Monday, January 09, 2006

Top 25 for CBBA

Heard about this earier from Ben, but CBBA seems like a good idea. Check it out:

Here's mine:

1. Duke
2. Connecticut
3. Memphis
4. Villanova
5. Texas
6. Florida
7. Indiana
8. West Virginia
9. Gonzaga
10. Illinois
11. Pittsburgh
12. UCLA
13. Tennessee
14. Syracuse
15. Ohio State
16. Nevada
17. Arizona
18. Oklahoma
19. George Washington
20. Wisconsin
21. Louisville
22. Washington
23. Cincinnati
24. Michigan State
25. North Carolina State

Of course for #1 I have to go with Duke, who made their statement with a spanking over Texas. They're not deep, definitely vulnerable, but the Dukeis keep winning. Next up is Connecticut, who have done well and after a period of adjustment in getting their point guard back, should be in high gear by tourney time. Memphis follows, with loads of talent and showing big game toughness, but can we believe that they'll go to the Final Four? I just don't know yet, but they are as good of a bet as anyone. Despite the recent loss, Villanova is just a nightmare match-up for anyone, but please keep Curtis Sumpter from coming back. With an ACL injury, he may not even be in top form for most of next year, let alone coming back this season. Texas is way down in the rankings, but really isn't all that bad. Florida is now a trendy pick for the final four, and will be all the way to their surprising first-round upset. Indiana looks now like the favorite in the Big Ten, but we'll see if that lasts past Wednesday's game at Michigan State. West Virginia is severely underrated in my opinion, even though after the tough loss to Texas, they lost two more, but they've bounced back nicely in the last month, winning at Oklahoma and at Villanova. I love Gonzaga, but they've got to show some defense to go along with that amazing offense. But they've had a fairly tough schedule and done well, so they deserve some top-10 love. Illinois' triumvirate of Dee Brown, Bruce Weber, and Defense will be hard for any but the most elite squads to match in Assembly Hall, but on the road (or in March) the mediocre-at-best offense will be the reason for more than one upset. I don't believe in Pittsburgh, but they're undefeated so it's hard to leave them too far down. Further on in conference play we'll see what this team is really made of. UCLA is definitely a program that is on the rise, but this is maybe not their year just yet. I'm not a huge believer in Tennessee yet either, they'll have to get some quality wins in the SEC before I'm sold on them even making the NCAA's, but they've done all the right things so far. Syracuse is one of the few teams in the Big East I always enjoy watching, and much lately has been due to the gutty play of Gerry McNamara. Ohio State convinced me on Sunday that they're the real deal, but they are so thin, I have hard time seeing them getting all that far in the NCAA's. I'm still thinking this is a second-round team, but they are playing well now. Nevada's big line-up is not something I expected, but Nick Fazekas's ability to play small forward and still get 8.9 rebounds makes it work. Do expect Arizona to be better at the end of the season then they've been so far, but making the Sweet 16 in March seems like it'll be tough for these Wildcats. Oklahoma is so frustrating, as the games that they have lost are mostly understable losses, but I thought this would be a really tough out for anyone, but I'm not sure they've improved from last year.
George Washington hasn't really proven anything either way, with a bad loss at NCSU cancelled out by a nice win over Maryland. But there's so much talent there now that LSU transfer Regis Koundija is available, you gotta think they'll rule the A-10. Wisconsin shows again why Bo Ryan may be the best coach in college basketball, all he needs is a Final Four appearance to cement his status. But he won't get it this year, as this is a team running on smoke and mirrors and hot outside shooting. Louisville is perhaps an ever bigger disappointment that Oklahoma, with the only win of any consequence coming against Miami, who they only scored 58 points against. Washington's all-home schedule appears to have not prepared the Huskies for the rigors of conference play, as they are 1-2 going to games at USC and UCLA. UW could drop right off of here in a hurry. Cincinnati is a team that I respect, and while I wish interim coach Andy Kennedy well, I'm thinking that three of the four seniors, two of which tested the draft process last spring, are going to create havoc down the stretch with selfish play. This still could be a NIT team come March. Michigan State is not doing well at the moment, and I'm not sure why. The depth is better than last season, and defense is all that bad, and Paul Davis is having a monster year. They gotta turn it around soon, or they're looking at a very low seed in the NCAA tournament. North Carolina State is making a believer out of me, I thought the loss of Julius Hodge would be too much to overcome, but their offense is working, thanks to Ilian Evtimov and Cedric Simmons abilities to both score and pass.


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