Given my blogging mini-sabbatical this weekend, I asked SpartanDan to fill in by submitting this weeks’s Official Spartans Weblog Blogpoll Ballot. And he was kind enough to agree. Here’s the ballot:
|Last week’s ballot|
And here’s his rationale for the ballot:
Also considered: Butler, West Virginia, Arizona, LSU, BYU, Utah.
Not a whole lot of big swings, what with everybody losing. There was usually enough separation between different groups that the teams that lost fell from the bottom of one group to the top of the group below it. The biggest instance of this is Wake Forest, moving *up* one spot despite the loss to NC State because Duke lost twice, MSU’s overall resume is just about equal (and I decided to err on the side of not being a homer), and everybody between them lost.
The big climbers: Missouri (up six spots after beating Kansas and watching just about everyone else drop a game) and Arizona State (up five after sweeping the UCLA/USC homestand). UCLA (down seven spots after going 0-2 on the Arizona road trip) and Butler (from #21 to out after losing at home to Loyola-Chicago) take the biggest falls.
– There’s an argument (based on the Sagarin/Pomeroy numbers) for putting UNC ahead of Oklahoma, but OU’s proven itself against enough top 50 teams that the ‘1’ in the loss column gives them the nod.
– The top four have clearly separated themselves, to the extent that I think it would be difficult to justify dropping any of them below #4 unless they lose at least twice. Wake Forest and Duke were among that group until they lost this week.
– Wake and MSU both have similar resumes: plenty of good wins, but some real head-scratcher losses. Wake’s wins are better by just enough to give them the nod. Duke’s overall strength of schedule (yes, 2-4 in the last six, but three of those losses are to top 10 teams) keeps them ahead of Memphis for now.
– The Missouri-Clemson-Louisville-Marquette group all have nearly identical profiles; when in doubt, I tended to stick with the order Sagarin has them (although the numbers weren’t updated for Sunday’s games, so I took a guess after Clemson’s OT loss to Virginia).
– Illinois and Arizona State get a bump for surviving the week unscathed (two road games for Illinois, a UCLA/USC homestand for ASU); both have more top 25 wins than Kansas or Villanova.
– Xavier’s loss to Dayton still leaves them with more top 25 wins (although not as many top 50 wins) than UCLA and two fewer losses. UCLA-Gonzaga is pretty close; I put Gonzaga ahead based on the Sagarin rankings.
– Purdue gets the bump ahead of Ohio State despite a poor top 25 record (0-4) mainly because of the Sagarin numbers and the return of Hummel (although he wasn’t particularly effective against Iowa). This is a team that could rise quickly if Hummel is able to get back to full strength.
– At the bottom, Cal gets rewarded for nine Pomeroy top 50 victories (rankings through Saturday’s games; four of these are against #47, #49, and a sweep of #50, however). Likewise, Washington, Syracuse, and Texas fit the “plenty of losses but several good wins” mold, giving them a slight edge over teams like Butler, LSU, and BYU with fewer losses but lacking in quality wins.
– No SEC or Mountain West teams, although both conferences have two or three teams in the next ten or so (LSU, BYU, Utah, Tennessee, Kentucky). Unfortunately, there aren’t as many opportunities to pick up quality wins in either conference, which makes these teams harder to evaluate.
This was a bit more difficult than I had expected; there are a lot of places where it’s essentially splitting hairs.
Thanks for the splittin’ the hairs for us this week, Dan. What do the rest of you think?