Georgia football is gearing up for the first time since 2017 to play in the national championship game. Georgia men’s basketball, on the other hand, sits at the bottom of the SEC standings with a 5-9 overall record under head coach Tom Crean. A defeat to George Mason, a single-digit victory over Western Carolina, a loss to East Tennessee, a loss to Gardner-Webb, and a loss to Texas A&M made up their last five games.
When the AP Poll for men’s basketball was revealed on January 3, many of us were surprised to find Georgia in the “also receiving votes” column.
Georgia received 22 votes, implying that Georgia was ranked fourth in the entire country by SOMEONE! What causes anything like this to occur? Isn’t it obvious that something went wrong? Yes, as it turns out. That was the case.
The perpetrator in this Scooby-Doo case is Stephen Tsai, an author for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Georgia was ranked No. 4 in the country by Tsai.
Why? Tsai must have mistaken the ‘G’ on the Georgia emblem for Gonzaga’s ‘G’ or anything along those lines, as it turns out. Tsai accidentally voted for the Georgia Bulldogs, giving them 22 votes instead of the 11-2 Gonzaga Bulldogs. Tsai never issued a formal statement about his error, but it has already been corrected, and Georgia is no longer featured anywhere in the AP Poll, which was revised mid-week.
Tsai made a blunder that I’m sure he won’t forget for a few months, if not until the college basketball season is over. It occurs to the most well-intentioned of us. Similar gaffes have occurred in the past, such as Maria Taylor’s failure to include Anthony Davis on her All-NBA ballot in 2020. Many other All-NBA voters defended her, noting that they had made similar errors in the past.
The only positive to come out of this situation is how swiftly the Associated Press contacted Tsai and resolved the issue. It took them less than two days to call out, confirm that he had made a mistake, and make the necessary adjustments to their rankings. Having the ability to correct obvious errors is critical in ensuring that voters are never pressed to be 100 per cent right all of the time.
The Associated Press, like Major League Baseball when it established its replay review system in 2014, acknowledged that mistakes happen, and being able to correct them can only benefit the sport in the long term. The legitimacy of college basketball or the AP rankings should not be jeopardized by these lapses in concentration. It’s encouraging to see that this one didn’t. It is, nevertheless, really amusing.