College Basketball Weekly
Well, it’s just another week of me beating Ohio State Buckeye Shooting Guard legend Mark Titus to the punch on the college basketball power rankings front. After a long week of considering how the teams played, I feel I have once again concocted a phenomenal list of my own opinions which is extremely subjective, but everyone should agree with. Let’s go!
Those who have fallen:
San Diego State (MY Aztecs) are the only team to fall from the “Real” Top 25 this week. Losses to both Colorado State and UNLV doomed SDSU. Neither loss is a bad loss, but to be in the “Real” Top 25 a team has to win games. That’s it! Honest, just win games!
The “Real” Top 25
#25 North Carolina: I hate putting the Tar Heels here because they’re UNC which means Dick Vitale ejaculates at the mention of their name andI love no team D.V. loves (he has to actually love them and not just say he loves them because he would say that about any team at any time. Listen to Dickie V (Unless you want to be in a good mood) and you’ll know the difference). UNC has played well recently, however, and deserves a spot for now. They beat Virginia who would have had this spotlight had they beaten UNC.
#24 Ohio State: I said the Buckeyes needed 6 of their last 7 to be “elite”. After shitting down their legs in Madison, the Buckeye players will likely fall out of the “Real” Top 25 soon with dates against Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Illinois still looming. OSU looked like a bad CBI team against the Badgers and Wisconsin is not exactly Indiana (who throttled the Bucks last weekend). OSU can remain in this golden listing by losing only two of their remaining games…winning out before heading to Bloomington would be a nice start….someone tell Aaron Craft he is not a shooter…please.
#23 Notre Dame: The Irish managed to salvage a spot despite looking pathetic this week. I’ve said it before, there are no easy wins in the Big East….except DePaul. Well, Notre Dame did their damnest to prove me wrong, needing home court and overtime to finish off DePaul…then they lost by 17 to Providence…if it weren’t for the 5OT win against Louisville still being fresh in my noggin they would have flown so quickly out of here the Large Hadron Collider would have turned green. For now, the Irish will have to (and I mean it, Notre Dame) win at Pitt and at home against Cincinnati to ensure a spot next week. We may never know what happens around the Irish, but winning is always encouraged. I suggest Mike Brey returns to his style of playing his starters for 35 minutes. That was working far better.
#22 Virginia Commonwealth: Butler lost again this week…but VCU didn’t!! The Rams gave me a little pride this week as Butler (who I will continue to refuse to put in the “Real” Top 25) laughably lost to Charlotte at home before encoring with a 5 point win over 6-20 Fordham. VCU smashed mediocre A-10 teams George Washington and UMass like Michael Bay props. Playing both St. Louis and Xavier (upper-tier A-10 teams) on the road can give us a good look at VCU and possibly punch a ticket to March Madness.
#21 Missouri: The Razorpigs of Arkansas strike again! Arkansas is the bane of all good teams: a bad team which suddenly thinks it can make it to the tournament and plays with reckless abandon before coming before a team which is far too superior and is decimated which sends the team hurtling back toward earth and they are promptly knocked off the bubble and out of the conference tourney in the first round….We’ll see what happens to Arkansas. Meanwhile, Missouri welcomes Florida (playing suspiciously well right now) to Columbia tonight. Big game for Missouri…annoying game for Florida.
#20 Colorado State: I haven’t gotten too far off my rocker with the Rams of Colorado State just yet. I may have ranked Memphis unbelievably high last week, but the Tigers are winning and that’s enough for me. This is not to say the 21-4 Rams are not winning. If CSU can win at UNLV and at home against New Mexico this week then I’ll be a believer and Colorado State will sneak further up the rankings than even the AP Poll (and it’s inevitable failure) would dare….probably a spot below Butler.
#19 Oklahoma State: The Cowboys went undefeated this week and I congratulate them outright on the feat. Trampling Texas Tech on the road and eeeeeeking one out against the Oklahoma Sooners at home in the infamous “Bedlam” game was a nice enough showing for this guy. Thankfully we have another “What you got?!” game as Kansas visits Stillwater with the wounds caused by a five-point loss in Allen Fieldhouse still lickable. Losing on the road to Bob Huggins and his mustard suit would be a disaster…but let’s just focus on Kansas for now.
#18 Pittsburgh: I put the Panthers a little too high last week. Jamie Dixon went and told his team, “Did you see where yadambross.wordpress.com has us ranked this week?” The pressure was too great and the Panthers lost to Marquette. To be fair it was in Wisconsin which ultimately sucks because it is Wisconsin. Losing on the road seems to be the rule more than the exception for any team this season, so Pittsburgh can easily recover by beating a good–okay, decent–Notre Dame team at home and going to St. John’s place and beating Steve Lavin’s Red Storm handily. Advice for Pittsburgh, do exactly what Louisville did against St. John’s (play well) and exactly what Louisville did not do against Notre Dame (muff it….hard).
