despite losing their conference opener to Virginia, received four votes in the AP poll.

Maryland is the only other team out of the ACC to even be getting votes with 29.

In addition to being factually incorrect, that is just some awful writing. Just awful. “Maryland is the only other team out of the ACC to even be getting votes with 29.” REALLY? WRAL seems to be the only local blog out of the area to even be getting interns to write for them.

We recognize that SFN will never be mistaken for Yeats, but we don’t get paid for this work. By the way, St. John’s actually defeated Cincinnati; they didn’t both lose and drop behind State. Even if they did both lose and drop behind State, how did State move up three spots when evidently only two teams – that was actually just one team – lost this weekend?

I digress. You get the point.

With all of this said, the Wilmington Star-News gives us a nice summary of the weekend and charts the course for this week’s huge match-up in Raleigh.

Although N.C. State made its win at Boston College a lot more interesting than it should have been, both the Wolfpack and No. 1 Duke did what they had to do in their ACC openers against bottom-feeding opponents. Each still has one more game to survive to set up one of the more intriguing early season matchups in recent memory next Saturday at PNC Arena.

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12-13 Basketball

16 Responses to #20 State & #1 Duke continue collision course; WRAL continues to be awful

  1. ryebread 01/07/2013 at 3:28 PM #

    The beauty of college basketball is that the polls don’t really matter in the big scheme of things. There will be the tournaments and the champions will be determined that way. The other beauty is that there are enough games in the regular season to get a real sample size and for the cream to rise to the top.

    You can make the argument that the top 25 teams get more hype. They get the scrolling scores on the bottom of ESPN, etc.. I’ll buy into that to a smaller extent.

    Rants about polls should really be reserved for college football. Those are crooked and directly impact the outcome of who plays in the championship.

  2. wilmwolf80 01/07/2013 at 3:47 PM #

    Not to be the guy in the tinfoil hat, but the jump in rankings this week is self-serving for the people doing the ranking. It behooves the powers-that-be for us to be ranked as high as possible going into the game with the Dark Blues. They got so caught up in punishing us for our early slip-ups, that they forgot we had a big TV event coming up with the Devils. Now people like Davis have to justify their own existence by bumping us back up in the rankings, to add to the Dark Blue hype-machine that is in full-effect this year. I will bet that if Light Blues win any games at all before their first game against the Dark Blues, the pollsters will find a way to squeeze them in to the rankings as well.

  3. wolfmanmat 01/07/2013 at 4:28 PM #

    In college basketball, it doesn’t matter where you are ranked until later in the season. We should be higher though…2 losses and both to ranked teams and neither at home. 15 would be about right IMO, but 20 is close and our RPI is real high, which is a big key to tourney selection anyway. Hey, at least we are ranked and UNC isn’t(finally).

  4. packof81 01/07/2013 at 4:47 PM #

    I wonder whether some of these sports writers even care about their finished product.

  5. WeAreCured 01/07/2013 at 5:55 PM #

    Apparently, Eamonn Brennan doesn’t care about the various flaws in his logic. He had the following to say on his blog:

    “I believe VCU, Wyoming and Oklahoma State should all have a place in the poll, but I can understand why Oklahoma State doesn’t — two straight losses, albeit good ones (home to Gonzaga, at Kansas State) are going to knock marginal top-25 teams out of the poll from time to time. Wyoming, however, is one of four remaining unbeatens, and I don’t think that’s just about their admittedly so-so schedule. The Cowboys can really play. But VCU is the real miss here. The Rams are playing at a top-10 level, efficiency-wise, and while they struggled to get past Lehigh Saturday, more often than not they’ve been flat stomping people.

    If you put three teams in, you have to take three out, and I would argue that NC State and Georgetown are the most likely candidates. Wolfpack fans get mad at me about that, but their team lost to the two good squads they’ve played this season (both in rather convincing fashion) and since then they’ve beaten UConn (neutral floor) and Stanford (at home). Um, OK? This is the part where, in lieu of actual hoops evidence, preseason expectations start creeping back in. And this team does score the ball well. But they’ve also allowed 1.01 points per possession in their 14 games to date, good for No. 173 in the country. Until they defend even passably, I’m not convinced NC State is a top-25 team. I would be happy to be proven otherwise. Someone needs to challenge Duke in the ACC, after all.”

    His logic could be applied to several top 25 teams, yet he singles out the Pack. While mentioning G’town, the only team he vigorously breaks down is State. If anyone deserves to be removed from the top 25 to make room for one of his darlings, it is clearly Ohio State; 0-3 against the top 25, RPI of 45, best win Washington (9-5). Not one peep about them, UNLV, Cincy, or Michigan State. Other than Michigan State’s win against Kansas, the Pack’s victory over UCONN on a neutral floor is by far the best win on any of these team’s resumes. Also, it should not be forgotten that UCONN beat Michigan State in the season opener. He needs to get over his VCU crush, as they have done absolutely nothing, other than play superior opponents close, but losing nonetheless. Since back to back losses to Duke and Mizzou they have beaten Belmont (home) and Alabama (home). In the words of Eamonn: Um, OK?

