As we discussed early this morning, not only has The State's Ron Morris not voted the Syracuse Orange No. 1 in his poll, he's got the Orange all the way down at No. 4. He's the only AP voter to not have SU either No. 1 or No. 2.
So, what's the deal?
The guys on ESPN CNY's Upon Further Review spoke with Morris today to get his take on poll voting and here's what he had to say.
"I kinda decided back in early December after getting a pretty good look at Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State and having watched Syracuse once on TV against Florida that, and I don't think I'm alone in...believing Ohio State, Kentucky and North Carolina...are the three best teams in the country by a longshot. Then I think there's a big group of 15-20 after those three, led by Syracuse, that could possibly win the National Championship, but I think there's a big gap between the first three and the rest."
Resisting urge to go on 800 word tangent, resisting urge to go on 800 word tangent, resisting urge to go on 800 word tangent...
"Let me preface it by saying this is a basketball poll. This isn't a football poll. It doesn't really matter. In the big picture, it doesn't matter. My guess might not be as good as yours...and probably isn't, so there's no sense in getting real upset about it. I've gotten quite a few emails from Syracuse fans and I've tried to kinda calm them, saying, you know, it's just not that big a deal. What does it matter whether you're a unanimous No. 1 in late December or early January? There's a tournament at the end of the season, I don't know if the Syracuse fans have heard that or not."
I can understand Ron here, he's right in many respects. But by saying all of that he raises a couple existential questions. No. 1, why bother having an AP poll at all? No. 2, if you're guess is as good as mine, where's my AP vote? No. 3, if Ohio State loses every game for the rest of the season, will you still rank then ahead of an undefeated Syracuse just because they looked good in early December?
Ron then explained his voting process, which it should be noted routinely gets him called out as a bad pollster.
"At the beginning of the year, I take one the preseason magazines...they rank the Top 25 players at each position in the country. And then they have a Top 25 freshmen recruiting class list. And I assign a point value to all of those and I come up with the teams that have the most talent, basically, I rank one through 25 in my preseason poll...People just blast me for it, but I think I was the only one that even voted for Connecticut in the preseason poll. And they ended up winning the National Championship. Because talent wins."
But is there any chance Syracuse, who lacks talent by Ron's definition, could ever move higher than No, 4 in his poll?
"If they run the table, I'll move them up there. And if Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State fall apart, but it's not gonna happen. And the thing about Syracuse, and I hate to say this because Syracuse fans probably won't take it the right way, but the thing I don't like about them, is the fact that [Boeheim] plays ten players. That doesn't matter in college basketball, you only need three. You only need five, six, seven. You need three stars to go all the way in the NCAA Tournament and I'm not sure if Syracuse has that. They do have ten quality players but, nobody uses ten players. You don't need'm. And I also have serious questions about Syracuse's ability to rebound. They are not a good rebounding team."
So for those of you making the "Syracuse should be No. 1 for the sole reason that they have a ten-player rotation" argument, you can stop now. DEBUNKED!
Ron went a little off the rails there towards the end. If you listen to the interview, Morris gets openly agitated by the fact that Syracuse has a ten-man rotation. As if it's being done in defiance of him. A little weird.
In closing, THANK GOD the AP Poll has no official bearing on what happens at the end of the season. Can you imagine if NCAA Tournament placements were based on votes from a guy who reads preseason magazines and watches a team once all season long?
Don't email Ron with your salty concerns. Don't leave him nasty phone messages. Just take this, put it in your back pocket and let's all remember to buy Ron a commemorative National Champion t-shirt when that day comes...
"I'll admit, I only saw them play against Florida and frankly, I thought Florida was just as good, if not better than Syracuse."
On second thought, F that guy.
(Seriously though, don't contact him, lets our team do the talking)