Poll Attacks: Some AP voters are still ranking Virginia in the top 10 for absolutely no good reason
The Cavaliers are 2-2 in their past four games with double-digit losses to a pair of unranked teams
I had Virginia in the top 10 of the because Tony Bennett is a wizard who has shown the ability to consistently have top-10 teams regardless of the players in the uniforms. If anybody deserves the benefit of the doubt, it's that guy. But it's now clear, 11 games into this season, that Virginia is not a top-10 team. And yet there are still AP voters refusing to acknowledge as much.
Brian Holland is one of them.
He works for the NBC affiliate in Baton Rouge and has Virginia ranked seventh -- which is higher than any other AP voter has Virginia this week and in total contrast to what's happening on the court. The Cavaliers started the season fine, I guess, by stringing together seven straight wins. But they're 2-2 in their past four games with a 29-point loss to unranked Purdue and an 11-point loss to unranked South Carolina. So now Virginia is 9-2 on the season with zero wins over currently ranked teams, zero wins over top-35 KenPom teams and a pair of double-digit losses to unranked opponents that have combined to lose nine times. As a result, Virginia has dropped to 22nd at KenPom, 42nd in Sagarin and 69th in the NET.?
What about any of that says top-10 team?
And yet Holland -- who dropped Virginia the same number of spots this week for losing a home game by 11 points to unranked South Carolina as he did Kansas for losing a road game by one point to No. 10 Villanova -- has Virginia safely in the top 10 and ahead of actual top-10 teams like Oregon and Baylor.
How could anybody have Virginia ahead of Oregon and Baylor?
Let me walk you through the resumes.
Oregon is 12 spots ahead of Virginia at KenPom, 35 spots ahead of Virginia in Sagarin and 56 spots ahead of Virginia in the NET. Oregon has two wins over currently ranked teams. Virginia has zero. Oregon has four wins over top-35 KenPom teams. Virginia has zero. And Oregon's two losses to No. 1 Gonzaga and North Carolina are better than Virginia's two losses to unranked Purdue and unranked South Carolina.
Regardless, Holland has Virginia No. 7 and Oregon No. 8.
Now let's look at Baylor.
Baylor is 13 spots ahead of Virginia at KenPom, 35 spots ahead of Virginia in Sagarin and 63 spots ahead of Virginia in the NET. Baylor has three wins over currently ranked teams. Virginia has zero. Baylor has three wins over top-35 KenPom teams. Virginia has zero. And Baylor's lone loss to No. 21 Washington is better than Virginia's two losses to unranked Purdue and unranked South Carolina.
Regardless, Holland has Virginia No. 7 and Baylor No. 13.
And what's additionally wild is that Holland only had Virginia 14th on his preseason ballot -- which means he now has the Cavaliers seven spots higher than he had them in the preseason even though they've undeniably underperformed relative to preseason expectations. Again, they just lost AT HOME BY DOUBLE-DIGITS to a South Carolina team that entered ranked 102nd at KenPom and with a 7-4 record featuring a loss to a Boston University team that's now 5-7 and ranked 217th at KenPom.
Now is any of this the biggest deal in the world?
Of course not.
But, as I've forever insisted, at some point what we thought a team might be in the preseason has to fade and be replaced by what a team actually is. And we've 100 percent reached that point with Virginia. If the Cavaliers turn it around, and I wouldn't rule that out, then we can all adjust accordingly. But, right now, there is literally nothing to support the No. 7 ranking for Virginia that Brian Holland submitted this week.
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