It finally feels like college basketball season is approaching. The Guardians are still alive and kicking in the playoffs, but most baseball teams have run to the end of the line. The weather is sunny, but there is snow in the forecast. It’s time to start thinking about ball (and hopefully beating the Yankees and their horrid fans tonight).
Apparently the AP concurs:
FIRST AP POLL OF THE 2022-23 SEASON!— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) October 17, 2022
1. North Carolina
The importance of the first poll of the season is disproportionate to where it falls. The people making this poll aren’t any more inclined to admit they were wrong than any other human ever has been. A top 10 team that loses two games in November will take significantly less public perception and poll damage than a team that was 21st. If Houston drops a couple they will slide to the mid-teens. If Oregon, who are 21st, lose two, they will plunge to the depths of the not receiving votes. Teams off the poll altogether have work to do in order to crack the public consciousness.
Frankly, the entire exercise is pretty stupid. No one really knows how good any team is until somewhere around mid-December. That’s when the noise filters out of Torvik and KenPom and enough games have been played that the eye test people have seen every team a couple times. A poll about college basketball teams three weeks before any of those teams have even hit the court is an exercise in futility.
- North Carolina
- T-5. Kansas
- T-5. Baylor
- San Diego State
- Texas Tech
Others receiving votes: Texas A&M 112, UConn 101, Miami 66, Purdue 56, Saint Louis 36, Michigan State 35, Florida St. 32, Xavier 29, Wyoming 25, Ohio State 23, Iowa 13, Rutgers 4, USC 3, Florida 3, Toledo 1, UAB 1, Memphis 1, Virginia Tech 1, Notre Dame 1.
But... we all still pay attention to it. For starters, Dayton being ranked is an affront to humanity. That out of the way, Creighton and Villanova are the two Big East teams ranked to start the season. Xavier and UConn are also receiving votes. Where’s Butler? Well, both major metrics think they will be garbage. That’s not strictly pertinent, but you should know.
Right now the AP would have Xavier 33rd. It’s hard to really argue with that. The Musketeers have an excellent incoming class this year, but there’s not an instant first team all Big East player in there. Sean Miller is back and figures to be an upgrade on the bench, but he didn’t go deep into the transfer market. The improvement that the Musketeers will make this season will be mostly from names you know getting better. Winning the NIT was a ton of fun, but it doesn’t have the cachet of a late NCAA tournament run. There’s no harm in being unranked in October when it’s March that matters.
March, and beating the Yankees tonight.