Commentary: The teams listed in both poll's top five made their way into the Rewards system's top six, and almost all five were only off by one spot or fewer. The teams from #6 - #10 were a little more disperse, with Rewards thinking more highly of Fresno State, and less of #7/#6 Minnesota and #10/#11 Tulsa (as well as #15/#14 Kentucky). UNC was #1 in both polls, and in the "before and after" Rewards rankings since the Tar Heels did win the NCAA tournament. The University of Alabama at Birmingham made quite an impact this year, 3 years after their program was launched at the beginning of the 1979-80 season, by earning a #4 seed, being recognized as the #17 team in the country by the AP - and most importantly to the Rewards system - by defeating the #1 seed in the region, Viriginia (who was #3 in both polls). This win moved them up from #16 to #11 in the final Rewards ranking, and several other teams performances in the NCAAs did likewise. For instance, two #11 seeds won their opening round games (against #6 seeds). Northeastern (22-6 at the time) defeated St. Joseph's and moved up from #48 to #39 while Middle Tennessee State (21-7 before the NCAAs) defeated Kentucky, and jumped from #72 to #56. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (26-3) was unranked, and was given a #10 seed in the NCAAs, even though they were 26-3; Rewards thought more highly of them (#26) than their seventh seeded opponent - NC State - who Rewards had ranked as #36, and who UT Chattanooga defeated. (The Wolfpack was not in the top 20 at the end of this season in either poll.) And in the other tournament, Bradley won the NIT, and was promoted to #55 (from #65) by Rewards.
(This page last modified April 15, 2011 .)