It was another great week of college basketball (really, are there any that aren't???) as we saw challenges from the ACC/Big 10 one to the MWC/MVC one. While a lot of the non-conference is ho-hum, anytime you can pit some teams to play out of conference against an opponent that challenges your squad, it is fun for the fanbase to watch. From here, after this week, a lot of the teams slow things down a bit. Finals weeks come at different times for these schools and some teams don't really like to play much over the holidays.
Anyhow, onto the 4th installment this season of my high level breakdowns of Iowa State, The Big 12, and my Top 16 Power Rankings!
Iowa State Recap
In case you missed it, Iowa State went 0-2 this week, losing to UNI 60-54 and Cal 76-73. We're now sitting at 6-2. Even though UNI and Cal play very different styles, they both are more physical teams than Iowa State, and more physical than any teams Iowa State has played. At this point, would say about this team is that the effort is definitley there. They are committed to playing tough on D, but with a short roster it is translating into I think "resting" on O a little, which is leading to being a little more lazy on O and taking crappy shots from time to time. Some people will comment that ISU looks great on O coming off a timeout. I think a big reason why that is, is because they are able to rest, drink something, along with doing whatever adjustment the staff wants them to do. This week is Southeast Missouri State and @ Iowa. I would love going 2-0, as I thought going 2-2 during this stretch would have been great for this team.
Going against physical teams is going to be tough for Iowa State, as we're undersized, and aren't lightening quick. Even though we try to push it now, I could see us trying to slow the game down against the Baylors, K-States, and Mizzous of the world. I just hope we continue to improve our half court offense.
This week, Iowa State has Southeast Missouri State tonight, @Iowa on Friday, and Texas Southern on Sunday.
Ken Pomeroy Ratings:
This week: #72, projected to go 18-13, 6-10
Last week: #65, projected to go 19-12, 6-10
Big 12 Power Rankings, Top 16, and TV Picks After The Jump!
Big 12 Power Rankings:
1. Kansas (1-0 this week, 7-0 overall) - Got by with a 77-76 win over UCLA this week. They play Memphis at the Jimmy V Classic and also Colorado St in Kansas City for some other kind of a neutral site shootout type of game. If UCLA was able to nearly get the W in Lawrence this week, I think the Memphis game has the potential to be a great one as well. Even with the close loss, Kansas looks like the class of the Big 12. They've still got the Morris twins, Taylor, Reid, Little, and Morningstar. When we play them, I want to beat them like no other, but I also recognize that's a good squad.
2. Baylor (2-0 this week, 6-0 overall) - Got wins over Prairie View A&M and Arizona State. Arizona State is the only team they've played with a pulse, so it is kind of hard for me to put Baylor this high right now. At the same time with Texas losing, and K-State nearly losing to Washington St, nobody is really looking like a strong #2 at this point. Baylor literally has the week off.
3. Kansas State (2-0 this week, 7-1 overall) - Picked up wins over Emporia State and squeaked one out @Washington State 63-58. Pullen likes to jack up shots. When he's making them, K-State is tough. When he's bricking them, they're vulnerable. K-State has Alcorn St. and @ Loyola-Chicago this week.
4. Missouri (1-1 this week, 6-1 overall) - Went 1-1 this week with a tough loss in OT to Georgetown 111-102, but beat Oregon 83-80 in Eugene. Missouri has a nice matchup with Vanderbilt and then faces Presbyterian. Mike Anderson continues to do a great job with getting guys to play in his system, and finding the right guys that can thrive in it. Not their greatest week, but this is going to be a dangerous team all year.
5. Texas (1-1 this week, 6-2 overall) - Went 1-1 this week with a win over Lamar, but a loss @USC. The same USC team that blew a 20 point lead against the Husker and lost in Lincoln. The same USC team has lost to Rider, Bradley and TCU. Yeah, that USC team. By 17. That's how you move from #2 to #5 in my power rankings. This would sting worse in Austin if they had more of a basketball following. Texas has just one game (Texas State) this week, but they are on notice.
