Hoop Thoughts

College Basketball commentary with Seth Davis

  • 03:19 PM ET  11.23
Syracuse cruised to win the 2K Sports Classic/Getty Images

Every Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning I will show you my AP ballot along with an assessment of how my rankings compared with the results of that week's poll. Here is the ballot I submitted early this morning. The actual rankings are in parentheses:

1.     Kansas (1)
2.     Michigan State (2)
3.     Texas (3)
4.     Villanova (4)
5.     Kentucky (5)
6.     Duke (7)
7.     Connecticut (13)
8.     Tennessee (9)
9.     Syracuse (10)
10.    West Virginia (8)
11.    Washington (14)
12.    Purdue (6)
13.    Butler (12)
14.    North Carolina (11)
15.    Ohio State (17)
16.    Louisville (16)
17.    Michigan (15)
18.    Gonzaga (NR)
19.    Maryland (21)
20.    Ole Miss (NR)
21.    Kansas State (NR)
22.    Dayton (NR)
23.    Georgia Tech (NR)
24.    Memphis (NR)
25.    Georgetown (18)

Ranked teams not on my ballot: Clemson (19), Illinois (20), Minnesota (22), Notre Dame (23), Vanderbilt (24), Oklahoma (25).

Skinny: Let me see if I get this straight. Oklahoma gets blown out at unranked VCU, and the Sooners are still in this week's AP poll. Yet, Memphis takes top-ranked Kansas to the wire on a neutral court and Gonzaga almost knocks off No. 2 Michigan State in East Lansing, and neither of those teams are in the top 25? Please, voters, tell me -- what am I missing?

At this early stage, I allow a lot of subjectivity to enter my thinking. As the season moves on, I'll be more tethered to the results on the court. So in these first few weeks, I reserve the right to be inconsistent. Syracuse was obviously the big winner after its spanking of Cal and North Carolina. I initially figured I would rank the Orange between 10 and 15, but when I lined up the teams on my ballot they kept creeping upward. I'm not sure Syracuse is the ninth- or 10th-best team in the country, but since they're the only team in the country with two high-quality wins, I felt they deserved to be ranked accordingly. I also demoted North Carolina a little more severely than my fellow voters. The Tar Heels may be top-10 good by season's end, but I think they've got a lot of problems to work out beforehand.

The two hardest teams to rank this week were Purdue and West Virginia. Both teams have personnel issues –- Purdue will be without point guard Lewis Jackson for up to two months because of a broken foot, and the Mountaineers are without their most talented player, sophomore Devin Ebanks, for undisclosed personal reasons. At this stage, I punished Purdue a little more heavily than West Virginia because my best guess is that Ebanks will be back before Jackson, though I don't know for sure. If Purdue can beat Tennessee tonight, they'll move up on my ballot next week.

As I moved further down my ballot, I favored teams that had played some semblance of quality competition. Obviously I was impressed with the teams in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, and I adhered to the transitive property when I placed them in order. (Ole Miss beat Kansas State; Kansas State beat Dayton; Dayton beat Georgia Tech.) I came very close to putting Vanderbilt at No. 25 on the basis of its win at St. Mary's. Clemson, Illinois, Minnesota and Notre Dame might be among the nation's best 25 teams, but none has played even a halfway decent team yet. (Minnesota has Butler and Miami up next, so we'll learn a lot more about the Gophers soon.)

Finally, you can see I left Georgetown at No. 25, which is down from where I had them last week (14). The Hoyas got knocked for only beating Temple at home by one point, but then Temple went ahead and beat Siena, which I had at No. 17 last week. I was actually quite tempted to rank Temple. If they keep winning and some of the teams I ranked lose this week, the Owls will be ready to move on up.

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