College Basketball Top 25: What the Pollsters Got Wrong

By Derek Helling
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The week four college basketball polls for the coaches and media have been released, and both contain some teams that are undervalued along with oversights as well.

One team that is significantly undervalued in the current polls considering its play so far this season is the Iowa Hawkeyes, coming in at No. 23 in both polls. The Hawkeyes are currently holding their opponents to a national best 31.2 percent from the field and have the second-best average margin of victory in the country.  It’s fair to question the difficulty of Iowa’s schedule thus far, but regardless they have the sixth-best offense and seventh-best defense in Division 1 Basketball right now.

One team that is significantly overvalued is the Memphis Tigers, currently ranked No. 21 by the media and No. 19 by the coaches. The Tigers rank 253rd in the nation in scoring defense. While Memphis does come in at 15th in scoring offense, their 1.21 assist-to-turnover ratio has led to a mediocre 2-1 start. In fairness that loss came on a neutral court to the No. 5/6 Oklahoma State Cowboys. Playing defense on the level that they are, Memphis doesn’t deserve to be considered the 19th or 21st best team in college basketball right now.

A couple of oversights are the Marquette Golden Eagles in the USA Today poll and the Indiana Hoosiers in the AP poll. The Golden Eagles have had offensive struggles but are playing solid defense. The Hoosiers have had opposite concerns. Both of these teams have one loss and it was to a quality opponent, the No. 7/6 Ohio State Buckeyes for Marquette and the Connecticut Huskies for Indiana. Both of these teams should be found in both polls.

A team that is found in both polls that shouldn’t be in either is the Michigan Wolverines, the only two-loss team in the rankings. Both of the teams Michigan lost to, No. 17/22 Iowa State Cyclones and the Charlotte 49ers, are good teams. However, the Wolverines average fewer points per game than five other teams in the “also receiving votes” category and aren’t found in the list of top 50 defensive squads in the nation either.

It’s still early in the season and there will be plenty of games to decide who the real top 25 teams in the nation are. Until then, this is what we have to go off of as imperfect as it may be.

Derek Helling is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, “like” him on Facebook and add him on Google+. Read more here

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