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Dec/13

10

Dave’s Top 25 ballot: Week 3

First and foremost, I apologize for not getting my ballot out last week. I got sidetracked with other items, though clearly it was not missed as no one called me out on it! So before we get any further, here is a look at my Week 2 ballot:

1 – Amherst
2 – UW-Stevens Point
3 – Illinois Wesleyan
4 – Williams
5 – Cabrini
6 – St. Mary’s
7 – UW-Whitewater
8 – Wooster
9 – Calvin
10 – Wheaton (Ill.)
11 – St. Thomas
12 – Middlebury
13 – WPI
14 – Wittenberg
15 – Hobart
16 – Wash U.
17 – Mary Hardin-Baylor
18 – Augustana
19 – Virginia Wesleyan
20 – Wesley
21 – Guilford
22 – Whitworth
23 – New Jersey City
24 – Catholic
25 – Stevenson

Now let’s look at Week 3… and there were plenty of questions to answer this week – namely who would be by new number one team. However, I also wondered if I already have teams too high in my poll and others too low. And I considered making significant changes to some of the positions of teams even if that meant jumping over a team who had a solid victory or two during the week. I ended up staying more conservative as I have been doing so far this year and didn’t make a ton of major changes… however, when I start thinking like this it usually means I am heading towards a complete overhaul soon – let’s just hope I can get to 2014 before I do that or it could mean several overhauls this season!

1 – UW-Stevens PointUP 1
The Pointers are playing pretty good basketball and benefit from Amherst losing. I did consider making a drastic move with my #1 spot, but again decided to move UWSP up as they are undefeated and have wins over Edgewood and UW-Eau Claire. However, I am very well aware that they have a game with UW-Whitewater this week… so they may be in this spot for a very short period of time.

2 – Illinois WesleyanUP 1
The Titans continue to get the job done, despite the loss to Loras. IWU had an impressive win over Wash U. considering they have been banged up and had ten days off. They now have a week off before playing at Chicago who would love to knock the Titans off.

3 – WilliamsUP 1
I am nervous with the Ephs this high especially after their early season loss to Southern Vermont (who has only one blemish since against a weaker schedule). It isn’t that I think Williams isn’t a good team… I just wonder if the NESCAC is really that strong at the top this season. Something I consider with other teams in my ballot. The Ephs are now off for several weeks, so I won’t be able to settle my uneasiness for awhile.

4 – CabriniUP 1
I actually thought about making a major move with the Cavaliers as at least one other voter did (as I write this), but I decided I needed to remain a bit low-key. Number-four is pretty impressive for this team who has been impressive on the floor. Having Aaron Walton-Moss on the floor all season is going to make a major difference for this team who easily handled their conference opponents this week. One key for voters with Cabrini this season will be how do they do in conference; not a win-loss thing, but a domination thing. If the Cavaliers dominate their weak conference, that will tell more then just going undefeated.

5 – WoosterUP 3
I did make a big move with the Scots and moved them ahead of some teams because Wooster is clearly playing very good basketball. Wooster has failed to live up to expectations often, but the start to this season is worth noting. They have beat four teams who have been or are in the Top 25 or getting votes. In other words, they are beating good competition. They have another tough game against Wabash this week which will tell us plenty more before they head to Arizona for a few puff games.

6 – St. Mary’s (Md.)Unchanged

7 – AmherstDOWN 6
Did I expect the Lord Jeffs to go undefeated this season? No. I expected them to lose in conference to Williams, Middlebury or even Wesleyan or Tufts… but Emerson in the beginning of the season? And by 11? That isn’t what a number one team should be doing. That loss could haunt the Lord Jeffs with the voters for awhile.

8 – UW-WhitewaterDOWN 1

9 – St. ThomasUP 2

10 – WPIUP 3
Maybe the concern of losing their best player to season ending ankle surgery was premature. The Engineers have pretty much rolled through their opponents since losing to Castleton State (though, they had a tight game against Tufts). Granted, they should win those four games against a combined record of 6-26, but they also won by an average of 22+ points. WPI could be more dangerous without their best player.

