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.