Commentary: Rewards matched what the pollsters thought, in regards to seven of the top fifteen teams, placing those teams in just about the same position as they appeared in the polls. So, you just might ask yourself: Why then are the averages slighlty on the "high side" in the Table above? Well, most of the other disagreements ranged from between 3 to 8 positions - most notably of which was the reigning 1993 NCAA National Champion team from North Carolina. The AP had them as #1, and the coaches as #2, (Arkansas was #1 in that poll, and #1 in Rewards), but Rewards didn't see them as being that strong, placing them at #9. After losing their second round tournament game to BC, the final Coaches' poll ranked UNC as #9, and surprisingly, Rewards bumped them up to #8, but obviously, they weren't the best team in 1994. Florida made the final four, and moved up from #14/#15 in the polls to #4, and Rewards promoted them from #19 to #15, but their eight losses kept that ranking system from placing them higher up.
Penn's victory over #6 seed Nebraska raised them from #20 to #13 in Rewards' eyes, and they moved up from #27 to #25 in the (final) Coaches' poll as well. BC's romp into the Elite Eight elevated them to #11 in the post season poll, and Rewards moved them up to #31 (from #34), but did have quite a few losses - eleven - so it was hard for them to "convince" Rewards that their overall season's performance was much better than that ranking, whereas the voters can emphasize late season/tournament play more when they cast their ballots. NIT Champion Villanova moved up from #62 to #52, and finished as the #31 team (they were unranked before the tournaments) and Siena, who won the NIT championship consolation game, moved from #70 to #46 in the final Rewards ranking. Another "top team" that placed very differently in the polls than as posted by Rewards was Minnesota, who was ranked #23/#20 before the NCAAs. They received a #6 seed, won their first round NCAA tournament game, and then lost to the #3 seed (#10 Louisville), and finishing as #23 in the Coaches' poll. Rewards couldn't overlook their (pre-tourney) eleven losses, and ranked them #33 before they went 1-1 in the NCAAs, and #36 thereafter.
(This page last modified November 24, 2009 .)