Commentary: Undefeated #1 Ohio State was rated close to 18 points higher than #2 Cincinnati by Rewards at the end of the regular season, and when OSU lost in the NCAA championship (to Cincy) that gap was closed to almost 4 points, which is a much smaller gap than anticipated because OSU still had 2 fewer losses than the Bearcats. The top four teams in both polls agreed with Rewards before the tournaments began, and there was pretty good agreement throughout the top 10 for the most part as well, but the average for the top 15 above is quite high primarily to Wake Forest and Texas Tech. The Demon Deacons did win the ACC tournament, defeating #9/#10 Duke (#5/#6 UNC seems to have been excluded from that post season activity this year); 10 losses seems to be quite high to be ranked #15 in the AP and #10 in the UPI, but the voters do tend to emphasize how well a team is playing at the end of the year. (Wake Forest did win their first two NCAA games, so perhaps Rewards having them at #53 was a little too low. In fact, after beating St. John's and St. Bonaventure in the NCAAs, Rewards did elevate Wake up to #37.)
However, Texas Tech ended up 14-9, and was #12 in the AP and tied for 18th in the UPI, but winning the Southwest conference was no big deal this year, and they lost most games against their other non-conference opponents, so #72 might be low, but the ranking produced by the Rewards system is probably closer to their "true rating" than where the voters placed them, though they did only lose by 2 to Vanderbilt (19-5). Losing to LSU (11-14) and by 20 to Oklahoma (10-15) indicates how weak the Red Raiders were, and losing by more than 20 to Cincinnati is one more example the pollsters seemed to be a little off in their determination of the relative strength of this particular Texas Tech team. (Objectively, I can see no reason why they were elevated into such a high ranking!) Providence did move up from #18 to #10 after they won the NIT, and Holy Cross improved from #25 to #16 after winning the NIT Consolation game. Arizona State's win over USC in the West Region of the NCAAs helped them to climb up to #23 from #28 in the final Rewards ranking.
(This page last modified March 08, 2010 .)