Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Neat Article about #4

So, as I undaringly predicted, the Men's Basketball Badgers have surged into the top five in both polls, ranked #4 in the AP, and #5 in the USA Today/Coaches. The Journal-Sentinel did an interesting job of covering this quasi-historic event: by actually interviewing AP voters, focusing on those who ranked the Badgers very high or quite low in comparison to the median. Some voters, it turns out, still have the Badgers below Pitt in the rankings, despite us beating them by 14. One guy gives a legitimate rationale-- Gray was sick, and the game was in Madison, and I think if Gray was well and the game was on a neutral floor, I'd favor Pitt by a point or two. He ranked Pitt one above UW. If you really believe that Pitt was that rattled by the Kohl Center crowd and that Gray would have played better but for his illness, then I buy that. But two AP voters had Pitt six spots above UW. The Journal-Sentinel reporter gets a response from one of these voters. Read it for yourself here, and see if her explanation makes any sense. I have trouble buying it, and upon discussing it with a colleague, he advocated for taking that voter's voting credential away from her. (I'm inclined to agree).

Anyhow, in my previous experience, I've seen lots of articles about rankings where individual AP voters who submitted atypical votes are listed by name and publication. But until today, I'd never seen an article about rankings where these voters were actually asked to explain their votes. Fascinating. Well done, MJS and Mark Stewart, the UW basketball beat writer.

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