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1. Syracuse (60)
Is there some sort of Syracuse equivalent to, “Roll Tide?” If so, I would like to use it to describe their continued success in the Big East. If not, let me suggest a few.
2. Kentucky (4)
The Wildcats beat Auburn and Tennessee last week. I consistently forget that Auburn plays basketball. They’ve not made the tournament since 2003 and only have three appearances since the ‘80s. How is that even possible for a major conference team? Does no one care down there? Is the focus that much on football? Also, Kentucky still looks really good.
3. Baylor (1)
Oh hey, a vote for No. 1. Something tells me that won’t be there next week… That’s not what I want to talk about though. I’ve referred to the Golden Age of Baylor Athletics before, but not talked much about this team. They are led by Perry Jones III, an athlete with such a unique skill set that there may be no precedent for him.
The football team was led by Robert Griffin III, also an athlete with such a unique skill set that there may be no precedent for him. To have these two players at the same time would be unusual enough, but the fact there they both have the suffix III is downright bizarre. The odds of having two athletes like this at the same time are insanely low.
The odds of them both being IIIs are also insanely low. It’s like when the unrelated Jack and Jim Youngblood played for the LA Rams, except if they were the two best players in Rams history. Someone else should be acknowledging this.
The Blue Devils beat No. 15 Virginia last week, hold sole possession of fist place in the ACC, and have played at a consistently high level all season. I’m not buying it this year though. They may well get a No. 1 seed in the tournament, but I don’t think there’s any chance they will make it to the Final Four, let alone the National Championship. They don’t have someone who can take them to the next level. I just don’t trust them, Austin Rivers in particular.
Look at that, the Tigers are in the Top 5. Given their play this season, they deserve this ranking. They are strong enough to win the Big 12. However, much like Duke, they aren’t a national contender. They can score on just about anyone in a regular season game, but a team that plays defense and rebounds will give them trouble.
They can’t rebound, an issue that isn’t really an issue when they get good looks. When they play a team like Kansas though, those likes will be hard to come by. Expect them to continue to make noise but ultimately flame out in the tournament.
6. Ohio State
8. North Carolina
9. Michigan State
Kansas makes it three teams in the top 7 for the Big 12. Not bad for a league with ten schools. Meanwhile, what happened to UNC last week? They’re not exactly “tough,” but I had no idea they could be that soft. That was an abysmal effort. Florida State was able to do just about anything they wanted on the court. Semi-related note: BC is currently tied with UNC in the ACC conference standings. Make of that what you will.
12. Murray State
The Hoosiers are beginning to unravel, having lost both games last week. What they do this week will give a strong indication of how the rest of their season will go. Losing last week to a Minnesota team that had lost four in a row was bad. Following that up by getting blown out at Ohio State was worse. They just didn’t have any focus. If they want to have a successful season, they will need to regain that focus.
16. San Diego State
18. Mississippi State
WILL NO ONE CHECK THE RISE OF SAN DIEGO STATE AND CREIGHTON IN THE RANKINGS?! Sorry, I just channeled Billy Packer there. I’ll try to keep it from happening again.
24. Saint Mary’s
25. Kansas State
Gonzaga fell out of the rankings this week while Saint Mary’s jumped into the rankings. The Gaels beat the Bulldogs last week. I like to imagine that Gonzaga had some sort physical manifestation (a shillelagh, maybe?) of their ranking that Saint Mary’s stole from the team bus. They probably didn’t.