#17 Marquette: Look, I had the Golden Eagles at #25 last week and I knew I was undervaluing them a little. Despite a loss this week, they jump here. I find it difficult to penalize a team for losing to a better team on the road. Putting up a good fight is as good as a victory in said case and Marquette put up a good enough fight @Georgetown. They also beat Pittsburgh and the Panthers did not put up a good fight, so I am led to believe Marquette is the better team despite the game being in Wisconsin (which sucks because it was Wisconsin). Marquette coach Buzz Williams on the victory? Probably something along the lines of, “I was really sweating out the run I thought Pittsburgh was going to make.” We all noticed, Buzz, we all noticed. Finally, I’ll congratulate Vander Blue on both a great game and better name.
#16 Louisville: I found all my Big East Teams! Louisville actually managed to not only to beat two bad teams this week, but they looked impressive doing it. Russ Smith’s brain regained the ability to focus, Gorgui Dieng looked like a beast on the inside, and Luke Hancock returned to shot-faking with intensity and regularity. We’ll say nothing about neither Chane Behanan’s consistently good (and more importantly, efficient) play nor Peyton Siva’s inability to look like a real point guard as those two thing seem to be givens these days. Louisville has sooooooooo much talent, but unless Siva can become a relevant point guard again they won’t be National Title contenders.
#15 Michigan: I laugh a little at the AP for putting Michigan ahead of Michigan State. Michigan is very similar to Louisville, meaning the whole talent thing. Michigan’s problem will be getting everyone A) show up every night and B) grow up. Great teams, championship teams, do are not obliterated by anyone. Michigan State’s curb stomping of Michigan was so severe I became worried for Michigan’s mental health as it progresses onward. Michigan is 2-3 in its last five. The wins were an overtime battle against Ohio State and an absolute slugfest with standout Penn State (now 0-13 in conference….I never said it was standout in a good way). Michigan looks like a team imploding and needs to stop dicking around and play to its fullest potential or it will go the way of Duke and Missouri last season. Indiana and Michigan State still have to come to Ann Arbor. To be taken seriousll, Michigan needs to roll Illinois and Penn State this week and win one of those two games with a demolishing of Purdue sandwiched. Good luck.
#14 Kansas State: Like I said, it is hard to condemn a team for losing to a better team on the road when it puts up a good fight…nonetheless Kansas State looked awful against rival Kansas in Phog Allen. Fortunately, the Wildcats turned around and took out a shit-ton of anger on Baylor. Kansas State can still win the Big-12 regular season title, but may need to win out. I doubt that will happen…in fact, I predict a loss at Texas this week. UT has a little frustration to quell as well with the beat down Kansas gave them Saturday.
#13 Arizona: Arizona confuses the hell out of me. I half-joked about playing at Colorado being a tougher test, but honestly I did not expect Arizona to lose after California beat them at home. I feel like an idiot when I type about these teams in my poll losing to these teams not in my poll, but how can I not include Arizona? Sheesh. Arizona should easily (EASILY) win the remainder of its games with a possible challenge against UCLA looming on March second. If Arizona wants to be taken seriously as a National Title Contender, then they’ll win out.
#12 New Mexico: I honestly didn’t want to put the Lobos this high, but I couldn’t stick them behind Kansas State, Michigan, and Arizona. New Mexico actually went undefeated this week. Sure, they beat an awful Fresno State team and a bad Boise State team, but I’m not positive either of those teams are worse than Colorado or Penn State. I thought the Lobos were vastly overrated with a #3 seed last March…well, I have them there again! UNM….you have one game this week and it is one of the toughest you’ll play all year. You have to put your heart and soul into it or you’re likely to come out a loser…it’s Colorado State…I know.
#11 Wisconsin: I hate this team. There is nothing exciting and nothing even worth rooting for unless whoever #5 is throws down a slam. The kid with the red hair (whom after Sunday’s game against Ohio State I can only assume is a lover of Bill Raftery’s) is so ugly I vomit just considering his face. The rest of the team has less hair on their heads than chests which has been made evident by the team’s phenomenal play recently. I don’t really expect people to lose to Minnesota anymore, so that was a little hiccup, but demolishing Ohio State (ranked #13 by the AP) is definitely a good rebound. Ohio State looked like the sixth graders when they decide to scrimmage the eighth graders because “Our team is 9-0 and they’re only 3-6 so we’re probably better!” and the sixth graders learn a hard lesson in puberty.
#10 Duke: Joe Lunardi and his disgusting style has Duke as a #1 seed despite losing to Maryland. I am not quite so kind plus I absolutely hate how much credit and attention Duke receives from ESPN despite appearing an average team at best since Ryan Kelly was injured. I’m sorry beating North Carolina by 5 at home and Boston College by 2 on the road does not impress me. The concoction formed when adding the loss to Maryland on Sunday is so putrid I begin to think Virginia Tech may have a shot against Duke come Thursday. I plead with you, Duke, don’t lose to Virginia Tech. I don’t think poor old Dickie V’s heart could take it.
