Upsets, near upsets, and strange blowouts highlighted the week in college basketball. Allowing it to easily maintain its spot as the most unpredictable of big time sports on the planet. Their's quite a shakeup in The Nine this week with all the top tier HOME losses.
1. Florida (1) 24-2 11-0
The Gators got off to a great start against Kentucky this weekend before letting the Wildcats come back to make a game of it. I think I may have figured out how to beat the Gators and UNC may be the team to do it. It's going to take a deep team with good big men that can compete well inside against Horford and Noah and get them into foul trouble. For the record their were a lot of tick tack foul calls in the Kentucky game but the Gators survived and now may be flirting with an undefeated SEC record. I do think they need a loss before the NCAA tournament starts however as trying to put together a thirty of so game winning streak would certainly be tough to do. The streak currently stand at 17 which ties last years season opening streak would hit 22 if they win their final 5 regular season games. The Gators also decided to let another team think they might beat them as Alabama just like Vandy led the game by 11 at half only to lose by 9 in the end after the Gators turned it on in the second half. The Gators are playing with fire a little bit but I still think they're far and away the best team in the country.
This Week: 2/17 @ Vandy, 2/21 South Carolina
2. Wisconsin (3) 25-2 11-1
The Badgers get this spot almost by default having played really no one this past week. They even struggled for most of the game tonight against a 9-16 Minnesota team before putting them away for the 13 point victory. I do think Wisconsin is currently the weakest overall team in terms of #1 seed contenders. They deserve a #1 without a doubt but I just think as I've said before they rely too much on Alando Tucker. If he has an off game they're going to get beat by a team that shouldn't even be able to compete with them. As of now I'm going to go ahead and say Ohio State wins the rematch and the Big Ten regular season title. That is assuming they don't go into one of there "Who's Greg Oden again?" lulls during that game.
This Week: 2/17 Penn State, 2/20 @ Mich St.
3. Kansas (9) 22-4 9-2
Big jump for the Jayhawks this week but with nearly everyone else losing and they;re utter domination of since losing a game they should have won against Texas A&M. The 'Hawks won by a combined 47 points on the road against Missouri and Colorado after beating a Kansas State by 27 at home following the A&M game. Julian Wright looks like the real deal, he can fill up every inch of the stat sheet and if he's playing well this team can beat anyone in the country. They should continue their dominance this week as they take on Nebraska who they beat by 20 two weeks ago and also a rematch with K State in Manhattan.
This Week: 2/17 Nebraska, 2/19 @ Kansas State
4. Ohio State (5) 23-3 11-1
The Buckeyes had another solid week pushing their win streak to 10 against mediocre Big Ten opposition. They were all set to take the #3 spot over before they barely squeaked by Penn State on the road tonight. Geary Claxton is one of the better players in the Big Ten who gets no publicity at all and he put together a solid all around game in this one with 19 and 10 boards but the Nittany Lions couldn't pull off the upset. The Buckeyes fell into one of those previously mentioned lulls in the second half of this one, much like the Mich St. game getting outscored 24-43 by the Nittany Lions. I still think they'll steal the Big Ten from Wisconsin but it'd hard to be encouraged by the way they play against the bottom feeders in the Big Ten. This is one of the reasons I think they're nothing more than a lock for a #2 seed come march.
This Week: 2/18 @ Minnesota, 2/21 Penn State
5. Washington State (7) 22-4 11-3
The Cougars continue to climb the rankings and build a strong case heading toward march. Wazzu is beginning to look like the best team in the talent rich Pac-10, better maybe even than UCLA. They did lose in Los Angeles but will get a chance at redemption in Spokane when the Bruins come calling' on the first day or March. This past week Wazzu knocked off Cal and also won on the road against the state rival Huskies. Wazzu had 8 days off after tonight's game with Washington before a double dip at the Oregon schools.
This Week: Strangely No Games
6. UCLA (2) 21-3 10-2
In their only game of the week UCLA went to West Virgina and came out with a 70-65 loss at the hands of the Mountaineers. Darren Collison did not play however, if he does I think they win that that game. UCLA still has the inside track to win the Pac-10 and get a #! seed though as the WVU game was out of conference. The rematch with Wazzu could decide the conference regular season title on the second to last day of the Pac-10 regular season.
This Week: 2/15 @ Arizona State, 2/17 @ Arizona
7. North Carolina (4) 22-4 8-3
Despite being swept by Va. Tech this season and suffering their first home loss UNC is still one of the best four teams in the country and has to make this list. Not to mention they beat another team by a ridiculous margin, that team Wake Forest fell 104-67 in Chapel Hill. BC has them by half a game right now in the ACC but I still like the Heels to win the conference regular season and tournament titles and entering March on the right track. You have to like the Hokies chances come march if they can shake the inconsistency and come to play every night.
This Week: 2/17 @ Boston College, 2/21 NC State
8. Georgetown (UNR) 19-5 9-2
The Hoyas have ripped off 8 strait wins and appear to be heating up at the right time. In their last two wins they absolutely dominated Marquette and a West Virgina team that was coming off a win over UCLA. Does that make G'Town better than UCLA? Probably not but I do like this team to do some major damage in March if Roy Hibbert continues to play the inspired ball and dominate the paint like everyone expected when the season started. The Hoyas have a shot to steal the Big East from Pitt if they can beat Pitt on the road in two weeks.
This Week: 2/17 @ Villanova, 2/21 @ Cincinnati
9. Southern Illinois (UNR) 22-5 13-3
The Salukis are an impressive 13-3 in one of the toughest most balanced conferences in the country, the Missouri Valley. Their wins include season sweeps of Creighton and Missouri State the second and third best teams in the conference. The Salukis are on pace for a top 5 seed in the tournament especially if they can pull off the upset and beat Butler on the road this Saturday. Should be a great game, I know I'll be on my couch watching it. I don't know if the Salukis have the scoring punch to make a major run in the tournament this year but they've had an impressive season and a win over Butler would change my mind.
This Week: 2/17 @ Butler, 2/21 @ Indiana State
Dropped Out: Texas A&M, Marquette, Oregon Also Considered: USC, Texas, Va. Tech, San Diego State, Pitt, Nevada, VCU, ODU, BYU
This Weeks 5:
Mid-Majors who likely need to win their conference tournament to make the dance.
5. Hofstra - Needed to beat ODU on the road on Tuesday.
4. Wichita St. - Tonight's loss at Drake was likely the final nail in their coffin.
3. Drexel - Those non-conf road wins are useless if you can't win at William & Mary.
2. Bradley - A Win at VCU would help, but not enough to cover up that 29 point thumping @ MSU.
1. San Diego St. -Despite throttling Air Force and UNLV in the last two weeks the non-conf is pretty bad. Not to mention can the MWC really get four bids? I doubt it.