I was able to interview AP Voter Randy Rosetta about his voting philosophy and his voting towards Duke. Randy is labeled as the person who caused Duke to fall one spot to ninth in the latest AP poll because he raised Villanova. Check out our interview and read some of his work at Nola.com
Thomas Eames: How did you become an AP Voter?
Randy Rosetta: Each state has an AP writer who selects the voters from each state, and the number of voters is based on how many Division I programs there are in the state. Louisiana has two votes, and the AP writer asked me to take one of the votes a few years ago after I had been a football voter for several seasons. I had previously been a basketball voter when I worked for the Baton Rouge Advocate and also when I worked at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Thomas Eames: What is your general philosophy when you are ranking teams?
Randy Rosetta: I try to watch as much basketball as I can, whether it’s highlights or snippets or complete games. I do so because I trust my eyes and my experience as much as I do a team’s record, who they’ve beaten or lost to and the numerical data that we all get inundated with. However, the who a team a plays is big to me as well, win or lose. How did team X look against team Y, etc.
Thomas Eames: Why were you tabbed as the person who caused Duke's drop in the AP Poll?
Randy Rosetta: Not sure exactly, because I had the Blue Devils No. 2 in my pre-season poll and haven’t knocked them down lower than No. 9 in any poll this season. They have hovered in the 8-9 range since the second loss to Arizona, mostly because teams above them have held steady. Apparently my ranking of Villanova might’ve had a ripple effect on where Duke landed. I didn’t have the Wildcats in my preseason poll and haven’t been as quick to glorify them as some voters for a few big wins. Last week, Villanova crept up several spots because a bunch of teams in front of the Wildcats lost. I try to not overreact to one win or one loss with any team – Duke dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 after losing to Kansas, for example. So it took some time for Villanova to rise in my rankings, but when it was prudent, I elevated the Wildcats and that apparently had an impact on Duke.
Thomas Eames: Why do you have Duke at eighth in the latest AP Poll?
Randy Rosetta: The easy, seemingly smart-aleck answer is that I think there are only seven teams better than the Blue Devils right now. There is some accuracy to that, but I would argue that Kansas should be above Duke, and that has little to do with the head-to-head matchup, but rather who KU has played and beaten other than the Devils. I love the schedule Duke has played and two losses were close, hard-fought games. I like how the Devils have played in a lot of their wins. The notable games are Michigan and UCLA, of course, but Duke had to grind out wins against teams like East Carolina and Alabama – the kind of opponents that can be a thorn in the side. The next answer is my assessment of Duke overall, but I really like the makeup of this team.
Thomas Eames: Have you seen Duke play this year? What are your thoughts on their team?
Randy Rosetta: Yes, I have watched five of the Blue Devils’ games almost from start-to-finish and have seen snippets of several others. In a year when there are so many great freshmen around the country, in my opinion, Jabari Parker is the most college-ready right now and it shows with his 22.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. I really like Rodney Hood – saw him play when he was at Mississippi State – and the way Duke shares the ball with 17 assists per game. Rebounding is a concern and may catch up with the Devils in a tougher-than-ever ACC, but if they keep shooting the ball the way they are – especially from 3-point range – they won’t have to worry as much as some other teams that struggle on the glass. Hard to see Duke losing much until that stretch that starts in late January when the Devils have road games at Pitt, Syracuse and North Carolina all in a 17-day span. Could be the defining part of Duke’s season.