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Thursday Power Poll

December 4, 2003 Columns No Comments

TMPG Thursday Power Poll

by Dean Austin

Good Morning and welcome to a slight change. After a couple of weeks of Tuesday Morning Point Guard we’ve decided to split out my Power Poll into a separate column. Rather than wait 9 days from the last column, especially given all the great games last night, here is the first edition of the Thursday Morning Power Poll!

First let’s go over the purpose of the poll. Pre season polls are silly. All that matters in College Basketball is the last team standing. The Power Poll starts off with last years National Champion as the #1 team with the rest based on the NCAA results. It does not take into account players that have graduated, left the program or are incoming freshman. All of that is guesswork. Informed guesswork for sure but it is still guesswork. Connecticut is a perfect example of this. All the pre season polls were on the basis of Charles Villanueva, an incoming freshman, making an impact. Well Villanueva is hung up in NCAA limbo land and the Huskies lose early to Georgia Tech. There goes the #1 ranking in the Hoopville Top 25.

As I mentioned in my Tuesday column, Missouri are the poster child for the inflated reputation haven’t done anything yet kind of team. The logic seems to be that the Tigers kind of under achieved last year, have another great recruiting class and they are due. On this basis they are ranked in the top 5 by all the polls. There is nothing to back this up and certainly their play against Oakland and Coppin State early on makes you wonder.

Again to summarize:

1. If you beat a higher ranked team you take their spot. The higher ranked team moves down half the distance between its old ranking and the victor’s old ranking.

2. If you lose to a higher ranked team you move down 1 position, i.e. Michigan State moved down one for losing to Kansas last week.

On the basis of the results last week and Tuesday and Wednesday, Alabama takes over the top spot after beating Charlotte. Kansas, Texas, Marquette and Oklahoma are all undefeated and remain in position. Michigan State is paying for their tough early season schedule slipping down to No. 12.

Duke is a great example of what I like about this methodology. They lost to Purdue but then bounced back with a quality win against Michigan State. It’s all about what you have done now.

Lastly use this Poll as a guideline. An inflated Top 25 poll position without a place in the Power Poll means that a team is ranked based on reputation rather than results. It doesn’t mean they are a bad team, but they are an upset possibility.

Games to watch this week:

Kansas faces their first big hurdle away from home with a trip to Stanford on Saturday. Texas finishes up their four game Little Sisters of the Poor Early Season Tour and finally faces real competition with the visit of Arizona next Tuesday. Curiously the following week Marquette goes to Arizona as well so a real opportunity to gauge the level of a number of top teams given the Florida victory last week. Michigan State continues their brutal schedule with a game against Oklahoma that can see the Spartans back into the top echelon.

Interestingly both Connecticut and Syracuse are going to slip out of the Poll over the coming weeks as neither team will play anyone until January.

Thursday Morning Power Poll
December 4th, 2003

1. Alabama
2. Kansas
3. Texas
4. Marquette
5. Oklahoma
6. Florida
7. Kentucky
8. Duke
9. Auburn
10. Purdue
11. Georgia Tech
12. Michigan State
13. Pittsburgh
14. Michigan
15. Charlotte
16. Syracuse
17. Notre Dame
18. Arizona
19. Maryland
20. Ball State
21. Wisconsin
22. Oklahoma State
23. Butler
24. Connecticut
25. Nebraska

See you all next Tuesday with the latest edition of Tuesday Morning Point Guard.


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