Posts Tagged ‘syracuse’

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College Basketball Rankings – 1/23/2011

January 24, 2011

TOP 25:

Winner Of The Week: Texas – It was a close call between UCONN and the Longhorns, but you can’t really top snapping a 69-game home winning-streak at Kansas. Plus, Texas beat a really tough Texas A&M team too and they did so easily.

Loser Of The Week: Syracuse – First, they let Pittsburgh jump off to a 19-0 run to start the game earlier this week, a game they wound up losing. Losing to Pitt on the road isn’t so bad, especially when your best player is injured. However, the Orange followed that up by losing to Villanova at home in front of 30,000+ fans and with Kris Joseph healthy again.

1. Ohio State (20-0)
Last Week: #1
Comments: The Buckeyes keep rolling and they’re doing it in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. Are they a run away for the national title? Not even close. They’ve managed to win them all, but OSU plays a lot of close games and it’s only a matter of time before someone finally knocks them off.

2. Pittsburgh (19-1)
Last Week: #4
Comments: Pitt remains undefeated in the nation’s toughest conference and they’ve looked good doing it.

3. Duke (18-1)
Last Week: #4
Comments: The Blue Devils may no longer be a national title favorite with Kyrie Irving out of action, but Duke is still easily one of the five best teams in the nation.

4. San Diego State (20-0)
Last Week: #6
Comments: The Mountain West showdown we’ve all been waiting for (SDSU vs. BYU) finally happens this week and… it’s not on national TV. Amazing. SDSU is really good, but let’s be real, they’re not going to get a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament… are they?

5. Kansas (18-1)
Last Week: #2
Comments: The Jayhawks had their 69-game home winning streak snapped by Texas yesterday and even though they remain atop the RPI rankings, it’s hard to argue that Kansas has a better slate of quality wins than the teams ranked ahead of them. In fact, Arizona’s the only team they’ve beat that’s even sniffing a top 25 ranking right now.

6. Connecticut (16-2)
Last Week: #10
Comments: UCONN continues to get the job done against tough teams despite the fact that they often seem one-dimensional. Kemba Walker is having an outstanding season and I’ve already seen him hit two game-winners and several other clutch shots late in the game. His supporting cast comes and goes though, so it’s hard to imagine the Huskies making a deep run in March.

7. BYU (19-1)
Last Week: #8
Comments: Jimmer Fredette has announced himself as a Player Of The Year favorite with two 40 point games in the past two weeks. A win over SDSU this week would be huge for the Cougars.

8. Villanova (17-2)
Last Week: #7
Comments: Villanova holds steady in the top ten with a loss to UCONN and a big road win over Syracuse.

9. Texas (16-3)
Last Week: #12
Comments: I could understand an argument for Texas being ranked higher. They had a huge week and they’ve been playing pretty good basketball for the past couple months now and have elevated the program into a legitimate national title threat.

10. Syracuse (18-2)
Last Week: #3
Comments: Tough week for The Orange. They lost games to Pitt and Villanova. Maybe an unfair drop, but looking at their quality wins, they don’t stack up to the teams above them anymore.

11. Texas A&M (16-2)
Last Week: #9
Comments: The Aggies got spanked by Texas, but bounced back with a quality win over Kansas State.

12. Notre Dame (16-4)
Last Week: #13
Comments: Holding strong in the Big East, but two of their conference losses have come against two middle-of-the-pack teams. Don’t be surprised to see NDU dropping the next couple weeks.

13. Missouri (17-3)
Last Week: #14
Comments: Another team that beat up on Kansas State this week. Seriously, what happened to KSU?

14. Purdue (17-3)
Last Week: #15
Comments: Purdue bounced back from a terrible week last week to post wins over Penn St. and MSU. Seriously, what happened to MSU?

15. Kentucky (15-4)
Last Week: #11
Comments: Kentucky took a bad loss @Alabama, but managed a road win over South Carolina this week to save themselves from a terrible week.

16. Washington (15-4)
Last Week: #20
Comments: A huge win over Arizona for the Dawgs, but they played Arizona State way too close before blowing it open in the last couple minutes. Isaiah Thomas has elevated his game so much the past couple weeks that he’s starting to get some Player Of The Year talk. Matthew Bryan-Amaning has become a serious threat too after dropping 30 on ASU. Take away the loss @Stanford and Washington has looked like a top ten team all season long.

17. Wisconsin (15-4)
Last Week: #18
Comments: Looking strong in the Big Ten so far, but the haven’t played Purdue or Ohio State yet.

18. Florida (15-4)
Last Week: #19
Comments: Hard to call it with the Gators. They get an impressive win and follow it up with a bad loss. They might be top 25 good, but they won’t get past the second round in the NCAA tournament.

19. Minnesota (15-4)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: Beat up on the weak Big Ten teams this week, but Minnesota has been tough this year, posting quality wins over North Carolina, West Virginia, and Purdue. Plus they barely lost to #1 Ohio State on the road. A tough, but not great team.

