Commentary: The top 25 teams, as ordered by the Rewards system, were more than five positions from the position they held in the final regular season polls only once: Louisville was ranked as #22, where they were voted #16 in both polls. However, #11 Texas was ranked by Rewards as the #25 team because after their win over Texas A&M, their next best win was against 23-11 Arkansas who was ranked #71 by Rewards. (The Razorbacks played their way into the NCAAs with a strong run in the SEC tournament, losing to Florida in the championship game. This late season run influenced the writers enough to garner them enough votes in the AP to be ranked as the #36 team.) The voters were probably influenced significantly by first year Longhorn phenom (and player of the year) Kevin Durant, who ended up as the #2 pick in the subsequent NBA draft. Two other teams ended up a little over a dozen positions away from their place as determined by the voters: USC, at 23-11, was ranked #37 by Rewards, but #23/#25 in the polls, and Creighton, whose record of 22-10 put them as the #46 team by Rewards, but they finished #26/#24 in the polls published before the NCAA tournament .
After the two tournaments were finished, it was clear that West Virginia was incorrectly snubbed by the selection committee, since they won the NIT. Rewards had them as #28, though they were unranked in the AP, and #35 in the Coaches' poll (#33 after the tournaments) and #20, according to Rewards, after their victory in the NIT championship game. WVU was the highest ranked team in the Rewards system that wasn't selected (Air Force was the second highest, and they made the NIT semis) and probably should have been taken by the NCAA instead of Arkansas or Illinois. According to Rewards, Nevada, UNLV, VCU and Winthrop all should have been given better seeds, and their wins in the tournament validates that claim.
(This page last modified April 21, 2011 .)