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CBS Sports Bloggers’ Blogpoll, Week 6

March 16, 2009

The honest truth is that I don’t value conference tournaments very much. The spectacle of the best teams playing a knockout tournament, NCAA bids on the line, the cream rising to the top and all, sounds nice. Great for television. But watching an SEC Tournament final with Tennessee and Mississippi State (MS State won to earn a 13 seed in the tournament)? A Temple vs. Duquesne final in the Atlantic 10 (Temple won, got an 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament)? Clemson, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh losing early in their conference tournaments?

You can’t tell me that Kansas is any worse than they were all year. Or Oklahoma has serious flaws. I have no data on this, but I think top teams sometimes just tank their conference tournaments. Not entirely; I don’t think the coach stands in front of his team and says "lay an egg out there, fellas, stink up the joint like you just had that too-spicy burrito."

But I do think that the effort is not equal for all teams. Maryland had a lot to gain by making it to the final; Clemson, a bit less. They’ve done enough, they’re in the tournament. For Pittsburgh, the same. And they get a benefit. Those teams who stop their conference run early get a few more days rest, a little less wear and tear, some time to go to class, or practice, or meet some trim, whatever it is they do with their non-practice time.

Conference championships are nice. But the NCAA tournament, doesn’t it pay more, benefit more, increase the school’s and coaches’ rep? There is much more incentive to save the legs for the "most wonderful time of the year" than there is for the conference championship.

So, as stated, I don’t value conference tournaments very much. And as such I won’t value them heavily in my rankings. To loosely paraphrase Denny Green, most of these teams are who we thought they were. You won’t see too much movement below.

Asides:

  • But I will give a little love to Louisville and Missouri. Syracuse‘s performance gets some major love as well.
  • And Clemson losing to Georgia Tech is the turd of all turd performances.
  • Wanted to give some love to Maryland, but I like all those other teams better.
  • Oh, crap. Illinois on the 5 line in the NCAA tournament… duhDUM.
  • That’s better than being in the CBI like St. John’s. Who is playing on the road at Richmond. On the road.
Rank Team Delta
1 Louisville 3
2 Pittsburgh 1
3 North Carolina 1
4 Connecticut 1
5 Oklahoma
6 Michigan St.
7 Duke 1
8 Memphis 2
9 Kansas 2
10 Villanova 1
11 Missouri 3
12 Washington
13 Wake Forest 4
14 UCLA 1
15 Purdue 4
16 Gonzaga
17 Syracuse 6
18 Illinois 1
19 Clemson 4
20 Marquette
21 Xavier 3
22 Arizona St.
23 Florida St. 1
24 Louisiana St. 3
25 West Virginia
Last week’s ballot

Dropped Out: Brigham Young (#22), New Mexico (#25).
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