Kentucky has been everyone’s No. 1 team for the entire 2014-15 season. The Wildcats currently reside atop the College Basketball Talk Top 25 and have also been the unanimous AP No. 1 team for five weeks running.
But the USA Today Coaches Poll has seen a single vote cast for Duke ahead of Kentucky this season, and Mark Wiedmer of the Chattanooga Times Free Press has found the culprit. Among the 32 coaches who vote in the poll, only Wofford head coach Mike Young has placed the Blue Devils at No. 1.
Young explained his rationale to Wiedmer:
“Well, I know one No. 1 vote Duke got, and that was mine,” Young said to Wiedmer. “I know Kentucky is such a remarkable team — so long and so deep. But Duke is just as terrific. I know I’d love to see them play each other in the (NCAA) tournament.”
To further explain Young’s thought process behind putting Duke at No. 1, you just need to look at the Terriers’ schedule. The Blue Devils smashed Wofford, 84-55, on New Year’s Eve. You might think that Wofford is some pushover mid-major program with no basis of knowledge of the bluebloods of college basketball, but the Terriers lost to No. 2 seed and Final Four participant Wisconsin last season in the NCAA Tournament and also beat N.C. State on the road this season.
At 11-4, Wofford is favored to win the Southern Conference and make it back to the NCAA Tournament this season. So Young is a good coach who has seen some really talented teams the past few years. His opinion doesn’t come without merit. In this case, he just happens to disagree with everyone else who follows college basketball.
Young is a big fan of Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor, however, and that could also aid in his decision to put the Blue Devils in the top spot.
“If you try to play him one-on-one, he’ll just overpower you; he’s almost unstoppable. And if you double him, he throws lasers back to the perimeter, which usually result in wide-open 3-pointers,” Young said of Okafor.
The nation’s college basketball fans will just have to agree to disagree with Young on his vote, but he does make one point that we can all get behind. We’d all love to see Duke and Kentucky face each other in March to determine on the floor who the better team is.