The Washington Times - November 5, 2008, 12:12PM

As an AP basketball poll voter, I received a friendly reminder from the powers that be to consider results (especially head-to-head results) while filling out my ballot while discounting name value and preseason hype as the season commences.

Most people voting in such matters shouldn’t need such a reminder, but it is nice to see some suggested guidelines.

SEE RELATED:


That said, chances are not very good that I’ll change my mind on just about anyone in the top 40 or so based on the first weekend of play.

This is mainly because of two things.

1) A lot of teams look shaky in an opener while working the kinks out.

2) Just about no national power plays anyone of much repute in its opener.

Think about the early upsets last year – Southern Cal to Mercer, Kentucky to Gardner-Webb. Those matchups are perfectly typical.

Here, by the way, is a rundown of the preseason top 25, their season-opening opponents and those opponents’ RPI from last year. There’s quite a trend (NA-Non-Division I team last season):

No. Team
Opening Opponent
‘08 RPI
1. North Carolina
Penn261
2. Connecticut
Western Carolina
293
3. Louisville
Morehead State
232
4. UCLA
Prairie View A&M
321
5. Pittsburgh
Fairleigh Dickinson
282
6. Michigan St.
Idaho299
7. Texas
Stetson257
8. Duke
Presbyterian333
9. Notre Dame
USC Upstate
306
10. Gonzaga
Montana St.-Billings 
NA
11. Purdue
Detroit287
12. Oklahoma
American91
13. Memphis
Fairfield176
14. Tennessee
Chattanooga146
15. Arizona St.
Mississippi Valley St.
223
16. Marquette
Houston Baptist
NA
17. Miami
Florida Southern
NA
18. Southern Cal
UC Irvine
152
19. Florida
Toledo187
20. Davidson
GuilfordNA
21. Wake Forest
N.C. Central
279
22. Georgetown
Jacksonville164
23. Villanova
Albany
206
24. Kansas
Mo.-Kansas City
288
25. Wisconsin
Long Beach State
323

That precisely one team in the top 25 opening with a top-100 team from last year (Oklahoma, which plays host to American). Only two play an NCAA tournament team from last season (Oklahoma and Arizona State). Just six bother with a top-200 program from a year ago.

Sure, college basketball begins next week, but you’d be foolish to expect to see much of anything in the season’s first few days.

Patrick Stevens