In SI today, Seth Davis penned an article bemoaning the Bruins' ranking.
I'm sorry to hate on my fellow voters, but there is no logic -- none -- to have UCLA ranked ahead of Arizona. And not just ahead, but nine spots ahead. Was I hallucinating, or did Arizona just spank UCLA by 12 points last week? Yes, the game was in Tucson, but it's not like Arizona was a fluke; it was the Wildcats' seventh-straight win. It's time for voters and fans to come to a cold realization about UCLA. The Bruins have yet to beat a team that is currently ranked in the top 25. They have a chance to rectify that when they get No. 22 Washington at home on Thursday night, but for the time being, UCLA is overrated.
No logic? Apparently, they don't teach that course at Duke (I took logic from the esteemed Donald Kalish at UCLA, so I know what I am talking about.) Here is some logic:
- UCLA dismantled Arizona 83-60 a few weeks ago.
- Arizona is 2-6 on the road, with the only wins coming against the Oregon schools and bad losses to Stanford and Texas A&M. Only 2 of these 6 losses was by single digits.
- UCLA is ahead of Arizona in the Pac-10 standings, even though Arizona still has to play at ASU and at Washington and has only 2 remaining home games.
- In the last 3 weeks, UCLA has outscored its opponents, including 2 bubble teams (USC, Notre Dame) and an NCAA tourney lock (Cal) by an average of 12 points, even if you include the two losses this past weekend.
- Louisville lost to Notre Dame by 33 points, yet Davis ranks the 5-loss Louisville team (which also has losses to Western Kentucky (neutral court) and UNLV (home court)) 11th, an unknown number of spots ahead of Notre Dame.
- The Bruins are 7th in Pomeroy and 20th in Sagarin, Arizona is 33rd and 38th.
- The Bruins have not beaten a top-25 team, but they've only had 3 chances, two on the road. Sample size.
- Poll Rankings are a flawed measure to use to determine whether a team is deserving of a ranking. Had UCLA lost to Cal, Cal would be ranked and we'd be 0-4 against ranked teams. Flip side, if we had beaten ASU twice, ASU would have 7 losses and probably would not be ranked (the only ranked team with 7 losses is Syracuse), and if we had beated UW once, UW would have 7 losses and probably would not be ranked.
- Further to the prior point, in 2006, UCLA entered the NCAA tournament with a 1-4 record against ranked teams, the lone win coming against #21 Nevada, and losses to #3 Memphis, #17 Washington (twice) and #23 West Virginia. By Seth's logic, UCLA didn't deserve to be ranked. We all know what happened.
- Arizona has 8 losses on the season, and we only have 6.
- Our Pac-10 scoring margin is +7.8, Arizona's is +1.8.
All of those reasons point toward UCLA being ranked over Arizona. The only two factors that would put Arizona ahead of UCLA are the head-to-head victory (which is offset by our head-to-head victory by a greater margin) and that Arizona's beaten the 18th, 19th and 20th ranked teams at home (and UCLA, who doesn't deserve the ranking, so why would we count them) and is therefore 4-2 against ranked teams (3-1 if UCLA is not ranked).
And that leads to another reason why Arizona doesn't deserve to be ranked ahead of UCLA. The Wildcats have lost to 6 unranked teams. I don't know about you, but the list of reasons for UCLA being ranked ahead of Arizona far outweighs the reasons for Arizona to be ranked.
Put that in your pipe, Seth, and smoke it.
In other news, we'd better win on Thursday, or I'm going to go postal.