Tuesday, February 22, 2005

NCAA Basketball: Illinois Continues to Cruise While the Big XII Picks Itself Apart and Mid Majors Rise to the Top

Illinois continued its perfect run with a lone win this week over Northwestern, while teams like Kansas, UCONN, and Kentucky made great strides towards capturing theirrespective conference crowns. The race for the tournament is on, meaning that every game from here on means everythnig to these teams. One single loss can keep a team out of the Big Dance, whether they be a mid major or a big time conference school. Perfect example of this is George Washington. A Few weeks ago they were considered a tourney lock, they were command in the A-10 and had posted wins over Michigan St. and Maryland. After a losing stretch GW found themselves on the buble again, that is until a half court "excuse me" flick shot found its way to bottom of the net as time expired, giving GW a road win in Dayton. Moments like that will not be hard to find in the coming weeks, which is what makes this time of year the best for college hoops, and maybe all of sports. Only one more week until conference tournaments kick off, but until then....

Top 10 (*previous ranking)
1. Illinois (28-0) (1)
2. North Carolina (24-3) (2)
3. Wake Forest (24-4) (5)
4. Boston College (23-2) (3)
5. Kansas (21-4) (6)
6. Lousiville (24-4) (8)
7. UCONN (19-6) (9)
8. Kentucky (22-3) (NR)
9. Oklahoma St. (20-5) (4)
10. Syracuse (24-5) (NR)

just misssed: Duke; Washington; Gonzaga; Pacific; Charlotte
dropped: (7) Alabama (10) Utah

under the radar: Indiana; Texas; GW; Creighton; Texas A&M; UCLA

Mid Major Power 5
1. Gonzaga (22-4) (1)
2. Pacific (23-2) (2)
3. Southern Illinois (24-6) (3)
4. Utah (24-4) (NR)
5. Nevada (22-5) (4)

dropped: (5) Miami (OH)

Big Game Recap

Oklahoma 71 Kansas 63
Kansas continues to fall, dropping its thrid straight Big XII game, this time to Oklahoma in Norman. The Sooners were led by guards Terrell Everett and David Godgold who tallied 19 and 15 respectively. The Jayhawks were able to hold the post play of Kevin Bookout and Taj Gray in check, holding them to just 11 total points, but still lost the rebounding battle by 5. Kansas also turned the ball over 15 times leading to many easy fast break baskets for Oklahoma and allowing the Sooners to control the flow of the game. Wayne Simien led Kansas with 17, but could not help stop the slide that now sees the Jayhawks looking up at Oklahoma St. in the Big XII.

Texas Tech 69 Texas 65
Another Big XII tilt with postseason implications. Texas moves to only 4-5 since the loss of PJ Tucker to academic ineligibility, despite another stelllar game from frosh G Daniel Gibson. He finished with 22 pts 5 rebs and 4 assts, but that wasn't enough, as Jarrius Jackson from Tech had the same numbers, only with 2 more rebounds. Texas outrebounded the Red Raiders by 4, and even got to the line 3 times as often, but in the end it was their 17 turnovers that did them in. Bob Knight ends a 7 game losing skid to the Longhorns, and Texas Tech continues to show they are ready to make a move for March. Meanwhile, the Longhorns leave the selection committee wondering whether or not, without PJ Tucker in the mix, Texas is a candidate for an at-large selection.

Duke 60 Georgia Tech 56
The Yellow Jackets still sit firmly on the bubble after this loss to Duke, and are in danger of becoming only the second team in history to miss the tournament the year after making the Final Four (Marquette 03-04). JJ Redick was good for 21 pts while Sheldon Williams anchored down the middle yet again with a solid 12 points and 10 rebounds to go along with 4 blocks. BJ Elder continues to struggle for Tech since coming back from injury, shooting only 1-8 from the field and fouling out with only 2 points in 22 minutes. The "Big 3" for the Duke of Williams, Ewing, and Reddick continued to shoulder the bulk of the load, scoring 47 of the teams 60 points, right on pace with the 72% of the scoring they do for the Dukies during the rest of the season. All there is left for Georgia Tech to do is win games, as many as possible, from here on out. If they dont make if through at least 2 games in the ACC tourney, their postseason might be the NIT.

