"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Is a top 10 ranking possible next week?

With MU ranked 13th in the AP poll this week, there's a possiblity that MU will move into the top 10 for the first time since 2003.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the polls tend not to reward wins so much as punish losers. For MU to move up into the top 10, three teams have to move down.

Two of them are easy to find--of the teams ahead of MU in the polls, #11 Memphis and #9 Duke just lost.

Let's take a look at the rest of the field:

#1 Florida hosts plays #10 Kansas. This game represents the best opportunity for a 3rd team ahead of MU to stumble. If Kansas loses again, they'll tumble in the rankings as their record falls to 2-2. If Kansas wins, no way will MU leapfrog them in the rankings.

UPDATE: Florida is not the host--it's a neutral site game in Las Vegas. Kansas will play Ball State in the same tournament the night before.

#2 UNC plays Gonzaga in the NIT semis, then either Butler or Tennessee. If UNC loses to Gonzaga, its doubtful that they'll fall out of the top ten--perhaps down to 6th or 7th. If they lose two games (which they won't) it opens up a spot for MU.

#3 Pitt hosts Florida State. FSU is 4-0 this year, and predicted by some as an NCAA team--but its highly unlikely that the Panthers lose at the Pete.

#4. Ohio State plays Youngstown State. It will be the upset of the year if tOSU loses to the defending last place Horizon team.

#5. UCLA plays Georgia Tech for the Championship of the EA Sports Tournament in Maui. This one is iffy. If UCLA loses, they'll drop, but perhaps only a spot or two. Georgia Tech has some respect--they're already ranked #19--and they just beat Memphis.

#6. LSU hosts Wichita State. If LSU loses--a distinct possiblity--they'll drop out of the top 10 and MU will move ahead of them.

#7 Wisconsin plays at Missouri State. Missouri State is a tough team. Both teams recently played Delaware State. Missouri State won by 23. Wisconsin by 12. This is no gimme for the Badgers. If UW-Madison loses, MU moves ahead.

#8 Alabama hosts Texas Southern. If Texas Southern wins, it would be the 2nd biggest upset of the year (see tOSU/YSU matchup above).

#9 Duke already lost.

#10 Kansas plays #1 Florida (See Above).

Of course, the polls have been known to do strange things--attempting a rational analysis to an oftentimes irrational system should be for fun and discussion only.


Anonymous said...

This is a ittle scary: Sagarin has MU at #1 this morning-->


Anonymous said...

I believe the FLA v. Kansas game is on a neutral court in Vegas.

Steve Susina said...

I believe the FLA v. Kansas game is on a neutral court in Vegas.

You are correct--the story above has been updated.