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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Should the UA men’s basketball team be ranked?


    PRO: Recent success merits recognition
    By Lance Madden

    Quick, think of your top-25 favorite current songs. What are your top-25 favorite foods?

    In each case, why is No. 1 so much greater than No. 25? What are some of your favorites that didn’t make the cut?

    Numbers help distinguish great things from just OK things. This is the case with men’s basketball, too.

    Arizona is still unranked in The Associated Press’ top-25 list. The Wildcats haven’t been in the list since they were No. 21 during the week of Dec. 21, 2007.

    The UA received 38 votes in this week’s AP poll, unofficially placing it 29th in the nation. But after a seven-game win streak that included wins over Houston (in overtime after being down by 10 points with less than a minute left in regulation), then-No. 23 Washington, and then-No. 11 UCLA, Arizona should be ranked in the top 25.

    Dayton is ranked No. 25 and does have a 23-3 record, but it also has the 126th-toughest schedule in the nation. Arizona has the 41st toughest.

    The Wildcats also have a tougher schedule than No. 23 LSU (106th toughest), No. 21 Butler (103rd), and No. 20 UCLA (52nd).

    Voters should also take into account that Arizona has three one-point losses, it has beaten then-No. 4 Gonzaga, and quite frankly, the Wildcats are still getting better.

    Why does a national ranking even matter?

    For one, it helps instill fear in opponents. Your opposition may shake in their boots if they’re playing one of the nation’s most recognized teams.

    Placing the program in the national spotlight will also do wonders for the future of the program. With “”Sportscenter”” and ESPN radio reviewing game highlights for the top-25 teams, potential recruits could take more interest in the team.

    It helps them distinguish great teams from just OK teams.

    And right now, Arizona is a great team.

    CON: Poll based on season’s body of work
    By Bryan Roy

    In a culture obsessed with rankings, scales and comparisons, it’s no surprise how highly people regard The Associated Press top-25 poll in college basketball.

    After all, it’s the easiest way to comprehend the body of work between more than 300 teams any given Saturday.

    It’s concise, it’s a list and it’s simple. America’s 25 best teams are listed based on their overall body of work from throughout the entire season.

    Keyword: Overall body of work.

    Which shouldn’t leave the Wildcats surprised after the team was left out of this week’s new rankings.

    Arizona, currently 18-8 overall and absent from the polls all season, certainly needs to continue streaking if it has any chance at cracking the poll.

    The poll doesn’t measure how hot a team is playing – that’s what modern day “”power”” ranking does. Many sports media outlets developed a “”power”” ranking top-25, which lists the hottest teams over a few weeks’ span.

    But that’s not how the AP poll works, and that’s why coaches and players couldn’t care less about the insignificant and irrelevant numbers.

    No. 24 Syracuse has the most losses at 19-7 overall – a team falling quickly in the vastly overrated Big East.

    The only reason rankings are so popular is because they selltelevision ratings, which in turn rack up advertising dollars.

    ESPN overrates the ACC and Big East to drive up ratings – no surprise that the “”Worldwide leader in sports”” has lucrative television contracts with both conferences.

    Prime example: Notre Dame, Georgetown and Duke, a team somehow still in the top 10 after losing four of its last six games.

    It’s a lot easier to sell a game between two “”top-10″” East Coast teams than it would be to market Gonzaga vs. ASU.

    Then again, why would the Wildcats want to be ranked? They’ve thrived in the underdog role and seem to be comfortable without all the added extra pressure which is why rankings are stupid.

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