Virginia has lost and this writer has been smiling ever since. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I have anything against Virginia or even hate the Cavaliers. I just enjoy being right.
It was a crazy Saturday with plenty of upsets and further proof that nobody wants to be in second place in the SEC or Big East.
Note: These rankings are before games played on February 2.
- San Diego State
Look who makes a comeback into the Top 25. That’s what happens when you hold two opponents to under 50 points last week. The Aztecs have won six of their last seven games and look to be poised for a couple wins in the NCAA Tournament.
Believe it or not, Butler has won five of its last six games, and that loss was a two-point defeat at Georgetown. This team is starting to look more and more like those Brad Stevens coached teams a couple years ago.
The Hoyas have held four of their last five opponents under 60 points and are starting to look like a threat in the Big East. Former McDonald’s All-American Joshua Smith is living up to his hype and has been a monster on the boards this season for Georgetown.
It’s looking like panic time in College Park for the Terps. Maryland has lost two of its last three games by at least 19 points and Melo Trimble has been invisible lately. They need a win desperately to stay in the top 25.
Most people have no idea, but the Sooners are a great defensive team this year, ranking the best in the Big 12. This was evident when they held Texas Tech to 36 points last week before going to Oklahoma State and defeating their rival.
After the Rams seemed to be flying high, a loss to Richmond happened. That’s not the biggest loss though as Briante Weber is done for the season after tearing his ACL. It will be an uphill battle the rest of the way now for VCU.
Imagine if this team had Emmanuel Mudiay? Would the Mustangs be a top-10 team? It’s very possible as they are rolling now, winning 16 of their last 17 games with the loss coming on the road to Cincinnati. Can they get into the NCAA Tournament this season after just missing it last year?
- Wichita State
A 30-game winning streak was finally snapped. The Shockers had won their previous 30 Missouri Valley Conference games before Northern Iowa defeated them on Saturday. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet will have the Shockers ready for March.
This was supposed to be a down year for Baylor. However, Rico Gathers decided to make a case for All-American honors by putting up 10 points and 12 rebounds per game. The Bears are a balanced team, ranking in the top 33 in both offensive and defensive rankings according to KenPom.
- Ohio State
D’Angelo Russell is good. He’s so good he’s single-handedly pushed Ohio State to wins over Indiana and Maryland the last week. He’s become must watch TV.
- West Virginia
Bob Huggins will be in consideration for national coach of the year. He has the Mountaineers off to an 18-3 start despite shooting a worse percentage than their opponents. When this team scores they are dangerous due to the press they set up after scoring.
- Northern Iowa
Get to know the name Seth Tuttle. He’s going to be the mid-major name that becomes a household name in March. He scored 29 points in the 16-point win against Wichita State.
- North Carolina
North Carolina inexpiably blew an 18-point lead to Louisville, which isn’t the most dominant offensive team in the country. We’ll see what type of carry over that loss has when the Tar Heels host Virginia tonight. North Carolina can’t rely on Marcus Paige as much as they do either as he needs more help from Nate Britt.
The Utes slipped up on the road at UCLA but bounced back by holding USC to 39 points on Sunday. Utah should win every game until they play Arizona again when the Pac-12 title will be up for grabs. Jordan Loveridge is starting to find his groove, averaging 10.5 points per game now.
The Cardinals held North Carolina to 15 points over the last 15 minutes and 37 seconds in their victory on Saturday. It was just a reminder of how dominant Louisville can be on the defensive side of the ball and why they won a national title a couple years back. If this team can avoid its shooting woes, another Final Four trip will be in store.
- Notre Dame
Jerian Grant is the real deal. He won the game against Duke and more importantly held the students back from rushing the court. But, then the trap game at Pitt happened. Notre Dame can’t slip up in games like that if it wants to be considered a contender.
Hahahahahaha! I’m still laughing. Virginia lost and I told all of you. Yes, I will act like a spoiled child each time Virginia loses.
- Iowa State
Tonight’s game against Kansas will show if Iowa State is a Final Four contender despite not playing a lick of defense. Monte Morris is making his case for best point guard in America by simply not turning the ball over. Meanwhile, the team is still living and dying by the three, something that is dangerous in the NCAA Tournament.
It’s tough to imagine the senior class for Villanova was 33-33 the first two years on campus. Since then, the Wildcats have gone 48-7 and lost just four Big East games. They are still the crown jewel of the Big East and should eventually run away with the conference title.
Kansas is going to make me look stupid. After saying they couldn’t win the Big 12 again, here they are. The development of Kelly Oubre and Frank Mason III has been nothing short of amazing and the reason why they are the favorites yet again to win the conference. Well done, Bill Self.
Will people start talking about Jahlil Okafor being terrible at defense? It’s starting to be a typical Duke team where the deep shot will determine how far they go, and the duo guards of Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook seem to be cold-blooded when it comes to late-game shots.
Could Wisconsin be better with Bronson Koenig than Traevon Jackson? Numbers say offensively the Badgers are indeed, with a 132.3 offensive efficiency vs a 122.0 offensive efficiency. Frank Kaminsky is making a strong case for National Player of the Year as the Badgers try to make another Final Four.
What does Stanley Johnson need to do to be talked about nationally? He’s averaging 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. He’s shooting an efficient 51 percent from inside the arc and 39 percent from deep. The Wildcats are playing strong defensively, holding Oregon State to 34 points in a revenge game.
If Gonzaga beat Arizona would they be talked about like Virginia was? Because that’s the only thing separating the Bulldogs from a perfect season right now. This team isn’t just a good team playing a mid-major conference. This is a legitimate title team.