Posts Tagged ‘villanova’

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MacRankings: January 21st

January 21, 2013

Top 25:

1. Duke (16-1) [1]
2. Michigan (17-1) [2]
3. Kansas (16-1) [5]
4. Arizona (16-1) [6]
5. Syracuse (17-1) [7]
6. Louisville (16-2) [3]
7. Butler (16-2) [12]
8. Indiana (16-2) [4]
9. Florida (14-2) [10]
10. Minnesota (15-3) [9]
11. Gonzaga (17-2) [8]
12. New Mexico (16-2) [14]
13. Kansas State (15-2) [16]
14. Michigan State (16-3) [22]
15. Miami (13-3) [17]
16. Oregon (16-2) [UR]
17. Cincinnati (16-3) [24]
18. Creighton (17-2) [11]
19. North Carolina State (15-3) [13]
20. Wichita State (17-2) [UR]
21. VCU (16-3)
22. Notre Dame (15-3) [19]
23. Ohio State (13-4) [21]
24. Missouri (13-4) [18]
25. Ole Miss (15-2) [UR]

Dropped Out:

15. San Diego State (14-4) [15]
20. Connecticut (12-5) [20]
23. Illinois (14-5) [23]
25. UNLV (15-4) [25]

Bubble:

Georgetown (12-4)
Marquette (13-4)
Maryland (14-4)
North Carolina (12-5)
Oklahoma (12-4)
Oklahoma State (12-4)
Pittsburgh (15-4)
UCLA (14-4)
Wisconsin (13-5)
Wyoming (14-2)

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College Basketball MacRankings – February 21st, 2010

February 21, 2011

I was sick this whole weekend, so while I followed all the scores across college basketball, I didn’t put much thought into my rankings until tonight. On top of being sick, this has been the toughest week to update with all the top teams losing and all the parity in college basketball in general. Not much commentary this week but I felt like I owed some explanation to the top spots.

TOP 25:

1. Kansas (25-2)
Key Wins: Arizona, UCLA, Memphis, USC, @Cal, UNT, @Michigan, @Iowa St, @Baylor, @Colorado, KSU, Mizzou, Colorado
Key Losses: Texas, @KSU
Last Week: #2
Comments: Wait… Kansas lost and moved up to #1? Seems weird, but who else do you put here? Ohio State, Texas, and Pitt all lost. Duke’s a candidate and will probably get votes, but I personally can’t put them #1 with a SoS of 39th and playing against a weak ACC. BYU or San Diego State? It’s getting close, but the world isn’t ready for a Mountain West team at the top of the rankings yet. Kansas is #1 in RPI, top ten in strength of schedule, and have 15 wins over top 100 teams–more than anyone in the country. Enough said.

2. BYU (25-2)
Key Wins: Utah St., St. Mary’s, @Vermont, Arizona, UTEP, @UNLV, @Colorado St, SDSU, UNLV
Key Losses: @UCLA, @New Mexico
Last Week: #6
Comments: Call me crazy, but BYU deserves to be here. They may play in the Mountain West, but they rank higher in strength of schedule than Pitt, Duke, and Ohio State. And they have more than twice as many wins against top 50 teams than San Diego State. And they have the best player in the country.

3. Duke (25-2)
Key Wins: Marquette, Kansas State, MSU, Butler, Miami, UAB, Maryland, @NC St, BCU, @Maryland, NC St, UNC, @Miami
Key Losses: @FSU, @SJU
Last Week: #5
Comments: I wouldn’t be surprised if Duke was #1 tomorrow, but I don’t think it’s justified. The ACC doesn’t compare to the Big 10 or the Big East or the Big 12 this year… or even the Mountain West. If Kyrie Irving had been healthy all year, Duke would probably be #1. But he’s been out and they’ve lost a couple games and their resume doesn’t quite stack up to BYU’s or Kansas’. Look at those quality wins… pretty good, but only one win over a currently ranked team.

