I'm going to make Tuesday "poll day" on Chicago College Basketball. If you missed my post on the Mid-Major Top 25 check it out here.
The Northwestern Wildcats are 5-0 and beginning to get some national recognition. Thanks to victories over Georgia Tech and Creighton, they finally have the ammunition to start trying to move up in the national rankings.
Now, a Top 25 ranking might not seem that important in December, but it's actually more valuable in terms of program exposure than you might think. If you're in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 you appear in the scoreboard on the top of ESPN every night for everyone, not just fans of the program. You also show up sooner on the bottom line and just get more national respect.
While, thankfully, post season berths don't ride on being a Top 25 team, it's still a good way to start the season, and thus it's good for Northwestern that the team has been climbing in the rankings. The Wildcats are now receiving votes in both the AP and Coaches polls and are "ranked" 35th and 31st respectively.
Where's that respect coming from? After the jump we take a look at two AP voters in particular.
Two people have Northwestern ranked in the Top 25 this week - FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman (that's his photo above) and Steve DeShazo of The Free Lance-Star in Fredricksburg, VA. (Click on their names to see their entire ballot.)
Teams around Northwestern in Goodman's ballot include Purdue, Kentucky, Central Florida and Vanderbilt. In DeShazo's ballot Villanova, Purdue, Vanderbilt and Cleveland State. So, that game against the Boilermakers on Dec. 31? Yeah, it's as big as everyone's been saying.
It'll be really interesting to see if Northwestern is able to crack into the Top 25 officially before that game. It certainly could happen, there tends to be a lot of turmoil near the bottom of the rankings and the Wildcats shouldn't face a tough game until they play St. John's in Madison Square Garden. (Assuming that happens and all.)