Georgetown's 52-50 upset of No. 2 Syracuse failed to impress the wire-service basketball pollsters enough for the Hoyas to regain the top 20 this week and Coach John Thompson, who usually is unconcerned with the polls, was furious.
"It's ridiculous we're not ranked," Thompson said. "There's no way in the world we should not be ranked. We beat Maryland by 12 points and they're leading the ACC. We lost to Indiana by a few points when they were ranked No. 1.
"We beat the No. 2 team in the nation on their home court with a 57-game winning streak. So what do you have to do?"
The Hoyas are 19-5 with two regular-season games and the Big East tournament remaining before bids go out to 48 teams for the NCAA championship. Georgetown earlier this season was ranked as high as 16th in both the Associated Press sportswriters' poll and the United Press International coaches' poll.
This week the Hoyas gained only 87 total votes, based on a 20-19-18, etc., scale, 38 points from tying Washington State for 20th place. Georgetown had 23 points in the UPI poll; No. 20 North Carolina State had 27. In that poll, coaches vote for the top 15 teams only, although 20 are ranked.
In the past Thompson has said the polls are nice for the fans and alumni, but the NCAA tournament decides the real rankings.
"The reason why I'm so concerned about the ranking now is because of the nature of the teams this year," Thompson said. "I think the rankings have to influence what the NCAA is going to do.
"To say I'm ranked so and so doesn't mean anything to me, but the rankings can be used to influence the NCAA. Where you're going to play and if you're going to play is important at this point. I'm very much aware of the ranking right now . . . It's kind of hard to leave a team in the top 20 out of a field of 48.
"I know that's leverage that you can use to get into the tournament. It may have some influence on where they're sending you now because there is a lot of stuff involved."
Unbeaten De Paul retained its No. 1 ranking in both polls. Louisville and Kentucky moved ahead of Syracuse in AP, but the Orangemen remained No. 2 in UPI, by a point. Maryland is seventh in UPI and ninth in the AP.