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Virginia moves to #5 in AP Poll, but top-two in computer rankings

This week's polls and rankings:

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia is #5 in this week's AP Poll, jumping Wisconsin and moving up one spot from last week's edition.  Kentucky remained atop the rankings again this week, followed by Duke, Arizona, and Louisville.

Besides the 3 ACC teams in the top 5, North Carolina moved up to 20th after beating Ohio State, and Notre Dame is now #16.  Miami, who dropped out of the top 25 after their embarrassing home loss to Eastern Kentucky, is the only other ACC team receiving votes.

Maryland, who is now 11-1, won at Oklahoma State this week and is now #15 in the nation. VCU is just outside the top 25, and next Saturday's opponent, Davidson, received 1 vote.

The computers are more bullish. Virginia is #2 in KenPom, with the #3 defense in the nation (behind Kentucky and Louisville) and the #6 offense. It's #2 in Sagarin, which has the same top 3 as KenPom - Kentucky, UVA, Duke.  And the Hoos are number 1 in the nation in Massey's ratings.

Who to believe, humans and computers?  It seems absurd to complain about a top-five ranking - that's not the point here. (Heck, it's absurd to complain about polls and rankings in the first place, since they are virtually irrelevant.).  That said, it's useful to point out the higher rankings assigned to UVA by computer models, which are meant to be predictive, are more meaningful. These are not biased by the name on the front of teams' uniforms, nor do they make the logical error of refusing to allow teams to fall unless they lose (as if their preseason rankings are gospel that cannot change by actual performance).

Why the (again, irrelevant) gap between the human polls and computer polls? In his article praising Virginia, CBSSports's Gary Parrish explains his thinking when filling out polls:  "I'm compelled to break one of my core rules -- i.e., try not to drop teams unless they do something to deserve to be dropped -- and jump Virginia up in the rankings."  This faulty logic, which explains the "stickiness" if the polls, is why UVA won't jump teams like Arizona unless the Wildcats lose. Undefeated Arizona (who have won 5 games decided by 7 points or fewer) may not "deserve" to be dropped...but Virginia, which has played a more difficult schedule and won by double-digits in each game, "deserves" to move up to where they objectively belong.

Below are the full AP Top 25:

AP Top 25
1. Kentucky 12-0
2. Duke 10-0
3. Arizona 12-0
4. Louisville 10-0
5. Virginia 11-0
6. Wisconsin 10-1
7. Villanova 11-0
8. Gonzaga 11-1
9. Texas 10-1
10. Kansas 9-1
11. Wichita St. 8-1
12. Iowa St. 9-1
13. Washington 10-0
14. Utah 8-2
15. Maryland 11-1
16. Notre Dame 11-1
17. St. John's 9-1
18. West Virginia 10-1
19. Oklahoma 7-3
20. North Carolina 8-3
21. Ohio St. 9-2
22. Baylor 9-1
23. N. Iowa 10-1
24. Colorado St. 11-0
25. TCU 11-0

Others receiving votes: Georgetown 857-3, San Diego St. 72, VCU 70, California 32, Miami 27, Arkansas 22, Indiana 11, LSU 7, Old Dominion 7, Florida 4, Penn St. 4, Oklahoma St. 3, Seton Hall 3, Butler 2, Minnesota 2, Davidson 1, Valparaiso 1.