Commentary

Purdue Boilermakers not top-10 worthy

The loss of forward Robbie Hummel is greater than coaches' poll expresses

Originally Published: November 9, 2010
By John Gasaway | Basketball Prospectus
Robbie HummelAP Photo/Star Tribune/Jeff WheelerThe impact of Hummel's injury can't be overstated.

The nice thing about having two major polls is that we can compare the thinking of college basketball writers (AP poll) with what Division I coaches (ESPN/USA Today) are seeing. So what do we find when we put these two preseason polls side by side?

We find that the two groups of observers have remarkably similar opinions when it comes to ranking the nation's top teams. Whether you're parked behind a laptop along press row or pacing the floor in the coach's box, you're very likely to think that Duke is the best team in the nation. In fact, as we saw in last week's edition of "Poll Position," the writers and the coaches are in more or less complete agreement when it comes to identifying the top seven teams in the country.

And yet just outside that top seven, there's a team that the coaches and the writers clearly can't agree on: The Purdue Boilermakers, ranked a lofty No. 8 by the coaches, are ranked a more down-to-earth No. 14 by the writers. No other team in either poll's top 25 is the source of so much disagreement in terms of ranking. Who's right?