Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The preseason coaches' poll has arrived
By Eamonn Brennan
It's an exciting day in college hoops. For one thing, today brought the simultaneous commencement of media days for the Big 12, Big East and ACC, which we spent the morning hours chatting about right here. (Expect a rush of content from all three locations as our writers get you up to speed throughout the week.) And then, mid-morning, it came: the first ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll of the season.
Being that this is merely a preseason poll, and that preseason polls are inherently guesswork, and that coaches' polls are not always the most accurately composed artifacts even during the season, I'm not going to go all "Poll Thoughts" on this one.
Which is not to say that I don't have a few beefs: North Carolina State at No. 6 seems awfully high to me. After all, with the exception of Rodney Purvis and some solid fellow newcomers, that is basically the same team that barely sneaked into the tournament last season, and then won two games to go to the Sweet 16, and then got everybody talking about how good they were going to be in 2012-13. Which is true! They are going to be good. But "bubble team that excels in a small sample size and adds quality freshman" still doesn't equal "sixth-best team in the country," at least not yet; not for me.
Michigan is ranked No. 5; that too feels high, given that the Wolverines will be drastically restyling their offense with the influx of big, athletic talents like Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary. I happen to like the Wolverines a lot. I think they'll be better than last year. But there are a lot of question marks about this stylistic transition that won't be answered until we see them on the floor.
I'm also not sure whether I understand why Duke should be ranked so much higher than Michigan State, given the various talent levels at the two schools, or why Texas (which may or may not lose Myck Kabongo, but even so) should sneak into the top 25 over Cincinnati or VCU or St. Louis, even with an injured Kwamain Mitchell.
But like I said, it is merely a coaches' poll, and a preseason coaches' poll at that. No reason to get too worked up. Frankly, I could be just as wrong as I assume some of these rankings to be. The good news is we have all season to figure it out. It's so very, very close now.