4. San Diego State (27-1)
Key Wins: @Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Wichita St., @Cal, UNLV, @New Mexico, Colorado St, @UNLV, New Mexico
Key Losses: @BYU
Last Week: #7
Comments: The only team in the country with one loss… so how could they possibly be #4? Well, for one, they lost to BYU, and two, their strength of schedule doesn’t
compare to the other teams. I think the biggest difference between BYU and SDSU has been how well their out of conference opponents have performed. BYU beat St. Mary’s, Utah State, Arizona, UTEP, and Vermont. St. Mary’s, Utah State, and Arizona have all been top 25 teams for the past couple weeks, Vermont has 22 wins, and UTEP is first in Conference USA. SDSU had some great wins out of conference, but Gonzaga isn’t the team we expected and Wichita State is good, but struggling to win its own conference, and California is a middling PAC-10 team. Doesn’t quite match up. I’ll take BYU for now, but we’ll see what happens when the two teams square off again on the Aztecs’ turf.

5. Ohio State (25-2)
Key Wins: @Florida, @FSU, South Carolina, Oakland, Minnesota, @Michigan, Penn St, @Illinois, Purdue, N’western, @Minnesota, MSU
Key Losses: @Wisconsin, @Purdue
Last Week: #3

6. Texas (23-4)
Key Wins: Illinois, @UNC, @MSU, Arkansas, A&M, @Kansas, @Ok St, Mizzou, @A&M, Baylor, OkSU
Key Losses: @Pitt, @USC, UCONN, @Nebraska
Last Week: #1
Comment: I gave Texas a pass on the USC loss and put them @ #1 last week even though they had three losses. Well, losing to Nebraska in February isn’t the same as losing to USC in November. It was a startling loss, but the Cornhuskers aren’t nearly as bad as they were supposed to be. Regardless, with four losses, including a recent one to a relatively weak team, Texas has to drop. I’d still take them in my top 2 picks if I was drafting for the NCAA tournament though. Don’t sleep.

7. Pittsburgh (24-3)
Key Wins: Maryland, Texas, UCONN, Marquette, @Georgetown, Syracuse, Cincy, @WVU, @Villanova
Key Losses: Tennessee, NDU, @SJU
Last Week: #4

8. Purdue (22-5)
Key Wins: Oakland, @V-Tech, @Michigan, N’western, @Penn St, Penn St, MSU, Minnesota, @Illinois, Wisconsin, OSU
Key Losses: @Richmond, @Minnesota, @WVU, @OSU, @Wisconsin
Comments: Purdue had a monster week. First they beat an extremely hot Wisconsin team and then followed that by toppling Ohio State. Granted, both wins were at home after losing to both those teams on the road, but impressive nonetheless.
Last Week: #13

9. Georgetown (21-6)
Key Wins: NC State, @ODU, @Missouri, Utah State, @Memphis, SJU, @Villanova, L’ville, @Syracuse, Marquette
Key Losses: @Temple, @Notre Dame, @St. John’s, WVU, Pitt, @UCONN
Last Week: #9

10. Florida (21-5)
Key Wins: @FSU, KSU, Xavier, RIU, Ole Miss, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, @SCU, Tennessee
Key Losses: OSU, @UCF, Jacksonville, SCU, @Miss St
Last Week: #12

11. Notre Dame (21-5)
Key Wins: Cal, Georgia, @Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown, UCONN, SJU, Cincy, Marquette, @Pitt, L’ville
Key Loses: @Kentucky, @Syracuse, @Marquette, @SJU, @WVU
Last Week: #8

12. Connecticut (20-6)
Key Wins: Wichita State, MSU, Kentucky, @Texas, Villanova, Tennessee, @Marquette, G’town
Key Losses: @Pitt, @NDU, L’ville, Syracuse, @SJU, @L’ville
Last Week: #11

13. Wisconsin (20-6)
Key Wins: @BCU, NC State, @Marquette, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, @Northwestern, Purdue, MSU, OSU, Penn St
Key Losses: @UNLV, Notre Dame, @Illinois, @MSU, @Penn St, @Purdue
Last Week: #10

14. Villanova (19-6)
Key Wins: UCLA, Temple, Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, @Syracuse, Marquette, WVU
Key Losses: Tennessee, @UCONN, @Providence, Georgetown, @Rutgers, Pitt
Last Week: #14

15. Arizona (23-4)
Key Wins: @NC State, @Oregon, ASU, @WSU, UCLA, USC, @Cal, WSU, UW
Key Losses: @Kansas, @BYU, @Oregon St, UW
Last Week: #15

16. North Carolina (20-6)
Key Wins: Kentucky, @Virginia, V-Tech, Clemson, @Miami, NC St, @BCU, FSU, @Clemson, BCU
Key Losses: Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, @Georgia Tech, @Duke
Last Week: #16

