Breaking The Poll: Week 5


As if the AP Poll itself wasn’t meaningless enough, there is actually a story behind the story. There’s a tiny number next to teams in the Top 25, but there are a ton of little things going on behind that number. Breaking the Poll is a series that will break down AP voters and dissect why the Bearcats are ranked where they are. (This series is made possible by College Poll Tracker.)

The Bearcats are back.

After a brief hiatus from the Top 25 ranks, UC upset #19 Iowa State in Ames to gain the attention of the college basketball world and earn their highest position of the season. Last week, the Bearcats were ranked #28, with 49 votes in the poll. This week, they’re up to #22, receiving 258 votes, easily topping their season high of 120 votes in Week 2.

UC’s position at #22 is their best ranking since Week 8 (December 28) last season, and they’ll have a chance to improve on that ranking if they can pass a difficult test against #16 Butler later this week.

The highest voter this week is Graham Couch, who placed the Bearcats at #16. Inexplicably, there are four voters who left UC out of their poll entirely: Doug Doughty, Cormac Gordon, Elton Alexander, Scott Mansch, and Tony Parks. On the bright side, having just four voters “against” UC is a huge change from earlier this season. The Bearcats haven’t collected this many voters since exactly a year ago — Week 5 (December 8) of last season.

UC has earned attention with a marquee win. Expect them to skyrocket if they can figure out a way to get past a tough, undefeated Butler team on the road this week.

Biggest UC fan: Graham Couch, for ranking UC at #16 a week after leaving them outside of the Top 25. He was clearly impressed by the big win in Ames. Jon Rothstein and Seth Davis — two titans of the basketball Twitter world — joined hands in voting the Bearcats #18 in their polls.

Biggest UC hater: Doug Doughty, for being completely impossible. Following the Bearcats loss to Rhode Island and win over Penn State, Doug ranked the Bearcats #22 in his poll, choosing not to punish them for what was essentially a road loss against a ranked team. Since then, the Bearcats have won four straight games, including a road contest against #19 Iowa State. He left UC off his ballot. I guess we should expect nothing less from a man whose first and last name are almost the same. Cormac Gordon did the same thing, dropping UC from #23 in Week 3 to unranked in Week 5, despite going undefeated with a marquee win in that stretch.

Biggest Hater Ever Award: Tony Parks is the only AP voter who has yet to list UC on his ballot at any point this season. The only one. Out of 64 voters. Know who’s in his poll this week? He has TCU at #20. They’re ranked #45 in KenPom. Their best win is against 7–2 Arkansas State (KenPom 172). He also has Wichita State at #24. Their biggest win is against 6–2 Colorado State (KenPom 129). Get it together, Tony.