Vols in college basketball poll? It depends on AP voters

Tennessee's win over Villanova came by a 78-68 count on a neutral floor last Friday, but apparently it wasn't convincing enough for some voters in The Associated Press college basketball poll.

While 40 of 62 voters have UT (5-0) ranked higher than the Wildcats (5-1), Villanova is No. 12 and UT is No. 13. The AP ballots from a national media panel are made public.

The Wildcats are also ranked ahead of the Vols in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll (No. 12, No. 17), but those votes are not made public.

Tennessee has a national RPI of No. 2, and Villanova has an RPI of 79, according to RealTimeRpi.com.

A look at the AP ballots reveal the Vols' identity crisis hits harder closer to home than nationally.

Both of the state of Tennessee's AP voters had Villanova ranked higher than the Vols on their ballots, according to the AP.

Kristin Tallent, from WHBQ-TV in Memphis, had the Vols ranked No. 21 and Villanova No. 8.

Jeff Lockridge from the Tennessean had UT No. 20 and Villanova No. 16.

The only two voters who didn't have the Vols ranked in their top 25 come from states that border Tennessee.

Whitelaw Reid of Charlottesville (Va.) Daily Journal had Villanova No. 8 and the Vols unranked, and Roger Clarkson of the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald has Villanova No. 16 and UT unranked.

Other voters from SEC cities weren't impressed enough by the Vols' win over Villanova to move them ahead of the Wildcats, either.

Ron Morris of The State in Columbia, S.C., had UT No. 20 and Villanova No. 7, and Gary Laney of the Baton Rouge (La.) Advocate had the Vols No. 18 and Villanova No. 7.

Jerry Tipton, of the Lexington Herald-Leader, was one of only two voters who didn't have Villanova in his Top 25 and put the Vols at No. 23.

The Vols' highest vote was No. 6 by three pollsters: Seth Davis from Sports Illustrated; Mark Berman from the Roanoke (Va.) Times; and Tom Keegan from the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/mgrif32 and at http://blogs.knoxnews.com/askgriff/

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Comments » 66

jzt writes:

Keep it up, all they are doing is creating a monster. Everybody knows what Bruce can do when he is backed into a corner.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Great reporting, Griff. This is very valuable information to those of us who suspect most of these guys are homers for their hometown teams. Good to shine the light on them.

mdvol writes:

Yeah....Seth Davis. Wasn't he Mr. Upset Special last year saying the Vols would get bounced in the first round of the tourney by San Diego St??? He owes us.

utfpmd writes:

Some uninformed, some just jealous.
The girl in Memphis probably thinks our colors are ugly -- "Like OMG, I wouldn't be caught dead in that shade of orange!"

Shows how meaningless these polls are. Just stay focused and keep winning!

fpcoach writes:

The beautiful thing about basketball is that the polls don't matter. The championships are decided by players on the court.

rebvavolfan1 writes:

The polls are a joke

kazoo writes:

Wow: there are a lot of idiot sportswriters out there--either just plain ignorant, or biased, or both. Fact is, when one team beats another--on a court that was more favorable to nova than UT--you rank the winner higher than the loser. It isn't rocket science. Jay Wright would surely rank the Vols higher than his team now--but these numbskulls in the media don't.

bigorange61 writes:

For those thinking of taking a shot at Kristin Tallent....be warned. You might bring down a curse from the Witch Doctor. He has a thing for hot blondes. ;o)

jsmithnga#207674 writes:

A little off subject, but in an interview with Lefty Driesell's daughter talked about entertaining recruits at their house including dinner and hanging out in the back yard; the very thing that led to BP's troubles. Guess it has always been done by all the coaches.

clarabelle writes:

Why don't they let me vote? Vols #1

stayingorange writes:

While polls are meaningless this time of year, it's great to see the votes actually broken down like this. If every voters' name was included in the polls it might actually force a little more credibility to the process. Nice article.

Hounddog writes:

Did somone just put a chip on our shoulder? Hounddog

gavolfan81 writes:

And it is "these experts" who tell us the BCS is broken and doesn't work. Glad the AP is not part of the BCS equation anymore. One would suppose a truthful media would not be biased and its overlords would want support for these positions. No accountability.

wycoller writes:

Screw the polls and the biased idiot voters. Just keep on winning---one game at a time.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to jsmithnga#207674:

A little off subject, but in an interview with Lefty Driesell's daughter talked about entertaining recruits at their house including dinner and hanging out in the back yard; the very thing that led to BP's troubles. Guess it has always been done by all the coaches.

The key is no juniors and don't lie. H.S. Seniors are ok. And, if you admit it, it's a post-it note in a file. That's all.

jsmithnga#207674 writes:

in response to tdvol1989:

The key is no juniors and don't lie. H.S. Seniors are ok. And, if you admit it, it's a post-it note in a file. That's all.

