The AP top 25 is out, and yes, Kentucky is your new No. 1. That was not a surprise. Listed under as one of the teams receiving votes -- all the way down at the bottom with a "1" next to its name -- is... Coastal Carolina? What gives?
The Dagger's Chris Chase has found an explanation: Legendary hoops writer John Feinstein, author of the brilliant Season On The Brink (and a few hundred other not-so-brilliant sports tomes) is simply engaging in his customary practice of including one small, undercovered school in his weekly college hoops top 25. This isn't new; actually, Feinstein has been doing this for years. He explained his rationale to Dan Steinberg a few years ago -- the author says that small schools always love seeing themselves on the polls, that they're deserving of the attention usually reserved for the big boys, and it's just one vote, so "why not?"
This is where I could make the argument that it pollutes the integrity of the poll -- you're giving a vote to an occasionally undeserving team for the sake of seeming like a nice guy who's in touch with the mid-majors -- but really, who wants to make that argument? The polls are meaningless anyway. Every time I mention them, I mention this fact. You can't exactly go around and tell people not to take the poll too seriously and then tell one writer he can't include a small school for fun each week. That's hypocritical, right?
And, as Chase points out (and as CBS' Gary Parrish revels in discussing each week), if you're looking to get worked up about specific writers' silly poll votes, there are far more deserving targets. Texas at No. 14? K-State at No. 17? Someone doesn't think too highly of the Big 12.