20. Georgetown (14-5)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: The Big East has been brutal on the Hoyas; they’re yet to post a quality win in conference play. They’ve been solid against everyone else though.

21. Illinois (14-6)
Last Week: #21
Comments: Illinois might drop out of the national rankings, but they’re holding their own in the Big Ten and have a nice list of quality wins. Even with the six losses, I can’t justify putting them lower than this.

22. Louisville (15-4)
Last Week: #17
Comments: I still don’t think Louisville is going to last in these rankings, but they’ve shown me something by getting that gutsy win against Marquette last week and again by beating St. John’s. I just can’t see them hanging with the Big East powers when the conference schedule starts to get really tough.

23. West Virginia (13-5)
Last Week: #22
Comments: West Virginia nearly got embarrassed by Marshall (they did lose, but managed to avoid a blow out), but recent wins over Georgetown and Purdue suggest the Mountaineers aren’t to be trifled with.

24. Vanderbilt (14-4)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: Vanderbilt and St. Mary’s were pretty much battling for a top 25 spot yesterday and Vanderbilt killed them.

25. Florida State (15-5)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: Tied with Duke atop the ACC and responsible for Duke’s only loss? Yeah, they’re solid. The Seminoles play 5 of their next 6 ACC games against Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Clemson. Anything less than 4-2 in that stretch would be a shocker.

DROPPED OUT:

Gonzaga (13-7)
Last Week: #23
Comments: Just when it looks like Gonzaga is turning their season around they take two losses against teams they should beat easily (San Francisco, Santa Clara)… This was really a horrible week for the Zags because they’re looking more and more like a team that’s going to need to win the conference to make the NCAA tournament.

Michigan State (12-7)
Last Week: #16
Comments: It’s not as bad as it looks for Michigan State. You could argue they’ve played the toughest schedule in the nation and they’ve posted a good amount of quality wins so far… but still, this was a consensus top two team heading into the season. What’s going on in Lansing?

Temple (13-5)
Last Week: #24
Comments: No longer the best team in the Atlantic Ten. That spot now belongs to Xavier.

UCF (14-4)
Last Week: #25
Comments: I have a feeling that UCF’s season is going to be remembered for being nationally ranked for a couple weeks… cause they are starting to bomb now. Four straight losses against some of the weaker teams in C-USA? Even with a national ranking as recently as last week and wins over Miami and Florida, it’s a steep uphill climb from here on.

Notes:

-I can’t bring myself to rank teams like Utah State or Coastal Carolina. Both teams have fantastic records, but neither of them have a quality win.

-Cincinnati @ 17-3 is starting to pick up steam. It’d be funny if they dropped out of the top 25 after picking up their best win of the year (over St. John’s)… I still think this team doesn’t make the NCAA tournament.

-Tennessee is the best team that won’t be ranked. They have a long list of quality wins that have already punched their ticket to The Dance… but they also have a lot of horrible losses. My guess is it will be a mistake to underestimate the Vols come tournament time. They’ve shown they can compete with anyone on any given night. They’ll probably get in as a 6 or 7 seed, but will play like a 3 or 4… assuming they can beat the less talented team they play in the first round.

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College Basketball – 2009-2010 – A Brief Preview

March 23, 2009

With the 2008-2009 season winding down, I’ve been thinking about what players are graduating, what players are likely getting drafted, and what players will most likely be returning next season and thinking of what teams are looking to be strong next year.

In no particular order, these teams look like they are going to be beasts next year:

Kansas: Even if Cole Aldrich enters the draft and gets picked, which is very likely, Sherron Collins is probably coming back and so is every other piece of a young team that has played its way into this year’s Sweet 16. Kansas figures to lose no one from what was largely considered the #2 recruiting class this past season and already have a solid class this upcoming season that includes 5-star talent Thomas Robinson and top 30 recruit Elijah Johnson.

Bottom Line: I’m leaning towards Aldrich being gone, but even so, Kansas is going to have to be considered a top 10 team heading into next season. If Aldrich decides to come back, they jump to a top 3-5 team.

Syracuse: Syracuse will graduate three seniors from their 2009 Sweet 16 team, but none of those seniors are vital part of the team. Paul Harris, Eric Devendorf, Arinze Onuaku, Andy Rautins, and Rick Jackson (5 of the top 6 scorers) are all certainly coming back for next season. The question mark here is whether or not Jonny Flynn comes back. He’s easily the most talented player on the team, but he’s appearing on most mock drafts late in the first round, so there’s a solid chance he’ll be gone. ‘Cuse does not have a strong recruiting class next season.

Bottom Line: If Flynn doesn’t come back, a year of growth for everyone else should make Syracuse at least as good as they are now. If Flynn comes back, they have a championship caliber team.

