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Monday, November 27, 2006
Updated: November 29, 7:34 PM ET
Are the polls accurately reflecting teams' performance?

By ESPN.com experts

Butler at No. 18? Ohio State, without Greg Oden, at No. 1? Our experts debate the most recent coaches poll:

Andy Katz | Doug Gottlieb | Jay Bilas

Katz's take
Gottlieb
Just think about this: Ohio State will be promoted as the No. 1 team in the country heading into a game at North Carolina on Wednesday night, despite the fact that the Buckeyes are without their best player and likely will be a decent underdog, if you care about such things.

It's hard to see how the coaches -- and this is supposedly the coaches -- can put Ohio State, without Greg Oden, at No. 1 after playing all of its games at home. Ohio State hasn't played its toughest slate yet, nor has it met a single team from one of the major conferences.

The Buckeyes are 6-0 by beating VMI, Loyola-Chicago, Kent State, Eastern Kentucky, San Francisco and Youngstown State. How can that compare to UCLA winning the Maui Invitational with wins over Kentucky and Georgia Tech, let alone a win at home over BYU? Or, how about Pitt, which did have a neutral-site win over Western Michigan, but most recently obliterated Florida State at home? Seriously, do the coaches who vote in this poll really believe that Ohio State is better than UCLA and Pitt at this juncture?

The polls in college basketball are supposed to be a snapshot of this week. The in-season polls aren't a projection of the No. 1 seeds. The preseason poll can serve as that, but not an in-season poll. That's why Butler should be in the top 10, since no other team has beaten as many high-majors in a row as the Bulldogs. Gonzaga should be rewarded for a win over North Carolina on a neutral court, as well.

It's not worth getting too worked up about the polls, since they don't matter in college hoops like they do in football. But since they exist, they should at least make sense. Putting Ohio State No. 1 this week doesn't.