#9 Memphis: How high can the Tigers climb? Well, they’re basically the same team as Gonzaga except they did not lose to a team nearly as bad as Butler. The Tigers could breach my Top 5 if the teams I place ahead of them keep losing. Welcome to the world of Mid-majors, where you good is mediocre, your mediocre is bad, and your bad is Penn State.
#8 Syracuse: Well shit. I had the Orange as my National Title favorites last week, didn’t I? Well there goes my credibility. I need to find a new hobby where the guesswork is not quite as hard. The main storyline for the Orange this week is Jim Boeheim is actually senile. He did all but give Andy Katz the middle finger for doing his job. Maybe if Boeheim had done his job a little better, Syracuse would not have lost to a UConn team which has about 2.5 players worthy of gracing the arena Jim Calhoun built. One would expect Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams to match well with any guard combo in America…but Ryan Boatwright and Shabazz (Sh’bazz, Sh’bazz!) Napier owned the gym Wednesday. four of the last six for Syracuse are against currently ranked opponents. After a gimme against Providence in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse runs a three-game gauntlet: @-Marquette, VS-Lousville, and @Georgetown. Let’s see what Jim Boeheim is saying after those games.
#7 Kansas: Kansas looked like the team everyone and Mark Titus has sold them to be this year. Ben McLemore is without a doubt one of the nation’s best players. If I was an NBA team he would be my #1 overall pick. Teams now’a’days want scorers and that is what Ben McLemore is. Kansas needs to stay focused and keep the ball in McLemore and Jeff Withey’s hands as much as possible and they’ll be back in the Final Four. I promise! They play in Stillwater on Wednesday and a win on the road against a good Oklahoma State team could do a lot for the Jayhawks’ confidence and my confidence in them. I cringe thinking what may become of TCU on Saturday.
#6 Florida: Almost as much of a mystery as Arizona, I sometimes consider the Gators to be the best team in the country. They pass better than anyone, shoot better than anyone, and win better than anyone I’ve seen…when they’re good Florida. Bad Florida has reared its ugly brow only once against Arkansas. A win on the road against Missouri should mean an undefeated end to the season for Florida (especially with how bad Kentucky is without Nerlens Noel)…although Arkansas comes to Gainesville on Saturday…
#5 Georgetown: Winning does a lot for teams in the “Real” Top 25. I was super-duper uber excited to see how Georgetown would play against Marquette and Cincinnati this week. It was the same old Georgetown game where the margin never really gets too wide, but it seems the Hoyas are never in an ounce of danger. I cannot wait to see Georgetown play Syracuse twice in the next three weeks. A win at DePaul Wednesday is a no-doubter (remember Rule #1 of the Big East: no easy games except DePaul) and cupcakes are wedged between two matchups with the Orange.
#4 Gonzaga: The Zags would probs get a #2 seed from me right now despite being #4. The win over St. Mary’s was a statement. They embarrassed me and my “bold prediction” from last week. Losing a game is just not going to happen. There is nothing more to say.
#3 Michigan State: The Spartans nearly baited me into giving them the #2 nod with the destruction of Michigan. I’m a little curious to see how Tom Izzo approaches the next few games. Michigan State appears to be a better team when they lose early in the Big Ten Tournament when the real shebang rolls around. I’ve long preached Izzo is a top-3 coach in the country and there is no such thing as a coincidence when it comes to Tom Izzo and March Madness. Expect Sparty to look a little sluggish entering March and rip off five wins by about 5 points over a #14, #6, #2, and #1 seed on the way to the Final Four.
#2 Indiana: Nebraska and Purdue? You bring Nebraska and Purdue to the table and expect to be put back on the pedestal? Come down from your Ivory Tower and meet Michigan State in East Lansing on Tuesday.
#1 Miami Florida: “The worst win by any team in the history of ever” may be the best way to describe Miami beating Clemson Sunday…but in the end the Hurricanes won again. 12-0 in conference and a winning streak dating back to Christmas? I’ll keep them right here.
Player of the Year:
Victor Oladipo: still my pick for the same reason as last week. He just does everything. Oladipo might lose to Ben McLemore in an “MVP” race, but in a race simply for who has had the best season I’m sticking with Oladipo for now.
Coach of the Year:
Jim Larranga: ….
Most Underrated Team:
By me? Probably Oregon. By the AP? Definitely Virginia Commonwealth. As long as Butler is in the AP Top 25 and VCU is not I’ll be perplexed.
Most Overrated Team:
By me? Probably Georgetown. By the AP? Definitely Duke. The Blue Devils will probably sit somewhere around 6-8 this week. They have looked nothing like a Top 10 team even in wins.
National Champion at This Juncture:
Tom Izzo? In March? I don’t want to jinx the recent success of my boyhood favorite team (yes, more than San Diego State), but Sparty looks to be playing the best roundball.
Butler will lose again this week at home against St. Louis.