Monday, February 20, 2012

College Hoops Top 25 (2/21)

OK, so I bailed on you on Friday. My bad. I will be back this Friday, though, barring any sort on unforeseen incident, to share my thoughts on the upcoming baseball season and I'll probably have some other random things to throw your way as well. You know, like how the Celtics are to the Spurs what the Colts are to the Patriots? May seen like an abstract analogy right now, but trust me when I tell you, it's a lot closer to home than any Celtic fan is going to want to admit. That is, if there are any Celtic fans left that haven't already turned the page (and the channel) and given their small slice of NBA devotion to Jeremy Lin...
Jay Bilas: Chicks dig 'em. Well, at
least the really tiny ones...

But that's for Friday. Today, I'm bringing you the latest version of my Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25. For my money, it's the closest thing to the Bilas Index you'll find without having to pay ESPN for an Insider account. The AP poll? The Coach's Poll? Those are for amateurs. If you want the real scoop, you go to the guys that actually watch the games. And while Bilas is in a better position than yours truly to watch all the games and get all the inside dirt, I'll give you almost as good a picture of the college hoops scene, and I won't even charge...

At least not yet...

Oh, and before I unveil my latest offering, complete with 3 large leaps for team's often dubbed as "Mid Majors", here's a hilarious clip I had to pass on from another guy who knows a thing or two about "lists". He makes 'em all the time. In fact, I hear that's why Steven Speilberg cast him as Oskar Schindler...
Nice. I like making lists, too...


College Hoops Top 25
1. Kentucky (26-1) 1

2. Syracuse (27-1) 2

CJ Fair has been playing so well of late, that he even stole the picture for the lead of this poll from the #1 Kentucky Wildcats. Always a key contributor and part of SU's vaunted depth, Fair has stepped his game up of late, averaging 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds over the team's last 5. It's not only the production, either, as Fair's electrifying dunks, key jumpers (still one of the best jump shooting forwards in the country) and tenacious rebounds have done just as much to get the team going as they have to put the team on the score board. You can never have too many options, and with Fair stepping his game up, the Orange are adding a very dangerous option at a very important time...

3. Michigan St. (22-5) 4

Per usual, Tom Izzo has his Spartans peaking at the right time, and Draymond Green is again showing why he was on numerous pre season Player of the Year lists. The versatile point forward will prove as a match up nightmare for pretty much every opponent MSU plays for the rest of this season, and his veteran leadership and experience are something that Sparty should be able to rely upon in all of the close, tournament style games that are still to come. Adreian Payne is also someone that should emerge into a CJ Fair like impact player for the Spartans, though he's fallen of late after double digit scoring outings against both Penn St. and Ohio St. He's a real tough and athletic interior player, he just needs to be a little more consistent if he's to play a major role on this team come March...

4. Missouri (25-2) 3

5. Duke (23-4) 6

6. Ohio St. (22-5) 5

Here's the thing. The B1G 10 is the best conference in the country, this year. So a few losses here or there for arguably the conference's best team really shouldn't take too much a toll on it's overall resume. That's how I feel about Ohio St. OK, so they've lost 2 of 3, including a home loss to Michigan. Not the best results, but does a 5 point loss to tourney bound Michigan really go that far towards knocking the Buckeyes from the ranks of the elite? Not in my eyes. Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke, whoever. They'd all have more losses this season if they were in the B1G 10. So be sure to take some of those losses with a healthy dose of salt...

7. Marquette (22-5) 7

8. North Carolina (23-4) 8

9. Wichita St. (24-4) 13

After their impressive Bracket Buster win @ Davidson, coach Gregg Marshall has every reason to believe that his club is ready to "Shock " the Nation come tourney time. Yep, I went there.

10. Kansas (22-5) 9

11. Georgetown (20-5) 10

12. Murray St. (26-1) 17

As of Bracket Buster Saturday, the word is officially out on Murray St.'s Isaiah Cannon. He dropped 23 on Saint Mary's in a rather efficient fashion (9-13, 5-8 from 3), and showed any doubters (such as myself) that under his leadership the Racers should prove as a tough out for anyone come tourney time. Granted, Saint Mary's limped into that game from across the country after about 14 flights, but it was more the attitude and confidence that the other MSU played with that finally has me on board, and believing in their potential...