Villanova: Scottie Reynolds hasn’t been appearing on many mocks, so I’m banking on him coming back for his senior season. Losing an immensely improved Dante Cunningham is going to hurt, but Nova is going to be returning both Coreys (Fisher and Stokes) and those kids can play. Despite graduating three seniors that get regular minutes, Nova should still have a good amount of depth next year as they are bringing in a remarkable freshman class that includes three top 25 recruits and another 4-Star power forward.

Bottom Line: Already a Sweet 16 team, Nova will bring back most of its scoring and add one of the best freshman classes in the nation. They should be better next year than Kansas was this year.

Ohio State: This is hard to call. Evan Turner wasn’t on anyone’s radar before the season started, but now I’m seeing his name regularly in the middle of the first round in most NBA mock drafts. I’d hate to see him go pro after this season, but it’s seeming more and more likely, and he was certainly one of the more impressive all-around talents I saw play all year. BJ Mullens has received the opposite treatment; he started the season near the tip top of most mocks, but his stock has dropped drastically after what most people would consider to be a disappointing freshman season that saw him start a mere two games and only show brief moments of brilliance. He is definitely someone that needs another year of seasoning in college, but it’s going to be hard for the pro teams to pass up a future top 5 pick when he slides to them in the mid-to-late first round. The Buckeyes will lose no one important to graduation and return Dallas Lauderdale, Jon Diebler, and William Buford, who was very impressive as a freshman. David Lighty, injured almost all season, will be back and healthy next year. The administration must have confidence in its current roster because no one has signed a letter of intent to play at OSU next year.

Bottom Line: It all depends on Turner and Mullens. If they don’t come back, OSU will still return a solid core of players that should make them competitive next year. If Turner and Mullens return, and the latter develops, this could be a championship caliber team.

Purdue: Another current Sweet 16 team that figures to lose no one important to the draft or graduation. I saw Purdue play twice this year and JaJuan Johnson looked NBA ready in both games (30 points vs Ohio State, 22 points 5 rebounds vs Washington). All indications point to him coming back for his junior season and improving even more. 5.6 rebounds per game from a 6’10” stud is probably the reason he’s not making regular appearances on draft boards. He could be next year’s Dante Cunningham. Robbie Hummel, the Big Ten Preseason Player Of The Year, will be back with something to prove after a year of inconsistency and injuries halted his progress a bit. Hummel’s skill set is pretty similar to Kyle Singler’s, whose name is appearing late in the first round of NBA mocks while Hummel has been completely absent. E’twuan Moore makes up the third part of the triumphant of stud players that Purdue will return next season. Chris Kramer, Keaton Grant, and Lewis Jackson will all be back and add depth next year. Purdue has a modest set of in-state prospects coming to the team next year.

Bottom Line: There’s no question marks here. Everyone from this year’s Sweet 16 team will be back next year and I expect significant growth from both Hummel and Johnson. The recruiting class isn’t very strong, but that won’t matter. Assuming OSU loses Turner and Mullens, Purdue has to be the team to beat in the Big Ten next year and should be considered a top 5-10 team overall.

Washington: The bad news is that Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon will be graduating. The good news is that Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter will return. IT should continue to develop into one of the best guards in the Pac-10 and Q-Pon’s offensive output should increase dramatically. While UW can certainly function without Dentmon, filling the void left by Brockman is going to be tough. Matthew Bryan-Amaning has looked capable of taking on that roll at times, but he looked awful and confused a lot of the time this past season. An off-season focused on improving his skill set and confidence would do wonders for this team. Abdul Gaddy, the #2 high school point guard in the nation, will be a more than competent replacement for Dentmon and should take the table-setting pressure off of Thomas and allow him to focus on scoring. Tyreese Breshers, a 4-Star power forward whose season was lost to injury, could also help replace Brockman if he returns healthy. Elston Turner and Venoy Overton are great options off the bench.

Bottom Line: UW unexpectedly won the Pac-10 and was 3 points shy of making it to the Sweet 16 this year. Even with the loss of Brockman and Dentmon, expectations should be higher next season and their will be a target on this team’s back. Abdul Gaddy is a better prospect than Brockman ever was, but it’s unlikely he’s going to have the same kind of impact that the big guy did. I think the X-Factor here is Bryan-Amaning and how much he can grow as a player next season. Regardless, I like UW’s chances to repeat as Pac-10 champs.

Florida: This team that narrowly missed the NCAA tournament only had two upperclassmen and will only lose one player to graduation. While it boggles my mind that Nick Calathes isn’t on draft boards, it looks likely that he will be returning for his junior season. Calathes is one of the best all-around players and another year of growth should do wonders for his draft stock. Calathes is more likely to go off for a triple-double than anyone else in college basketball. Florida will return everyone else from a team that posted a 25 win season with only one senior.

Bottom Line: With Calathes returning and a solid recruiting class, Florida has to be the favorite in the SEC next year.