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Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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Dec. 11, 2003

It's funny how you can win two games and drop out of one poll and lose votes in another, but that is exactly what happened to the Arizona women's basketball team last weekend. While the Cats were walloping American University and UMass, the voters were showing disregard for a team they know little about. In short, the polls are a joke.

Let me explain. A close look at the Pac-10 Conference reveals two important points. First, Stanford will always be overrated, and everyone else will be underrated. Second, the rest of the country has no idea what is going on in the west. Let me use the Oregon Ducks as my example of that second point. Yes, Oregon is playing well, but the Ducks lost leading scorer Cathrine Kraayeveld to a season-ending knee injury early last week. The Ducks lost to an unranked Portland team in their very next game, yet they remain ranked in both polls. Meanwhile, Washington has been playing terrific basketball, and while the Huskies just crept into the Coaches Poll at No. 23 this week, they are nowhere to be found in the AP Top 25!

Closer to home, the Wildcats' picture is even more puzzling. Arizona crawled up to the No. 18 spot in the Coaches poll and as high as No. 21 in the AP Poll just a couple of weeks ago. After a 2-2 road trip to Santa Barbara and Hawaii, Arizona dropped out of the AP Poll and hung on to the final spot among the coaches. Now, this is where it gets weird. Arizona won two games over the weekend by a combined total of 44 points. The Cats moved up right? Wrong! Arizona somehow fell out of the Coaches Poll and lost 15 points in the AP. How does that work?

Here is what the Pac-10 will have to do to get ranked on a consistent basis:
1. Never play a conference opponent and make sure each game is against the SEC, Big 12 or UConn -- the only entities that seem to be respected by the voters.
2. Play every game, even weekday games at 2 p.m. so a Pac-10 box score could miraculously appear somewhere in the papers back East.
3. Lie and tell everyone that Geno Auriemma or Pat Summitt is your coach. Then, someone might bother to check your record.
4. Ask Lute Olson if he would mind lending Madison Square Garden to the Pac-10. Since Lute owns the place, why not play all of conference's games there? Then, maybe a Ranger fan might stumble into a voter and say, "them women ain't bad!"

Of course the above mentioned items can't happen and that's why Pac-10 teams need to schedule tougher teams and find a way to win, win and win again! But for the Wildcats, two wins mean you go down. That proves my point: the polls are a joke!

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson

*All games broadcast live on 1330 AM!

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