Despite the fact that the UConn Huskies defeated Butler en route to winning the third national championship in school history, they still didn’t get the unanimous No. 1 distinction in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
Mike Adras, head coach of Northern Arizona and one of the 31 voters participating in the poll opted to select Ohio State and Kansas ahead of UConn. The fact that neither of these teams made it to the Final Four, losing in the Sweet 16 and Elite eight, respectively, didn’t seem to phase Adras.
"I voted for who I thought was the best team in the country based on the entire body of work during the season," Adras said. "I believe it is Ohio State. I want to congratulate Connecticut for winning the NCAA tournament. They deserved it."
The fact that UConn won the tournament that is technically supposed to decide the champion (a.k.a. the best team in college hoops) appears to mean zilch to the Northern Arizona coach.
Aside from that lone dissenting vote, UConn got the other 30 first-place votes. Butler finished second in the poll, followed by Kentucky. VCU, the other Final Four participant who shocked college basketball fans everywhere with their Cinderella-like run through March Madness, finished sixth.
As per the rules of the poll, head coaches don’t have to vote for the team that wins the NCAA tournament.
While everyone is clearly entitled to their opinion, and the rules clearly state that head coaches don’t have to vote for the last team standing after March Madness, Adras’ decision is puzzling to say the least.
After all, what is the point of the whole tournament if the team that wins the whole thing isn’t recognized as the best team in college basketball? If you don’t use that particular postseason run as the basis for which team is the best, then you’re just arbitrarily picking a squad based on your own individual definition of best. Couple that with the fact that unlike in college football, everyone gets a fair shot at walking away with the big prize, and you see why Adras' decision is questionable at best, and irresponsible at worst.