Tuesday, January 17, 2012

College Hoops Top 25 (1/17)

Allow me to just get one thing out of the way before I debut my latest Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25. That Saints/Niners game on Saturday afternoon might be the best football game I've ever seen. If you saw it, you know exactly what I mean, and if you missed it, well then you'll just be lying for the rest of your life when pimps like me ask you if you remember that game. And you best believe that people will be talking about that one for a while, because it was that good. The only game I can think of off hand that I enjoyed more was the Patriots/Panthers in the '04 Super Bowl, and seeing as that was a Super Bowl and it involved the Patriots, I think that should tell you how highly I thought of this latest battle by the Bay...
THE game and THE picture.

But enough football. I wanted to get on the record with my thoughts on that game, and I've done exactly that. As for the Patriots' chances this week, and whether or not I'll continue to push for my Patriots/Giants Super Bowl rematch, that'll have to wait til Friday. Today, I've got a new #1 to unveil, and a reworked Top 10 that's bound to leave some of you questioning which Big East school it was I actually attended...

So let's have at it, friends. Especially you, Celtics fans. You need some decent basketball to watch, right? Well, here ya go. This should help get you up to speed...

College Hoops Top 25
1. Syracuse (20-0) 2

OK, OK. So I've finally got the Orange at #1. What do you want from me? They're the deepest team in the history of the sport (no player averages more than 29 mins) and their best player (Dion Waiters) doesn't even start, but only because that's the most effective way for him to play. Yeah, good luck game planning for that...

Was asked this week, too, if I thought Syracuse would be able to go 10 deep all season long. Yes and no. I see all of these guys getting minutes in a potential Final Four type game, but I'd think it would turn more into an 8 man rotation with Bai Keita and Michael Carter-Williams seeing their playing time decrease the most. This is a legitimately deep team, not just a team that appears deep when they're clobbering people by 20. AS for the question of "who will step up in crunch time"? IT's now become a question of "who do you want". Waiters, Joseph, Triche, Melo, Jardine. They're all not only capable, but have already shown their worth at various pivotal times during the season. It's a complete team, and while I'm not buying into the undefeated talk, it's become obvious that they're exactly the type of team that would actually be capable of pulling the trick...

2. Kentucky (17-1) 4

3. Ohio St. (16-3) 1

4. Kansas (15-3) 12

My worry with Kansas has been whether or not they had the supporting cast around Thomas Robinson to get the job done. Well, last night Tyshawn Taylor helped answer that question with 28 points to help the Jayhawks smack Baylor. That's back to back 28 point outings for the senior from Hoboken, and if he can continue to play outside to Robinson's inside, Bill Self's crew may yet again prove to be the class of the Big XII...

5. Duke (15-2) 6

6. North Carolina (15-3) 3

If you want to go nuts over the blowout loss @ Florida St., that's your business. It's not an encouraging loss, I'll give you that, but the 'Noles are shady good at home, and sometimes stuff like this happens. Not the best of explanations, I know, but I'm viewing it as merely a bump in the road, and I fully expect the Heels to right the ship and run the table before their early February meeting with the Dukies in Chapel Hill...

7. Michigan St. (15-3) 7

8. Missouri (17-1) 11

9. Baylor (17-1) 5

I worried that the Bears weren't ready for prime time, and their 18 point loss last night at Phog Allen Field House proved exactly that. There's just a little too much "NBA" in the Bears, in the way they play a lot of 1-on-1 and seem to get seriously injured every time they hit the floor. They're talented, and should be able to win a lot of games based on that alone, but until they become a little more hard nosed, and a little more selective in the half court, I'm not a huge fan of their chance sof taking the next step...

You can call him "DJO"
10. Marquette (14-4) 14

Here's the aforementioned surprise Big East team, ranked #10 here, but no higher than 21 in either of the major polls. I base it mostly on the eye test, but I also like the fact that they have 2 guys that can take over a game on both ends at any time (Darius Johnson Odom & Jae Crowder each average better than 16 per game), and the fact that they're 8th in the country in assists (17.4 per game)...

Not so easy, eh Indiana?
Big time, clutch scorers and a team that knows how to find the open man? That's a combination I think will find success in March. Add in the fact that their coach, Buzz Williams, is one of the best in the business, and you can see why I'm such a big fan. They're inability to rebound (110th in the country) will probably be their downfall, but when you're making a lot of shots, I don't think you need to worry all that much about your misses...

11. UNLV (16-3) 9

12. UCONN (14-3) 16

13. Indiana (15-3) 8

Not so easy when you have to play on the road, is it? Maybe ESPN should run that "Has Indiana returned to being a National power?" poll again. Because that was a question worth asking in early January...

14. San Diego St. (15-2) 19

They got their big win at home over UNLV, and if they get popped this week at New Mexico, probably the only thing that will happen is the Lobos will become the 3rd Mountain West team to grace my Top 25. It's a top heavy conference, but it's damn good, and don't be surprised when it sends 3 legitimate teams to the Big Dance...

15. Creighton (16-2) 18

16. Georgetown (14-3) 15

17. Murray St. (18-0) 20

18. Michigan (14-4) 13

19. St. Mary's (17-2) NR

Beating Gonzaga by 21 at home may have surprised some, but those that have been watching know that this St. Mary's squad has been untouchable in their own building. IT would have been nice to see them get a decent road win in non conference play to help bolster their credibility, but they've convinced me they can hang with pretty much anybody. Scrappy Aussie Matthew Dellavedova makes them go, at 16 points & 6 assists per game, but this is a well balanced squad that finds itself in the top 40 nationally in scoring (36th, 76.8 ppg) assists (7th, 17.5 apg) and field goal percentage (25th, 48%). They're just very efficient offensively, and needless to say that should cause a lot of teams a lot of problems...

20. Florida (14-4) NR

21. Virginia (14-2) 22

22. Mississippi St. (15-3) NR

I haven't exactly been high on the Bulldogs, this year, but I'm starting to come around. UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie is a beast inside, and Dee Bost is a tough veteran ball handler that can help control the pace of the game and make sure to get all of MSU's scorers (4 players averaging 10+ ppg) involved. Which will be important, considering the team ranks 128th in the country at only 12 assists per game...

23. Gonzaga (14-3) 21

24. Louisville (14-5) 10

Injuries may have the Cardinals in a free fall, but the talent is still there. Even if they were to play themselves out of it with a terrible Big East regular season, this could be a team, if healthy, that could be a big time spoiler/sleeper come NCAA tournament time. Just sayin', don't count them out just because they're hurt...

25. Kansas St. (12-4) 17

just missed: West Virginia; Stanford; Harvard; Vanderbilt; Wichita St.; Wisconsin

dropped: (23) West Virginia; (24) Wisconsin; (25) Purdue

Games to Watch 
(Italicized games are what I consider the best game of each day. 
Ya know, if you can only manage to watch just one)
Michigan @ Michigan St.
Arkansas @ Kentucky

Cincinnati @ UCONN
San Diego St. @ New Mexico
Texas @ Kansas St.

Wake Forest @ Duke
North Carolina @ Virginia Tech

Syracuse @ Notre Dame
Missouri @ Baylor
Florida St. @ Duke
New Mexico @ UNLV
Mississippi St. @ Vanderbilt
Michigan @ Arkansas
Cincinnati @ West Virginia

Virginia Tech @ Virginia
Wisconsin @ Illinois

Syracuse @ Cincinnati

There you have it, friends. Enjoy your week, and I will catch you on Friday.

Teddy Williams...


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