We’re Confident This Time: College Basketball Rankings Week 5
Guy Topic: Sports
There comes a point in every college basketball season where we as fans begin to have a clearer sense of who the top teams in the country are, the teams that have a realistic shot to win the national championship. Well, we are about halfway through February and that sense of clarity has yet to reveal itself. It’s easier to lose the #1 ranking within a week than it is to see a pair of boobs on Mardi Gras in NOLA. Simply no team wants to hang on to the top spot. We think we have a fairly good idea (finally) about this week’s college basketball rankings, with our #1 team of the week making its debut in our top 5!
The Orange return to our top 5 after being absent for a few weeks. After back-to-back losses, the Fighting Boeheims seem to have regained their edge in two lopsided wins against Notre Dame and St. John’s. It can’t be overlooked that they still have the nation’s leader in assists on their team (Michael Carter-Williams passes around the ball more than herpes are passed around a brothel.) Their next game is huge: they play Uconn for the final time tonight before they go to the ACC (Uconn is banned from the Big East tourney so this is absolutely it.) The Orange currently are on the outside looking in for a #1 seed, but this is no obstacle a nice little win-streak could not cure.
The granddaddy of them all for college hoops is finally upon us! Duke-Carolina! Though their rival down the road are having an off year, don’t think for a second this cannot be a classic. Duke is fighting for a #1 seed; the Tar Heels just for an NCAA tourney berth. Solid teams litter the Blue Devil’s upcoming schedule, but they should be fine…that is unless they get tripped up while looking ahead to Miami (FL). The ‘Canes beat Duke by a romping 27 (more on this later.) Duke is good enough to win the ACC without Ryan Kelly, but until he returns, the chances of Duke doing damage in March marginally decrease.
Mid-major fans everywhere rejoice! Gonzaga is coming together as a very real threat to major programs everywhere. In their six game win-streak, the Bulldogs have won five of those games by double digits, and three of those by 20pts or more. Don’t think for a second that this is just because they are playing subpar opponents. The Bulldogs have beaten top 25 foes Oklahoma State and Kansas State; their losses have come to a hot-shooting Illinois team (that just beat Indiana!) and on a buzzer-beater to the magical Butler Bulldogs. Gonzaga also has the size to play with the big boys; a Final Four is not out of the question (as well as a #1 seed.)
The worrisome thing about the Hoosiers is that too often it feels like they play to the level of their opponent. Two of their three losses have come to unranked (though good) teams at the time of the game (ok, well, Wisconsin is ranked now.) They blew a late lead to Illinois. They should have physically overmatched Butler back in December. As far as the positives go, Indiana plays to the level of their opponents! They beat a Michigan team many considered to be the Big Ten favorite before their blowout loss to Michigan State. The Hoosiers also tore apart the streaking Buckeyes in Columbus! With two Wooden Award candidates (Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo) leading the team, Coach Tom Crean should feel pretty damn confident about their odds come March. Their schedule is starting to lighten up a bit also. Two unranked team–Michigan State–two unranked teams–finishing the regular season with back-to-back match ups with Ohio State and Michigan! If Indiana, assuming they win all the match ups with unranked teams, should be able to.
Who has been hotter as of late than the Miami Hurricanes!? And yes, we are talking about college basketball. All they’ve done is pull off eleven straight wins. People may argue that they have bad losses (Indiana State and Florida Gulf Coast) but they were not at full strength in those games. In the ACC, it is a pretty big deal to beat either Duke or North Carolina in general. Most teams consider it to be banner season if they beat both in the same year. Miami is doing the unthinkable! Granted the Tar Heels are struggling, but Miami has beaten them twice, one of those times by 26pts. Then, when Duke was ranked #1, they beat Coach K’s squad by 27! I’d be interested to know the last time, if ever, a team beat both Duke and Carolina in the same season by such large margins! Simply incredible. Preseason voters were right in predicting a team other than Duke or Carolina to win the ACC…only it is Miami, not NC State, who is the favorite at this point to end the blue reign. Miami is the only team from a power 6 conference to be undefeated in conference play. We, personally, cannot wait for the Duke-Miami rematch in early march. The ‘Canes have to go in to Cameron, and I’m sure the college basketball world will be watching to see if Miami can sweep two of college basketball’s blue bloods in the same season.