17. Syracuse (22-6)
Key Wins: MSU, NC State, Notre Dame, @St. John’s, Cincinnati, @UCONN, WVU
Key Losses: @Pitt, Villanova, Seton Hall, @Marquette, G’town, @L’ville
Last Week: #17

18. Vanderbilt (20-6)
Key Wins: UNC, Marquette, Georgia, Ole Miss, St. Mary’s, @Miss St, SCU, Alabama, Kentucky, @Georgia
Key Losses: WVU, Missouri, @South Carolina, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Florida
Last Week: #18

19. St. John’s (17-9)
Key Wins: ASU, Northwestern, @WVU, @Providence, Georgetown, Notre Dame, UCONN, @Cincy, @Marquette, Pitt
Key Losses: @St. Mary’s, St. Bonaventure, @Fordham, @Notre Dame, Syracuse, @Louisville, Cincy, @Georgetown, @UCLA
Last Week: #21
Comments: Giant killers. Maddeningly inconsistent, but they can beat anyone on any given day, especially at home.

21. Louisville (20-7)
Key Wins: Butler, UNLV, Marquette, SJU, WVU, @UCONN, Syracuse, UCONN
Key Losses: Drexel, Kentucky, @Villanova, @Providence, @G’town, @NDU, @Cincy
Last Week: #20
Comments: I never thought Louisville would last in the top 25, but with roughly four games left in the regular season, I think it’s time to admit they belong here. Peyton Siva has definitely blossomed as a sophomore (Seattle stand up!) and has become a true leader and go-to player for this team.

22. Kentucky (19-7)
Key Wins: @Portland, Washington, Notre Dame, @Louisville, @SCU, Georgia, Tennessee, Miss St, S.Carolina
Key Losses: @UCONN, @UNC, @Georgia, @Alabama, @Ole Miss, @Florida, @Vanderbilt
Last Week: #19

22. Xavier (20-6)
Key Wins: Butler, @RIU, Dayton, Temple, @Richmond, @Georgia, @Duquesne
Key Losses: ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, @Cincy, @Charlotte
Last Week: #22

23. Texas A&M (21-5)
Key Wins: Temple, Washington, Arkansas, OK St, Missouri, KSU, @Colorado, @OkSU
Key Losses: BCU, @Texas, @Nebraska, Texas, Baylor
Last Week: #23

24. Missouri (21-6)
Key Wins: @Oregon, Vanderbilt, Illinois, ODU, KSU, Iowa St, Colorado
Key Losses: Georgetown, @Colorado, @Texas A&M, @Texas, @OkSU, @Kansas
Last Week: #24

25. Utah State (25-3)
Key Wins: @Nevada, @SMC
Key Losses: @BYU, @Georgetown, @Idaho
Last Week: Unranked
Comment: It kills me to do it, but Utah State has been manhandling everyone they’ve played and they embarrassed St. Mary’s on the Gaels’ home turf… and St. Mary’s has been in the national top 25 for a couple weeks now. So while the Aggies are still mostly untested, that win proves they at least have some reason to be sniffing the top 25 and hints they might be able to win a game or two in the tournament.

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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 Rankings 11/28/2010

November 29, 2010

Last week’s rankings in brackets:

TOP 25

1. Duke (6-0): Duke survived it’s first tests of the season edging a possible tourney team from Marquette and easily handling #4 Kansas State. [1]

2. Ohio State (5-0): Looking forward to seeing what these guys can do against a stretch of good teams. [3]

3. Pittsburgh (7-0): Panthers still cruising after a good start to the season. [4]

4. Kansas (6-0): The Jayhawks got their first test of the season and beat a good Arizona team, plus Josh Selby is eligible soon, so these guys are just going to get better. [6]

5. Kansas State (5-1): KSU took a pretty bad loss against Duke, but hey, that’s the number one team in the nation and Kansas State already has a couple good wins under their belt (Gonzaga, Virginia Tech). [4]

