It’s Miffed Monday, everybody.
Generally speaking, an AP Top 25 voter like me hears from readers and fans mainly when there are disagreements with how I’ve voted. Nobody writes to say, “You know, Steve, I really like what you did with Nos. 8 and 13. Terrific work.” They say, “You unthinkable buffoon, how could you do that with Nos. 8 and 13!?”
But today … wow, just wow. After the top six teams, and seven of the top 10, all lost — on Saturday alone! — the new poll, out today, was never going to make sense to, let alone satisfy, the masses. So I know the complaints are coming.
How could I? What was I thinking? What was I smoking? Where the hell do I get off?
And so on.
To the new poll:
AP Top 25
1. Gonzaga, 2. Arizona, 3. Baylor, 4. Duke, 5. Auburn, 6. Kansas, 7. Kentucky, 8. Purdue, 9. Providence, 10. Wisconsin, 11. Villanova, 12. Texas Tech, 13. Tennessee, T14. Houston, T14. Arkansas, 16. USC, 17. UCLA, 18. Connecticut, 19. Saint Mary’s, 20. Illinois, 21. Texas, 22. Murray State, 23. Ohio State, 24. Iowa, 25. Alabama.
(Click here to see the poll in more complete list form.)
1. Gonzaga, 2. Duke, 3. Arizona, 4. Kentucky, 5. Auburn, 6. Purdue, 7. Texas Tech, 8. Baylor, 9. Kansas, 10. Providence, 11. Wisconsin, 12. Tennessee, 13. Villanova, 14. USC, 15. Illinois, 16. Houston, 17. Arkansas, 18. UCLA, 19. Connecticut, 20. Texas, 21. Iowa, 22. Saint Mary’s, 23. Ohio State, 24. Murray State, 25. Michigan State.
(Click here and then on “all voters” to see each voter’s individual ballot.)
• I tell you, it is no fun to rank Gonzaga No. 1 after it gets hammered in a West Coast Conference game. Granted, Saint Mary’s is really good. Yes, the Zags have dropped league games before and come out stronger in the end. But it would’ve been a delight to bestow a No. 1 vote on a different team. Problem is, nobody deserved it.
My money still is on a team with a bunch of good guards to eventually knock off the Zags in the NCAA Tournament. Baylor’s guards killed them last April. Alabama’s guards killed them early this season in Seattle. Jalen Suggs’ absence is still being felt.
• Man, my fellow voters sure are desperate to love Baylor. The Bears jumped from No. 10 to No. 3 — and picked up four first-place votes — on the strength of one victory against Kansas. Never mind that they previously were blown out by Kansas, or that they’re 0-2 against Texas Tech, or that they aren’t in first place in the Big 12. Nope — the Bears are back, baby!
• Notice Saint Mary’s is ranked just ahead of Illinois this week. This sort of thing makes me laugh sometimes because it’s not a reflection of reality, but rather just how polls work. What I’m getting at is this: If the Gaels and the Illini were playing on a neutral floor tomorrow, who would be favored? Which team would the pollsters pick to win if their very livelihoods depended on it? Is there a person on the planet who would take the Gaels over the Illini in a best-of-seven series?
But now I’m way off in the weeds. Sorry, I do that sometimes.
• My ballot crashers this week: Just Saint Mary’s. Some “just,” right? And we’ve talked about this team more than enough.
• Kicked to the curb (for now): Wake Forest. Deacs, we hardly knew ye.