The Hoos may be off to a 6-1 ACC start, but the media and coaches have yet to recognize it, as UVA is still unranked in both major polls this week. Virginia did receive 18 votes in the AP Poll (ranked 29th), and 26 votes in the USA Today/Coaches Poll (27th), but it wasn't enough to hop into the top 25. Before you get disappointed at all, don't worry. It doesn't matter.
Virginia started the year with media attention swirling around the team, and it was reflected in the preseason rankings, where the Hoos came in at 24th in the AP and 25th in the coaches poll. The team remained 25th in both polls after starting the season with a win over JMU, but dropped out for good after losing to VCU in the team's second game.
Last week, fans waited with bated breath to see if a big win over FSU would send the team into the top 25. Instead, the Hoos received just a single measly vote in the AP Poll. Beating UNC on national TV and then pounding rival VT at home seemed like it may be enough to reach voters, but alas the media still preferred the likes of Oklahoma (#44 on KenPom). Maybe a 2-0 week on the road against Notre Dame and Pitt will help?
Arizona held on to the top spot in the AP poll, followed by Syracuse, Florida, Wichita State, and San Diego State. Michigan made the poll's biggest leap, moving from #21 to #10 after beating Iowa and Michigan State. Creighton notably, and deservedly, moved into the top 25 after demolishing Villanova, entering at #20. Looking at UVA's past opponents, Wisconsin comes in at 14, Duke is 17, and Green Bay and SMU both received votes. The Hoos will head to #18 Pittsburgh this week.
The computers, which aren't swayed by factors like "poor performances in nationally televised games," "not forgiving the team for letting them down earlier in the year," and "infatuated with teams from the state of North Carolina" are high on Virginia. There's a consensus that the team is somewhere between the 16th and 21st best team in the nation.
Ken Pomeroy: #16 (#72 in offense, #4 in defense)
Sagarin: #21 (#19 in "Predictor," the system's best way of projecting future games)
BPI (ESPN): #21
RPI (ESPN): #21 (Yep, even the systems that usually exist to hate us are in agreement)!
At the end of the day, a team's rank in the media polls is pretty much irrelevant. It would be nice to see the little number next to Virginia's name, and the increased exposure (on Sportscenter, etc.) is fun too. But I think most fans are also just fine with the team flying beneath the radar a bit.
Polls are not used by the Selection Committee; if you're looking ahead to that, an equally silly measure, RPI, will be heavily utilized in selecting this year's March Madness bracket and that has UVA on solid ground thus far. RPIForecast.com projects UVA will finish with an RPI of 26. (An 11-7 or worse ACC record would be needed to even get to the "bubble danger" zone of 45th or lower in RPI).
You can check out the full AP Top 25 here and the Coaches Poll here.