Villanova 76 Boston College 70
This time Villanova wasn't going to let the Eagles slip away with the win. The Wildcats blew a lead late against BC at the Conte Forum earlier in the season, and almost lost this one, going over 9 minutes in the second half without a feild goal. Nova was led by Randy Foye with 23 while Curtis Sumpter added 20 and hauled in 8 boards. Much like in their win over Syracuse, BC took many more 3 point attempts than usual (16), and were able to connect on 7 of them. Villanova got BC away from their inside game, so even though the Eagles were able to connect on some 3's, it got them out of their offensive flow and allowed Villanova to dictate the pace. Craig Smith led BC with 18 pts while Jared Dudley had 15 on only 4-11 shooting. This loss isn't terrible for BC, but does wonders for Villanova, all but assuring them a birth in the NCAA tournament.

Michigan St. 77 Wisconsin 64
The Spartans were propelled by a career high 28 from Alan Anderson and were able to end a 6 game losing streak to Wisconsin. Not only did he go for a career best, Anderson did not miss a shot, going 10-10 from the field and 7-7 from the charity stripe. Michigan St. is on a tear recently (won last 9 by double figures) and plans to be a major road block for Illinois in the Big 10 tourney. Wisconsin dropped into a tie for third in the league with Indiana at 8-5. Though they are a top 25 team this week, the Badgers now sport 7 losses on their resume, and if they let a smallish Michigan St. team push them around (Wisconsin -10 rebounding difference) then things do not bode well for the Badgers into the postseason.

Kentucky 78 Alabama 71
The Cats came from 14 down on the road to post an impressive victory over the Tide and claim the outright SEC regualr season title. Western Kentucky transfer Patrick Sparks led the way with a career best 26 pts including 7-10 from 3. Kentucky was down early but rallied by playing tough defense and watching Alabama continue to leave Patrick Sparks open. Time after time he was left alone or was able to free himelf using a screen, and Alabama had no answer on the offensive end. Chuck Hayes finished with 17 points, but only had 2 in the second half because the Kentucky post players (Hayes, Morris) were able to push him off of the block. Kennedy Winston led the Tide with 21, who now will have to hope to get another chance to knock off Kentucky in the SEC tournament.

UCONN 73 Pittsburgh 64
Pitt continues to slide as they drop another home game, this time to Charlie Villanueva and the Huskies. Villanueva failed to get 21 points after doing it in three straight games, but did put in 14 and grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with 17 from Rudy Gay and 16 from junior guard Denham Brown. Pitt was feisty as usual, but they were held to only 39% shooting, and even though they forced 20 turnovers, they failed to take advantage and committed 14 themselves. Chevy Troutman was solid yet again leading Pitt with 22 pts and 12 boards. Pitt needs to win a few more here down the stretch to feel safe about its tourney chances. I'm sure they are a lock at this point, but they dont want to end up in an 8/9 or 7/10 game which could happen if they continue to falter down the stretch.

Washington 93 Arizona 85
Washington was able to hold on in a scoring battle between the two best teams in the Pac 10 on a night where Lute Olsen had hoped to pass John Wooden for first in All-time Pac 10 victories. Tre Simmons went for 24 and Nate Robinson had 22 to go along with 7 dimes, as Washington prevented the Cats from clinching the Pac 10. Big difference in this one was the 29 fewer FTs Arizona attempted after getting 40 free looks earlier in the season in Tuscon. Channing Frye was a presence offensively all night posting 30 points, but their poor shooting from downtown (6-23) and poor defense (Washington shot 58% FG) eventually was what did them in. Washington continues to show that Arizona is not the only team that can cause problems come March from the Pac 10.

Kansas 81 Oklahoma St. 79
John Lucas missed a 3 pointer int he waning seconds as Kansas was able to hold off Oklahoma St., sending the Cowboys to their second consecutive loss. The win put Kansas alone in first place in the Big XII, and helped the Jayhawks regain some confidence after losing several games, including one to Oklahoma earlier in the week. Wayne Simien as always led the charge for Bill Self's boys, scoring 32 to go along with 10 rebounds. Graham had 19 points and John Lucas 22, but when it came down to crunch time the savvy senior guard did not have an answer. This was a good opportunity for Oklahoma St. to bounce back after a shocking loss at Nebraska, but now are just left needing to explain yet another mini losing streak.

Texas A&M 85 Texas Tech 63
Antoine Wright had another great game for the Aggies as they handed a beat down to Bobby Knight and the Red Raiders. Wright went for 29 after posting 21 earlier in the week against Iowa St., and he led 4 Aggies with 11 or more points. Tech kept the game close in the first half, but a big spurt to start the second half put them behind for good. The run was mostly a combination of poor defense by Tech and hot shooting from Wright, who nailed 5 of his 7 three pointers in the 2nd half. Martin Zeno was the high man for Tech, with only 16 This game is another in a series in which people are left scratching their heads as to the pecking order in the Big XII.

