Commentary: The pollsters seemed to have a better feel for the #1 Kentucky team as they were only ranked as the #4 team by Rewards after the regular season conclude. The teams they defeated didn't appear to be quite as strong as those beaten by Indiana and Kansas State, who finished with slightly higher overall ratings than Kentucky did, even though both the Hoosiers and the Wildcats suffered one more loss than Kentucky did. Adolph Rupp's Kentucky team vaulted into the #1 spot in the final Rewards ranking, after the Wildcats won the NCAA tournament; Columbia shifted downward into the #2 position after their first loss of the season (in the opening round of the NCAA tournament).
UCLA lost twice in the roughly 30 games that were played after the final AP poll was taken (3/7/1951), and so their #16 ranking in the newly established UPI (Coaches) poll is somewhat dubious; Rewards ranked the Bruins as the #36 team, when including those two losses. (I don't know the date when the final UPI poll was taken). Rewards had Columbia as the #1 team, essentially because they were the only undefeated team. Oklahoma State was the #2 team in both polls, but they were #7 according to Rewards, and #12 according to the Power Rating System which had Kansas State (#4 and #3 in the polls) and Kentucky (#1 in both polls) as the top two rated teams, and KSU and Kentucky actually did play against each other in the NCAA Tournament Championship game! (OK State was tied for the 20th best team according to my Discrete Rating System. KSU and Kentucky were 1-2 in that one system as well). Therefore, it really was no surprise that the Kansas State knocked off the OK State in the NCAA tournament, though 68-44 was a larger margin than most would have imagined the 27-4 Cowboys losing by. Otherwise, the top fifteen teams in the polls appeared throughout Reward's top 25, but many were more than several positions away - especially BYU which was ranked in the polls at #10/#11 and Rewards ranked them as the #26 team. (BYU did have 7 losses, and the highest team in the Rewards rankings with that many losses was #15 St. Louis, followed by #25 Princeton. For the most part, teams with fewer losses are ranked higher by Rewards, assuming they have defeated a few high quality opponents.)
(This page last modified February 01, 2010 .)