Overtime

Polls drive up interest, but are not all that accurate

Column by Jim Benton
Posted 12/4/17

The veracity of preseason basketball polls is often ridiculed. Yes, polls mean little, since a lot will change during the season. Polls are speculative, especially the preseason ones, and teams still …

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Overtime

Polls drive up interest, but are not all that accurate

Posted

The veracity of preseason basketball polls is often ridiculed.

Yes, polls mean little, since a lot will change during the season. Polls are speculative, especially the preseason ones, and teams still have to prove themselves during games. Teams seldom win by reputation alone.

Still, polls are interesting and popular.

CHSAANow.com released its preseason basketball polls Nov. 27 and there were plenty of area teams ranked in the Top 10.

Rock Canyon, buoyed by the return of its dynamic backcourt of Sam Masten and Tyson Gilbert plus three other returning regulars, was top-ranked in Class 5A. The Jaguars were state semifinalists last season.

Golden has seven seniors back from the 2017 state runners-up and the Demons were ranked No. 1 in the preseason 4A boys poll. The Demons lost to Valor Christian in the 2017 state title contest.

ThunderRidge, a semifinal team last season, was fifth in the 5A rankings and Chaparral eighth. Holy Family was fifth and Valor eighth in the first poll of the season.

Faith Christian, the Class 3A runner-up last season, was second and Lutheran eighth in the boys preseason poll.

Cherry Creek, a semifinalist a year ago, was second-ranked in the preseason Class 5A girls poll, with 2017 runner-up Lakewood fourth, Highlands Ranch fifth, Ralston Valley sixth, Horizon seventh and Castle View 10th.

In the Class 4A preseason girls poll, Golden was fourth, Valor seventh, D’Evelyn eighth and Holy Family ninth. Lutheran was seventh-ranked in the 3A girls poll and Faith Christian 10th.

Polls are a source for debate all during the season. Coaches and players often say they don’t pay attention but almost everybody knows about teams that are ranked. One of the favorite chants for students is `overrated’ when a top-ranked team is struggling.

Ryan Casey oversees CHSAANow.com and summed up the attractiveness of polls that always create conversation.

“The polls are one of the most consistently read things on our website,” said Casey. “It’s about generating interest around high school sports. Polls make certain games, not more important, but bigger. It’s just like when you have two of the top-five teams playing, everybody knows. It doesn’t have any impact on post-season seeding or anything like that.

“In reality the coaches are right,” admitted Casey. “They (the polls) don’t really matter but what they do create a certain reality, create a visibility of certain teams in a certain sport and make people talk about them. The key with that is talk. If somebody doesn’t agree where a team should be ranked, fine. They are still talking about them. And the point is to have people talk about high school sports.”

Champion in Denver

I remember years ago when working for the Rocky Mountain News that I was sent to Florida to cover the Daytona 500.

At the time I wondered if the editors knew we lived in Denver, Colorado, and not Denver, North Carolina.

However, I discovered just how popular NASCAR racing is. Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing have made the sport even more prevalent in Denver, Colorado this season.

Truex, driver of Furniture Row’s No. 78 Toyota, was in town Nov. 27 along with the NASCAR Monster Energy championship trophy.

He dominated the regular season for the only team operating west of the Mississippi but he still had to survive the season’s last race on Nov. 19 at Homestead Miami Speedway to win the season championship.

It was tense during the waning laps as Truex held off Kyle Busch, one of the four winner-take-all finalists, to secure the championship.

One of the coolest people during those closing laps was Golden resident Cole Pearn, who is Truex’s crew chief.

Pearn blocked out thoughts on a great season going to waste if Truex didn’t finish ahead of the other three finalists in NASCAR’s playoff format.

“We were really calm and tried to stay focused on what we needed to do and give Martin feedback of where Kyle was turning,” said Pearn. “I really didn’t feel too much emotion until there was about two laps to go. I started to think it was possible and then when he crossed the checkered flag, it was surreal.”

Etc.

Two teams from the Highlands Ranch Community Association finished first and second in the second-fourth grade division of the 2017 CARA Volleyball State Tournament held Nov. 4 at the Tony Grampsas gym in Golden. The Crushing Waves, coached by Brenda Chavez, took first and the Purple Crush, coached by Kelly Katsnelson, finished second.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

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