Arizona Basketball

Arizona rises in AP poll, but some voters miss the memo

Arizona got together and beat UCLA on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

Arizona jumped seven spots to No. 7 in this week’s AP poll, but let’s look closer at the 65 ballots.

Two voters placed the Wildcats as high as No. 4 — Seth Davis of CBS/Sports Illustrated and Christian Caple of the Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune.

OK, none of this really matters right now. It’s just a ranking. A few spots here and there aren’t a big deal, beyond what it indicates about potential seeding for the NCAA Tournament down the road.

The Wildcats (18-2) made a big move this week after sweeping the L.A. road trip, beating USC on Thursday night and then posting an emphatic 96-85 victory at UCLA on Saturday in guard Allonzo Trier’s season debut.

About half of the voters in the AP poll slid Arizona exactly one spot ahead of the 19-2 Bruins on their ballots. That’s fair. UCLA ended up landing at No. 8 in this week’s poll, down five spots.

The Cats just won the head-to-head meeting (on the road) and the teams have almost identical records. They should be ahead of UCLA, right?

Well, tell that to almost 25 percent of the voters.

Sixteen of the 65 still ranked UCLA ahead of Arizona … and I know UA fans will be shocked to know that ESPN’s Dick Vitale was one of them. He put the Bruins at No. 8 and Arizona at No. 11.

Moreover, 12 voters placed the Bruins ahead of Arizona AND 18-2 Oregon — the two teams that have actually defeated UCLA. Hmmm.

The worst of it: One voter ranked UCLA third and Arizona … 11th. That would be Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal in East Lansing, Mich.

If you ever want an easy way to root around in the AP ballots for football and basketball, check out CollegePollTracker.com.

For what it’s worth, Arizona is 11th, UCLA 15th and Oregon 21st on KenPom.com.

Oh well. As stated, the polls are no big deal. It’s window dressing. But you also wouldn’t be wrong for wanting a little more logic on some of those AP ballots.

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