LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- When No. 2 Michigan, college basketball's last unbeaten, fell at Ohio State, and No. 1 Duke lost at N.C. State on Saturday, it left a void at the top of the national polls.
The University of Louisville could be poised to jump into it. The Cardinals (15-1) are ranked No. 3 in the nation in the Associated Press poll and are No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches' poll. (No. 3 in that poll, Arizona, lost at Oregon last week.)
In the mathematics of polls, when everybody ahead of you loses, you jump them.
For U of L, it would be an historic jump. The Cardinals have plenty of experience in the polls -- only five programs have been ranked more weeks in the AP poll than U of L's 538 (North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and Kansas) -- but they've been No. 1 in the AP poll only once, in the last poll of the 2008-09 season before the NCAA Tournament.
After Michigan's loss today, CBS analyst Seth Davis said he'd be voting the Cards No. 1.
Dick Vitale said he respected those who voted U of L or Duke in the No. 1 spot, but he thinks Indiana's victory over a top-10 Minnesota team makes the Hoosiers No. 1. IU (15-1) is No. 5 in both polls.
Comparing the two is nothing new. IU began the season ranked No. 1 in both major polls, with U of L No. 2.
Looking at IU vs. U of L from the perspective of the computer rankings, IU's win over the Gophers gives them the best win of the pair. But U of L has the far better overall schedule and its only loss -- a five-point neutral-court loss to full-strength Duke while playing without Gorgui Dieng, looks better than IU's loss to Butler.
U of L, generally, has the far higher overall strength of schedule.
Ken Pomeroy has U of L and IU ranked 2-3 respectively. Sagarin has IU No. 3 and U of L No. 5.
In reality, neither team likely desires the No. 1 target at the moment.
U of L is preparing for a Monday night game against a Connecticut team that is 12-3 and coming off a 65-58 win at Notre Dame, ending a 17-game home winning streak for the Irish. In fact, a visitor has won only twice in the past 48 games in South Bend, and both times it has been UConn. The Cards will face UConn in Hartford.
"They've got arguably one of the best backcourts in the nation (with Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright)," U of L coach Rick Pitino said. "They are a terrific team. I'm really happy for them because I love their coach (Kevin Ollie). He is a class young man and I knew he would do a great job. More so than any other person I've encountered in my life, I knew he would be a great coach."
IU is preparing for a Wisconsin team that is coming off a 74-51 win at Illinois. The Badgers have won six straight.
Wednesday, March 5 2014 8:53 AM EST2014-03-05 13:53:25 GMT
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