6. Texas A&M (6-1) - Went 2-0 this week with wins over Stephen F. Austin and Pacific. They do not have the greatest offense (114th in ppg, 132nd in fg%), but are doing it with rebounding (35th) and defense as they haven't allowed more than 67 points to a team all year, and haven't been outrebounded in a game yet. They have Prairie View A&M and Washington this week.
7. Oklahoma State (7-1) - Went 2-0 this week, but did struggle, having to go to 2OT to win @La Salle. They also picked up a win against Central Arkansas. The Cowboys have Tulsa and Missouri St this week. I think we will see where Oklahoma State stacks up as these should both be very close games.
8. Nebraska (6-2) - Went 2-0 this week with wins against Jackson State and Creighton. That Creighton game was an ugly one, where both teams shot about 37%. Even more entertaining is Creighton attempted 33 threes, while Nebraska attempted 31 threes. That was over half of the total shot attempts in the game! And still, neither team broke 60! No style points in that one!
9. Iowa State (6-2) - Really here by default. The bottom teams haven't done quite enough to show they should move up that much. Also, I really do think 8-12 skill-wise is pretty close right now. I think Kansas is the #1 team in the conference, but then 2-6 is pretty fluid, and 7-12 are pretty fluid at this point as well.
10. Colorado (4-3) - Had their first 2-0 week of the year, beating Texas Pan-Am and Oregon State. It is also the first time they have had back-to-back home games, as their 3 losses have all come on the road. They just have one game this week: Colorado State.
11. Texas Tech (5-4) - Went 1-1 this week. They beat the always tough Oral Roberts at home by 4, but then got smoked @Washington 108 to 79. Washington is a good team. In fact, they are a team that should win the Pac 10, and a team that I think is better than their record at this point. That's tough one for the Red Raiders. It doesn't get a lot easier, as they face a tough TCU team this week.
12. Oklahoma (3-5) - Went 0-2 this week with losses @Arkansas and @Arizona. This is a team that has completed a 5 game stretch against Kentucky, Virginia, Chaminade, Arkansas, and now Arizona, and has lost all 5. They've all been neutral or away games though. It is not the kind of schedule you would like to have when you have a team that is expected to finish towards the bottom of the conference. Also, with a couple of bad years, how hot is Coach Capel's seat right now? I know ISU fans like to feel sorry for themselves for the McDermott years, but OU had its first losing season last year since 1981, and this has been a rough start to a season that won't get any easier come conference play. They've got a couple of home games this week, against Gardner-Webb and Oral Roberts.
I'm not really sure the best format to do this. I think I'll stick to how I've done it for the Big 12. I know it gets kind of long and wordy, but the tables were a pain and kind of restrictive.
1. Duke (2-0 this week, 8-0 overall, #1 last week) - Two big wins over Michigan State 84-79 and Butler 82-70. Butler is obviously down, but that Michigan State game was one to behold, as it lived up to the hype. They've got Bradley and Saint Louis this week.... I still can't believe Harrison Barnes didn't go to Duke with how that roster is loaded this year. I'll get over it, somehow.
2. UConn (2-0 this week, 7-0 overallm #2 last week) - I'm still putting UConn here mostly due to resume. This is a better team than most people thought in my opinion, and while they likely will not stay up here all year, beating 3 potential conference champions is huge.... Even if it was due to craziness in Maui. They've got a cupcake in Farleigh Dickenson this week.
3. Georgetown (2-0 this week, 8-0 overall, #9 last week) - I gotta give it up for G-Town picking up wins against Missouri and Utah State. The Big East is obviously looking strong again, and Georgetown continues to pick up quality wins in the non-conference. They play @Temple and Appalachian St this week.
4. Ohio State (1-0 this week, 6-0 overall, #3 last week) - Did they do anything wrong? Nah. They won @Florida State. The Buckeyes are running Florida is they have now beat Florida and Florida State. If I had to guess, they'd probably beat Miami as well. The Buckeyes are quietly the best team in the Big 10 in my opinion, and I think they are OK with Michigan State getting all the attention. They've got IUPUI and W. Carolina this week.
