When the polls were released on Monday I was shocked. I knew that the Illini would still be ranked after beating Georgia Tech in their lone game last week, but the jump all the way up from 22nd to 13th and 14th in the AP and Coaches Poll absolutely blew my mind.
A win against Georgia Tech at home just shouldn't be worth that much.
Of course, while seeing our latest rank there was something else that was absolutely clear to me: the Illini are not the thirteenth best team in the country. To actually think they are is nuts. Personally if I had a ballot to turn in for either poll I'd have the Illini a lot closer to 20 than I would 10.
Which means that, yes, I think the Illini are overrated. I feel confident in saying they're the most overrated team in the country right now. When the season comes to an end, or hell, by February, I don't think the Illini will remotely resemble the thirteenth best team in the land. We will likely be struggling to maintain a .500 record in the Big Ten.
Now, none of this means that what we've seen so far this year isn't real, nor does it mean it hasn't been awesome. It just means that in spite of the 8-0 start, we haven't done anything all that wonderful.
These are the rankings of the eight teams we've beaten according to KenPom.com.
-- Colgate (287th)
-- St. Francis (198th)
-- Hawaii (203rd)
-- USC (169th)
-- Chaminade (UR)
-- Butler (76th)
-- Gardner-Webb (165th)
-- Georgia Tech (83rd)
Of the seven teams in Pomeroy's rankings, Butler is the highest ranked at 76. The average ranking is 168.7. The Illini are ranked 36th by Pomeroy.
So, as you can see if you weren't already aware, the Illini haven't exactly beaten anybody. Which doesn't make winning the games any less fun, but it does make them a bit less meaningful. Odds are the Illini will be 9-0 after tonight's game against Western Carolina.
However, we're likely in for a bit of a rude awakening when we have to hit the road to take on Gonzaga Saturday night. A team with a lot of talented big men that can expose our biggest weaknesses. Let's not forget that Hawaii gave us a ton of trouble down low and on the glass, and Georgia Tech was a pain in the ass as well.
And neither of those teams are quite on the level of Gonzaga, which is ranked sixth at KenPom.com.
In other words, let's enjoy what we've seen so far and be happy that things certainly seemed to have taken a turn for the better. Especially in light of the football season we just endured.
Just don't go getting your hopes up just yet. That ranking is just a number next to a name, and an inaccurate one at that.