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Top of the Arc - January 5, 2009

Jan. 5, 4:30: I rarely look at the Associated Press Top 25 because it doesn’t matter in the NCAA tournament selection process. But consider that habit over. There is a Web site that breaks down each voter’s poll, and there are some real interesting votes, to say the least. Let’s start at the top.

Two voters – Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News and Bill Liesse of the Peoria Journal Star (Ill.) – gave North Carolina first-place votes. This would be completely understandable, you know, if North Carolina had not lost on its home floor against a team predicted to finish 11th in the ACC, and had undefeated Pittsburgh not manhandled Georgetown in the Verizon Center. But given the turn of events this weekend, it is hard to justify UNC getting any first-place votes. If I had to pick a national champ right now, my pick is in Chapel Hill. But if I had to vote on a top team, I’m thankful I don’t anymore, my vote would go to Pitt.

Now, consider Maryland. Only three people included Maryland on their ballots, but one person, Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times, gave Maryland a 10th-place vote. I can certainly understand ranking Maryland somewhere between 23rd and 27th, but 10th seems a bit much for a team that was crushed by Georgetown and Gonzaga. But reasonable people can disagree.

On to Georgetown. The Hoyas were looking great before losing by 16 at home against Pittsburgh. Two writers --- John Shinn of the Norman Transcript and Nick Jezierny of the Idaho Statesman – still voted Georgetown third. Shinn ranked the Hoyas ahead of North Carolina and Wake Forest.

And here is one that I found really interesting. Clemson is 14-0, with wins over Illinois, Temple and Miami. A very good profile. Dave Jones of the Patriot News liked the Tigers enough to vote them No. 2. But at least one voter, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, did not rank the Tigers at all.

I'll be back here, same time, same station, for more AP poll craziness.

By Eric Prisbell  |  January 5, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
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