Upset of the Week
Nebraska 74 Oklahoma St. 67
Nebraska won its first game against a ranked opponent since a win over then #3 Missouri in 1994. The loss bumped Oklahoma St. into a Big XII tie with Kansas, which opened the door for the Jayhawks to take the lead after beating the Cowboys Sunday night. Losses like this are never a good sign for a contending team, and Oklahoma St. will need to right the ship and finish out conference play and the tournament strong in order to have any sort of positive momentum going into the Big Dance.

other upsets: New Mexico 65 Utah 54; LSU 61 Alabama 59; West Virginia 70 Pittsburgh 66; Indiana 78 Michigan St. 74 (OT)

Big Man On Campus
Syracuse F Hakim Warrick
vs St. Johns: 35 pts 10 rebs (10-15) FG (15-19) FT
vs Providence: 36 pts 6 rebs (12-17) FG (12-13) FT
Back to back career highs usually means you had a pretty good week. Hakim Warrick cemented himself as the favorite for Big East POY with 2 great performances in conference action. Hak helped the Orange avoid any slip up this week and is hoping to have similar success when the Orange meet UCONN on Saturday.

other top performers:
UCONN G Marcus Williams vs ND: 17 pts 9 rebs 12 assts
UVM F Taylor Coppenrath vs UNH: 39 pts 11 rebs 3 assts 2 steals
Clemson F Sharrod For vs Maryland: 24 pts 10 rebs 9 blks 2 steals
Texas A&M F Antoine Wright vs ISU/TT: 25.0 pts 6.0 rebs 3.5 assts (9-12) 3 pt
Kentucky F Kelenna Azubuike vs Auburn: 30 pts 11 rebs (9-11) FT 2 blks

MSU G Alan Anderson vs Wisconsin: 28 pts 4 rebs 2 steals (10-10) FG (7-7) FT
IU F Bracey Wright vs Michigan St.: 32 pts (5-8) 3 pt
KU F Wayne Simien vs OK St.: 32 pts 10 rebs (11-17) FG (10-11) FT

Big Games This Week
Monday (2/28)
Pittsburgh @ BC
Oklahoma @ Texas
Wednesday (3/2)
Georgia Tech @ Wake Forest
Georgetown @ UCONN
Texas A&M @ Oklahoma St.
Depaul @ UAB
Thursday (3/3)
Charlotte @ Louisville
Miami @ Duke
Oregon St. @ UCLA
Saturday (3/5)
Louisville @ Depaul
Pittsburgh @ Notre Dame
Alabama @ Mississippi St.
Syracuse @ UCONN
Oklahoma @ Texas Tech
Sunday (3/6)
Kentucky @ Florida
Duke @ UNC

Friday, February 18, 2005

NCAA Basketball: Powers Fall Hard and Mid Majors Battle For Their Tourney Lives

Illinois has a stranglehold on the Big 10......and thats about all we know right now. The Big XII, Big East, ACC, SEC and Conference USA all have wide open races. In the Big East, one minute its Syracuse, then BC, then Pitt, then back to Syracuse, and now BC. The ACC has Duke, UNC, and Wake, all trying to get into position for a run at the Final 4. The SEC may not be as deep, but with Kentucky faltering, Alabama is right there along with Florida and LSU a bit further behind but still possible tourney teams. Then theres the Big XII, which has already gone through the collapse of Texas, and now is watching Kansas shoot down the polls, Oklahoma St. shoot up the polls, and Iowa St., Texas Tech, and Texas A&M make strong pushes for March berths. Then theres Conference USA, where Charlotte is charging hard along with Depaul, as Cincy and Lousiville try to remain on top. Not to mention what we learned from this weekends Bracket Buster games. There are some tough mid major teams out there that can hold their own with anyone on a neutral court (see Pacific, Nevada). We can only wonder what is ahead as all these teams clash in their final conference games and get ready for the final stretch run. For now, this is where we stand....

