Commentary: As indicated by the entries in the table above, where teams ended up in the Rewards ranking differed somewhat from where they were placed in the two polls: Georgetown was #12 in the UPI and #11 by the AP (Rewards had them as #5), and Penn was unranked in both polls (Rewards did rank the "surprise" Final Four team of 1979 - Penn - as its #15 team.) Undefeated Indiana State was the only team that Rewards placed exactly the same as both polls (as the #1 team), and Rewards had UCLA as its #2 team (#3 in both polls) and vice versa with UNC.
Eventual NCAA Champion Michigan State, which lost a couple of games when one of its stars (Earvin "Magic" Johnson) was sidelined with an injury, moved up from #7 to #3 in the final Rewards ranking, after all the post season tournaments were completed, just behind Rewards' #2 team (UNC) that defeated the Spartans earlier in the regular season. Indiana, which won the NIT, and was one of three Big 10 teams that made the NIT's Final Four, moved up from #49 to #39, but the biggest "ranking jump" happened with Alcorn State. Even though they were undefeated (28-0), they were only invited to the NIT. Their opening round win over Mississippi State, and lost to eventual champion Indiana, helped "convince" Rewards to move them up from #60 to #20, since until those two games, they hadn't really played an "significantly challenging" competition that year. Depaul, the other Final Four who defeated Penn in the NCAA consolation game, moved up from #16 to #12 in the final Rewards ranking; they were #8 in the polls prior to the NCAA tourney, so the voters seemed to better understand how good they were at the end of the regular season.
(This page last modified April 11, 2012 .)