clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

AP Top 25: Indiana falls to 16th behind Purdue and Wisconsin, because polls are arbitrary reactionary garbage

Indiana’s the 3rd highest ranked Big Ten team. That’s absolutely absurd — and it’s a case study as to everything wrong with modern polls.

NCAA Basketball: Crossroads Classic-Butler at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This was predictable, and does not matter at all. But in this week’s AP Poll, Indiana’s fallen just behind Butler, Wisconsin, and Purdue to come in at 16th in the rankings.

That’s absolutely absurd.

Polls are naturally flawed at best, as it’s almost impossible for voters to pay enough quality attention to any team to truly quantify teams in that manner. The only way to do it somewhat reasonably is by box-score watching and looking at a team’s resume to date. It’s why coaches don’t get all that wrapped up in these December polls, and why you shouldn’t either.

At 13th, Butler is the top ranked team in the state in this poll, as it should be. They have six KenPom Top 80 wins to date and three (Indiana, Arizona, Cincinnati) inside KP’s top 20 — that’s an incredible number for mid-December. They should be ranked inside the top 10. Why aren’t they? Voters are latching onto the shock value of a one-point road loss to Indiana State.

But just after that, you’ve got three teams listed in consecutive order at 14, 15, and 16: Wisconsin, Purdue, and Indiana.

Wisconsin lost by double digits to Creighton and North Carolina, has no Top 25 wins, and can only lean on a resume of wins over middling Power 5 “name brands” that all have three or more losses. The best of the bunch? 7-3 Marquette. Wins over Syracuse, Georgetown, Oklahoma, and Tennessee sound great, until you realize all those teams are actually kinda bad!

Purdue, a team with competitive losses to Villanova and Louisville, picked up its first top 25 win over Notre Dame on Saturday. Their second best win? Auburn.

About that:


Per KenPom, Indiana’s Bad Terrible Awful Loss is against a team better than Purdue’s second best win.

Indiana, meanwhile, has wins over Kansas and North Carolina. Have the Hoosiers also played a host of garbage sub-250 KenPom filler teams? Sure. But unless quality losses are more important than quality wins, there’s no possible argument for ranking Purdue and Wisconsin above Indiana. Period. End of story.

Here’s the full, very bad poll.