South Carolina Basketball: For the second year in a row, the same AP voter disrespects Dawn Staley's Gamecocks

South Carolina basketball is still ranked #1, but they are no longer unanimously at the top of the college basketball world as a singular AP voter has disrespected the Gamecocks for the second year in a row.

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley
South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows that Dawn Staley's South Carolina basketball team is the best team in the country. Well, almost everyone.

After several weeks of being the undisputed and unanimous #1-ranked team in the country in the AP poll, all of a sudden, the Gamecocks did not receive every vote to remain in the top spot.

For the second year in a row, the same AP voter, Mitchell Northam, randomly (and stupidly) decided to vote for another team in the top spot instead of South Carolina basketball.

To be somewhat fair to Northam, this year's take is not nearly as empty-headed as last year's.

Last year, Northam voted for the Indiana Hoosiers to be #1, and the South Carolina Gamecocks to be #2. South Carolina was undefeated and had played the country's most difficult schedule at the time. Indiana had a loss to sub-.500 Michigan State. It truly was a horrible hot take, and the Hoosiers let him down with a whimper in the NCAA Tournament after losing to 9-seed Miami in the Round of 32.

This year, Northam's brave attempt at going against the obvious was to put the UCLA Bruins in the top spot. His only argument is strength of schedule. However, UCLA's overall strength of schedule is actually worse than South Carolina's in every metric (RPI strength of schedule, Massey strength of schedule, and the official NET rankings all have the Gamecocks comfortably ahead), so his reasoning was wrong.

But there are plenty of other reasons to understand that the Gamecocks are better than the Bruins.

The Gamecocks have played just two games with margins less than 15 points (and just three less than 29 points), while UCLA played a one-possession game against a mediocre Princeton team and had four more games that finished with 15-point margins or closer.

South Carolina basketball has scored at least 100 points five times this season, including against top-10 Notre Dame and top-15 Maryland. UCLA has done so just twice, both against some of the worst teams in college basketball (Bellarmine and Cal State Northridge; yes, those are real teams). Carolina has held 5 opponents under 40 points (including two under 30 and one under 20). UCLA hasn't held any opponents under 46 points.

The Gamecocks are also the country's top team in both offensive and defensive rating, while UCLA isn't in the top-5 in either statistic.

Simply put, Mr. Northam doesn't have a leg to stand on in this one. The Gamecocks have been better on offense, they've been better on defense, they have a better rebounding margin, and they've done all of that against better competition.

Next year, sit this one out, Mitch.

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