UConn Not UNanimous…Are UKidding?

April 07, 2011 | Thyrl Nelson

So now we know who Mike Adras and Northern Arizona University are, and maybe that was the point all along. For those still playing catch up, Adras is the rogue head coach who cast a great deal of attention upon himself by casting votes for both Ohio State (#1) and Kansas (#2) ahead of the actual National Champion UConn Huskies in the final USA Today Coaches Men’s Basketball Poll. To his credit, at least Adras had the guts to stand up and identify himself, or as stated already, maybe that was the point all along. Otherwise, it would seem to stand to reason that Adras would have had some lengthier and better thought out explanation than that which he offered; essentially saying that in comparing their bodies of work he felt both Ohio State and Kansas had proven themselves better than Connecticut. That alone though is a semi-worthy argument at least.

All too often, both sets of weekly rankings seemingly adapt to the “power rankings” mindset, attempting to quantify who’s best right now as opposed to who has the best body of work overall. Whether or not that’s correct is certainly fodder for a discussion unto itself. Look back at the week 14 rankings, the first published polls after Ohio State’s loss at Wisconsin. That week the Buckeyes dropped their first contest of the season, in a building in Wisconsin where no one seemingly goes away with a win, on the back of an out of this world shooting performance by Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor fueling a comeback from 15 points down.

 

The Badgers went into that match-up ranked 13th by the AP and 14th by USA Today and wound up 10th in both polls in week 14 as a result. The Buckeyes, as a result of their loss, went from unanimous #1 in both polls in week 13, to 2nd in the AP and 3rd in the USA Today polls in week 14. In both polls, Kansas and Texas each received more first place votes than the Ohio State. Kansas lone loss at the time was to an unranked (then) Kansas State, and the Longhorns had losses to Pitt, UConn and USC yet received more first place votes (23-14 in the AP & 13-3 in the USA Today) than Ohio State in both polls.

 

Maybe the real point the Adras was trying to make (yet failed to disclose) was that there is no point to a post-season poll. The beauty contests that decide football seasons and give us fodder for debate during the season are really of little if any significance in sports where true championship tournaments are staged. Perhaps the simple fact that the pollsters have asked for a final take on the field, and left 1st place open to interpretation indicates that they were inviting this debate all along.

 

Wouldn’t it be much smarter to take #1 off the table for the voters? Maybe #2 as well should be preordained to the tourney’s runner up. If that were the case, and coaches and writers were asked to assess the rest of the field, tallying for us the 2nd and/or 3rd place votes would provide real fodder for discussion and debate. How much credit does VCU get for playing as many tournament games as both Butler and UConn and for winning as many as the Bulldogs and more than anyone else but the Huskies? How does that compare with the bodies of work compiled by Ohio State and Kansas?

 

This year, seemingly more than any other, there were teams that had good regular seasons, and there are teams that had good tournament seasons. There didn’t seem to be many (or any) teams that can say they had great runs in both. That would be a fun debate. Instead we are left to debate exactly what point Adras was trying to make in the first place…if indeed there was a point to be made at all.

 

Should voters from week to week and/or at season’s end attempt to reward the best overall body of work, or attempt to assess which team is playing best right now? Was BYU graded on their body of work or their prowess minus Brandon Davies’ services? How should they have been graded? Is there a point to a post-season poll in the first place?

 

One question we certainly found out the answer to was: Who the hell is Mike Adras? Now we’re left to contemplate what point, if any, he was trying to make. Maybe he’s just a hater, or maybe the point was just to get his name out there…that it did. And last but not least…Are there really Lumberjacks in Arizona?

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