The Monmouth men’s basketball team has been one of college hoops’ best — and most entertaining — stories this young season.
First, check out the Monmouth bench mob:
That’s lovable March Madness stuff right there … but Monmouth isn’t a brief tournament fairytale. This is a good basketball team. So good, I thought, that I ranked them No. 25 on my ballot for this week’s Associated Press poll.
I didn’t know I was going to be part of the school’s basketball history.
My vote — the lone one from the 65 sportswriters who hold ballots in the AP poll — is Monmouth’s first-ever for the men’s hoops program. The Hawks received five total points from the coaches, and I feel like coaches know a thing or two about good basketball.
I decided to rank Monmouth on the strength of a 4-2 start. Now, we can’t ignore the two losses, but they’re hardly huge hiccups: at much-improved Southern Cal and against Dayton. Monmouth owns wins at UCLA, at Drexel, against then-No. 17 Notre Dame and then, Sunday, against USC in a rematch.
Iona was picked to win the MAAC this season, with Monmouth a close second. The Hawks have December games at Georgetown and Rutgers, but if they run through the MAAC schedule, I have no problem keeping them in top 25 consideration for the long haul.
It’s what a team does on the court, not the name on the front of the jersey, that should determine a team’s qualifications for the top 25.
Consider me in.