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.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guru Report: Associated Press Women's Poll Turns 600

By Mel Greenberg

The release of the new Associated Press women's poll on Monday for the sixth vote of the season makes two events of note this week.

The first, of course, is the Maggie Dixon Classic on Sunday in New York City at Madison Square Garden in which after Rutgers hosts No. 8 Texas A&M, the top-ranked, two-time unbeaten and defending NCAA champion Connecticut Huskies will attempt to tie the basketball win streak record of 88 set by the UCLA men's team in 1971-74 under the legendary John Wooden.

Doing honors as the UConn opponent, with a little less luster after falling from sixth to 11 as a consequence of Saturday's loss to Syracuse is the Ohio State Buckeyes, coached by Jim Foster, the man who hired UConn's Geno Auriemma as an assistant at St. Joseph's when Foster joined the Hawks in 1978-79.

The Guru will be on that case.

The next note is that Monday's poll became the 600th in the 35-year history dating to Nov. 1976 when the Guru launched the rankings in The Philadelphia Inquirer and two years later the Associated Press began running it on its wire service.

The Guru is going to open the vaults the next several days to tons of trivia but for now, there are several noteworthy items off this week's particular vote.

To date, 148 teams, a handful no longer in Division I, have been ranked 13,989 times.

With UConn being ranked No. 1, the Huskies continue to dominate the all-time total of No. 1 appearances with 150, followed by Tennessee, who else, at 112. With Boston College's entrance into the rankings for the first time since Feb. 20, 2006, Eagles coach Sylvia Crawley, a former star at North Carolina, becomes the 30th female to play on and coach an AP ranked women's team.

Crawley becomes the 244th coach to appear with the group including five individuals who had titles co-head coaches with others who were already compiling stand-alone numbers.

UCLA's ranking of 9th this week is the Bruins' highest since a spot in sixth on Dec. 20, 1999.
West Virginia's 7th matches the Mountaineer high reached near the end of last season.
Syracuse, which upset then-No. 6 Ohio State, is ranked for first time since Feb. 18, 2008, while Boston College, a former Big East member, was ranked 17th on Feb. 20, 2006.

Tennessee, has been ranked 586 times, missing nine weeks during the 1984-85 season, after previously being shut out in the first-ever poll and then over a four-week period in 1981-82.

The Vols have been in 459 straight polls and the Guru will speak more on that topic in a bit in this post. UConn's streak is second at 321.

Conference-wise the Big East has seven teams in the poll led by UConn. The Southeastern Conference, which has only two teams in this week's poll,has had eight members in a single poll, the last time on Jan. 13, 1997. The Big 12 had eight teams in last season's final poll.

In terms of all-time conference appearances, here is the ranking order first of overall conference appearances, whose members were in the conference at the time of the ranking. This list, for example, would preclude from the count the Big 12 teams prior to the conference's formation when most of them were in either the Southwest or Big Eight. A second chart will handle that.

Here is the list with the ranking order including just current conferences in the NCAA group of 31. Independents, for example, are not listed though there is a big number in that group because of periods when teams were shifting or back in 1981-82 when the migration began to2. the NCAA from the AIAW.

1. Southeastern 2625
2. Atlantic Coast 1674
3. Big Ten 1347
4. Big 12 1199
5. Big East 1109
6. Pac-10 946
7. Atlantic 10 455
8. Sun Belt 434
9, Big West 238
10. CAA 171
11. Southland 146
12. Mountain West 137
13. Conference-USA 135
14. WAC 104
15. Missouri Valley 51
16. Horizon 33
Tie Big Sky 33
18. Mid-American 26
19. Metro Atlantic 21
20. Ohio Valley 20
21. America East 18
22. West Coast 12
23. Summit 11
24. Southern 4

Here now is the rankings of conferences whose members have appeared in the AP poll, even if before joining the league.

1. Southeastern Conference 2907
2. Big 12 2014
3. Atlantic Coast 2004
4. Big Ten 1538
5. Big East 1280
6. Pac-10 1229
7. WAC 511
8. Mountain West 342
9. CAA 337
10. Big West 287
11. Atlantic 10 259
12. Southland 239
13. Conference-USA 146
14. Missouri Valley 95
15. Horizon 50
16. Mid-American 43
17. Ohio Valley 36
18. West Coast 25
19.Big Sky 23
20. Sun Belt 22
21, America East 21
22. Atlantic Sun 14
23. Metro Atlantic 12
Tie Summit 12
25. SWAC 4
Tie Southern 4

The five conferences in either category still looking for a first ranking for a member
Ivy -- Princeton is the best Ivy threat of all-time to break in.
Big South

Also, a number of teams grouped together to form 338 appeaerances are no longer in Division I as Cheyney, Queens and Montclair State for example.

Mixing Age With a Lot of Youth

Here is a list of the current streak of appearances in this week's poll and notice that most have not been on the list a long time in terms of the currency, though some have had numbers in the past before dropping out. Incidentally, Connecticut has now been in the top 10 for 102 consecutive weeks.

This list ranks by streek and then will also have the current AP rank in parenthesis.

1. Tennessee 459 (6) dating to Feb. 17, 1985
2. Connecticut 321 (1) dating to the preseason 1993-94 poll.
3. Duke 250 (4) Blue Devils had a long ranking streak before missing a final poll.
4. Stanford 176 (3)
5. Baylor 135 (2)
6. Ohio State 120 (11)
7. Oklahoma 101 (12)
8. Notre Dame 64 (17)
9. Texas A&M 51 (8)
10. Texas 44 (23)
11. Florida St. 34 (15)
12. Xavier 23 (5)
13. West Virginia 17 (7)
14. Georgetown 16 (20)
15. Iowa St. 14 (21)
16. Kentucky 13 (13)
17. St. John's 13 (18)
18. Michigan St. 9 (14)
19.UCLA 8 (9)
20. Iowa 6 (16)
20. Maryland 6 (19)
22. North Carolina 6 (10)
23, DePaul 2 (22)
24. Syracuse 1 (24)
24. Boston College 1 (25)

Weekly Awards

Maggie Dixon, a newcomer at Penn State out of Narberth near Philadelphia and Germantown Academy, has tied a Big Ten record with her fourth rookie of the week honor.

St. Joseph's Michelle Baker out of Wilmington, Del., is the Big Five women's rookie of the week.

Hofstra sohomore Shante Evans out of West Chester and Henderson High shared player of thw week honors with VCU's Courtney Hurt in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Loyola of Maryland's graduate student Erica DiClemente out of suburban Blue Bell and Wissahickon High is the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference player of the week.

Caitlin Shaw of University of the Sciences was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference player of the week.

OK, the Guru will return in 24 hours with more 600th week poll celebration and more UConn countdown info.

-- Mel


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