Top 10 (*previous ranking)
1. Illinois (27-0) (1)
2. North Carolina (22-3) (4)
3. Boston College (22-1) (5)
4. Oklahoma St. (20-3) (6)
5. Wake Forest (22-4) (3)
6. Kansas (20-3) (2)
7. Alabama (21-4) (9)
8. Louisville (22-4) (10)
9. UCONN (17-6) (NR)
10. Utah (23-3) (NR)

just missed: Kentucky; Syracuse; Pacific; Gonzaga; Michigan St.;Duke
dropped: (7) Kentucky; (8) Syracuse

Under the Radar: Charlotte; Creighton; Iowa St.; Nevada

Bracket Buster Breakdown
Miami (OH) 65 Wichita St. 58
Wichita St. continues to slide, dropping its 3rd game in a row, continuing its move from Mid-Major lock, to bubble trouble. The Red Hawks were led by F Danny Horace who dropped 24 while grabbing 9 boards and Miami (OH) watched as Wichita St. shot 57% from the FT line, turning what would have been a much closer game into a comfortbale lead early on. Especially with the great play lately of MVC foes Creighton and Southern Illinois, the Shockers may need to go on a run through the conference tourney to show the committe they are worth an at-large bid. Miami (OH) is gaining momentum at the right time, but still lacks that marquee win that could ease their worries should they not win the MAC title. Also it doesn't get much easier, as their final 4 games are on the road, including a trips to MAC West leader Bowling Green and Kent St., who beat Miami (OH) earlier this year.

Nevada 74 Vermont 64
This was a showcase game for two teams who are in deesperate need of a marquee win. After its loss to Boston Unioversity, Vermont was looking to rebound but ran into Nick Fazekas (31 pts 14 rbs) and the Wolfpack. Despite getting excellent shooting from TJ Sorrentine (24 pts 5-8 3-pt) and 18 from star Taylor Coppenrath, the Catamounts could never put together a serious run after falling behind early and trailing by 4 at half. Key to the game awas the agressive perimeter defense of the Wolfpack, who caused 14 turnovers, including 7 steals, and were able to key the transition game and create some easy baskets. This Nevada team is just as strong as the one Kirk Snyder pushed past Michigan St. and Gonzaga in the tourney last year and they are startin to roll, so look out.

Pacific 73 UTEP 66
The Tigers continue to display one of the most well balanced attacks in the country with 4 players who average at least 6 pts and and 4 rbs per game, and thats not including second leading scorer David Doubley at 13 per game. However their true star is F Guillame Yango from Martinique. He finished this game with 13 pts and 7 rebs, right on his season averages. He is a solid post player at 6'8" and takes good shots, connecting on better than 58% for the season. UTEP had a great chance to boost its tourney resume, but only connected on 3-13 from 3 pt range and received only 9 points from its bench. With Nevada winning against Vermont, this moves UTEP two games back in the WAC, and recent ugly loses @Tulsa and @Lousiana Tech won't help their cause when it comes to the bubble talk.

Mid Major Power 5

1. Gonzaga (21-4) (1)
2. Pacific (22-2) (2)
3. Southern Illinois (22-6) (3)
4. Nevada (20-5) (NR)
5. Miami (OH) (17-6) (NR)

dropped: (4) Vermont; (5) Old Dominion

Big Game Recap
Pittsburgh 68 Syracuse 64
Pittsburgh completes a season sweep of the Orange with a big win at the Carrier Dome. Carl Krauser took over late in the game making 3 contested 3 point jumpers to lead the comeback, and finish with 15 points. Syracuse led in the second half, but with Warrick only taking 3 shots in the second half, and star guard Gerry McNamara shooting a paultry 5-21 from the field, they could not fend off the charging Panthers. Chevy Troutman led Pitt with 20, 16 of them coming from the free throw line (16-20). Syracuse still needs to prove its place at the top of the Big East, as it has not done well against powers UCONN and Pittsburgh.

Texas Tech 80 Kansas 79 (2OT)
A win that essentially assures the Red Raiders a bid to the big dance, and a statement game for a team on the rise. Ronald Ross made a 3 to force overtime after struggling all game and Tech was able to hold on in OT. Wayne Simien led the way for Kansas with 20 pts and 13 rebs, but the Jayhawks were left with a stinging loss that brings them right back to the pack in the Big XII. Freshmen guard Martin Zeno led Texas Tech with season high 24 pts, and helps them improve to 8-3 in conference, trailing only Kansas and Oklahoma St. Tech also improves to 12-2 at home this season, their only losses coming to Oklahoma St. and Ohio St.

