Friday, November 25, 2005

November thoughts on teams 30-21

30. Xavier
Too early to tell whether the Musketeers deserve this high of a ranking as they've only played one game. They played it well, demolishing Eastern Illinois 80-35, but nothing can really be told from just that one-sided of a blow-out. Frosh wing BJ Raymond might get some minutes, 'tho', after scoring 8 points in 17 minutes.

29. Ohio State
They look a little shaky after barely getting by Butler in overtime at home. Jamar Butler does seem like the Buckeye's point guard, but how will Ron Lewis deal with that after he transferred from Bowling Green in order to play that position. Butler U.'s Brandon Crone tore up the Buckeye's tho', which bodes ill for OSU, as Terrance Dials is decent interior defender but the perimeter defense has been suffering for the last couple of years. If that isn't fixed, this isn't a NCAA team.

28. Miami-Florida
Getting to 4-1 with only a road loss to Air Force is better than it sounds just looking over the early competition. Point guard Anthony Harris is still out and until he comes back, this team jsut isn't going to be as effective. Freshman guard Dennis Clemente is getting valuable playing time, but unless he's a better passer and decision-maker than his 1-1.6 assist-turnover ratio would indicate, Miami's going to have a tough time in future games against Temple, Florida, and Louisville even before the ACC schedule starts. The Hurricanes need Harris back ASAP.

27. Northern Iowa
Wins against Westenr Carolina and at Western Michigan tell us little but that this club is going to win with defense and balance even when Ben Jacobson isn't scoring a lot. The main things for coach Greg McDermott to worry about is getting shots for Jacobson against better teams and that he was only 4 for 10 on free throws. In fact, the top three players for the Panthers have only hot 18-33 over two games, which is not good.

26. Maryland
Maryland has some good and some bad news i its first four games. First, the good news is that they've gone 3-1 while having six players average double-figures not counting point DJ Strawberry is also posting 8.5 points and 3.3 assists a game. The bad news is that while they got a decent win over Arkansas, they were just out-shot by Adam Morrison and Gonzaga. Gonzaga is a solid Final Four contender, but is really not even a favorite, and Maryland looked inferior. Not that the Terps haven't gone on late runs in the season, but I'm guessing just outside the top 25 is a good place for this club until they show me something.

25. Illinois
The Fightin' Illini will not be anywhere near as good as last season, but they're doing fine otherwise. The weakness of their non-conference schedule shoulfd have this team undefeated going into conference play, but don't expect that to last. They could have losses in 3 or even 4 of their first 5 Big Ten games. Still, this should be a solid team that'll probably be over-rated for most of the year.

24. Texas Tech
Even though I remain an IU fan through-and-through, I do like to see coach Knight doing well. But a loss to Wake Forest preceded by a 35-point skunking at the hands Syracuse really has me rethinking this ranking. Tech doesn't play any other ranked opponents until the conference games start, but this club could struggle in the Big 12. We're talking maybe 6 or 7 conference wins unless they start showing that they could beat an Oklahoma at home or a Texas A&M on the road. NCAA chances looking iffy, but Knight has turned around worse starts.

23. Georgetown
Two road games, two wins? That's doing what you need to do, if only the competition had been sterner than Navy and James Madison. But the biggest surprise in perhaps all of the Big East has to be the play of the Hoyas' 7-2 Roy Hibbert, who has gone from lumbering lunk to eating up the shots and minutes perviously earmarked for Jeff Green & Brandon Bowman. In two games Hibbert has scored 43 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked 6 shots. Also, the return of 5th year senior guard Darrel Owens will continue to prove invaluable to GU. Balance and chemistry now become the key questions.

22. Wisconsin-Milwaukee
I didn't expect the Panthers to get spanked by Memphis quite the way that they were, but there's not too much to be made of that. I think Memphis has a history of looking pretty awesome in November, and continually less impressive the longer the season goes on. Senior Chris Hill needs to regain control of the point guard slot and big men Jason McCoy and Derrick Ford need to assert themselves inside in getting the ball down low and scoring. The week of Dec.10-15 ought to show a lot about UWM as they first host Hawai'i and then travel to Wisconsin. If they sweep those two games, they'll be just fine.

21. California

Losing to Eastern Michigan is no way to start the season, but the Bears may be excused as they were suddenly without both star forward Leon Powe and center Rob Benson. But the margin for error is disappearing, and if Powe continues to have health troubles, it's easy to see the UC silently sliding straight into the NIT. Kansas tranfer Omar Wilkes does seem to be living up to the hype, but freshman guard Theo Robertson could be stealing some of his thunder with some stellar play on the wing. DeVon Hardin is to be commended for strong efforts in the paint, but they still need Powe back.


Post a Comment

<< Home