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The Associated Press basketball polls came out Wednesday. But for the third time this season there weren’t enough media members who voted in the polls to tally a respectable number of votes. Only seven people voted in this week’s polls.

The polls have always walked a somewhat contradictory line. The teams are voted on by media members who haven’t seen many (most) of them play, so there really isn’t much value in the system. That’s the primary argument for a team that doesn’t like its ranking.

On the flip side, though, if a team is happy with its ranking, it validates its play on the season.

So it’s a catch-22 for the media: Fans want to see their teams ranked, but they don’t want to see them ranked by clueless media members.

And we’re all clueless, me just as much as anybody else.

I was one of the people who simply forgot to vote in the polls this week. The weeks I do vote, though, I wrestle over where to rank teams, sending out cursory text messages, phone calls or Twitter posts to contacts across the state to best determine where to rank who.

It’s a lengthy process – and, frankly, one I don’t really have time for – and it’s still an imperfect science. A perfect example of this imperfection was my ranking of the Drummond girls last week.

I ranked the Trojans the No. 5 team in Class C girls basketball, which was actually low based on what I heard from Class C gurus from around the state. I was the only person to vote for Drummond, so it received my six points and fell into the “others receiving votes” category.

I haven’t seen Drummond play this season (or last, for that matter), so I really don’t know where the Trojans should be ranked. I went based off of what I’ve been told by people I trust. Other voters went off of records and results, and two losses – even if one is to a top Class B team like Deer Lodge – are usually too many to be ranked in Class C’s top 10 (Belt is the obvious exception, as the Huskies’ two losses are to Fairfield).

Read the first sentence of the last paragraph again: “I really don’t know where the Trojans should be ranked.”

Should media members who don’t know where a team should be ranked or haven’t seen the teams they’re ranking really be voting in the polls? And should fans care where their teams are ranked?

Whether you answer “yes” or “no” to either of those questions, we do vote and people do seem to care. Something has to change, as there was another egregious error in this week’s polls.

Bigfork’s boys, the only undefeated team remaining in Class B, fell from their perch atop the poll. Why? Because one voter left the Vikings completely off his or her ballot. The other six voters ranked the Vikings No. 1.

Even if I had remembered to vote this week (in order, my vote would have been: Bigfork, Glasgow and Forsyth at the top), it wouldn’t have been enough for the Vikings to replace Forsyth on top.

The system is flawed.

The idea is flawed. The execution is flawed. Our biases as media members are flawed.

But it’s the best system we have, so we’ll keep voting and keep making our mistakes. If we remember.

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Online sports editor for The Billings Gazette.