South Carolina 73 Kentucky 61
The Cats struggled to get any rhythym in this game, and end up dropping an ugly conference game to SC. Kentucky big man Chuck Hayes was held without a field goal for the entire game, and Kentucky as a team only managed 35% from the floor and 26% from 3 pt range.Tauy-ce Kinsey led the Gamecocks with 17 and Carlos Powell added 14. South Carolina is keeping its faint tourney hopes alive, but will probably have to win 3 of its next 4 (Florida, Tenn, Vandy, Ole Miss) to have any at-large case if it should stumble in the SEC tourney. Meanwhile Kentucky leaves people wondering if the "tide" may be turning in the SEC. Alabama smashed South Carolina 2 days later by 19.

Charlotte 66 Depaul 62
One of the hottest teams in the country, Charlotte continued to roll
and move within half game of Conference USA leader Lousiville. Drake Deiner made 7 3's for Depaul, who came charging back from down 15 to make a game of it in the late seconds. Charlotte F Eddie Basden tipped in a miossed free throw with seconds left to help secure the victory. He finished with 15 and 18 rbs. Depaul still needs to pick up some wins down the stretch to hope to have a shot at the big dance, but loses to Northern Illinois and Bradley won't help them come Selection Sunday.

Virginia Tech 67 Duke 65
Just what the Hokies needed to keep tourney hopes alive and just what Duke-haters needed to contnue saying the boys in Durham are soft. Tech outmuscled Duke and had a +17 rebounding edge, held Duke to 39% shooting, and blocked 12 shots, a season high. Coleman Collins led the way for Virgina Tech with 15 pts and 18 rebs and CArlos Dixon with 18 pts. The win keeps them on the tourney bubble and moves them to 7-6 in ACC play. While I would rather see more mid-major teams with similar resumes admitted to the tourney, if Va Tech can finish above .500 in the ACC, its going to be tough to leave them out, despite losses @ VMI, @ Florida St., and @ St. Johns this year.

Oklahoma St. 85 Texas Tech 56
The Big XII cream rose to the top in this one as Tech was absolutely no match for the Cowboys in Stillwater. John Lucas scored 25 pts, including 5-8 on 3's, and JamesOn Curry added 10 of his 15 in a second half that saw the home team pad its 9 point halftime lead by 20. The loss was a huge let down for Tech, who had previously in the week beaten Big XII leader Kansas, and felt they could at least make a game of it with Oklahoma St. This game shows that Bobby Knight still has some work to do if this team is going to be consistent enough to compete down the stretch, and that the Cowboys have recovered from a couple early hiccups in conference play.

Boston College 65 Syracuse 60
All American Hakim Warrick dissappeared in the second half, and the Eagles got big games again from Craig Smith and Jared Dudley to down the Orange at Conte Forum for their biggest win this season. Gerry McNamara continued his ice cold shooting going 5-17, and Hakim Warrick only finished with 12 pts, despite having 10 at halftime. Craig Smith was a monster inside with 16 pts and 15 rebs, and Jared Dudley continued to play at an All Conference level, scoring 21 pts with 5 rebs and 4 assists. The game was testy throughout, and you could tell the Eagles just wanted it more. They got all the lose balls, and key defensive stops when they needed them. As for the Orange, they need better play from McNamara, who has shot just 26% in his last two Big East games, and more touches for Hakim Warrick, who only attempted 3 field goals in the second half. Lone bright spot for the 'Cuse right now? Soph Louie McCroskey averaging 12.5 pts this past week, double his season average.

Duke 101 Wake Forest 92
A nice bounce back win for the Dukies, who are glad to avoid their first 3 game losing streak since '98-'99. Wake gave more than a solid effort, but some suspect officiating helped sway the momentum for Duke in a game that featured 28 turnovers and 34 3-point attempts. JJ Redick had another stellar night, connecting on 6-10 3s and 14-15 from the line to finish with a team high 38. Chris Paul did all he could, scoring 27 for the Deacons while dishing out 7 asstis and grabbing 6 boards. Wake guards Justin Gray and Jamal Levy were saddled with fouls the entire game and Eric Williams was never able to establish any real presence in the middle, finishing with just 10 points. Duke had named Reggie Love their captain before the game and started 2 walk-ons to help ignite a team that had lost its last 2 to Maryland and ACC newcomer Virgina Tech.

Upset of the Week
Texas Tech 80 Kansas 79 (2OT)
Iowa St 63 Kansas 61 (OT)

Dropping two conference games is not the end of the world, but these back to back loses are not a good sign for a team that is supposed to be oozing tourney experience and prime for another Final Four. They need someone to replace the energy of the injured Christian Moody, and need overall better play from JR Giddens and Michael Lee if they expect to go deep in the tourney.

