Commentary: Rewards (correctly) had UNC as #1 both before AND after the NCAA postseason tournament, and as indicated above, Rewards matched the top 15 in both polls fairly closely (before said tourney). Compared with the Coaches' poll after UNC defeated Michigan State in the championship game, Rewards had eight teams in the top 15 that were at most plus or minus one position away from their final poll position, averaging a "distance" of 1.67. Xavier was ranked (by Rewards) as the 15th best team both before and after the tournament, but the polls had them as #20/#22 before, and as #15 in the final Coaches' poll (after they played their way into the Elite Eight). Utah also ended up highly ranked (#25/#28) before the tournament, but Rewards didn't evaluate them so highly (#43), especially since they lost their opening game - at home - to Division II Southwest Baptist. After their opening loss in the tourney (as a #5 seed to #12 Wisconsin), they slipped a spot to #44 in the final Rewards ranking, but fell farther in the last poll, dropping into a tie for 42nd place. NIT Champion Penn State moved up from #38 to #33 in the ordering produced by Rewards, and was tied for 32nd place in the final Coaches' poll. NIT runner-up (Baylor) moved up from #75 to #64 in Rewards, and NIT semifinalist Notre Dame improved from #70 to #58 while the other semifinalist (San Diego State) was ranked as the 42nd best team both before and after the postseason concluded.
(This page last modified May 25, 2009 .)