Another ESPN problem …

So I’m checking out the ESPN.com college basketball page, and there on the lower right side of the page is an “ESPN SportsNation” poll asking — Which state has the best college basketball?

A good question. Now the choices:

  • California
  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia

It’s a joke, right? Virginia? Do they have college basketball in Virginia? (Oh, wait, VMI. Thanks for upholding the state’s honor, there, Wildcats).

To avoid the appearance or actuality of homerism, I’m going to abstain from defending my home state’s honor. (And, as I just demonstrated, the state’s namesake land-grant institution makes that difficult at the moment, anyway).

Regardless, Virginia being on that list is ludicrous. As is Texas. As is Florida. Yep. Florida won back-to-back titles. Name me another school in the state that has accomplished anything in basketball at all. What? Miami’s in the top 25 now? That’s cute. Let ’em win a conference championship, then we’ll talk.

Got anything else? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Or, maybe you’d like to run down for me the hoops accomplishments of the state of Texas? UTEP in 1966. That’s a good one. But can you ride the mileage of that one team to “best college basketball” status? When it comes to college basketball, Texas is all hat, no cattle. Call me when Baylor or Texas A&M manages to do something in the postseason.

California, I’m going to give you on the sheer presence of UCLA. And there’s some other history out there. But who else on the current landscape? Stanford? Be serious. Southern Cal? No way.

North Carolina, of course, is a no-brainer. Tar Heels, Blue Devils. Davidson is representing. Wake Forest. I’ve got no problem with that.

So who got screwed?

How about Tennessee? Memphis? Tennessee? Anyone. Those two teams alone top Virginia and Texas, and probably California, too, if we’re talking about current quality.

Some other snubs:

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Villanova

Indiana, even without the Hoosiers: Purdue, Notre Dame, and I might even kick in Butler.

Wisconsin: Marquette, Wisconsin.

You can debate any of them. Unless you’re an ESPN SportsNation voter. In which case you only get those big five. And I say “big” five because it’s pretty easy to figure out what’s going on. ESPN wants a lot of web hits, so they pick the most populous states they can. Florida. Texas. California. Virginia. And they throw North Carolina in there, because, well, it’s North Carolina.

Not surprisingly, Carolina has 72 percent of the 30-something thousand votes cast at last glance. Who else in that group is there to vote for?

So, as a public service, I’ll provide the poll answers in the way I imagine they were probably submitted by our friends at SportsNation:

Which state has the best college basketball?

  • North Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • North Carolina
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5 thoughts on “Another ESPN problem …

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