Commentary: The Rewards system matched the top 10, in both of the polls, fairly closely after all the conference tournaments were completed; those 10 teams were only roughly 1.3 positions away from where the voters placed them (on average). The top four teams (in all three) were the four #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament, and only Michigan, Syracuse, Arkansas, and Illinois were between 7 to 14 positions further down in the Rewards ranking than the average poll positions those teams were voted into. Detroit was unranked, but Rewards had them as #15, and they were assigned a #10 seed in the tournament, and defeated #7 seed St. John's, who was ranked #29 and #32 in both polls, and were 33rd in the Rewards ranking. (Detroit moved up into a tie for #34 in the final Coaches' poll.) #11 seed Western Michigan was unranked in the polls, but listed as #37 by Rewards; they defeated #6 seed Clemson, who Rewards put as the #54 team, but the polls had them as #26 and #33.
#2 seed Kentucky moved up from #5 to #3 in the final Rewards ranking, after winning the NCAA tournament, but they were still slightly behind Duke and UNC because of fewer "quality wins". #3 seed Utah, and NCAA runner-up, moved up from #9 to #4 according to Rewards, and the top 8 in the final Coaches' poll were spread out over the first 8 places in the final Rewards ordering. NIT champion Minnesota moved up from #83 to #67 in Rewards (and #29 according to the voters), and #14 seed Valparaiso's appearance into the sweet 16 moved them to #23 in the final Coaches' poll, though their wins over #3 seed Mississippi, and "upset" winner #12 seed Florida State only elevated them from #95 to #62 in the last Rewards ranking.
(This page last modified July 10, 2009 .)