The Gophers men's basketball team moved up to No. 22 in the Associated Press poll and No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, which were both released Monday.

Even without a ranking, Minnesota is a prominent program on the national scene. There's Tubby Smith, Big Ten membership, a 2009-10 NCAA tournament appearance, etc.

But the Associated Press has decided to take away the state's vote in the weekly top 25 poll this season, as part of a poll reconfiguration.

According to one of my AP colleagues, other states have been given more votes in this year's poll because they have multiple Division I programs.

But Minnesota, with only one Division I team, lost its top 25 vote. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

It's not about the number of teams, it's about the quality of the teams in each state. Minnesota has a nationally ranked program. Someone in this state should have a vote, right? 

The weekly polls have a lot more to do with barbershop talk, Internet chatter and egos than anything else. At the end of the day, it doesn't sway the NCAA tournament selection committee, however, it's a great barometer for sports fans, coaches, media and players.

I voted in the AP poll last year. And if I don't get that opportunity in the future that's fine. I still think that Minnesota, as a state, should have a vote in this season's poll. Every state with a Big Ten program, one of the top conferences in the country, should have one.

Plus, writers/reporters/broadcasters who follow Minnesota basketball also get a chance to watch a lot of top 25 teams during nonconference and Big Ten play. They're watching the teams that they're ranking, even if there's only one DI school in their own state.  

Can you say the same thing about someone covering a team from a smaller conference?

That's my two cents for the day.

-NBADraft.net has Rodney Williams projected as a No. 3 pick in the 2011 draft. Whatever.

-A few early thoughts on Butler-Minnesota at the 76 Classic Thursday.

I watched Butler lose a tight game against LSU in the first round of last season's NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs played in Greensboro, N.C., before the Gophers lost to Texas. LSU overwhelmed Butler with its athleticism.

The Tigers had a bunch of lengthy defenders ... a la Minnesota. As of now, I predict an upset. I think Minnesota's athleticism will frustrate Butler, too.

Coming Tuesday: Update in Trevor Mbakwe case, Gold in the Barn Top 25 poll

 

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