Tuesday, February 18, 2014

College Hoops Top 25 (2/18)

OK, let's see...

The Olympics have forced some of my favorite shows (Rick & Morty, Archer) into temporary hibernation, but the one that's decided to stick around and fight the amateur sports brigrade (True Detective) has been more than picking up the slack. I mean, what a freakin' show. And if you're not on board, either do so, or prepare to get entrenched in the camp that calls the rest of us "nerds" when we refer to it has one of the best TV shows of all time. Granted, the format (new cast & director every season) will keep it more in the "Sandy Koufax" category (ya know, due to the short shelf life). But, still. If you're missing it, you're missing out. Plain and simple...

Oh, and I saw "42", the Jackie Robinson biopic. Don't watch it. It was bad. Too much Disney, and not enough drama. It was like they set it up so that they could really go for it, in terms of realism and darkness. But then they pulled back, and were left with some Lifetime Movie of the Week retelling of one the the greatest figures in the history of sports and civil rights. Not to mention the guy who played Jackie (Chadwick Boseman), looked too much like a young Isiah Washington (it's the eyes, not generalized racism). Which normally wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that another character in 42 was played by TR Knight. The same guy who Washington allegedly called a "fag" (then famously said he didn't), an incident which caused him to be kicked off what was then (inexplicably) a hit show. All of which was needlessly distracting to a nerd such as myself. So, yeah. Don't waste your time...

Other than that, pitchers and catchers have reported. Which is great. And NBA All Star weekend is being regularly referred to as "hot garbage". Which makes me smile. Oh, and the college basketball slate is steadily moving from red to white hot, as the tournament inches ever closer. So, yeah. Yeah, let's talk about that. Or at least rank that sports' respective teams in a manner in which I see fit. Yeah, let's do that...

OK, enjoy...

College Hoops Top 25

1. Florida (23-2) 2

2. Syracuse (25-0) 1

I'm picking nits, at this point. But here's the deal. I fill out my rankings the same way I'd fill out my bracket, were the tourney to start today. So, that being the case. I'd definitely lean towards the team that recently beat Kentucky in Lexington by 10, rather than my native Orange who just snuck by NC State in the Dome. I'd then immediately fill out another bracket that had Syracuse winning, just for posterity. But the bracket I'd take the most pride in winning with would still have the Gators cutting down the nets...

3. Duke (20-5) 3

4. Wichita St. (27-0) 5

5. Creighton (21-4) 7

6. Arizona (23-2) 4

7. St. Louis (23-2) 8

8. Kansas (19-6) 9

Losses on the road (@Texas & @ Kansas St.) are still keeping the Jayhawks from being elite, but winning 10 of their last 12 help keep them on the cusp. Not to mention the dearth of talent that everyone, myself included, keeps assuming will explode at any second. And that's mostly a shot at the underwhelming performance to date of Andrew Wiggins. Sure, it's only a reflection of how high the bar was set. But, still. Facts is facts. And if he can ever live up to the hype, the Jayhawks will again become one of the most feared teams in the country...

9. Iowa (19-6) 10

10. Louisville (21-4) 11

11. Wisconsin (21-5) 19

I'm still not completely sold that the Badgers are back to their stellar early season form. But, as winners of 4 straight, they're definitely starting to show signs of life. I've especially watched enjoying the maturation of freshman wing, Nigel Hayes. His increased role of late has given Bo Ryan's club that added athleticism on both ends of the floor, and he should prove both a difficult match up, and a great compliment to the the efficient if yet softer tendencies of some of his Badger teammates. Not calling them soft, because they're not. But Hayes adds another dimension. Just watch him play, and you'll see what I mean...

12. San Diego St. (22-2) 14

13. Michigan St. (21-5) 6

Gary freaking Harris. As he goes, so go the Spartans. Hence why they've only gone 2-3 in their last 5. A stretch that's seen Harris take 80 shots, but only connect on 32% of them. If he can't right the ship, this one time favorite will likely find themselves an early round casualty. But I'm still holding out a little but of hope...

14. Virginia (21-5) 17

15. Kentucky (19-6) 16

16. Texas (20-5) 21

The Longhorns don't had a "bad" loss on their resume, and they can rebound with the best of 'em (5th in the country). I worry about their ability to move the ball against any sort of good defense come tourney time (222nd in assists), but there's no denying their 9-3 record in the extremely competitive Big XII. Road games this week @Iowa St and @Kansas should go a long way towards telling us if this is a sleeping giant, or just another team that only has a chance to win a game or two come March...

17. Villanova (22-3) 12

18. UCLA (20-5) NR

Get ready to start hearing a lot about Kyle Anderson. He's UCLA's 6'9" sophomore point-forward(?) who is averaging 15 points, 7 assists, and nearly 9 rebounds per game. He's good, there's no doubt about it. And his team is efficient, ranking top 11 nationally in scoring (11th), FG% (10th) and assists (5th). Needless to say, the Bruins will make for a tough out. Especially if Anderson and his back court mate, Jordan Adams (17 points/6 boards), continue to play at an All American level...

19. Michigan (18-7) 13

20. Ohio St. (20-6) 18

21. Cincinnati (23-3) 20

22. UCONN (20-5) 25

23. Iowa St. (19-5) 24

24. VCU (20-6) 23

25. Pittsburgh (20-6) 15

just missed: Gonzaga; New Mexico; Arizona St.; Memphis; Harvard; Oklahoma; SMU; Utah; Kansas St.

dropped: (22) SMU

Syracuse headlines one Hell of a week. Starting with a game vs BC on Wednesday, wearing the sweet throwbacks pictured above. Actually, they kind of suck, because the shorts (purposefully not pictured) are for some reason dark blue. But let's focus on the good. Which is that the tops are the, and that Syracuse will make it's first trip to Cameron Indoor on Saturday to further their insa-rivalry with Jabari Parker and the Duke Blue Devils. Should be good times. And they'll even be back to wearing shorts that match. Which will be great, too...

What To Watch This Week
Villanova @ PC
Texas @ Iowa St.
Iowa @ Indiana
Kentucky @ Ole Miss
NC St. @ Clemson

Arizona @ Utah
BC @ Syracuse
Creighton @ Marquette
Arizona St. @ Colorado
New Mexico @ UNLV
Washington @ Oregon

Duke @ UNC
Michigan St. @ Purdue
Gonzaga @ BYU


Syracuse @ Duke
Florida @ Ole Miss
Arizona @ Colorado
Louisville @ Cincinnati
San Diego St. @ New Mexico
Texas @ Kansas
St. John's @ Villanova
Wisconsin @ Iowa
Minnesota @ Ohio St.
UCLA @ Stanford
Indiana St. @ Missouri St.
Ohio @ Akron

Michigan St. @ Michigan

Syracuse @ Maryland
Oklahoma @ Kansas

OK, friends. Enjoy your week. And I'll watch you next time...



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