FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona Head Coach Mike Adras knows college basketball. He should since he has been a college coach for 19 years. But he has an additional challenge as one of 31 voters on the USA TODAY/ESPN Board of Coaches, a position he has held for the last four years.
“I am happy to be a voting member for USA TODAY and ESPN,” said Adras from the Final Four in Indianapolis. “We are very proud to be part of it and it is a fun breakaway from the season to track who is doing well across the country.”
Every week during the season, Adras submits his weekly top 25 Sunday night that helps make up the weekly national poll that is used my media and fans across the country. It requires evaluation of games going on around the college game each week, monitoring the rise and fall of teams throughout the season.
Adras picked the current Final Four among his top 14 picks in the preseason poll: Michigan State at No. 2, West Virginia at No. 9, Butler at No. 12 and Duke at No. 14.
Early favorites like preseason Kansas (No. 1), Purdue (No. 8) and Ohio State (No. 13) had great seasons. Other teams like North Carolina (No. 3) failed to make the tournament but have had a strong NIT Tournament.
Adras was one of the first coaches to list BYU on his ballot at No. 23 in the preseason poll when they received just 16 votes, including three from Adras. The Cougars entered the national rankings on Jan. 4 and were ranked the rest of the way, getting as high as No. 12. Teams receive votes based on their ranking in the vote with one point for No. 25, two points for No. 24, etc.
Adras, while paying attention to the national scene, looks to represent the West Coast in his poll when justified. He listed Pac-10 teams California (No. 7) and Washington (No. 10) in his preseason poll and both had strong finishes in the NCAA Tournament.
Each poll is the best representation of the thoughts of a coach from each league in Division I but is hardly exact. For example, 55 different teams received a vote in the first poll of the season, while only 38 were chosen in the final regular season poll. The last piece of evidence to evaluate is the NCAA Tournament.
Adras will submit his final Top 25 on Monday with the final three games this weekend deciding the final vote. Who will be No. 1? Check your newspaper on Tuesday.
The USA TODAY/ESPN Board of Coaches is made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions. All are members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The board for the 2009-10 season: Mike Adras, Northern Arizona; Dana Altman, Creighton; Tommy Amaker, Harvard; Tevester Anderson, Jackson State; Ronnie Arrow, South Alabama; Randy Bennett, Saint Mary's; Eddie Biedenbach, North Carolina-Asheville; Jim Boeheim, Syracuse; Rick Byrd, Belmont; Charlie Coles, Miami (Ohio); Steve Fisher, San Diego State; Greg Graham, Boise State; Rob Jeter, Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Billy Kennedy, Murray State; Billy Lange, Navy; Dan Leibovitz, Hartford; Fran McCaffery, Siena; Mike McConathy, Northwestern State; Bob McKillop, Davidson; Phil Martelli, Saint Joseph's; Ron "Fang" Mitchell, Coppin State; Matt Painter, Purdue; Tom Pecora, Hofstra; John Pelphrey, Arkansas; Mike Rice, Robert Morris; Doc Sadler, Nebraska; Herb Sendek, Arizona State; Scott Sutton, Oral Roberts; Bob Williams, UC-Santa Barbara; Gary Williams, Maryland; Doug Wojcik, Tulsa.