Commentary: On average, the rankings produced by the Rewards system disagreed somewhat with the polls this year, including some large differences with several top teams, though it did match four of the top five fairly closely. #3 Oklahoma was ranked twelfth by Rewards, as they had 6 losses as did Texas, but the Longhorn defeated them at home and on the road, which is part of the reason why Texas earned the #5 rank in the polls (and #6 by Rewards). However, Oklahoma won the Big-12 postseason tournament, and Texas lost their opening game in it, which is why the voters placed Oklahoma ahead of Texas. But, Oklahoma didn't have any significantly high quality wins out of conference (likewise with #6 Kansas, which was ranked by Rewards as #17) so Rewards, after evaluating their entire season, and not over emphasizing how well they played at the end of the year as many voters do, ranked them lower than the polls. Kansas lost to eventual tournament champion Syracuse, and Oklahoma did make the Elite Eight, so the Jayhawks' and the Sooners' postseason rankings were elevated to #7 and #8 by Rewards, respectively, as supported by those tournament wins. On the other hand, Syracuse and Marquette were ranked as the #4 and #5 teams by Rewards after the completion of the regular season, which was higher than the polls ranked them (#13/#12 and #9/#11 respectively) and both teams made the Final Four as well. This is due in part to their both only having 5 losses, and most likely, the level of success experienced by the Big East and Conference USA in their games against teams from other conferences. Syracuse moved up to #3 in the Rewards rankings, after all the tournament games were included, while Marquette stayed at #5. Georgia was ranked #18 by Rewards, and #25 in the AP poll, but they were on NCAA probation and therefore, could not receive any votes in the Coaches' poll, nor participate in any postseason tournaments.
(This page last modified July 31, 2009 .)