13. Michigan (20-7) 21

14. New Mexico (22-4) NR

The Lobos had a 13 game winning streak snapped earlier this season when they suffered back to back losses to conference heavyweights San Diego St. & UNLV. Now, Steve Alford and the crew are riding high on another 7 game streak thanks in large part to wins this week over those same two schools. They've been hoovering around my top 30 for a few weeks, now, but those wins  really helped catapult them into the official "mix". Didn't hurt that Drew Gordon (#32 above) went for 17/17 and 27/20 in those two contests, either. Even at "only" 6'9" you'll be hard pressed to find anyone in the country playing better right now down on the blocks...

15. Baylor (23-5) 11

The Bears were able to stop the bleeding, at least temporarily, with a nice win last night @ Texas, but Scott Drew and his NBDL squad are still only 6-5 over their past 11. Nobody will argue with their talent, but with their size and presumed athletic ability, they really should be better than 76th in the country in total rebounding. That speaks volumes, right there. All that size, all that talent, and they can't grab a freaking rebound. They're just lacking in fundamentals when it comes to playing "team basketball", and it will likely lead to their downfall. Hell, you could argue right now that it already has...

16. Florida St. (19-7) 15

17. Louisville (21-6) 18

Getting Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario back in the fold could
prove as just what the Gators need to stabilize their season.
18. Florida (21-6) 16

Speaking of teams with oodles of talent, the enigmatic Gators have been at it again. Get smacked at Kentucky, lose at home to a .500 Tennessee, and then go on the road to smack the Razorbacks by 30 in their own gym. Their last two regular season games (@ Vandy, vs Kentucky) should really give us a good idea of where this talented bunch is at, but I get the feeling that even after those results it will still remain a guessing game as to whether this year's Gators are actually any good. That should make them a very dangerous team when it comes to filling out your brackets, and for all the wrong reasons...

19. Creighton (23-5) 19

20. Wisconsin (20-7) 24

21. St. Mary's (23-5) 12

22. Notre Dame (19-8) NR

23. UNLV (22-6) 14

Sorry, Rebels, but the Lobos are boss in the Mountain West, now. Get used to it, and be thankful that hyou haven't succumb to the same fate as San Diego St...

24. Long Beach St. (19-7) 25

A tough loss @ a Creighton team that needed a win like Liam Neeson needs an improv topic that revolves around AIDS? I won't hold it against them. We haven't heard the last of the 49ers, that much I can tell you.

25. Mississippi St. (19-8) 20

just missed: Temple; Virginia; Indiana; Gonzaga; Drexel; San Diego St.

dropped: (22) Virginia; (23) San Diego St.

IT pains me to say it, but with their backs against the wall and their tourney
invitation in doubt, you have to like UCONN's chances of
knocking off the Orange at home on Saturday...
Games To Watch
Kentucky @ Mississippi St.
Kansas St. @ Missouri
Illinois @ Ohio St.
North Carolina @ NC St.

South Florida @ Syracuse
Kansas @ Texas A&M
West Virginia @ Notre Dame
Ole Miss @ Tennessee

Duke @ Florida St.
BYU @ Gonzaga
Louisville @ Cincinnati
Murray St. @ Tennessee St.

Marquette @ West Virginia
Fairfield @ Iona

Missouri @ Kansas
Syracuse @ UCONN
Vanderbilt @ Kentucky
North Carolina @ Virginia
Purdue @ Michigan
Mississippi St. @ Alabama

Wisconsin @ Ohio St.
Pittsburgh @ Louisville
Florida St @ Miami
Cincinnati @ South Florida

Notre Dame @ Georgetown
Kansas @ Oklahoma St.

Have a great week, friends. And hopefully, I'll be back to speak to you on Friday. Ya know, as long as I don't get too distracted working on my lists. I just love making them...

Teddy Williams...



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