Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Nine N' 5 2/21/2007

Bracket Busters weekend was one of the best weekends in college basketball this season as some surprised on the road (Drexel, App. State) while others disappointed (VCU, Wichita State). Some of the the usual upsets took place as well as Florida went down at the hands of Vandy. Those shocked by that game should slap themselves as Vandy looks like a sleeper for the sweet 16 if they get a decent draw. No worries here though you won't be seeing an underachieving Buckeye team in the top spot, this isn't a ladder like those rankings the four letter network puts out.

1. Kansas (3) 24-4 11-2
I almost left Florida in their top spot even with the loss to Vandy but decided since I look at the whole profile (well most of it) I'd give the Jayhawks the nod this week. They did beat Florida by two on a neutral court this season even though Corey Brewer had mono. Kansas followed up a solid week last week with another blitzing of Nebraska by 53 and another win over K-State, this time in Manhattan. The only game they could lose left on the schedule is the season finale when they host Texas. If Kansas can put it together in March for once they could win the whole thing, I for one just don't see it.
This Week: 2/24 Iowa St, 2/26 @ Oklahoma

2. Florida (1) 25-3 12-1
The hardly surprising loss at Vandy barely costs them this week as Florida still looks like the best team in the country overall. Those who were shocked should remember Vandy led Florida by 11 at the half in their first meeting in Gainesville but couldn't hold on, this time they did. I for one am happy as maybe this will show the Gators they can't always come back. Also this past week Florida routed South Carolina who really isn't recovering well from the devastating loss of Renaldo Balkman after their NIT championship last year. Florida looks good to finish 15-1 in the SEC at this point though if the good Tennessee team shows up Tuesday they could knocked off the Gators.
This Week: 2/24 @ LSU, 2/27 @ Tennessee

3. UCLA (6) 23-3 12-2
UCLA slides past Ohio St. after going into Arizona and blowing out the Wildcats. Just when you thought Arizona was figuring it out they get embarrassed at home. UCLA is good but are they really that much better than Arizona? On paper definitely not, unfortunately for some #1 seed Arizona could be landing in a 8-9 match up near you. UCLA did need an 18-2 run to close to beat Arizona St. by 6 who at the time was still win less in league play. USC took the honor of losing to the Sun Devils, but hey at least they were on the road. The Bruins appear locked in for a #1 seed in the big dance as long as they can beat Wash St. March 1st and win the conference regular season championship. They'll look for a little vengeance this week as they welcome Stanford to Pauley Pavilion.
This Week: 2/22 California, 2/24 Stanford

4. Ohio State (4) 25-3 13-1
The Buckeyes hold steady in this spot after playing another close one with Penn State, I truly do wish one of these basement dwellers would pull off the upset. So many have gotten close and that is one of many reasons I think the Buckeye faithful will be crying again this march. Marco over at JCMJ breaks down why OSU is heading back to Columbus early this year and I couldn't agree more. The Buckeyes can't afford another bad outing this weekend as they welcome the Badgers to town with the league title on the line. If they do lose this one I have a feeling we could be seeing some more cruelty towards animals on the Ohio State campus.
This Week: 2/25 Wisconsin

5. Washington State (5) 22-4 11-3
After a week without games I elected to leave the Cougars right where they were last week with only UCLA jumping over them. Not much else to say other than they must win out to win the regular season title, that includes winning the aforementioned match up with UCLA.
This Week: 2/22 @ Oregon, 2/24 @ Oregon State

6. Wisconsin (2) 26-3 12-2
I expected the loss to Michigan State because they're a good home team and Drew Neitzel plays especially good at home. They should return the favor in Wisconsin to close the regular season I still think they need more consistent contributions from Brian Butch to go far in march. They probably lose a second consecutive game this weekend when they travel to Columbus with the league title on the line.
This Week: 2/25 @ Ohio State

7. North Carolina (7) 24-4 10-3
The Heels stay idle at the seven spot this week after wins over Boston College and NC State. I still think UNC is one of the best in the country and the big rotation they use should be a large advantage against a team like Florida if they can get the Gators into foul trouble. They only have one game on the schedule this week as they had to Maryland for a game that I can see the Terps stealing.
This Week: 2/25 @ Maryland

8. Georgetown (8)
The Hoyas continued their winnings ways this week after Jeff Green hit a big shot with 19.8 seconds left on the clock. Roy Hibbert went three strait halves against Villanova this season with attempting a shot befoire the second half of that game. He needs to be a little more consistent and impose his will on the front line if the Hoyas are going to make a return trip to the Sweet 16 or further. They have a chance to steal the Big East this weekend with a trip to Pitt, If Aaron Gray doesn't play I like G'Town in this game.
This Week: 2/24 @ Pitt

9. Southern Illinois (9)
SIU has all but sewn up the MVC regular season title and they had a fantastic week this past week going to Butler and knocking off the Bulldogs. My biggest question for the Salukis is the same as last year; Can they score enough to win in March? I'm not sure yet I think it really depends on their draw how far they go this season. I was thoroughly impressed with the job they did shutting down A.J. Graves against Butler. This team is a true wild card I just don't know yet.
This Week: Regular Season Finale 2/24 Evansville

Also Considered: Texas A&M, Memphis, Nevada, BYU and Texas

This Weeks 5:
Who are those potential top four seeds with a good chances to exit early come March? Here are a couple candidates, though I think it all depends on the draw.

5. Wisconsin - See what I said above, though I am beginning to think that I've been short changing their potential over the weeks.
4. Memphis - The talent is definitely there but they haven't played anyone and I doubt they get a draw as favorable as last year.
3. Oregon - If Brooks doesn't get it together they're going down in round one.
2. Ohio State - They tend to forget Oden's on the team and show their age way too much. If they have to play a team who can put up points in bunches and plays defense I think they could be in trouble.
1. Pittsburgh - Even with Aaron Gray I just do not like the Panthers while experienced their wing plays don't really impress me. I see the Panthers bidding adieu by round two as a best case scenario for them.


Mini Me said...

It looks like Florida is about to lose...crazy.

Marco said...

Pittsburgh is a great call to go home early in March. I also think Butler, Air Force could be on the list.

BD said...

Very crazy indeed MM. I agree with you on those two Marco, I was mostly looking at major conference teams for the 5. Air Force probably goes down in round 1 if they continue to fall on the seedings.

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