Commentary: Rewards matched the top five exactly though Oklahoma and Memphis were #4 and 5 in the AP and vice versa in the UPI. UNC was #15 according to Rewards, mainly because of their eight losses, but perhaps their strong showing in the ACC tournament bolstered their resume in the eyes of the pollsters, who listed them as the 7th best team in the country. Purdue was unranked, but #13 according to Rewards, and the Boilermakers received a #6 seed, but their first round loss to Auburn - who also defeated a #3 seed in Kansas (#13 in both polls) to reach the sweet sixteen - probably validates the polls' snubbing of them. Those two wins by Auburn, a #11 seed, moved them up four places in the final Rewards but a couple of other sweet sixteen teams did 'better': Boston College, another #11 seed, was elevated to #26 (from #37) and #5 seed Louisiana Tech (#8 in both polls!) moved up from #12 to #6 with its wins over Pitt and the #4 seeded Ohio State team. LSU was also awarded a #4 seed (the AP had them as #20, and the UPI had them as #19) but Rewards had them as #28, and LSU's first round loss to #13 seeded Navy (that Rewards placed at #39) vindicates the Rewards system somewhat in that perhaps LSU was ranked too highly by the voters.
Villanova, the only #8 seed to ever win the NCAA tournament, finished as the team recognized by Rewards as having completed the 11th best season overall in 1984-85, moving up from #34; only their ten losses (five of which were to two other Final Four finalists from the Big East conference: #1 Georgetown - according to the polls at the end of the regular season - and #3 St. John's) prevented them from moving up even higher in the final Rewards ranking. NIT champion UCLA (21-12) moved up from #70 to #55, and UT Chattanooga (24-8) won two games in the NIT, and moved up 11 places (ending up at #54).
(This page last modified April 01, 2011 .)