Holmes Blog: Newman girls’ drop from coach’s poll…unfairly penalized for tough schedule

Updated: January 23, 2013
Newman girls

By Chad Holmes chadh@sunriseamfm.com @ChadHolmesWI

I usually don’t write or even talk about polls in sports when the champ is ultimately decided on the field or floor….however, I will break that rule just this once.

The new wissports.net high school girls’ basketball poll came out yesterday and for the first time in a number of years, the Newman Cardinals aren’t ranked among the top ten teams in Division 5. Based on the Cardinals’ 8-5 record that wouldn’t be a surprise, in fact, at a game I was broadcasting last week I was asked why Newman was still in the rankings with four losses at the time. Well, the reason they were ranked last week and aren’t ranked this week are really the same: a very tough schedule.

A week ago Newman was ranked 10th in the state in D-5 with a 7-4 record because they had played a gauntlet of a non-conference schedule. Then this week they are on the outside looking in with a 8-5 record because they played a very tough non-conference game last week and lost. In a very tough fashion. At the unbeaten #1 or #2 ranked team in the state in D-4 depending on the poll. So, to get to the bottom line, coach’s in the wissports.net poll penalized Newman for scheduling a road game at Amherst, losing that game in the final seconds to an unbeaten team expected to compete for a state championship in Division 4. So to get it straight…..coach’s in the vote penalized Newman for playing a tough opponent exceptionally well on the road. If Newman had scheduled a bad team at home and won despite playing poorly, they would still be ranked. Guaranteed. You know how the polls work….no matter how bad you play against a poor opponent, you win you don’t get penalized.

What about the 5 loss argument? You know, since this is an 8-5 team the 12-1 Fall River team that joined the top ten this week has such a better record and should be honored with the ranking. Here are Newman’s five losses:

@ Auburndale (D-4 team that is currently third in the Marawood-South)
@ Marshfield (traditional D-1 power that Newman beat the previous two years on the road)
@ Wausau West (D-1 team with winning record and very good talent)
vs. Marathon (13-1 on the season, ranked 9th in D-4)
@ Amherst (ranked #1 in one poll, #2 in the other in D-4)

and the first four losses came without the Cards best player Madison Tubbs, who missed all action until early January with a back injury. Plus they beat D-1 Oshkosh West, who are tied for fourth in the always-tough FVA, without Tubbs.

Bottom line is that rankings really don’t matter…..but as long as they are published, don’t punish a team for playing a great schedule. Fortunately, in the end it gets decided on the court and doesn’t matter.