The TCU Horned Frogs, 9-0 with two wins over top 50 Kenpom teams, plus another win over a top 75 Kenpom team, find themselves at 14th in the recent AP Top 25 poll, nestled warmly between Kansas and Xavier, which is a hilarious sentence to read if you’ve been following TCU basketball for the last eight years. The Frogs have arrived.
As TCU is not a brand-name basketball program, their success this season has understandably flown under the radar (they did play a marquee game against Nevada that started at 1 am Eastern). TCU at fourteen is probably optimistic about what this team is, but they undoubtedly deserve a top 20 ranking based on their resume this season.
Seth Davis thinks otherwise. While Seth has spent most of the afternoon lamenting the Arizona Wildcats’ omission in many ballots, Seth Davis neglected to consider his own shortcomings.
Seth Davis left TCU unranked. TCU, a top twenty Kenpom team, in a power conference, with an undefeated record, unranked.
Let’s play a little game called “Teams Seth Davis had ranked before TCU”. This features two categories:
1. The Ugly: These teams in no way deserve rankings in front of the Frogs
- The Florida Gators (6-3, 21st in Kenpom) have two skin of their teeth Top 15 wins, yes, but also have home losses to Florida State (a drubbing) and Loyola Chicago (an embarrassment).
- The Alabama Crimson Tide (7-3, 39th) are a talented and underrated basketball team, when healthy. They have a top fifty win at home, and a win over 71st BYU at a neutral site. They also have a home loss to UCF, ranked 75th and a team who has lost to St. John’s and Missouri at home.
You might argue on Seth’s behalf that the SEC is strong this year! They have so many out of conference wins!
You’d be miguided. The SEC’s conference strength is fourth, according to KenPom, and to champion the SEC’s out of conference wins while ignoring their losses is wildly inconsistent, let alone the fact that out of conference play is no time to bank on conference rankings. Florida and Alabama are top 25 teams in my opinion, but any standard by which you could judge them would place TCU ahead of them in any logical ranking.
- Rhode Island has a basketball team. The thing about Rhode Island this year is that they are 5-3, 48th in KenPom, and have three respectable losses. Sure, they have a win over Seaton Hall, and that probably indicates they are a talented basketball team. But to put them in the top 25 over TCU is willfully ignorant. One of Rhode Island’s three respectable losses is to Nevada. You’ll remember, Nevada, a team TCU disposed of early Saturday morning while most of the country was asleep or too worried with securing an Uber home to watch a basketball game. Rhode Island? Probably a good team. But again, any standard you are going to measure their quality by clearly puts TCU in front of them.
2. Questionable and Probably Wrong
Again, if we are basing rankings on this year, we have to look at Creighton, Notre Dame, and Arizona. Read me clearly, here: TCU is not decisively better than all three of those teams; the Frogs may not be better at all. The issue here is the resume.
- Notre Dame (18th) has one of the worst losses of the season, at home to a sub-100 KenPom Ball State. Yes, that one point Wichita State win is fun, and should count, but having the Irish in front of an undefeated TCU is neglecting the on court results.
- Arizona (19th) has a couple of undeniable great wins. But their losses happened! They lost to 77th NC State, an SMU team that TCU beat solidly, and got run off of the court by Purdue. There is no way to look at their schedule and deem them worthy of being ranked if you leave out TCU. Creighton (38th) has one top fifty win and one top 70 win, and two losses. Those losses were to very good teams, but you cannot ignore the results on the court when weighing between similar teams.
This was Seth Davis’s response when FOW reached out to him on Twitter: “did Arizona beat A&M or did I dream that?”
Yes, Mr. Davis, Arizona beat A&M, and deserves to be ranked. How that logic translates to Rhode Island being ranked over TCU still escapes me.
These four teams (this season) are comparable. ND, AZ, and TCU are 18-20 in Efficiency, while Creighton is 38th. If you’re going to rank any of them, you have to rank all four!
Seth Davis’s preferences are based on arbitrary and moving standards. To include three teams that have similar - if not worse - resumes to TCU and three that have clearly worse resumes and performances is to ignore the results in favor of narrative. In his excitement to have a #take about Arizona, Mr. Davis made perhaps a less-excusable error.
The Frogs still have much to prove on the court, but that doesn’t excuse mainstream media disrespect.
Do better, Seth.