Friday, November 14, 2008

Flipside: The Gators basketball team deserves its No. 19 ranking

Everyone loves a good argument (if you don't, you're just not American) and that's what we're going to strive to give you in our Flipside columns. Two of our writers will argue both sides of an issue and you (the reader) should help us pick who's the winner and who doesn't know what they're talking about at all. The first topic we bring you is this: Should the Gators basketball team be ranked No. 19 in the preseason polls? I'm holding down the 'yes' and Falco hits in the two-hole with the 'no.' Read and discuss.

Preseason Polls are a projection of how good a team will be, regardless of what anyone says.

They can’t possibly be an evaluation of past performances because of the influx of new freshman and former role players stepping into big-time minutes.

The argument that the Gators haven’t shown the country enough to be No. 19 is completely right and not up for debate, but that sentiment could be extended to every team in Division I.

Last I checked, the ‘Heels record is still 0-0, but no one has a problem with their No. 1 ranking. Conversely, the defending champion Jayhawks start at No. 24 because they aren’t PROJECTED to be as good, otherwise they’d still be No. 1, right?

So maybe the argument is that UF has done nothing to “earn” even the mildest of expectations that come along with a mention in the Top 25. Pollsters gave the team too much credit based on the recent National Championships won by the ‘04s and Billy Donovan.

If the Gators were thrown into the top 10, I’m with ya, that’s presumptuous. But at 19, they’re merely being recognized as a pretty solid team under reasonable expectations to improve.
Billy D has assembled a young, talented squad with as much right to be No. 19 as anyone else.

Preseason polls take many factors into account: a program’s history, coaching, the previous performance of players and, most importantly, how good a team can be at the peak of its potential.

Humor me for a second.

Let’s say Nick “Get Your Hands Ready” Calathes drops 15 points and eight assists per game en rout to becoming a top five point guard.

Walter “Two Left Hands” Hodge, Dan “Head Fake” Werner and Chandler “Baby Face” Parsons provide timely scoring from the perimeter, while Alex “Sir Dunksalot” Tyus and Kenny “Soft Body” Kadji become scrappy low post point-producers and paint-protectors.

Then, Erving “Got Range?” Walker and Ray “Lockdown” Shipman live up to the hype and garner serious off-the-bench minutes in addition to either Eloy “The Stickman” Vargas or Allan “B-More” Chaney becoming serviceable enough to be on the court with one of the other bigs.

They’re not a No. 19 team at the end of the year if that happens?

Maybe not, but at least I just gave you nicknames for the entire 10-man rotation, which is more than you can say for those preseason rankings.

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