How are the Top 25 voted for in NCAA? And who are the voters?
It's almost tournament time in the NCAA, and all eyes will be on the brackets in a few weeks. In the meantime teams we focus on the confernce tournaments.
The sprint to the Big Dance is on as we enter the conference tournament portion of the college basketball season. Top seeds can solidify their stance at the top of the bracket, while bubble team will make their final case for a spot in the final 68 teams of March Madness.
Let the Madness commence
The NCAA’s Top 25 is the full season barometer of the nation’s best teams. There are many teams who make the tournament outside of the Top 25, but those who are voted to this list at the end of the season are essentially guaranteed to make it to the Big Dance.
The only way a team can trash a Top 25 season and miss the tourney is to crash out of the conference tournament in the early rounds.
It’s happened on more than one occasion that a fantastic season was spoiled by a less than stellar first round of the conference tournament. In 2004, Utah State was ranked #21 in the country after a season that saw them go 25-2, but they had their dancing dreams shattered by Cal-State Northridge in the first round of the Big West Tournament.
There are 33 conferences tournaments and each of the winners of those tournament's will earn an automatic bid. Those are technically the only “automatic bids” although it’s pretty unfathomable to think the Top 25 teams get left out on Selection Sunday. The other teams will be subjected to the infamous “Bubble.” Nothing is guaranteed with bubble teams, that’s why getting in that Top 25 is so important.
So who votes for the Top 25?
The Associated Press is the end-all-be-all when it comes to voting for the top teams in both college football and college basketball. There are 62 members of the AP Poll, all of which are either sportswriters or broadcasters from around the country.
Voters make their selections for the top teams in the nation in order from one to twenty five and each of those votes carries a different weight. A 1st placed vote for a team is worth 25 points, 2nd place is worth 24 points, and so on and so on. Votes are tallied up and made public each monday.
Like we said earlier, the Top 25 teams at the end of the season almost always make the NCAA Tournament, although the actual poll has no impact on postseason play.
The AP has been the dominant force in the College Football and Men’s and Women’s Basketball world for over over seven decades. Duke University has the most appearances at the top of the AP Poll while UCLA made the AP Poll 221 consecutive times from 1966 to 1980.
The AP started releasing weekly NFL rankings called the AP Pro32 rankings, but it has never quite taken off as much as it has in the college ranks.