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Steve Alford is way too worked up about polls


The story that has made the rounds on the web today — Gary Parrish and Mike DeCourcy have both written a few words about it — is the quote that Steve Alford gave the Albuquequre Journal on Tuesday:

“I’m amazed with the rankings,” Alford said. “Just looking at the rankings and we only have one team ranked. To be the third-best league in the country and only have one ranked team is bothersome, it really is.”

Don’t stress it, Steve.

For starters, the biggest reason that the Mountain West is ranked as the “third-best” (I’m not sure where he got third-best from, because the MWC is second in the RPI and fourth in Kenpom) conference in the country is that there are a lot of good teams in the league and no really bad teams. And when five of the nine teams in the league are ranked in the top 37 with the sixth-place team ranking 55th — as is the case with Kenpom — that’s going to boost the overall value on the conference in the computers.

But it doesn’t mean that the top of the league is going to be great.

And none of the three teams that most consider to be the favorites in the MWC — New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV — are great. They are good teams with the kind of talent that can match up with anyone in the country, but “good teams” that play in a conference off the beaten path have to do more simply have “the kind of talent that can match up with anyone” to be ranked.

Call it disrespect if you want, but that’s the truth.

If you’re not from a power conference, you’re not going to get the benefit of the doubt. That’s just the way that top 25 polls work.

Which brings me to my main point: stop paying so much attention to top 25 polls, Steve.

They, quite literally, do not have any relevance whatsoever in the grand scheme of things. The voters have been so consistently clueless that Parrish has managed to create a weekly column simply making fun of how dumb some voters are. The people that know? The people that pay attention to the happenings beyond simply what took place in the last week in the six power conferences? They know how good the Mountain West and all of its members are. Our latest bracket from Dave Ommen has six teams in from the MWC. Andy Glockner has six teams in as well.

There’s no need to be fired up about the polls.

Especially when your team is the one from the league that is ranked.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Colorado’s Tory Miller reprimanded by Pac-12 after biting opponent

Dusan Ristic, Tory Miller
AP Photo
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Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.

During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.

In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.

“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”

Miller also released his apology in the same release.

“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.

For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?


Michigan State’s Tum Tum Nairn battling foot injury

Lourawls Nairn Jr.
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Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.

According to a report from Kyle Austin of, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.

The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.

If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.

Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.