Monday, December 6, 2010

Preseason Rankings for Dummies

Let's pretend for a minute the preseason rankings and preseason All-American teams actually mean something.  Well, actually, in college football those preseason rankings do play a pretty big role in things.  Luckily in college basketball that's not really the case, and its a good thing.  Let's take a look at some of the preseason rankings gone wild, just three weeks into the season.

UConn is currently ranked 9th in one poll, despite not even ending up in the "others receiving votes" in the preseason poll. On the flip side, UNC was ranked 9th in the preseason, but after a few early loses (showing that they aren't a top 10 team), they are back down to 27th (as of 12/3 - after a win vs. Kentucky, they should creep back in).  Gonzaga was ranked 12th in the preseason, and after their 3rd loss over the weekend, they'll be out of the top 25. My own Syracuse Orange are ranked 8-0 and ranked 7th in the country, but Jim Boeheim and anyone else that has watched the Cuse thus far this season knows that they are, in the coaches words, "the most overrated team he has ever coached." I pencil them in somewhere around 15-20.
Barnes has struggled early (SI Photos)

On an individual basis, UNC freshman Harrison Barnes was the first true freshman voted to the preseason All-American team, joining four seniors Kyle Singler (Duke), Jimmer Fredette (BYU), JuJuan Johnson (Purdue) and Jacob Pullen (K-State). Four seniors, who we've watched for three years, and a freshman. Eight games into his college career, Barnes is averaging 11.4 ppg, 1.9 apg, 5.9 rpg, and is shooting 34% from the field. Its obvious his transition to the college game is going a little rougher than expected, and who knows, maybe the preseason first team All-American tag is forcing him to try and do too much early on.

Three weeks into the season, if you said there was a freshman from the ACC who is a First Team All-American, I think Kyrie Irving from Duke would be the unanimous vote - maybe even in the conversation for Player of the Year early on.  So why not wait until some real games are played?  Three weeks into the season, I think are starting to see who deserves to be in the Top 10, and who deserves to be possibly considered an All-American. Also, we won't have to make excuses for why someone was left out or put in the top 10 or top 25 in September.  Next year, lets release the first poll after the first 5 or 6 games, three weeks into the season, and also announce the "Early Season All-American Team". It might just be worth the wait.

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