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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guru's College Notes: Some AP Poll Consecutive Streak Trivia

By Mel Greenberg

With a little down time before the WNBA finals begin as the Guru slips slowly into the college season he did a little mining Wednesday night inside his AP poll database to compare appearance streaks at the close of the final rankings of 2011.

But before addressing Thursday morning’s topic here, the Guru would like to informally announce ahead of the official notification that on a teleconference Wednesday afternoon with the board of directors of the United States Basketball Writers Association it was decided to add a national women’s player of the week this season along with the men’s winner.

Basically conference reps will forward their individual player of the week winner and then the USBWA honoree will be selected from that group.

The selections won’t start until early January, but there will be more details along the way.

Those of you who should be members, you know who you are, you should go to the USWBA website and membership application details will be listed there.

Meanwhile, in terms of some Guru research on the streaks, remember the AP preseason poll is about a month away so some of these marks will go by the boards.

But the finding is yet another way to show who has dominated and also note that once you get down the list, the numbers drop off considerably so one can’t say it’s always the same old crowd.

Obviously to no surprise Tennessee is the leader with 454 weeks dating back to Feb. 17, 1985 when the Lady Vols returned after a nine-week absence.

In the 35-year, 613-week history of the rankings, Tennessee has missed only five other appearances, including the first-ever preseason poll in November, 1976.

Coach Pat Summitt’s group has pretty much resided in the Top 10 and higher since then, though in 2009 their final ranking of 18th after being as low as 19th was the lowest listing since that last absence.

Of course, as noted previously, if there was a postseason after-the-NCAA tournament vote – not advocating it, just mentioning – Tennessee likely would have been bounced out after the upset the Lady Vols suffered that season in the first round of the tournament.

Connecticut didn’t really get into the national profile business until several years later after the current Tennessee streak got under way. That’s when one Geno Auriemma was hired to find a place to where he could hone a future in TV broadcasting besides winning a few national titles along the way and coaching WNBA players disguised as the Olympic hopefuls in his spare time.

But once the Huskies hit their stride, they have performed better than anyone else and, obviously, they have been at the top of the pile if you would start counting the numbers somewhat just before their first title year in 1995.

Anyhow, off the teams that were in the final poll in March before the NCAA field was announced, here as how they rank in consecutive AP poll appearance to date.

1. Tennessee 454 – A period of more than 25 seasons that began with the last four weeks of 1984-85, which, incidentally, was the year after legendary coach Pat Summitt coached the U.S. team in the Los Angeles Olympics.

2. Connecticut 334 dating to the preseason poll 18 seasons ago in 1993-94.

3. Duke 225 dating to Nov. 25, 1999, when the Blue Devils returned after a week’s absence that ended a streak of 38 appearances.

4. Stanford 189
5. Baylor 144 dating to a return to the rankings on January 5, 2004.
6. Oklahoma 114 dating to the preseason poll of 2006-07.
7. Notre Dame 77 dating to the preseason vote of 2007-08.
8. Texas A&M, the defending NCAA champs – 64.
9. Florida State 47.
10. Xavier 46
11. Georgetown 29
12. Kentucky 26
13. Michigan State 22
14. UCLA 21
15. tie. Maryland 19
15. tie. North Carolina 19
15. tie De Paul 19
18. tie. Miami 10
18. tie. Wis.-Green Bay 10
20. Marquette 7
21. Marist 6
22. Gonzaga 5
23. tie. Georgia Tech 2
23. tie Iowa 2
23. tie Ohio St. 2

That’s it for now. But more will certainly come.

-- Mel


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