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Monday, February 27, 2006

Here Comes March

College Hoops Top 10 (2/26)
1. Duke (27-1) 1
2. UCONN (25-2) 3
3. Memphis (26-2) 2
4. Villanova (22-3) 4
5. Texas (24-4) 6
6. Gonzaga (24-3) 5
7. Pittsburgh (21-4) 9
8. Ohio St. (21-4) NR
9. Washington (22-5) NR
10. LSU (20-7) NR

just missed: West Virginia, Florida, UCLA, UNC
dropped: (7) Florida, (8) NC State, (10) West Virginia

Overrated: GW, Oklahoma, Wichita St., The Big 10
Sleeper Teams: Nevada, Marquette

The Final Push For March is On
Anyone that knows me knows that my favorite time of year is upon us. Not only does March bring my birthday, it brings conference tournaments and of course the NCAA tournament. This is possibly the most exciting time in any sport, and this year looks like it won't dissappoint. The race right now has 2 clear frontrunners in UCONN and Duke, with a strong class of 2nd tier teams led by Villanova, Texas and Memphis. From there on out, there is so much parity that there are bound to be an incredible amount of upsets over the next few weeks. Theres talk of the Big East sending 9 teams andthe Missouri Valley sending 5 teams, while both the ACC and Pac 10 might only manage 4 bids each. Then theres the mess in the Big 10, with at least 5 teams that have a real shot at grabbing the Big 10 tourney title. And then throw in all the usual bubble talk from the big conferences as well as the mid majors for good measure. So of course there is still a lot that needs to be sorted out before the field of 65 is set, but essentially the tournament starts now. All games are must win for every team that has any real aspirations. Whether its to build your resume or your confidence, every game is critical. Just take a look at how many big games there are this week. It only gets better and more exciting from here on out.

GAME OF THE WEEK
3/4 UNC @ Duke
* The Blue Devils may be 4 games clear of the field in the ACC, but this is still Duke/UNC. As if this rivalry needed any motivation, it brings in two teams looking to send a message. UNC could use this game to propel this young team on a March run. And Duke can use this heated game as a good indication of how they are going to need to play to win the tought games from here on out.

Other Big Games to Watch This Week
Monday
Pitt @ West Virginia

Wednesday
Duke @ Florida St.
Colorado @ Kansas
Kentucky @ Tennessee

Thursday
Wisconsin @ Michigan St.
Memphis @ UAB
UCLA @ Cal

Friday
Seton Hall @ Pitt

Saturday
Illinois @ Michigan St.
West Virgnia @ Cincy
Wisconsin @ Iowa

Sunday
Florida @ Kentucky
Villanova @ Syracuse
Oklahoma @ Texas

Syracuse Update
Last Week: Syracuse 60 West Virginia 58; Georgetown 68 Syracuse 53
This Week: 3/2 @ Depaul; 3/5 vs Villanova
Record: 19-9
Big East: 7-7
vs RPI Top 50: 2-8
Last 10: 4-6
RPI: 28
SOS: 7
Key Wins: West Virginia, UTEP, @ Cincy
Key Losses: NONE

*Fresh off of their biggest win of the season against West Virginia, (and their first win vs an RPI top 50 team) the Cuse kept true to form and handed back all that momentum with a blowout loss at Georgetown. The more I read though, the more it looks like even a .500 record in Big East play will get the Orange in no matter how they perform at the Big East tourney. They will be able to rely on their SOS, RPI and conference strength to get an at large bid as long as they don't stumble at Depaul, but I still don't see them getting even one win once they make the tournament.

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