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The CougCenter blogpoll ballot: Week 1

As I "announced" in a FanPost a couple of days ago, CougCenter will now be taking part in the Top 25 college basketball blogpoll, in which dozens of writers from blogs around the country will be voting.

Before I unveil my official ballot -- which is actually the same as my initial ballot since I was too late to revise it -- I'll shed a little light on my voting methods.

It should be noted that my ballot is most like a "power poll," in that I try to rank teams from 1-25 as of the day I voted -- in other words, I think team No. 1 would beat every other team in the country with the way they were playing at that point in the season, team No. 2 would beat teams 3 and down but not No. 1, etc. It's not a "resume" type of thing, which I think is a major weakness of the AP and coaches polls -- they should be much more responsive than they actually are. Because of this, teams often can move pretty drastically in my ballot if I'm convinced that a team is playing very well -- or very poorly -- in any given week.

So, how do I judge them? The first thing I need to do is admit that I don't get to watch nearly as much basketball as I used to. I just don't see all that many games anymore, which is unfortunate when it comes to voting for a top 25. Because of that, in addition to my own observations, I rely pretty heavily on two other information sources to try and compile my list:

  1. Ken Pomeroy's rating system.
  2. The AP and coaches' polls.

I use Pomeroy for obvious reasons if you've been around here for any length of time. His ratings system, based on adjusted efficiency, is by far the best one out there in terms of judging the true strength of a team. I also can use each team's "Game Plan" page (with efficiencies and four factor stats) to get a sense of how a team really played in recent games. For example, I'm a lot less to judge a team harshly for a loss if it's obvious from its effective field goal percentage that it just had an off shooting night. (If you're fairly new around here and don't know what all these weird stats are, read this, then read this explanation of Pomeroy's ratings.)

However, Pomeroy's is very much a "resume" approach -- take, for example, Gonzaga still being rated No. 10. This is where the other polls come in, since they tend to display trends a little better, if a little slowly. Plus, they're put together by people who (ostensibly) have watched them play. Sometimes, numbers just don't tell the whole story. So I try to combine the best of both worlds.

From now on, I'll try to get my ballot up on Sunday night in the FanShots so that I can get feedback before submitting my final ballot Monday morning. I'll try to post some general comments with my final ballot from here on out each week.

So, without further ado, here's my first ballot. You can find the overall blogpoll here, which also includes a cool breakdown of the poll and a link to each participant's ballot:

Rank Team
1 Connecticut
2 North Carolina
3 Pittsburgh
4 Oklahoma
5 Duke
6 Louisville
8 Memphis
9 Michigan St.
10 Clemson
11 Villanova
12 Missouri
13 Kansas
14 Marquette
15 Wake Forest
16 Xavier
17 Illinois
18 Butler
19 Washington
20 Arizona St.
21 Florida St.
22 San Diego St.
23 Purdue
24 Florida
25 Louisiana St.