Correct; however doubt it was all seniors.

iowavol writes:

in response to mdvol:

Yeah....Seth Davis. Wasn't he Mr. Upset Special last year saying the Vols would get bounced in the first round of the tourney by San Diego St??? He owes us.

Yep, he sure was. And he went on to predict the Vols would be the first team to lose in each round after that. He should be a politician because he was so slippery in avoiding talking about how they won each of their first three games. For the elite 8, he said no way they make it to the final 4 - not even close. If I remember correctly, it was pretty close.

BleedsOrangeinMO writes:

The only "pole" that matters is the "W POLE"; guys just keep on hanging more "W's" on the pole one game at a time and the "real" poll will finally take notice and get it close to being correct.

tdvol1989 writes:

Some of this is a little justified. Villanova looked pretty raggedy against us. Sure, we had something to do with it. And, there was that exhibition loss. Add that to the BP suspension for the first 8 SEC games, and what you have are not only Vol haters, but those anticipating our fall. You know how the press likes to jump on the Boise St. bandwagon and say I told you so. They want to be the ones to say they saw this year - our bad year - coming.

Either way, just let it burn. Let it burn. Then, do something about it...on the court.

By the way, look at the SEC/Big East challenge. Who is playing the highest ranked team in the Big East? Why? And, we suck??? Ok, keep thinking that.

TXTN writes:

Surprise, surprise...Tiger High's beat writer doesn't give the Vols any respect. I'm actually looking forward to the Vols playing villain this year. That may just make them play with a little more edge.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

The Vols could beat all the top 5 teams consecutively, and it wouldn't matter. Pure hatred for Pearl and TN. Just makes our guys stronger, I think.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to bigorange61:

For those thinking of taking a shot at Kristin Tallent....be warned. You might bring down a curse from the Witch Doctor. He has a thing for hot blondes. ;o)

uh, uh...witchy has a clause that says it's ok when hot blonde writes stupid opinion.

wfd53 writes:

The polls are a joke, or can be. That's what the NCAA tournament is for. Who cares if we're ranked top 10 or top 25? At the conclusion of the tournament we'll either be #1 or we won't. That's the way life is and no one really cares much about the rest.

wildcatbasketball writes:

Vols looked good in the NIT tourney!!!! They are better that the pre-season SEC ranking!!! Going to be another fun year between the Cats and the Vols. GO SEC!!!

Titan writes:

Lockridge is a Vandy homer. His dislike of all things UT is spilling over into his voting.

cloudodust writes:

Tennesee moved up. That's all that matters this early...Win and UT keeps moving up. It's a long season with alot of BB to play.

GerryOP writes:

It doesn't matter come March ... and then the polls still don't matter.

wildcatbasketball writes:

I agree with all...The early polls mean nothing. Uconn beats Michigan State and KY in the Maui Classic and are 5-0 and are still behind Michigan State in the polls. ???

utfpmd writes:

in response to usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid:

uh, uh...witchy has a clause that says it's ok when hot blonde writes stupid opinion.

Especially when she has horse teeth.
Willlbuuurr!

keepitreal4vols writes:

This is why the human voters are being replaced by the BCS computers. Becoming a media member is easier than getting free food from the local Food pantry.
All the media want is free admission, a press pass and free food during events. In return, they will write a couple of boring, opinionated columns with a few quotes from a interview they got while standing next to the 30 other media members huddling around 1 guy.

Futurecoach16 writes:

in response to keepitreal4vols:

This is why the human voters are being replaced by the BCS computers. Becoming a media member is easier than getting free food from the local Food pantry.
All the media want is free admission, a press pass and free food during events. In return, they will write a couple of boring, opinionated columns with a few quotes from a interview they got while standing next to the 30 other media members huddling around 1 guy.

Actually, journalism (high profile journalism) is one of the toughest careers to get in to. For instance, many people that come through the JEM program at UT have high hopes to work with CBS or ESPN, but in reality the odds of getting there are almost the same as a high schooler getting to the Major League. However, the big problem is that many of the journalists lose their way in order to get that "top story". They sacrifice quality/ethics to get the story that we the audience want to read. It's an endless cycle. And this is directed towards actual journalists, not bloggers or columnists.

Vol86 writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeh the one from charlottesville should report on some Thanksgivings visitors one of the uva coaches had. Could be a rumor, but Pearl may not be the only one who has guest.

Volumnus writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen!

TNVOLNTX writes:

This is fairly accurate from Dickie V.

