Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Mess -- The Guru's AP Vote

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA _ First, this just in, actually this just in several hours ago.

Acacia reported from Balogna, Italy, that her "Molto Monday" column will move a little later this week so she can report on her first day of attending classes as she moves into the next phase of her studies overseas.

Also, the voting link to the internet site is a few paragrahs below. Figured, I'd put it in now so it doesn't foul the graciousness and entertainment of Acacia's story when it arrives.

Now, to continue stateside:

If my own experience is any example, this past week's wild group of results among the Associated Press poll teams is guaranteed to create quite the shakeup, depending on philosophy by any individual voter.

Undoutedly, many of you will go to the AP voter site to see who did what to who with their ballots. This will be Week No. 14, so if you don't see that number, the web site has yet to be updated.

Since your Guru is babysitting the desk here Sunday night in the sports department at the paper while the small remaining staff is focused on a certain football game, I decided to jump the gun, give you my ballot now, and explain the motives.

I worked off the actual poll itself, and not my own previous ballot, which was quite close to the final tally, anyway, in the last release.

There is no uniform logic because of the way the competition went. Philosphically, I went with such precepts as ``Who's playing well, now,'' ``Some comparative results,'' and worked more on getting the right levels and neighborhoods of teams, than any specific ranking order.
And furthermore, you can't be reflective with the pure ranking philosophy method.

So let's begin the tour.

!. Duke
2. North Carolina

That was easy and they'll decide the issue, for now, against each other in Chapel Hill on Thursday night.

3. Tennessee.

Also easy with Georgia getting a chance to change the perception Monday night.

4. Connecticut.
5. Maryland.

Ok, OK, the Huskies had a scare at Marquette and Maryland deserves more punishment for losing at unranked Georgia Tech. However, as a line once was stated in a NASA movie, ``We have a problem.''

The bottom of the top ten collapsed, leaving not much to move to the penthouse. So, in terms of fielding teams on the floor, technical merit keeps those two teams high. Connecticut has begun a stretch of games which will either solidify the Huskies or hurl them back to the masses.

6. Ohio State
7. LSU

Head-to-head, it should be the other way based on that previous outcome. But that was then and this was this week. And it's one thing to lose to Georgia, it's another to barely escape South Carolina.

8. George Washington
9. Georgia

The Colonials get a move-up nod from No. 11 based on survival among teams with losses.
Georgia needed to be rewarded for beating LSU, but George Washington, in the mix, needed to be placed in perspective for a previous win over Georgia.

And now the fun begins because there's little difference between levels the rest of the way.

10. Oklahoma.

The Sooners deserve more punishment, yes, for the loss to Texas, but, hey, this whole neighborhood of teams imploded. Thus by comparison of teams and talent, along with the valued factor of wins and losses, Oklahoma seems to get a slight nod ahead of the remainder of the crowd.

11. California.

The Bears won't be questioned this season after moving close, if not in, among teams considered a lock for the NCAA tournament. Sunday's 72-57 win over spoke volumes how well California has done since coach Joanne Boyle took over last season.

12. Stanford

Yeah, again, another instance of more punishment needed than was handed out. But another best of the rest, maybe, qualification halts the Stanford slide to here.

13. Purdue.

Can't punish too much for losing to Ohio State. A 10-13 drop is caused by the advancement of California and Georgia.

14. Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights kept their heads in a week many others were losing theirs and C. Vivian Stringer's team is playing its best ball of the season. So by comparison, this is a nice slot going into Tuesday night's game at Connecticut that will help tell us alot about both teams right now.

15. Nebraska.

Reward for Iowa State and Baylor wins. We had Rutgers ahead of the Cornhuskers simply because we think that head-to-head, right now, the Scarlet Knights win that game.

16. Bowling Green.

Didn't want to punish but couldn't move up much in comparison to the floor talent of some other teams in the neighborhood. A big conference test this week with Ball State, a team that could start pulling votes with an upset.

17. Louisville

We liked what we saw at Villanova early last week. Yeah, Cardinal fans will wonder how Rutgers has jumped so far ahead after the recent loss to Louisville. Well, although the home team did its own talking, but if Rutgers had taken care of business, I wouldn't even have a need to make a comment on the subject here.

18. Marquette.

Not totally shameful losing to Rutgers and competitively to Connecticut.

19. Arizona State.
20. Baylor.
21. Vanderbilt.
22. Texas A&M.

They fall in proportion to each other from their previous positions. We just don't know about Vandy in a group that is large and even. So the punishment looks severe but for the Commodores, that's why man and woman invented the Southeastern Conference.

23. Middle Tennessee.

They held ground and dropped not for what they did wrong but because of others who did more and leaped ahead.

24. James Madison.

Nice win over Old Dominion to hold up the return to the poll last week after a long absence.

25. Wis.-Green Bay.

No reason to drop them out.

There are many others we have our eye on, but the bottom of last week's group was actually more stable than the middle, so there wasn't much room for replacements.

And so there you are, the answers of why I did what I did before you ask. Let's see how the overall total comes out compared to this shot.

-- Mel

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