What preseason rankings really mean
Abridged version: nothing. Unabridged version: absolutely nothing. And still, as they always do, the preseason top 25 polls will be discussed a fair amount over the next couple of weeks until games get underway and people actually have something tangible on which to base their evaluations.
With that in mind, senior guard Greivis Vasquez was asked yesterday during a media session at Comcast Center for his thoughts on Maryland just missing out on a spot in the Associated Press and coaches' top 25 polls. In both polls, the Terrapins finished with the most votes of any unranked team.
"It really doesn’t matter at all," Vasquez said. "It’s just somebody – I mean, I was a little upset, you know, because we beat California, we beat Georgia Tech, and they’re ranked so much higher than us. But it is what it is. That’s always been around since I’ve been at Maryland. You know, people sometimes don’t give you that 100 percent credit about your work ethic. We just have to prove people wrong. I think the first couple of games and the tournament in Hawaii will set the tone about this team. I think we got to win games, and it will take care of itself if we just win."
Indeed, Maryland did beat Georgia Tech twice last season, but many observers are high on the Yellow Jackets in large part because of returning starters Iman Shumpert and Gani Lawal, not to mention the arrival of highly touted freshman forward Derrick Favors. Georgia Tech is ranked No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the coaches' poll.
The Terrapins also beat California last season, in the first round of the NCAA tournament no less. The Golden Bears -- who return 93 percent of their scoring, four starters and two all-Pac-10 players -- are ranked No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 12 in the coaches' poll.
Maryland Coach Gary Williams had this to say as part of his response to a question about scheduling tonight's exhibition opponent, Indiana (Pa.):
"You know, everybody wants to believe that they’re really good," Williams said. "And it’s hard for players to realize that at this time of year nobody’s won a game yet. So even though people may have been writing that you’re really good or that this guy’s a great player, that guy’s a great player, you see it every year in that certain teams never live up to their preseason expectations. Some teams you’ve never heard of are really good in a particular year, and that is just in the way players work a lot of times. It’s very important that they understand that regardless of whether you think you’re ranked too high or too low, you prove it. All the preseason rankings, the first time the referee throws up the ball, they’re done. That’s history. It’s time to play, and you prove where you are."
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