Inside of a small high school gymnasium in south Fort Worth resides one of America's hottest college basketball teams. The TCU Horned Frogs are sitting at 10-0, one of just nine undefeated teams remaining. The Frogs have already eclipsed their win total from all of last season, setting a school record for best start in program history in the process.
The Frogs' early season success has come rather quietly - a byproduct of very few televised games and a less-than-exciting non-conference schedule. But, the Frogs are 10-0. There's not much more that can be expected of the team than to go out and win every game on the schedule, which is exactly what they've done so far this season. A handful of Associated Press voters around the country are rewarding TCU for their hot start. The Frogs received 80 votes in this week's AP College Basketball Poll, good for 27th in the country.
The Frogs are right on the verge of their first AP Top 25 appearance since January 26, 1999. Because it has been quite a while since TCU's last appearance, let's take a quick look at how the poll works and how the Frogs got to 27th this week.
The AP poll, which is released every Monday afternoon, is constructed from the individual polls of 65 AP voters from around the country. These voters are all journalists - some are in television, some are in radio, but most are print journalists. Each voter ranks their teams 1 through 25, then a point system is used to compile the overall top 25. From the AP: "A team receives 25 points for a first-place vote, 24 points for a second-place vote and so on through one point for a 25th-place vote."
So, how did the Frogs gather 80 points this week? Of the 65 total voters, 18 had TCU in their top 25. The Frogs were ranked 25th in one ballot, 24th in five ballots, 23rd in one ballot, 22nd in eight ballots, and 21st in one ballot, which leaves two pretty extreme outliers: Doug Doughty of the Roanoke (VA) Times ranked TCU 12th and Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette ranked TCU 11th.
Clearly Doughty and Zeise like what they've seen so far. Let's hope they're on to something.
A couple of other notes from this week's poll:
- The 18 voters who ranked TCU come from media outlets all over the country - Detroit, Tampa, Oakland, and Portland, just to name a few.
- Only two of the eight voters from the Big 12 Conference's geographic footprint ranked TCU this week (Waco and Tulsa).
- This is the third consecutive week that the Frogs have received votes. TCU was 46th (2 votes) in the December 1st edition of the poll and 32nd (45 votes) in the December 8th edition.
- TCU and Colorado State (10-0) are the only undefeated teams not ranked this week.
- Five Big 12 teams are ranked this week (9-UT, 10-KU, 13-ISU, 15-OU, 22-WVU), and three more are receiving votes (26-BU, 27-TCU, 37-OSU).
- Legendary college basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale ranked TCU 24th in his AP ballot this week.
With a win over UTSA at home on Saturday, and a little bit of help from the teams around TCU, the Frogs could see their first national ranking in over a decade as soon as Monday.
That's awesome, baby.