6. Connecticut (5-0): Talk about a statement. UCONN headed into last week unranked by everyone and projected to finish in the bottom half of the Big East by most publications. Apparently, Kemba Walker and Alex Oriachi disagreed; UCONN toppled a good Wichita State team, #2 Michigan State, and #9 Kentucky en route to winning the Maui Invitational and Walker looked like the most dominant player in the nation. I’ve never heard of an unranked team jumping this far up the rankings, but I can’t see how you can rank them lower. They are #1 in the RPI rankings, #1 in strength of schedule, and they’re still undefeated. I could see an argument for them being in the top 5. I can’t wait to see what the AP does with them tomorrow. [Unranked]

7. Michigan State (5-1): It’s interesting how these rankings work. Michigan State lost to unranked UCONN, which is going to plummet them from the #2 spot. But… starting tomorrow, losing to Connecticut isn’t going to be so bad. Go figure. The Spartans did bounce back by edging PAC-10 favorite Washington. [2]

8. Syracuse (6-0): Still waiting for this team to play someone good. I doubt this is a top 10 team. They’re playing very tight games against some mediocre schools. [8]

9. Florida (5-1): Gators jump up a few spots and got a decent win under their belt today (vs. Florida State). [12]

10. Memphis (5-0): Hmmm… is Memphis really a top 10 team? Hard to say, but they’ve beat two teams from major conferences and play Kansas, Georgetown, and Tennessee before entering conference play, so we’ll know for sure after that stretch. [13]

11. Kentucky (4-1): Like Michigan State, the Wildcats fell victim to The Kemba Walker Show this past week. However, also like Michigan State, they notched a win over Washington. Plus, Terrence Jones looks damn good… there was hype around him in the preseason, but he could wind up being an All-American and top 3 draft pick this year. [7]

12. Baylor (4-0): Undefeated, but untested. [14]

13. Illinois (6-1): Easy week for the Illini. [15]

14. Georgetown (6-0): Same for the Hoyas. [17]

15. Tennessee (5-0): I hate on the Volunteers every year and they consistently prove me wrong. I was hoping to drop them out of the Top 25 this week; instead they had the best week of any team not named Connecticut. The Vols are #2 in RPI rankings and #7 in strength of schedule. The AP had them #24 last week, but they should be right around here now. I was tempted to rank them even higher than this. [18]

16. Minnesota (6-0): Minnesota maintains after a surprisingly strong start. [19]

17. Villanova (5-1): Just when I bite the bullet and bump Villanova up my rankings, they get upset by Tennessee. [10]

18. Purdue (5-1): I wanted to believe that Purdue could survive as a top ten team without Robbie Hummel, but I felt an impending sense of doom surrounding this team. They hadn’t played anybody special and I thought Richmond might upset them and they did exactly that. Richmond’s a good team, but that’s a game Purdue needs to win. [9]

19. Gonzaga (3-2): The Zags took another loss, but salvaged their top 25 spot with a win over Marquette. [16]

20. Washington (3-2): As a Huskies fan, this was a heartbreaking week. After absolutely demolishing Virginia, the Huskies played a mediocre game against Kentucky and still hung in there until the last couple minutes. They followed that up with a solid showing against Michigan State and barely lost that one. Even though UW took two tough losses, they still showed they are a team to be reckoned with. They’ll climb back up these rankings soon enough. I hope! [11]

21. San Diego State (6-0): Maintaining… [23]

22. Missouri (5-0): I’m waiting for Missouri to lose a game so I can say “Ha!” but it hasn’t happened. Still, I refuse to move a team I don’t really believe in up the rankings until they beat someone worth talking about. [22]

23. Texas (5-1): The Longhorns nearly lost to Rice this weekend, but knuckled up for the win to hold their top 25 spot. [24]

24. BYU (6-0): BYU fell out of my rankings last week, but made it back after going 3-0 this week with wins over South Florida and a St. Mary’s team that I wanted to put here. [Unranked]

25. UNLV (6-0): UNLV has officially played their way onto the national radar with big wins over Wisconsin and Virginia Tech. [Unranked]

DROPPED OUT

Butler
North Carolina
Virginia Tech

NOTES

*Temple, a team that was in the top 25 in both the AP and ESPN polls, took two losses this week. They’ll be unranked tomorrow and I feel kind of smart.

*North Carolina won both their games this week, but they still drop out because they haven’t beaten anyone good, lost to two unranked teams, and, after last year, it’s time to show and prove for UNC.

*I wouldn’t be shocked to see Notre Dame ranked tomorrow. They have a pretty impressive early resume for a team no one was talking about, notching wins over California, Georgia, and Wisconsin already.

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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.