Top  5 10 15 20 25
Avg. 0.2 1.4 2.83 3.23 3.94
"=" 5 6 6 7 7
OBO 0 1 1 1 1




Table Legend

Rewards standings before the tournament games and after them.

Commentary: The top five teams in the AP poll matched "exactly" the top five in the Rewards rankings generated after the regular season ended. UNC was #2 in the Coaches' poll, and since they ended up defeating Michigan for the NCAA title, those voters seemed more informed than the AP sportswriters who had the Tar Heels as #4. (#1 Indiana lost a key player - starting forward Alan Henderson - to a leg injury, and even though he played some in the second round games, he was not 100%, and the Hoosiers lost in the regional finals to Kansas. UNC did move ahead of Indiana in the postseason Rewards ranking.) Minnesota won the the NIT and moved from #32 to #28 in Rewards (they were unranked before the NIT) and finished as #25 in the final Coaches' poll. (The 0.2 average difference between the top five teams in the polls, and the top 5 teams in Rewards, is the lowest seen so far, with three other years coming in at 0.8. 1998 lists 1.3 as its top 10 average difference, which is the lowest that has recorded so far, and is slightly ahead of the 1.4 this year. Larger variances occurred occasionally after moving down to the top 15, 20 and top 25.)

Western Kentucky was ranked #20 by Rewards before the NCAAs, and their #7 seed put them against #2 seed Seton Hall, after the Hilltoppers dispatched of #10 seed Memphis in the opening round of the NCAAs. Seton Hall was #6 in both polls, but only #12 according to Rewards, and after WKU defeated Seton Hall (and lost to #3 seed Florida State) WKU ended up as the #14 in the final Rewards ranking, and #16 in the final Coaches' poll, and Seton Hall stayed at #12 according to Rewards and finished as #11 in the Coaches' poll. George Washington received a vote or two in both polls before the NCAAs, tying them for 53rd/56th place respectively, but Rewards had them as #27. As a #12 seed, they defeated the #5 seed New Mexico, who was #21 and #27 in the pre-tournament polls (and #16 in Rewards), and GW then defeated another "upset winner" - #13 seed Southern, who knocked off Georgia Tech (the #4 seed). GW ended up #25 in the post-tournament Rewards ranking, and #21 in the Coaches' poll while #7 seed Temple moved up (from #72 to #66) after defeating Missouri and Santa Clara, the latter who upset #2 seed Arizona and finished as the #44 team in the Coaches' poll. (Temple was #38 in the AP, and tied for #35 in the Coaches' poll before the tournaments, and #13 afterwards, but with 13 losses overall, Rewards couldn't 'reward' them as much as the voters!) With 9 losses at the end of the season, Rewards ranked Florida State as #17 both before and after the NCAA and NIT tournaments, though before these, the polls had FSU as the #11 team in the country, and they did reach the Elite Eight, so perhaps most of those losses were to other top teams; only 6 teams ranked higher than them by Rewards had more than 6 losses, so Rewards couldn't really rank them much higher, given how it evaluates each team's entire season. (FSU finished in the Coaches' poll as #7). Likewise, Louisville had 8 losses, and was #14/#15 in the polls, but Rewards had them as #26, and the Cardinals did reach the Sweet Sixteen, so some (or most) of their losses might be attributable to playing a tough schedule, as experienced by FSU. (Louisville ended up #15 in the final Coaches' poll.)

(This page last modified November 25, 2009 .)