The First ESPN/USA Today College Basketball Poll Has a Big East Bias!

Johnny Da BoneContributor IOctober 31, 2008

This season I will be writing a weekly college basketball column entitled Big East Bias, which will cover everything I deem important in the world of Big East basketball. I sincerely hope that those of you who frequent the b/r college basketball pages enjoy this column, and I welcome any comments you have.



Yesterday ESPN and USA Today released the very first college basketball poll. There are not a lot of surprises here, perhaps a few omissions, and definitely some misalignment.

Overall, the Bias is pretty happy.


ESPN/USA Today Poll


1. North Carolina, 2. Connecticut, 3. Louisville, 4. UCLA, 5. Duke, 6. Pittsburgh, 7. Michigan State, 8. Texas, 9. Notre Dame, 10. Purdue, 11. Gonzaga, 12. Memphis, 13. Tennessee, 14. Oklahoma, 15. Arizona State, 16. Miami (Fla.), 17. Marquette, 18. Georgetown, 19. Florida, 20. Davidson, 21. Southern California, 21. Wisconsin, 23. Kansas, 24. Wake Forest, 25. Villanova


With seven teams in the Top 25, the Big East Conference occupies 28 percent of the Poll! Not impressed? How about the Top 10? The Big East owns 40 percent of that!


I thought about doing a little research to find out if any other conference has ever achieved such dominance in the first meaningful national poll of the year...but that didn’t sound like much fun. Instead, I’m going to let my Bias take over and assume that this accomplishment is unprecedented.


Although I am happy to see UConn at No. 2, it still comes as a surprise. The Huskies’ offseason had more drama than an episode of Entourage. With all of their transfers, injuries, and criminal activity, I really can’t say that Connecticut deserves this spot right now.


Perhaps those who vote in this poll realize that Connecticut’s men’s basketball program has some experience overcoming these “obstacles.”


Louisville, Pitt, Notre Dame, and Marquette appear to be positioned fairly. There should be little doubt that these four squads will be wire-to-wire poll sitters.


Yes, I know, at 18 Georgetown may be a little higher than they should be. But when you replace All-Americans with McDonald’s All-Americans, your program gets the benefit of the doubt in the preseason polls.


I would like to see Syracuse and West Virginia ranked. They could easily replace teams like Wisconsin and Kansas. Both 'Cuse and WVU received a respectable number of votes required to earn a spot in the top 25. Suffice to say, we’ll see you guys in the polls very soon!


I don’t want to end this piece on a sour note, but there was one thing that really bothered me about this poll. Villanova should be ranked much higher! Nova went to the Sweet 16 last year, and they return EVERYBODY.


In an attempt to compare apples to apples, I do recall Nova squeezing Arizona State and Florida out of a bid to last year’s big dance—and now they are ranked behind them? I realize that James Harden is a potential lottery pick, and Nick Calathes has a really cool haircut, but these two teams didn’t prove much down the stretch last year.


That’s all for now. It’s a great week for the greatest conference in the land!