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

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Jan 12, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Texas A

BETTER “BAD LOSSES” THAN #77 TEXAS A&M

  • #1 Indiana to #40 Wisconsin
  • #3 Michigan to #17 Ohio State
  • #4 Duke to #19 Michigan State
  • #6 Gonzaga to #46 Illinois
  • #7  Arizona to #43 UCLA
  • #9  Syracuse to #67 Villanova
  • #10  Ohio State to #46 Illinois
  • #11 Louisville to #67 Villanova
  • #12 Michigan State to #22 UConn
  • #13 Kansas State to #39 Iowa State
  • #15 New Mexico to #66 South Dakota State
  • #23 Pitt to #70 Rutgers

So of the top 25 teams, twelve have “bad losses” that are not as bad as losing to Texas A&M.  Of those, Syracuse, Louisville, and Pitt all lost to teams in the neighborhood, but not in the +5/-5 range I am looking at.  As the RPI changes daily,  those losses for those three teams may fall  in the Texas A&M range.  But I have no problem with the teams on this list.  They have for the most part, deserve to be ranked.  Now let’s look at the “tweener” losses to team that are #72-#82 RPI.

“TWEENER LOSSES

  • #2 Florida to #81 Arkansas
  • #14 Butler to #78 Xavier
  • #19 Oregon to #76 UTEP

It’s interesting to note that RPI teams #76 UTEP, #77 Texas A&M, and #78 Xavier have beaten #19 Oregon, Kentucky and #14 Butler respectively.  Obviously for all the teams on this loss, their losses did not affect them as much as Kentucky’s loss to the Aggies seemed to do.  Now, finally, let’s look at the “bad losses” which really should not have happened.

WORSE “BAD LOSSES” THAN #77 TEXAS A&M

  • #5 Kansas to #210 TCU
  • #8 Miami to #95 Florida Gulf Coast
  • #16 Creighton to #151 Drake
  • #17 Cincinnati to #95 Providence
  • #18 Minnesota to #90 Northwestern
  • #20 Georgetown to ##97 South Florida
  • #21 Missouri to #110 LSU
  • #22 Oklahoma State to #147 Virginia Tech
  • #24 Marquette to #156 Green Bay
  • #25 Notre Dame to #84 St. Josephs

Granted, losses to teams ranked #51 – #100 will happen and there are some pretty good teams in that range.  But for a ranked team to lose to a team #101 and higher should be a red flag. There are five ranked teams with losses to teams in triple digits.   You can argue that the Kansas loss was as monumental as Kentucky losing to Gardner-Webb.  That Kentucky team was not ranked #5 in the country.  But time will tell how the pundits punish the Jayhawks.  They certainly did not punish Louisville too much for three straight losses which dropped them to just #12 at the time.

Now all of the rankings I have used have been from the AP Poll.  USA Today has three teams that AP did not rank in the Top 25.

  • #22 Wichita State to #198 SIU
  • #23 Mississippi to #45 Kentucky
  • #25 San Diego State to #65 Air Force

It is something of a mixed bag here but it should be noted that Wichita State has FOUR LOSSES to teams tanked #101 – #200 and well, Ole Miss lost by double digits on their home court to Kentucky.

Now as I said earlier, Kentucky is not getting any respect from the pollsters.  That is an understatement.  Despite winning four games in a row, including that win over then #16 Ole Miss, and six of seven since the Texas A&M loss, Kentucky is “ranked ” #34th by the AP and #39th by USA Today.  Let’s look at some of the “outliers” and the teams that who are not ranked, are getting more votes than or are tied with Kentucky along with their RPI in parentheses:

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