Polls on Monday were relatively standard.. perhaps the placement of Notre Dame and Michigan State were most interesting. The Spartans received 87 votes in the Coaches Poll, good for 25th spot, while Notre Dame was right behind with 57 votes. In the AP Pol though, Notre Dame was 20th, a full 16 spots ahead of the 36th ranked Spartans. Whats odd is that the placement of these teams doesn't correspond to any sort of Big Ten/Big East bias in the polls. Despite the slap to 8-1 Notre Dame in the Coaches Poll, fellow Big Ten team UCONN is ranked 11th, 3 spots ahead of its spot in the AP. Further, despite the love for MSU in the Coaches Poll, Wisconsin is a spot lower at 5th in the Coaches..
I'll be honest.. I thought Butler had no shot against Gonzaga. I thought Gonzaga was a step up from Tennessee, and the interior presence of Heytvelt would be too much.. and I of course was wrong. Butler surprised again and is now 6-0 with wins over Notre Dame, Indiana, Tennessee, and Gonzaga. Still the question remains: Is this team for real? Or to put it another way, is this team good enough to make the Tournament as an at-large bid? It should be interesting.. the fact is a team that so heavily relies on the long ball can go sour at any point. You know there's a cold streak waiting at some point.. and the question is how will the committee deal with Butler's inevitable conference losses to teams like Loyola Chicago or Detroit. As good as their start has been, my guess is that wont look nearly as good two months from now. Notre Dame is a mediocre team that will probably end up in the 125-175 RPI range. Indiana would be lucky to end up in the RPI top 50 and will most likely end up with more than 10 losses. Tennesse, though ranked when Butler beat them may simply end up in the 40-50 range as well. Its conceivable that when all is said and done, the only Top 50 RPI wins that Butler has are against Gonzaga, and perhaps Purdue if they beat the Boilermakers in a couple of weeks. My guess is that Butler will lose 5-7 games the rest of the season. It will be interesting to see what happens if they dont win the Horizon League tournament.