Commentary: Except for Kentucky, which Rewards placed at #16 in the pre-tournament rankings, the top 10 teams in both polls were somewhat rearranged in Rewards' top 10 as well. Maryland's late season surge pushed them to #11 in the polls, but with their 10 losses, Rewards only ranked them #21; Maryland made the Final Four, and moved up to #19 in the Rewards ranking after the tournaments were completed. NCAA National championship runner-up Arizona climbed from #9 to #5, according to Rewards. USC, who made the Elite Eight, and ended up ranked #22 (from #32 in Rewards; the voters elevated them from #35 to #14 as well), and Gonzaga, with their two wins in the NCAA's pushing them from #37 to #22 in the final Rewards ranking as well as moving them up to the #20 position in the Coaches' poll (from #29 in the AP, and tied for 32nd in the Coach's poll), are both examples where Rewards undervalued their seasons' performances. Temple, another Elite Eight team that really played well in the second half of the season, but had 12 losses, moved up from #68 to #57 in the Rewards ranking, and was #40 in the AP, and #28 in the Coaches' poll before the NCAAs, and #16 afterwards. Tulsa, the NIT champion finished their season as the #28 team in the post-season Coaches' poll, and moved up to #55 in the Rewards ranking (from the 70th position).
(This page last modified May 28, 2009 .)