The college football rankings are always a weekly discussion because at the end of the season only four teams make the playoff so every spot has that much more significance.
The college basketball rankings rarely get the same level of scrutiny because at the end of the year 68 teams get in and all can earn that ultimate prize.
That being said, it’d be nice if the AP college basketball poll handled its polling like the college football polls do. While the ‘blue bloods’ of college football certainly get a leg up when it comes to voting, at the end of the day, wins and losses decide where the teams fall.
In basketball, it seems that how many banners and how many one-and-done types you have matters more than how many losses you have.
Auburn and San Diego State check in at No. 5 and No. 7 as the lone unbeaten teams in the country, but neither is receiving any No. 1 votes and their schedule are being held up as the season they can’t take the top spot.
Looking at the top three ‘blue bloods’ in the AP Poll, and make no mistake Gonzaga is a ‘blue blood’ now, Gonzaga has a loss to four-loss Michigan, Duke has a loss to Stephen F. Austin and Kansas has losses to Duke and three-loss Villanova. Auburn and San Diego State haven’t played the toughest schedules, but with each of the top three having losses to teams outside the top-15, do those losses count more than San Diego State and Auburn’s wins?
I think the answer should be no.
Will either the Aztecs or Tigers finish the season undefeated? Probably not, but they have a better chance than Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas or Baylor do.
At some point, the pollsters need to get past what they thought at the beginning of the year and play attention to what the teams they are ranking have actually accomplished this season and how those players are actually performing.
If they dig into Isaac Okoro, Samir Doughty, J’Von McCormick, Austin Wiley, Danjel Purifoy and Anfernee McLemore, I think they will like what they find.
Auburn’s team is suppose to be the type of college basketball team we as a country celebrate. They have five seniors among their top six players and in this one-and-done era of college basketball, that is what many say they want.
With veteran guards, Doughty and McCormick, they fulfill the old saying that guards win in March, but they also have a presence like Wiley on the interior, who no one is pushing around.
Then to cap off Bruce Pearl’s mixture, they do have that elite NBA-level talent with Okoro, who unlike some one-and-done types, has shown an ability to not just rely on his scoring, but also do all the little things necessary to win.
And this group seems to get better each time out with its other young players like Jamal Johnson, Devan Cambridge and Allen Flanigan gaining more and more confidence.
The rest of the college basketball world better take notice of what is brewing on the Plains because this team defends at an elite level and when the outside shot is falling, good luck beating them.
Pearl and his Tigers are ranked as a top-5 team in the nation and their results indicate that they may in fact be the best team in the land. In March, they will have the chance to prove that they belong there. For now, just keep sleeping on the Tigers, Pearl likely wouldn’t want it any other way.