Syracuse, N.Y. — The final USA Today poll was released on Tuesday, the day after the University of Connecticut defeated Kentucky for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
The need for a poll after the conclusion of the NCAA tournament seems a little curious and it was made even more curious when UConn received just 30 of the 32 potential first-place votes. Two of the 32 coaches didn’t put a team other than UConn at No. 1 on their ballots.
It turns out that the two contrarians were North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips and Texas State’s Danny Kaspar. (The ballots for all 32 of the coaches in the USA Today poll are published on the USA Today website.)
Phillips put Kentucky at No. 1 on his ballot with Connecticut second. A full check of Phillips’ ballot shows that he also voted for his own team at No. 25. It was the only vote that North Dakota State received in the final poll.
Kaspar’s ballot was even more interesting. Kaspar had Wichita State at No. 1. The Shockers were undefeated for the year until losing to Kentucky in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Kaspar then had Wisconsin at No. 2 followed by Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville before finally bringing in Connecticut at No. 9.
The Texas State coach had Syracuse at No. 10.
Speaking of Syracuse, Jim Boeheim, like the rest of his colleagues, voted Connecticut No. 1 on his ballot. Boeheim had Kentucky at No. 2 and the other Final Four teams Wisconsin and Florida at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.
Here is a look at Boeheim’s ballot:
5. Wichita State
7. Michigan State
11. Iowa State
14. San Diego State
18. North Carolina
23. Virginia Commonwealth
24. New Mexico