    This just goes to show how much giving up and allowing themselves to be blown out against Oklahoma State cost them. If they kept playing hard, and lost by 10 or 12, I’m not sure there is an issue. The Pack did make their way back into the ESPN Power Rankings this week though, coming in at #21.

  6. saigonwolf 01/07/2013 at 8:39 PM #

    Not sure I agree with wilmwolf about the reason for the jump. We jumped because we deserved to jump. If anything, we should be even higher – say about 15 or so, as wolfmanmat says. My tinfoil hat theory follows that if we lose to Duke, we’ll fall completely out of the polls, never to be seen again. On the other hand, if we lose to both GT and Duke this week, we deserve to drop out. But like many others here on SFN, I care more about where we are at the END of the season than now.

  7. wilmwolf80 01/07/2013 at 9:17 PM #

    No doubt we should be higher saigon. But the writers and talking heads have been saying ‘I told you they weren’t that good’ since we lost to OK state. Every article or power ranking has talked about our early losses, or close wins. As others have pointed out, we are punished for close wins, while UK and UNC get rewarded for close defeats. Davis just realized we were playing the devils this week, and so he needs to bump us up for the sake of his own hype. Of it was about deserving to move up, he wouldn’t have dropped us out of his top 25 last week in the first place. Other than extending a win streak, we didn’t beat any higher caliber teams last week than the week before. And I’m talking more about rankings from Seth Davis and his ilk of “experts” than I am the polls. I don’t put any merit to the AP or coaches polls at all. But these “experts” are supposed to be watching every game.

  8. 61Packer 01/07/2013 at 9:53 PM #

    If we beat Duke, we’ll move up at least 7 or 8 notches. If we lose to Duke, even if it’s by 1 point in 3 overtimes, we’ll be out of the rankings completely.

    The polls suck.

  9. ryebread 01/07/2013 at 10:14 PM #

    61Packer: You are correct and so be it. That’s why I don’t pay any attention at all to the college basketball polls at this time of the year.

    All this talk though doesn’t matter if we don’t take care of GT on Wednesday night. Wednesday night is a big game for us. We need to hold serve at home.

  10. saigonwolf 01/07/2013 at 11:05 PM #

    OK wilmwolf. If you’re talking only about the intentions of certain pollsters, I get your point. I think we all pretty much agree on this poll stuff.

  11. maverick_ncsu 01/08/2013 at 8:31 AM #

    I do not disagree with the current polls affecting our final standing in the tournament. But I do want to reiterate what has been mentioned here before: Being in the Top 25 means that our highlights and our scores are constantly in front of potential players. Yes, it’s nice for us fans to be able to see our team highlighted, but for recruits, it’s imperative.

    Being ranked higher, therefore, gets us more exposure and, because I know we’ll have a game or two like this, it gives us some cushion for when we have one of those head-scratcher losses to stay in the top 25.

    Playing well in the tournament is nice and will go a long way to cultivating a positive perception of our program, but getting a lot of exposure throughout the season may be even more beneficial towards creating a national brand, if you will.

  12. coach13 01/08/2013 at 8:54 AM #

    When it comes to polls, we are swimming against the current. We win, me inch up. We don’t play we drift down. We lose, we are washed away downstream.

  13. DC_wolf 01/08/2013 at 10:13 AM #

    wolfman, my recollection is we lost to Ok. St. when they were unranked – they only became ranked after handing a 20-point loss to #6 NCSU. I believe they now have 3 losses and have subsequently fallen back out of the polls.

  14. GrandWolf 01/08/2013 at 7:47 PM #

    Layoff WRAL. They ARE the TV station of Mayberry and it shows. 🙂

    [post picture]1957ish 12:01AM, Test Pattern, que National Anthem[/post picture]

  15. TeufelWolf 01/09/2013 at 11:04 AM #

    coach13 said it best. Well put.

    In the end, polls don’t really matter this time of year. Give it another month. Plus the beauty of college basketball is that the tournament will separate the contenders from the pretenders.

  16. wolfmanmat 01/10/2013 at 6:37 AM #

    You’re right OK State wasn’t ranked at the time, but they had been ranked the last 4 weeks until recently falling out. Michigan is unbeaten and looking very good in their wins. Point is neither is a “bad” loss. Our RPI is 5th in the country so the schedule is not as soft as some here think. We lose to Duke and it is close and we fall to 23-25 range. Duke beats us by 40 and we drop out.

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