January 11, 2010
Poll Dancing is The Dagger's weekly look at the college basketball polls.
I'm the biggest hypocrite there is when it comes to the Associated Press college basketball poll. The rankings don't really mean anything and I write as much every week. But I can't help but be excited when my team hits a milestone in the poll, whether it be sneaking into the top 25, moving up past teams they should never have been behind in the first place or, best of all, hitting the rarified air of No. 1. Seeing as how my favorite team hasn't made a Final Four in my lifetime, those few weeks of being in the top spot were as satisfying as basketball fandom has been for me. (This only goes for the AP poll, by the way. The coaches poll is as worthless as Weimar currency.) There's just something about seeing the "(1)" next to your team's name while checking scores on the internet or watching the ESPN ticker crawl by that provides an immense sense of pride.
Texas fans are getting that feeling for the first time today, as the Longhorns ascended to No. 1 for the first time in school history Monday. After what happened to the Longhorns last week, UT fans could use some good news. They should enjoy this. But Texas shouldn't start planning any parades for the first week of April just yet.
In the last decade, hitting No. 1 in mid-January was as bad an omen as hiring Kelvin Sampson or Tim Floyd. None of the 10 teams who hit No. 1 in the mid-January AP poll went on to win the national championship that season. Only three made the Final Four. Half didn't even make the regional finals.
Here are the 10, along with when each team eventually lost in the tournament.
2009 -- Wake Forest (first round)
2008 -- North Carolina (Final Four)
2007 -- North Carolina (Elite Eight)
2006 -- Duke (Sweet 16)
2005 -- Illinois (national championship)
2004 -- Duke (Final Four)
2003 -- Duke (Sweet 16)
2002 -- Duke (Sweet 16)
2001 -- Stanford (Elite Eight)
2000 -- Cincinnatti (second round)
Wake Forest and Cincinnati bookended a rough decade for those teams (although Cincy had a good reason: the team was without Kenyon Martin because of injury). In 2010, Texas fans hope to turn the tide. (Too soon?)