Preseason polls are inherently futile. So here's one.... The preseason AP poll was announced yesterday. Top 10:
2. Wake Forest
3. Georgia Tech
4. North Carolina
7. Oklahoma State
Michigan State is 13th and Wisconsin is 21st. Michigan polled just outside the top 25 (at 27th).
Just how futile is a preseason poll? Here are the top 10 from last season's preseason AP poll:
3. Michigan State
9. North Carolina
Connecticut and Duke did, of course, meet in the Final Four (in a national semifinal game) and the Huskies did indeed win the national championship. Sixth-ranked Kansas was another good call, making it all the way to OT in the Elite Eight before falling. Kudos to the AP's national media panel, then, for correctly forecasting the national champion, half the Final Four, and three-eighths of the Elite Eight. As for the rest of last year's preseason top 10, however, it gets pretty ugly pretty fast.... Preseason #3 Michigan State dropped out of the top 25 entirely by Christmas and did not reappear. The Spartans lost in the first round of the tournament to Nevada. Preseason #4 Arizona rose to an absurdly overrated #3 by January 6 before entering the tournament in March at #22 (which was still too high--they were 20-9), where they lost in the first round to Seton Hall. Preseason #5 Missouri rose to an absurdly overrated #3 by December 8 before dropping out of the top 25 entirely and for good by January 6. The Tigers lost in the first round of the NIT to eventual champion Michigan. And as for the rest of last year's preseason top 10, only Syracuse made it as far as the Sweet 16 (where the Orangemen lost to Alabama). It all adds up to a Wonk warning to teams feeling good about their lofty preseason rankings: Six of the teams in last year's preseason AP top 10 didn't even make the Sweet 16.
In today's less Wonk-ish venues.... Wonk reads 'em so you don't have to! Purdue defeated Division II Washburn by the notably non-lopsided score of 81-72 in an exhibition last night. The pesky Ichabods pressured the Boilermakers into no less than 20 turnovers. Beat writers make Purdue's juco transfer Carl Landry the lead in links here and here. Illinois coach Bruce Weber responded to his team being ranked 5th in the AP's preseason poll by screaming in fury at shocked Illini beat writers: "Fifth? Hell, we should be number 1! Who votes in this thing, anyway? Blind morons? John Zogby?" No, seriously, Weber reacts with predictable and fatherly we-haven't-done-anything-yet pooh-poohing here, here, and here. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo responded to his team being ranked 13th in the AP's preseason poll by throwing himself to the ground in a violent frenzy in front of dumbfounded Spartan beat writers and sputtering: "Thirteenth? Like I'm supposed to be happy with that? What do I look like, the Washburn frickin' Ichabods?" No, seriously, Izzo reacts with predictable and fatherly we-haven't-done-anything-yet pooh-poohing here. Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan responded to his team being ranked 21st in the AP's preseason poll by shouting in a rage at stunned Badger beat writers: "Twenty-first? What the hell is that? In my instructional video, Bo Ryan Presents: Ranking Teams in the Preseason the Bo Ryan Way, Featuring Bo Ryan, I clearly explain that what I call 'The Bo Ryan Factor' means we should be first!" No, seriously, Ryan reacts with predictable and fatherly we-haven't-done-anything-yet pooh-poohing here. Iowa coach Steve Alford will sit newcomers Adam Haluska and Seth Gorney in the Hawkeyes' exhibition against Upper Iowa tomorrow night. Link here. Wisconsin's guards are young but feisty, says Rob Schultz of the Madison Capital Times. The apparently indefatigable Schultz also chips in a write up on Sunday's Badger intrasquad scrimmage here. Fran Fraschilla of espn.com rates Deron Williams of Illinois as second only to Chris Paul here. Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News rates Deron Williams as tenth only to Chris Paul, Lawrence Roberts, Francisco Garcia, Wayne Simien, Julius Hodge, Hakim Warrick, Ryan Gomes, Hassan Adams, and Joey Graham here. Wonk back! Don't just mutter ineffectually; email me!