Other upsets: South Carolina 73 Kentucky 61; Virginia Tech 67 Duke 65; LSU 77 Florida 73

Big Man On Campus
Gonzaga G Derek Raivio vs San Diego
29 pts 7 assts 5 rebs (5-6) 3 pt
This kid can shoot the rock (48% from 3 on the season) and when he catches fire like this the Zags will be tough to stop. Hes also a playmaker, and is very good at finding the main scoring options Adam Morrison and Rony Turiaf. Hes a great asset wither breaking pressure, running the offense in the halfcourt, or shooting over the zone, which makes him a major threat for this mid major power.

Other top performers:
Georgia Southern G Elton Nesbitt vs Citadel: 38 pts 4 rbs 4 asts (10-12) 3 pt
Grambling G Brion Rush vs Texas Southern: 38 pts 9 rbs (8-12) 3 pt
UCONN F Charlie Villanueva vs Providence: 22 pts 10 rbs
PC F Ryan Gomes vs UCONN: 37 pts 8 rbs (4-10) 3 pt
UA G Salim Stoudamire vs Oregon St.: 31 pts (9-14) 3 pt

Utah F/C Andrew Bogut vs Wyoming: 31 pts 13 rbs 4 assts (11-16) FG
Louisville F Ellis Myles vs St. Louis: 13 pts 18 rbs 5 assts
Charlotte F Eddie Basden vs Tulane: 27 pts 14 rebs 3 assts 4 steals
Nevada F Nick Fazekas vs Vermont: 31 pts 14 rebs (2-3) 3 pt

Big Games This Week
Monday (2/21)
Kansas @ Oklahoma
Utah @ New Mexico

Tuesday (2/22)
UNC @ NC St.
Texas @ Texas Tech
Iowa St. @ Texas A&M

Wednesday (2/23)
Duke @ Georgia Tech
Memphis @ Charlotte
BC @ Villanova

Thursday (2/24)
Wisconsin @ Michigan St.
Marquette @ Cincy

Saturday (2/26)
Kentucky @ Alabama
Wichita St. @ Southern Illinois
UCONN @ Pittsburgh
Arizona @ Washington
Lousiville @ Memphis

Sunday (2/27)
Oklahoma St. @ Kansas
UNC @ Maryland

Monday, February 14, 2005

NCAA Basketball: Illinois Chasing History

*Due to technical difficulties with the site a lot of information for this week was lost. However there are still fresh rankings and a look at some of the top performers of the past week.

Illinois will look to complete the first perfect Big 10 season since Indiana in 1976 over the next few weeks, and there appears to be little holding them back. That being said, its going to be interesting to see if the Illini can stay hot, especially since the Big 10 tourney and first round the of the NCAA tourney are in Chicago. Even if Illinois drops a game before the season ends, theres still no reason to think the selection committee won't place them in Chicago anyway. Also an interesting note, the selection committee met this past weekend for the first time as they do every year, however this year they failed to come up with a consensus on the feild for the first time. Very intersting...

Top 10 (*previous ranking)
1. Illinois (25-0) (1)
2. Kansas (20-1) (3)
3. Wake Forest (21-3) (5)
4. North Carolina (20-3) (2)
5. Boston College (20-1) (4)
6. Oklahoma St. (19-3) (10)
7. Kentucky (19-2) (9)
8. Syracuse (22-3) (7)
9. Alabama (19-4) (NR)
10. Louisville (21-4) (6)

just missed: Duke; UCONN; Utah; Pittsburgh
dropped: (8) Duke

Mid Major Power 5
1. Gonzaga (19-4) (1)
2. U of Pacific (20-2) (4)
3. Southern Illinois (20-6) (NR)
4. Vermont (18-4) (2)
5. Old Dominion (23-3) (NR)

dropped: (3) St. Mary's (CA); (5) Wichita St.
note* Bracket Buster games this weekend will truly show what a lot of these teams can accomplish. But know that Gonzaga, Pacific, and whoever wins the Missouri Valley Conference will be tough competition for any major conference team come tournament time.

Big Man On Campus
Utah C/F Andrew Bogut vs Colorado St.
33 pts 16 rbs 3 assts 5 blks 2 stls
* Bogut continues to show night in and night out why people think he may be the best college big man since Tim Duncan at Wake Forest. Bogut is aggressive, but has a soft touch both at the basket, and passing out of double and triple teams to cutters or open 3 point shooters. As Bogut goes, so go the Utes, but look for his strong play to continue throughout the rest of the season.