There’s been a lot of debate over the last couple of days about whether or not the Duke Blue Devils should leap the Tennessee Vols in the polls and become the top ranked team in the country.
The folks who believe Duke should be ranked No. 1 point to the Blue Devils’ higher ranked strength of schedule as their main reasoning.
Obviously the voters disagreed with that reasoning, as the Vols remained the top team in the nation when the new AP poll was released on Monday.
-Gonzaga swaps with Virginia
-Houston jumps into the top 10
-Don’t sleep on Florida State
-K-State: unranked to No. 18
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 11, 2019
I think the voters got it right, even though I also believe Duke is probably the best team in the nation.
It’s actually pretty simple as to why I think Tennessee deserves to be the top team in the nation. This isn’t the College Football Playoff where resumés are compared and contrasted and we try to figure out who has the best team. This is a week to week poll based on results. Duke’s had a lot of quality wins this year — specifically two wins against Virginia, and wins against Auburn, Florida State and Texas Tech — but they also have two losses compared to Tennessee’s one loss. And one of those losses was against an unranked Syracuse team at home.
Everyone wants to talk about who Duke has beat that Tennessee hasn’t beat. And that’s fair. But the Vols haven’t lost to an unranked team — not at home or on the road.
I don’t see any way possible that anyone can justify ranking a Duke team that lost to an unranked Syracuse team ahead of a Volunteer team whose only loss is to a Kansas team that was ranked No. 2 at the time.
So until the Vols lose a game, there’s absolutely no reason they should fall in the polls.
By the way, if we’re being honest, it doesn’t really matter who is ranked No. 1 right now. In fact, it’s probably not a great thing for the Volunteers since it pretty much guarantees they’re getting every team’s best shot. Life as the No. 2 team in the nation would certainly be much easier for Tennessee.
But the Vols deserve to be the top ranked team. So until someone dethrones them, they should absolutely stay at the top.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports