February 20, 2011
If voters in the AP Top 25 thought determining the top five was difficult last week, they probably aren't going to enjoy this week's process any better.
If I had a vote I'd likely put the Buckeyes No. 1 in spite of their loss at Purdue because they have the best season-long resume, though I can definitely see the argument for several other teams, especially Pittsburgh. The Panthers have slightly better wins than Ohio State, but the Buckeyes' lone two losses of the season came on the road against two teams who have yet to lose at home this season.
Here's an assessment of each of their résumé's thus far and why all seven should or should not be No. 1. And for those who argue that the polls are irrelevant, you're right but don't forget these are also the seven teams vying for No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament next month as well.
1. Ohio State (25-2, 12-2, RPI: 4, SOS: 33)
Losses: at Wisconsin, at Purdue
Why they should be No. 1: Ohio State's two losses are on the road against teams who are a combined 29-0 at home.
2. Pittsburgh (24-3, 12-2, RPI: 8, SOS: 25)
Why they should be No. 1: Pittsburgh leads the nation's toughest conference and has beaten five top 20 teams including Texas on a neutral floor.
Why they shouldn't: Two of the Panthers' three losses came against teams that are not currently ranked and the other was at home.
3. Texas (23-4, 11-1, RPI: 7, SOS: 16)
Why they should be No. 1: They beat Kansas in Lawrence and had dominated the Big 12 prior to Saturday's loss at Nebraska.
Why they shouldn't: Four losses are more than any other team in contention for the No. 1 ranking. Plus a 17-point loss at USC is an eyesore.
4. Kansas (25-2, 10-2, RPI: 1, SOS: 10)
Losses: Texas, at Kansas State
Why they should be No. 1: Kansas has only two losses, one of which came on the heels of Thomas Robinson's mother's death.
Why they shouldn't: Arizona, Missouri and UCLA are the only certain NCAA tourney teams Kansas has beaten -- and two of those wins were in the opening weeks of the season.
5. BYU (25-2, 11-1, RPI: 2, SOS: 21)
Losses: UCLA, at New Mexico
Why they should be No. 1: Compare BYU's wins to the teams ranked ahead of it and you may be surprised to see that they stack up rather well against fellow two-loss teams Duke and Kansas.
Why they shouldn't: Their wins don't quite stack up with Ohio State or Pittsburgh.
6. Duke (24-2, 11-1, RPI: 6, SOS: 35)
Losses: at Florida State, at St. John's
Why they should be No. 1: Assuming the Blue Devils defeat Georgia Tech on Sunday night, they'll be the only top five team that didn't lose this week.
Why they shouldn't: The come-from-behind home win over North Carolina is Duke's lone victory of the season over a certain NCAA tournament team.
7. San Diego State (27-1, 12-1, RPI: 3, SOS: 33)
Losses: at BYU
Why they should be No. 1: The Aztecs are the nation's lone one-loss team, they have more road/neutral wins than any team ranked ahead of them and their lone loss was to a top 10 team on the road.
Why they shouldn't: San Diego State doesn't have the marquee wins of a Pittsburgh, a Texas or an Ohio State.