Commentary: Rewards ranked the top five teams in the polls in its own top five as well, albeit in a slightly different order. (This is the only time this has occurred, though the top 5 average in 1996-97 and 2005-06 were also 0.8 - which is the lowest seen so far.) And besides the very close performance of Rewards in matching the rankings appearing in the polls in 2007-08, this year also ties 1996-97 with the highest totals in the first four categories above, with regards to the summation of those two numbers indicating a close or exact match in the above table. The top 25 average ballooned a little due to three of those teams being ranked much lower by Rewards, as will be noted later on.
Even though Connecticut defeated Duke in the Championship game, Duke's overall strength of schedule was better than UCONN's, so they remained in the top spot in the post season Rewards ranking, though both teams did incurr two losses. NIT champion California moved up in the Reward's ranking from #47 to #39 after winning that tournament, and they did end up as #35 in the final Coaches' poll (and unranked before it). New Mexico was ranked 25th/24th in the polls, but only as the 37th best team by Rewards. They did go 1-1 in the NCAA tournament, and ended up as the #31 team in the final Coaches' poll, and #33 in the final Rewards ranking. Syracuse was #29/#21 in the polls, but Rewards thought that with their 11 losses, they should only be #41, and they did lose their opening NCAA tournament game, and dropped to #47 as their final Rewards rank. Lastly, Kansas was a solid #22 in both polls, went 1-1 in the tournament, and ended up as the #23 in the final Coaches' poll, but Rewards moved them up from #43 only to #41, mainly due to their 9 (eventually 10) losses, and minimal wins against "strong teams". Arkansas was listed as the #17/#19 in the polls, also went 1-1 in the tournament, and finished as the #25 team in the final Coaches' poll. With 10 (and eventually 11) losses, Rewards had them as #32, and dropped them to #34 after the tournament for similar reasons to why Kansas was ranked so low. Kansas did win the Big 12's conference tournament, and so the pollsters were probably heavily influenced by that, and similarly for Arkansas, who lost in their conference's championship game. (Arkansas is the primary reason why the average for the top 20 above increased quite a bit from the top 15's average. Likewise with the top 25's average - given how Rewards ranked New Mexico, Syracuse and Kansas.)
(This page last modified May 19, 2009 .)