Who's voting for George Mason?
As George Mason won its 10th and then 11th games in a row last week, some fans and media members began to wonder whether the Patriots might crack the AP top 25 this week.
Now, this is the sort of thing that matters very little to a power-conference school like Maryland, but it's kind of a big deal in Fairfax. It's the kind of thing you put in media guides, and brag about to recruits, and use to get local TV and newspaper coverage.
On Monday, the AP results came out, and we learned that no, the Patriots have not yet done enough. They have more votes than last week (28 instead of 19), and have moved from 32nd in the country to 30th, but it'll take a couple more wins, at least.
Now, I have no earthly idea whether a 21-5 George Mason team is more deserving of votes than, say, an 18-7 UCLA team. Nor, I suspect, do many voters. Because when you actually look at the ballots, it turns out that Mason got more than half its 28 votes from exactly four men, all of whom work in the D.C. or Virginia market.
Of the 64 sportswriters and broadcasters who vote in the AP poll, only 10 included Mason on their ballots. And Mason got a total of three votes from west of the Mississippi: two from a writer in Missouri, and one from a writer in Texas.
Meanwhile, John Feinstein and Fredericksburg's Steve DeShazo both ranked Mason 22nd in the country, while Roanoke's Mark Berman had the Patriots 21st and the Examiner's Kevin Dunleavy slotted them 23rd. Those were four of the five highest national rankings given to Mason.
I still consider the AP poll the next best thing to Gospel, but something tells me it might not be a perfectly objective look at college basketball excellence.
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