I don’t like polls.
Particularly the polls in which sportswriters and sportscasters across our state vote in.
The Associated Press boys and girls high school basketball rankings are their latest task.
And it’s nothing against the media that participate.
How fair is it that the sportswriters/sportscasters from one part of the state have to vote on schools’ outside their coverage area?
When I announced the latest AP polls on television, I would always say, “this means nothing as far as who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t. It is for recognition only. Sportswriters and sportscasters across the state vote, excluding me.”
I wouldn’t want to vote in the poll.
I admit in today’s media world, it should be a lot easier to follow teams in other parts of Ohio, but it is still not an accurate barometer.
For the school and its community, sure it is nice to be recognized, but please don’t put any stock in it.
In fact, I think it puts extra pressure on a team because it is ranked.
Especially the teams that aren’t used to the attention.
I remember in the past, teams being ranked because of their tradition. They had a losing record, yet still made the state poll.
Now Bath Head Coach Greg Mauk and his Wildkittens are used to being ranked.
Year in and year out, they are one of the best teams in the state, let alone in Division II.
Mauk was telling his coaches recently that the Wildkittens’ schedule included several teams that were ranked in the state.
And interesting that Bath girls have only lost to Division I unbeaten Wadsworth, yet the Wildkittens are only 13th in Division II.
And Mauk admitted that because of an opponent’s state ranking, it could be used as a motivational tool.
Take his matchup with Coldwater last Saturday.
The Lady Cavaliers already had three losses, but were still ranked 10th in Division III in the initial AP poll.
You think Mauk mentioned the Cavs’ ranking before the game?
Bath beat Coldwater by 25 points.
I looked at the last two polls that have been released for this season.
Marion Local girls were ranked number one in Division IV, in the first AP poll of the year, but lost twice last week, yet the Lady Flyers are still receiving a first place vote. They are now ranked eighth in the state.
Ottawa-Glandorf boys are 6-3 and currently tied for 10th in the state in Division III. And someone is giving them a first place vote.
Right now, do you think the Titans are the 10th best team in Ohio in that division, or number one according to one pollster?
OG Head Coach Tyson McLaughlin says not now, but “we want to be there at the end of the season.”
Defiance boys are having another outstanding season, but head coach Kirk Lehman told me that his team wasn’t the fourth best team in Division II when the first poll came out. And they were also receiving a first place vote.
The Bulldogs lost last Friday to Celina and have fallen to ninth in the latest rankings. Thankfully that first place vote is gone.
Must I go on?
The good news is that the polls don’t determine who makes the postseason and who doesn’t.
Every team in Ohio High School basketball makes the playoffs.
But the true gauge will be determined on the road to Columbus and eventually the boys and girls state tournament.
Look at the AP state rankings if you want.
But also know they are not a true indicator of the best teams in our state.
You can comment to Vince Koza at email@example.com.