Commentary: This is one time where the polls were "more informed" about the strength of one of the top teams - Michigan State - than Rewards was. Because of their seven losses, most of which were early in the season (5 occurred in their first 13 games), Rewards ranked Michigan State as the #14 team before the NCAA tournament, when they were firmly entrenched as the #2 team in both polls because they played so strongly within the Big 10 regular season (14-2), and won the conference tournament. Even after the Spartans went 6-0, earning the distinction of National Champions, they were only elevated to 8th place in the final Rewards ranking. Maryland and Miami (Florida) were the only other teams with large discrepancies in their ranking (with regards to said polls). Maryland was ranked #25 by Rewards, but they were rated as the 17th (and 16th) best team in the polls, earning them a #3 seed in the tournament. Maryland went 1-1 in the tournament, and thereafter, Maryland was ranked #25 in the final Coaches' poll, which is the exact same ranking determined by the Rewards system. Miami on the other hand was ranked #23 by the AP, and #25 in the Coaches' poll, probably because of their strong finish at the end of the season, especially in the Big East tournament, losing by one point in the championship game. However, they were ranked as 46th best team by Rewards, mainly due to their 10 losses. Miami did go 2-1 in the tournament, and ended up #20 in the final Coaches' poll (#42 in the final Rewards ranking), so once again their record wasn't necessarily a good indication of well they were playing at the end of the year.
(This page last modified May 28, 2009 .)