What’s wrong with College Basketball Rankings?

Tyler Alexander

The thunderous roar of the Carrier Dome, and the deafening buzz of the Allen Fieldhouse propel two of the most prestigious collegiate basketball programs in the world, Syracuse and Kansas.  These two teams, along with Murray State University, have been highlighted throughout the year for their records, and rankings in the AP top 25.  Some can’t stand the collegiate rankings, but the stats don’t lie.

Kansas was ranked 13 in the preseason polls, and was the first of these three teams to go down.  Despite their loss,Kansasdropped only one spot after a ten point loss to number two ranked powerhouse,Kentucky.

Kansas continued to be battle tested by the third toughest schedule in the country, with a head to head mach-up with number three ranked, Duke.  In the finals of the Maui Invitational, Kansas lost by seven to the mighty Blue Devils.  Kansas dropped only one spot, falling to 15th in the country.

As Kansas was slowly slid down the rankings, Syracuse steadily moved up it.  The Syracuse Orange began the season with an honorable top five preseason ranking. 

After losses by the North Carolina Tar Heels and Connecticut Huskies, Syracuse took claim to the number four spot in the country.  Undefeated Duke joined Ohio State, and Kentucky as the only teams ranked ahead of the Orange.  After losses by Duke,Ohio State, and Kentucky, undefeated Syracuse would finally creep their way up to the number one ranking.

As Syracuse continued to dominate their schedule, Kansas looked to get a grasp on theirs and make it into the top 10 for the first time this year.

The Jayhawks did the opposite, dropping five spots after a loss to unranked Davidson.  After the embarrassing loss,Kansas was left groping for inspiration to turn the season around.

The Jayhawks ripped off 10 straight, following the loss to move into the fifth spot in the rankings.   Kansaswas on their best streak of the year, when the Orange dropped their first game of the season.

Syracuse traveled to South Bend, without star center Fab Melo, to play rival Notre Dame. Syracuseshot terribly from the floor, while their infamous two-three zone defense had no answers for Notre Dame’s three point shooting.   As a result of the loss, the Orange dropped to fourth in the nation.

The following week, Kansas’ loss to Iowa State dropped them to eighth.  A week later, the Jayhawks played fourth ranked, and rival,Missouri.  Despite losing by three,Kansas somehow moved up a spot in the rankings.

While Kansas sat at the number seven spot with five losses, number nine ranked Murray State remained undefeated at 23-0.

There have been many controversies this season.  Should Syracusehave dropped below three loss OhioStateafter only one loss?  Why did Kansasmove up after a loss?  And why is MurrayStateso far down if they are undefeated?   Believe it or not records can be misleading.  While MurrayStateis undefeated, they have the 308th toughest schedule in the NCAA.  Perhaps that is whyKansas, who holds the third toughest schedule in the country, is ranked above them.  College rankings serve merely one purpose: to predict how the NCAA tournament will come out.  March Madness here we come.