I'm going to preface this by saying I think Doug Gottlieb, along with Jay Bilas, are the best analysts that ESPN currently have sitting behind a desk. With that being said, Gottlieb has always had some sort of axe to grind with Syracuse, and although it's amusing, many Syracuse fans get tired of the act.
Last weekend Gottlieb was praising Syracuse as one of the few teams that had all the pieces to be a Final Four team. According to Gottlieb, they had the coaching, the size, the perimeter threats, and the talent to make the final round.
However, apparently a loss to the previously top seeded Pittsburgh Panthers was enough to send Syracuse spiraling out of Gottlieb's Top 25 this week from 9th to outside the top 25 with one loss.
Notably jumping ahead of Syracuse was Notre Dame, a team Syracuse destroyed on the same day Gottlieb declared this Syracuse squad could make the Final Four, and Memphis, a team Syracuse beat on Memphis' home floor.
Meanwhile, North Carolina jumped back up to the fifth position and Wake Forest, Gottlieb's previous number one, moved down to the number four spot. Apparently the only thing that matters is what you did the previous game for Gottlieb's rankings.
Saint Mary's has risen all the way to 13th in the rankings, behind impressive victories against, well anyone?
Providence and Oregon aren't bad out of conference wins for St. Mary's, but a loss to a subpar UTEP team certainly has to be a concern going forward.
In general I have no problem with rewarding St. Mary's for a strong season thus far, but it seems to fly in the face of whatever logic is behind Gottlieb's rankings.
If he's ranking based on talent, then it's fine to have North Carolina first, but would he really have St. Mary's 13th?
If he's not ranking on talent, but on performance, would he place North Carolina over Wake Forest? Both teams have a questionable loss, but Wake Forest took the first meeting between the teams.
As usual, I'll note that I put very little weight on rankings in general, but it's always fun to see what is, or in some cases obviously isn't, running through the minds of my favorite ESPN analysts.