DICKIE V'S NEW TOP 25: (As of Nov 30)

1. Duke

2. Ohio State

3. Pittsburgh

4. Kansas

5. Syracuse

6. Georgetown

7. Michigan State

8. Kansas State

9. Tennessee

10. Villanova

11. San Diego State

12. Connecticut

13. Notre Dame

14. Texas

15. Kentucky

16. Illinois

17. Memphis

18. Minnesota

19. Florida

20. Missouri

21. Baylor

22. BYU

23. UNLV

24. Louisville

25. Purdue

Vol_in_VA writes:

I think you mean Charlottesville Daily Progress, not Daily Journal.

jawbreaker writes:

in response to Titan:

Lockridge is a Vandy homer. His dislike of all things UT is spilling over into his voting.

Agreed, Titan. Jeff Lockridge = Vanderbilt shill.

easleychuck writes:

Thanks for exposing some of these morons. This is why 'humam' voting should have less impact in the BCS disgrace that determines the football matth-up for the NC game.

Let the computers do it all and drop the voting altogether for a few seasons and maybe some of these yahoos would quit jerking some teams around in the voting. For this particular subject, any so-called media hack to not have the men's team even in the top 25 says all that needs to be said about the clown doing the voting. And miss Kristen gives all competent female sports media a black-eye with her joke of a vote.

Go Vols!

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to rebvavolfan1:

The polls are a joke

Makes you wonder why they even have them. Does help get people a paycheck and that helps.

nola_vol writes:

in response to Futurecoach16:

Actually, journalism (high profile journalism) is one of the toughest careers to get in to. For instance, many people that come through the JEM program at UT have high hopes to work with CBS or ESPN, but in reality the odds of getting there are almost the same as a high schooler getting to the Major League. However, the big problem is that many of the journalists lose their way in order to get that "top story". They sacrifice quality/ethics to get the story that we the audience want to read. It's an endless cycle. And this is directed towards actual journalists, not bloggers or columnists.

Well put, and correct.

Which is the reason, I believe, why sports journalists and talking heads seem to have a Hollywood-esque need to take "moral" stands on issues they often aren't fully informed about, or haven't thought through logically.

Gotta wonder how many AP voters feel better about themselves for taking a "principled" stand by downplaying the on-court success of Bruce's players?

On the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me if southern writers just think Villanova has been way overrated by the eastern writers.

hillsborovol writes:

in response to workinlikehek:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Here's Jeff Lockridge's email (a Vandy homer):

jlockridge@tennessean.com

Let him know how you feel. It's always fun to pick on Vandy

volguy#211935 writes:

I would bet dollars to doughnuts that neither Tallent nor Lockridge knew that the Vols beat Villanova. It was a holiday weekend and the game was played on Friday at 5 pm. That doesn't excuse their voting, but it probably comes from them not paying attention to results before sending in their ballots. Bottom line is that polls don't matter in college basketball.

lomas98 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

Makes you wonder why they even have them. Does help get people a paycheck and that helps.

I think the rpi ratings and strength of schedule rankings both rely on the human polls for their rankings. Without the polls TN would not have just beat a top ten team and have their sos and rpi rise. Playing the number 3 team next week wouldn't mean anything either. I realize the polls are just used for conversation and obviously a lot of voters don't take their vote serious, but I think they are required to show TN has an RPI of 2. The sad thing is that when TN does finally lose a game even more voters will probably drop them out.

PennVol writes:

Let's see...we beat Nova head to head on a neutral court...yep, makes sense they're still better than us...NOT. My guess is that half of these voters didn't even realize this game occurred (5 pm on Friday after Thanksgiving), let alone know who won.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

It's okay. If we keep winning and improving, we will get the respect. Probably, people are looking at the players we lost from last year's squad. As the team gets some more experience together, we will convince them.

jlovevols writes:

"Roger Clarkson of the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald has Villanova No. 16 and UT unranked."

He seems unbiased. Wonder where he has UGA after losing twice over the weekend.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Since I live not far from Charlottesville, we shouldn't be too concerned about a novice writer like this Whitelaw Reid..............not rating the Vols
and putting Villanova #8.

Notice the other writer for the Progress, Jerry Radcliffe has us in the top 10 however. UVA always was a wannabe and our dominance over them in just about any sport shows.

Jerry knows his stuff and is pretty fair with his columns.........and doesn't sugar coat things for the Cavaliers. Whitelaw is struggling to become a writer.

arkyvol writes:

correct me if i'm wrong, but polls do affect things like tournament seeding, do they not? even the best teams can be handicapped by a bad seed in the ncaa.

arkyvol writes:

one other comment. regardless of what the media hacks think or want to believe, i don't think that villanova or other favored teams like it are going to be anxious to draw the vols in an early tournament match up.

cdtnladyvols931#663910 writes:

YOU ARE RIGHT WYCALLER. SCREW THOSE POLE VOTERS.

1bigutfan writes:

Hopefully this works to further motivate this team.

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