5. Pittsburgh (2-0 this week, 9-0 overall, #5 last week) - It was a quieter week with wins over Duquesne and Rider. It picks up a bit more as they face Tennessee next weekend.... But they gotta get through Deleware State first (I think they can do it).
6. Kansas (1-0 this week, 7-0 overall, #5 last week) - The predictive models out there (Pomeroy, Sagarin) have Kansas as #1 right now. They are playing really well, and have beat two decent teams in Arizona and UCLA this year. The next two weeks, they face nothing but quality opponents, so we will know more about the Jayhawks as well. Although, while Duke is winning, they are going to have that #1 spot.
7. UNLV (2-0 this week, 8-0 overall, #11 last week) - I know it's old news, but they have a good resume with wins over Wisconsin, VA Tech, and Tulsa. They had easier games this week, playing @Illinois St. and @Nevada, but at least those were on the road I guess. They've got Boise St, then @Louisville, which should be a really fun one.
8. Michigan State (1-1 this week, 6-2 overall, #10 last week) - They played better than I had expected @Duke. Losing by only 5 in Cameron Indoor is impressive. They've got neutral site games with Syracuse and Oakland this week.
9. San Diego State (2-0 this week, 8-0 overall, NR last week) - I kind of slept on San Diego State. I had my eye on them early on, and then some others out there caught my eye as well. But wins over St. Mary's and Wichita State are both very nice, and this is a talented team. The Aztecs will be facing @Cal and also San Diego.
10. BYU (2-0 this week, 8-0 overall, #8 last week) - I may have had the Cougars a little too high last week. Maybe I'm just so enamored with Jimmer Fredette. Either way, they stayed undefeated by winning @Creighton and beating Hawaii. They play Vermont, and then play a neutral game against Arizona.
11. Kentucky (1-1 this week, 5-2 overall, #6 last week) - The Wildcats beat Boston U, then lost a close one @UNC by 2. They've got Notre Dame and Indiana this week.
12. Illinois (2-0 this week, 8-1 overall, #15 last week) - The Illini bounced back, with two very nice wins over UNC and Gonzaga. The winning should continue with week with games against Oakland and N. Colorado.
13. Tennessee (1-0 this week, 6-0 overall, #14 last week) - A slow week for Pearl & Co. They take most of this week off, then travel to Pitt on Saturday.
14. Notre Dame (1-0 this week, 8-0 overall, #13 last week) - This team may be overrated, they may not be. We will find out this week when they go against Kentucky and Gonzaga.
15. Baylor (2-0 this week, 6-0 overall, NR last week) - They haven't played anybody other than Arizona State, but they've looked good thus far. They have the week off, as they do not play anybody until Bethune Cookman on December 15th.
16. Wisconsin (2-0 this week, 6-2 overall, NR last week) - Got back on track against NC State and South Dakota. Go up against UW-Milwaukee and @Marquette. I'm ranking the Badgers more off the fact I think they're a Top 16-20 team, than based on any one thing they've done this year.
Drop Outs: Minnesota, Villanova, Texas
Also Considered: Villanova, Washington, Arizona, Purdue
Notable Games on TV:
My weekly picks in terms of what I want to see if I'm watching college basketball:
Monday - The Iowa State game is on tv on ESPN3.com and ESPN Full Court if you can't make it to the game. It's probably going to be a blowout.
Tuesday - Doublheader on ESPN all the way. Jimmy V Classic brings us Memphis vs. Kansas at 6pm CST and Michigan State vs. Syracuse at 8pm CST.
Wednesday - Notre Dame vs. Kentucky, 8:30pm CST, ESPN
Thursday - Georgetown vs. Temple, 8pm CST, ESPN
Friday - Iowa State vs. Iowa, 7:30pm CST, Big 10 Network. Should be a close one!
Saturday - Tennessee vs. Pitt, 2:15pm CST, ESPN... I think it's a crying shame Arizona vs. BYU is not on TV around here this week. That would be the game I'd want to see the most.
Sunday - Nothing notable other than the ISU game on Full Court I guess. It would be understandable if you were to watch something else, say the NFL on Sunday.
Here's to another great week!