11 – CalvinDOWN 2
I thought about demoting Calvin even further considering they lost to Carthage and now have two blemishes on their record early, but Carthage is a good team after all. I am worried Calvin may not live up to expectations they set from last year and early losses could hurt them in what looks like a weak MIAA this season. However, I still think Calvin could be a team making waves in March.

12 – MiddleburyUnchanged
Here is another team in the NESCAC I am leary about where I have placed them. I know their losses are not bad ones (since I watched both of them), but I am not really sure they are a Top 12 team. I am going to continue to watch the Panthers though, I have to wait a month before I see them in action again.

13 – WittenbergUP 1

14 – Wheaton (Ill.)DOWN 4
The Thunder are not winning the big game consistently early in this season. They beat Wittenberg but then loss to Loras and have followed up with losses to Wooster and Calvin. While those last two are not bad losses on paper, the fact Wheaton loss by 27 to Calvin is rather telling. If that had been close, Wheaton wouldn’t have fallen as far.

15 – Virginia WesleyanUP 4
I am clearly late to the party with the Marlins. The team is always well coached and always in the conversation, but I just felt they loss too much this season and until last week I didn’t even have them in my Top 25. However, in two weeks they have moved to #15 thanks to starting 7-0 and having a solid win against Lynchburg this week. If the Marlins can avoid that rough patch they had last season, they once again could be the class of the ODAC.

16 – AugustanaUP 2

17 – Wash U.DOWN 1

18 – GuilfordUP 3

19 – UW-Stout – Unranked
The Blue Devils are off to a 7-1 start with their only blemish coming in the first game to non-D3 Mount Mercy and they beat UW-Whitewater this week as well. This could be the “other” WIAC program looking to be playing in March.

20 – WesleyUnchanged

21 – Mary Hardin-Baylor – DOWN 4
I have been leary of how the Crusaders would do this season and their two losses so far (out of five games) is giving me pause: Southwestern (3-3) and Sol Ross State (3-1). I realize the Crusaders lost a good part of last year’s team, but they returned a good portion as well. Playing 22 games in conference could hurt UMHB this season and I think they need to start rolling through ASC play starting now or they are going to be in big trouble.

22 – WhitworthUnchanged

23 – Eastern ConnecticutUnranked
I debated around five or so teams for this other open spot on my Top 25 ballot this week and they all had valid reasons. I finally decided on Eastern Connecticut because they are 7-1 with a win over Catholic and a loss to SUNY Purchase (who I am still debating what their start actually means). They have also dominated the other five of the other six opponents on their schedule and notched a good win against Rhode Island College.

24 – Catholic – Unchanged

25 – StevensonUnchanged

Dropped Out:

Hobart15th last week
I probably had them ranked too high to begin with, but I also knew the capabilities with this team under Coach Mike Neer. However, they dropped two games and didn’t look good doing it. I also ended up getting a text message from someone I always get tid-bits from in the East Region who simply said the Statesmen where not a Top 25 team. Let’s see how the team recovers and gets through the holiday break and reevaluate them in 2014.

New Jersey City23rd last week
They looked good early and have looked bad in their three straight losses, especially two in conference. There has been a lot of buzz about this squad, but they clearly have not figured out that every game is an important one. I will be cautious before jumping on the bandwagon again.

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4 comments

  • Author comment by pointspecial · December 11, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Hard to argue with a guy’s opinion when he lays it out there for criticism. Thanks again for doing it Dave!

  • Author comment by OldKnight · December 11, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Not true Dave; your Week 3 ballot was sorely missed by me. I know you’re a busy guy and rather than call you out on your transgression, I figured you would get around to it in due course–which you did. Thanks for your voting explanations.

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