Hey! The sequel to Running Tally took just 10 days! So you can apparently count on Running Tally III—in which I get my ass kicked by Mr. T, or in which Sofia Coppola makes a horribly panned appearance, or in which a franchise that once stood for raunchy R-rated fun is turned into a TV movie—appearing on a computer screen near you next Friday!
Anyway, this Running Tally tabulates the pre-season magazines, most of which are terribly dated by the time they land on the newsstand and some of which, quite frankly, seemed like they were put together with no effort whatsoever (as noted in the first Running Tally, the one CAA magazine preview that was certainly worked on with equal parts passion and diligence was the Blue Ribbon Yearbook, authored by your good friend and mine Litos).
Lindy’s, for example, counts both Chaz Williams and Halil Kanacevic as returnees for Hofstra, which means either the deadline was Feb. 15 or the writer just didn’t care. I’m not sure which would be more disturbing. (Actually the most disturbing thing is that the guy still only picked Hofstra, with all those guys back, sixth)
Such inaccuracies are not limited to previews printed on dead trees (I found an online preview this week that was so riddled with factual errors I thought it had been assassinated at the Jones Beach tollbooths) but it makes me reconsider whether or not to even count the magazines in these Running Tallies. I decided to do it for another year, mostly because the sight of pre-season magazines on the newsstand still give me a little jolt that reminds me of childhood, when these things were gold.
Enough blathering out of me. Here is a link to the first Running Tally and below are the updated standings. If you come across any more previews, please send them along so I can include them in the next Running Tally. (As always, my point system mimics the cross country point system—one point for first place, two points for second place, all the way to 12 points for last place.)
1.) Old Dominion (8) 20
2.) VCU (4) 24.5
3.) George Mason (1) 33.5
4.) James Madison 59
5.) HOFSTRA 72
6.) William & Mary 87.5
7.) Northeastern 91.5
8.) Drexel 99
9.) Delaware 107
10.) Towson 121
11.) UNC Wilmington 144
12.) Georgia State 151
First place votes in parentheses.
Polls collected thus far: CAA, Brian Mull, Mark Selig, CAA Hoops “Brain Trust,” Rivals.com, Rush The Court, CAA Full Court Press, Blue Ribbon, Athlon, Sporting News, Slam, Lindy’s.
—Even people with old-fashioned deadlines hate our beloved Flying Dutchmen, who remain fifth overall after they were picked as high as fifth by Blue Ribbon (Litos knows not to anger me) and as low as seventh by Sporting News. Everyone else—those who seemed to be paying attention and those who weren’t alike—picked Hofstra sixth, which has me once again singing Motley Crue!
—ODU collected three first-place votes (Blue Ribbon, Athlon’s and Slam) to remain the overwhelming favorite to repeat as champion. The Monarchs have not been picked lower than third in any of the 13 polls.
—VCU picked up two first-place votes (Sporting News and Lindy’s) to widen its lead over George Mason. Like ODU, VCU has not been picked lower than third by anyone.
—Our good friends at Mason received a second (Athlon’s), three thirds and a fourth, which unfortunately was from Lindy’s. That marked the first time the Patriots have been picked outside the top three.
—James Madison easily hangs on to fourth despite a pair of inexplicable eighth-place votes from Sporting News and Slam. Seriously, are these writers even trying? I’m not entirely convinced the Dukes will finish in the top four—almost but not quite—but barring widespread injury they won’t finish eighth. Anyway, a second-place vote from Lindy’s helped negate the two eighths.
—William & Mary was picked eighth by three magazines but picked up a fourth (Sporting News) and a fifth (Slam) to hang on to sixth place overall.
—It would be easier to list the spots in which Northeastern HASN’T been picked. Our Boston Bias friends were picked in five different spots by the five magazines—fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth and 10th—which is appropriate since the Huskies have been picked to finish in seven different spots overall (sixth and eighth are the other ones). Alanis Morrissette should write a song about the irony of a team coached by straight-laced Bill Coen being picked to finish all over the place.
—The long lead time for magazines might be the best thing to happen this season to Drexel, which looked like a championship contender before point guard Jamie Harris was arrested for armed robbery. The Dragons moved from ninth to eighth thanks to two fifths (Athlon’s and Lindy’s), a sixth, a seventh and a 10th (notably, Blue Ribbon). The Dragons were picked seventh or higher just three times by the eight sources that had the benefit of casting votes after July.
—Delaware gives Northeastern a run for its money by being picked sixth (Blue Ribbon), seventh and 12th once apiece and 10th twice, but the spate of double-digit picks drop the Blue Hens to ninth. It’s probably a good sign, though, for our friends in Newark that they were picked 10th or lower just once by the online forecasters. The Blue Hens also have the biggest gap between highest and lowest forecast (seven spots).
—Towson is 10th overall despite having almost twice as many ninth-place votes (seven) as 10th-place votes (four). The magazines are in almost unanimous agreement about the Tigers as only Blue Ribbon (seventh) picked them higher than ninth. Every other magazine else except Slam (10th) selected Towson ninth.
—UNC-Wilmington hangs on to 11th after getting its highest vote yet, a ninth from Slam. The Seahawks got three 11ths and a 12th (Athlon’s) as well.
—Georgia State remains in the basement after three 12th-place votes and two 11th-place votes. The Panthers have been picked in the bottom two in every poll.