Tuesday, March 04, 2014

College Hoops Top 25 (3/4)

Well, my friends. March is finally upon us. And while it comes as no surprise to anyone, the college basketball action has hit it's standard fevered pitch. In 2 weeks, we'll be knee deep in brackets. And 3 weeks later, we'll have nothing left but memories, pool dues, and a eye towards starting the whole thing up again at the end of the Summer. But that's the future. And there's no need for us to be in a rush to get there. You know, unless you're going there in a flying Delorean and coming back with a copy of a certain sports almanac. Which we're not. So, let's savor the flavor, and take one of this season's last looks at what's shaping up to be a very even group of contenders...

Oh, and I was gonna throw in some historic Oscar snub type stuff. You know, with the Oscars just having happened, and whatnot. But I came to the realization that those awards aren't indicative enough of what I would deem a "good movie" to begin with. So it wouldn't really be worth anyone's time. Though I did come up with the idea of treating the Academy Awards like a sports Hall of Fame, and waiting 5 or so years before voting on that year's class. But I know that would be impossible, seeing as the whole reason for the freaking awards are to plug that year's slate of films. But, whatever. I'm pretty sure the results would be more meaningful and representative of that year's crop. But it's a pipe dream. So, whatever...

Meh, it is what it is. Which is why we watch basketball, instead. And sometimes even read some Ted's opinions on the topic. Enjoy...

College Hoops Top 25

1. Florida (27-2) 1

2. Duke (23-6) 2

3. Wichita St. (31-0) 3

Props to the Shockers. I don't care which conference you play in OR how "soft" your non conference slate may be. Going undefeated is no small task. And they deserve all the accolades in the world for pulling that off. I'm beginning to come around on their chances to go all Butler on 'em and make a return trip to the Final Four, too. Greg Marshall's boys, led be senior stud Cleanthony Early, obviously know what it takes to get there. The only question remains whether or not they can handle the pressure of being the "hunted". Which I don't think will be a problem, considering they've had a target on their back for their entire Missouri Valley campaign after last year's run...

4. Arizona (27-2) 4

5. Virginia (25-5) 12

I wasn't so much impressed with their ability to beat a Jerami Grant-less Syracuse team on senior day, as I've been impressed with their offensive balance and ability to defend at every position. Still not impressed enough to make them a favorite for the Final Four, but obviously they're knocking on the door...

6. Michigan (21-7) 11

7. Wisconsin (24-5) 10

8. Kansas (22-7) 9

9. Creighton (23-5) 5

10. Villanova (26-3) 15

11. Syracuse (26-3) 6

Speaking of being able to defend at every position. That's actually something the Orange can still do. At least when Rakeem Christmas is on the floor and not in foul trouble for once, they can. But that's a problem. As is Jerami Grant's balky back, and the inability of Tyler Ennis and CJ Fair to bring any sort of rhythm or consistency on the offensive end. Other than that, they're fine. Which is to say they'll be the most popular early round upset pick of every "analyst" this side of Marshall Street...

12. Louisville (24-5) 7

13. North Carolina (23-7) NR

14. VCU (22-7) NR

Coming to decisions like this usually only hurts me. Mostly because I back out on them at the last minute, and when they come to fruition they come back to haunt me. But maybe you can all learn from my mistakes, and remember to go ALL IN with North Carolina and VCU. OK, maybe not all in, exactly. But these are two teams that I'll be pleased to back no matter what may come of them in the next few weeks. They're both just playing great team basketball, right now. And that's what's most important come March. Well, that, and having a few elite athletes. Which both of these clubs happen to have in spades...

It should also be noted that the more James Michael McAdoo continues to look (and play) like Rasheed Wallace, the more I'm going to like the Tar Heels' chances. Because obviously...

15. SMU (23-6) 24

16. Iowa St. (22-6) 20

17. St. Louis (25-4) 8

I was all over the Billikens last year, and I've been a big fan of theirs this season too. But I'm beginning to wonder if any team, no matter how well balanced, can win without pressing. Yeah, that's right. St. Louis doesn't press. Like, ever. Which is great, when you can consistently play from ahead. But without a truly elite offense, that will often be a problem in venues like the NCAA tournament...

18. Cincinnati (24-5) 14

19. UCONN (23-6) NR

Much like my UNC/VCU call, I'm convinced that either Cincinnati or UCONN is going to make a serious run come tournament time. OR maybe it will be my man Larry Brown and his boys at SMU. Either way, one of those teams is going to make a deep run. And it that's not astute analysis, I don't know what is...

20. San Diego St. (25-3) 18

21. New Mexico (23-5) 22

I'm beginning to grow wary of any Mountain West team that isn't playing on their own home floor. The home court advantage in the league is just so strong, and that will often play tricks on the mind in terms of how good those teams really are. They're still good, but I think we all learned our lesson last year with New Mexico. At least I know I did. And it's going to take a really good team to come out of this conference for me to ever pick them to make a deep run with any sort of confidence...

22. Kentucky (21-8) 13

23. Memphis (22-7) 25

24. Michigan St. (22-7) 17

25. UCLA (22-7) 23

just missed: Oklahoma St.; Texas; Gonzaga; Harvard; Iowa; Xavier; Oklahoma; Ohio St.

dropped: (16) Ohio St.; (19) Iowa); (21) Texas

What To Watch This Week
Creighton @ Georgetown
Iowa St. @ Baylor
Michigan @ Illinois

San Diego St. @ UNLV
Louisville @ SMU
Dayton @ St. Louis
West Virginia @ Oklahoma
Texas A&M @ Missouri
Ole Miss @ Arkansas
Colorado @ Stanford
Utah @ Cal

Villanova @ Xavier
Memphis @ Cincinnati
Iowa @ Michigan St.
UCLA @ Washington

(college basketball takes day off to honor the anniversary of my birth)

Kentucky @ Florida
Arizona @ Oregon
UNC @ Duke
New Mexico @ San Diego St.
UCONN @ Louisville
Indiana @ Michigan
PC @ Creighton
SMU @ Memphis
Oklahoma St. @ Iowa St.
Baylor @ Kansas St.
Pittsburgh @ Clemson
Missouri @ Tennessee

Virginia @ Maryland
Wisconsin @ Nebraska
Syracuse @ Florida St.
St. Louis @ UMASS
Michigan St. @ Ohio St.




Unknown said...

When are you going to discuss the emergence of the Charlotte Bobcats and the domination that is Big Al Jefferson? second question. has there ever been a scarier coach to play for than Frank Martin?

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