Tuesday, January 10, 2012

College Hoops Top 25 (1/10)

"When March Madness spills into April, that's the gravy. So get on the boat. The gravy boat!" Homer Simpson

You gotta love when Homer Simpson can do your talking for you, and for me, in the latest episode of The Simpsons, he did exactly that. OK, maybe I doctored the quote a tiny bit to cut through to the essence of the thing, but it's still encouraging to hear that even a football fan as big as Homer Jay can recognize how beautiful, and how downright American it is to be on board with college hoops. Even when the NFL is right in the juiciest part of it's schedule. Granted, he's a cartoon, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one I know that still watches that show, but I think the overall point should still have no problem resonating with the masses. Or not. Either way, I'm always pumped for a positive college hoops reference in pop culture, and there was little chance I was going to hear that line and not somehow incorporate it into this week's Top 25. Not to mention he said it while wearing a gravy boat on his head and having his arm wrapped in support around Ted Nugent. Yeah, exactly. You would have tried to work it in there, too...

Top 25, friends. Hope on the boat, and let's have at it...

College Hoops Top 25
1. Ohio St. (15-2) 1

Two 30 point wins (Nebraska, Iowa) last week, but if they're to remain at #1, they'll probably have to sweep two tough ones this week as they travel to Illinois and get a chance at revenge when they host #8 Indiana...

2. Syracuse (17-0) 2

A tad bit disconcerting that the Orange came out so flat in the 2nd half against Marquette, but reassuring that they were able to hold on despite their sloppy play and still walk away with a 7 point win. Not saying Villanova will be a walkover, but between traveling to Philly and then hosting PC, there's no reason we shouldn't be sitting here next week talking about how the Orange are 19-0...

Oh, and hey. Remember that Bernie Fine thing? Yeah, nobody else seems to be actively remembering it, either. Funny / kinda sad how winning can do that. Oh well, what kind of person would I be if I wasn't adequately take advantage of and find joy in someone else's horrible misfortune? I wouldn't be an American, I'll tell you that. At least not the kind that Ted Nugent would want to associate with...

3. North Carolina (14-2) 3

4. Kentucky (15-1) 5

5. Baylor (15-0) 4

The Bears seem to play down to their competition, which will probably spell their demise in March, but a win @ Kansas St. would really legitimize their place as a top tier team. Something they should be, considering the monstrous 1-2 punch of Perry Jones III & Quincy Acy, who are both averaging better than 12 & 7 per contest...

6. Duke (13-2) 6

I'd love to hate on the loss @ Temple, but it's just not a real bad loss. Teams lose games, and when you lose  a game to a legitimate team on the road, it's far from the end of the world. I'm sure Coach K would like to see a lot more consistency from his Blue Devils, but I bet he can get them to gel before they have to start playing for all the marbles...

7. Michigan St. (14-2) 10

8. Indiana (15-1) 11

9. UNLV (16-2) 16

Only losses on the year are @ Wichita St. and @ Wisconsin. Not to mention they still have that win over then #1 UNC. Top 10 in the NCAA in both points per game (81.3) and assists per game (18.8), they're flat out dangerous. Not to mention they have a very skilled and unheralded go to guy in senior Chace Stanback, who's averaging 15 points, 5 rebounds, and hitting from better than 46% from downtown...

And yes, that's his mugshot from when he was arrested in Vegas back in May on suspicion of DUI. Hey, what can you say? Vegas gonna Vegas, right?...

10. Louisville (13-3) 7

11. Missouri (14-1) 9

12. Kansas (12-3) 18

OF all the elite prospects in the country, KU's Thomas Robinson has definitely taken the biggest step forward in this his junior season. His minutes have doubled, and Bill Self and friends have reaped the rewards. He averaged 8 & 6 a year ago, now he's averaging 18 and 12. Pretty impressive...

13. Michigan (13-3) 17

14. Marquette (12-4) 13

15. Georgetown (13-3) 12

16. UCONN (12-4) 8

In the same old story for the Huskies, who seem to get stymied by the zone defense time and again, as if they've never gone up against it before. Then again, that was this team's same problem last year, and we all saw how that worked out...

17. Kansas St. (12-2) 23

18. Creighton (13-2) NR

19. San Diego St. (13-2) 22

They'll have a chance to prove their worth when the host UNLV on Saturday, and it would probably be in their resume's best interest if they took care of business. Unlike UNLV, SDSU has had plenty of chances, but losses to Creighton and Baylor do more to damage their legitimacy as a Top 25 team than wins against Cal and Arizona do to help it. A quality team, don't get me wrong, but that match up with UNLV should go a long way towards telling is how good they really are...

20. Murray St. (16-0) 20

21. Gonzaga (13-2) NR

22. Virginia (14-1) NR

The Cavaliers are one of 4 new teams to join the rankings this week, and should they win this week at Cameron Indoor, I'd expect them to climb a lot higher. They're not gonna win that game, though. You know it, I know it, and that rat lookin' coach knows it. Coach K, that is. I don't think Tony Bennett (above) looks all that much like a rat...

23. West Virginia (12-5) NR

24. Wisconsin (12-5) 14

Speaking of Tony Bennett, his dad's old crew is struggling mightily to find their offense these days and I wouldn't be shocked if they never do. I'm still betting they'll be a major factor before all is said and done, though. At least in terms of the Big 10...

25. Purdue (13-4) 25

just missed: Stanford; Vanderbilt; New Mexico; Florida; St. Mary's

dropped: (15) Harvard; (19) Florida; (21) Mississippi St.; (24) Stanford

Games to Watch
Baylor @ Kansas St.
Ohio St. @ Illinois

Syracuse @ Villanova
Missouri @ Iowa St.
LSU @ Alabama

Virginia @ Duke
Wisconsin @ Purdue

Creighton @ Illinois St.

PC @ Syracuse
Kentucky @ Tennessee
UCONN @ Notre Dame
Texas @ Missouri
Alabama @ Mississippi St.
UNLV @ San Diego St.
NC State @ Wake Forest
LSU @ Arkansas

Indiana @ Ohio St.

Baylor @ Kansas
Pittsburgh @ Syracuse
Louisville @ Marquette

Check back Friday for my NFL picks. Went 3-1 this past weekend, so either I'm due for an 0-4 or...Weeeeeeee!

Teddy Williams...



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