Better recognize

College basketball voters are underrating unfamiliar teams using AP polls

Originally Published: February 8, 2013
By Peter Keating | ESPN The Magazine
tkChris GashThe current rankings in college basketball are inaccurate, according to the Basketball Power Index.

WINTER GAVE US a bad end to the college football season, with BCS bowl games decided by an average margin of more than two TDs and an embarrassing national title game. And now I'm here to warn you that college basketball is heading for the same defective conclusion this spring. Like their counterparts on the gridiron, NCAA hoops teams need to impress a series of so-called experts -- writers, coaches and ultimately an evaluation committee -- to make the postseason and earn an appropriate seeding. But time and again, voters almost comically misjudge certain kinds of programs.

Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.