W e’re close to the debut of the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association basketball poll. The first one will drop on Jan. 8, and the soonest outlets are allowed to post it is 6 a.m. each Tuesday. I will still release my rankings columns on Mondays, so at least by then, you’ll know how I voted for the poll.
There’s also typically weird voting ballots that get submitted throughout the season, and I’ll discuss those as well. For instance, we all remember how the Negaunee girls went 20-0 last season, right? Well, after the Miners topped Marquette during one of their regular season contests, one voter — who previously had Negaunee above Marquette — moved Marquette ahead of Negaunee in the following poll after the Miners win. This kind of nonsense is why people get on the UPSSA — and deservingly so. I said it before, but transparency is important, which is the whole reason for this column.
Anyways, the first couple of weeks after the holiday break always interest me. You can tell what teams improved after what was essentially a second training camp. The good coaches analyze their team’s weaknesses, adjust accordingly and you can typically begin to see programs start to separate themselves. We’re in January and soon enough, everyone will be hoping to play somewhere near their best before the postseason. That means there’s just a month of fine-tuning before teams should be close to where they want to be.
Here are the boys rankings: