Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Should College Basketball Poll Voters consider "bad losses" equal to good wins?

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Feb 06, 2013; Fort Worth, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs forward Devonta Abron (23) celebrates with fans after the victory against the Kansas Jayhawks at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. TCU won 62-55. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night, the college basketball world was shocked as the TCU Horned Frogs upset the Kansas Jayhawks 72-55. It was without a doubt, the biggest upset in this wacky, unpredictable thing we call the 2012-13  NCAA College Basketball season. Kansas was ranked fifth in the nation and TCU was 9-11 and 0-8 in the Big 12 Conference. A lot of people have said that parity is rampant in college basketball this year but a loss like that for Kansas should NEVER happen. It’s a bad, bad, loss.

Even after the win over Kansas, TCU has a RPI of  just 210th and have suffered losses to #207 Houston and #212 Texas Tech. Despite the monumental loss, CBS’s RPI Tool  drops Kansas to just #9 in their RPI rankings. It’s true that Kansas is a solid team and a legitimate contender and by no means is this loss a disaster for their season. But if this loss had happened to say Kentucky or another “bubble team”? Well, that is all you would hear about. And it is true that “bad losses” will effect bubble teams more than top fifteen teams, Kentucky, despite a lack of quality wins, has done nothing to embarrass themselves this year.

Yet, Kentucky is getting no love in the polls and I understand part of it. UK has six losses and no ranked team has six losses yet, but there are several teams in the five loss club and some of them have much worse losses than Kentucky. The Wildcats “bad loss” is to Texas A&M, who is 13-8 and 3-5 in the SEC. As of Thursday, the Aggies were #77th in the CBS RPI rankings. Texas A&M is a NIT Tournament team for sure, but it is definitely not the devastating loss some media types want to play it off as.

Looking at the current AP Top 25, twelve of the teams have a loss on their resume that is statistically worse than Kentucky’s loss to Texas A&M. I decided to take a look at these losses. For the purpose of my story, I decided to look at all the “bad losses in the AP and place the losses in three categories: better losses than UK, about the same as UK (from #72 – #82) and losses that were much worse than Kentucky’s loss to Texas A&M. Here is what I found:

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