Man. Is college basketball fun or what?! I know a lot of people do not really start paying attention until March or so, but if you're crying in the corner about football being basically over, check out some college basketball. It is as fun as ever to watch, not just for Cyclone fans this season, but also for any casual fan. There are so many good matchups this week, starting tonight, but I will get into that later.
Iowa State Recap:
Iowa State went 1-1 on the week, losing a close one at home to Kansas (84-79) before sticking it to Baylor, 72-57 at home. Scott Christopherson has been bothered by bone spur in his shooting elbow for a couple of weeks. After struggling with his shot a little and just not looking the same, he really had a great shooting day against Baylor in terms of percentage (5/8 from three) but also in terms of how his range of motion looked on his shot.
In the three Big 12 games Iowa State has played thus far, they have out hustled their opponents for at least a majority of the game. This team plays with a lot of heart, and give it their all every single game. It really is a fun team to root for. This week they head out on the road for two tough games: Oklahoma State and Mizzou. It is possible they could lose both, but I am hoping the Cyclones find a way to split the games on the road. If they can win at least one of these, I will be on the postseason bandwagon from here on out.
Ken Pomeroy Ratings:
This week: #32 projected to go 21-10 (8-8)
Last week: #43 projected to go 20-10 (7-9)
Iowa State is now rated right in between Marquette (#31) and Temple (#33). Not bad company to grouped in with. Iowa State continues to move up because they continue to outplay vs. their expectation. Against Nebraska, they were supposed to lose by 5, but lost by 1. With KU, it was supposed to be by 9, but it was by 5. Iowa State was favored to beat Baylor by a point or two, but won by 15. If you outperform, then the expectations go up.
Big 12 Power Rankings, Top 16, and TV Picks After The Jump!Big 12 Power Rankings
1. Kansas (2-0 this week, 2-0 in Big 12, 17-0 overall, #1 last week): Although they have now played 3 consecutive close games, Kansas is still the class of the Big 12 in my opinion. Until they actually lose some games, I cannot put A&M, Texas, or Colorado #1.
2. Texas A&M (2-0 this week, 3-0 in Big 12, 16-1 overall, #2 last week): Had a close one against a Mizzou team looking for blood. Those home games where it goes into OT is a huge advantage, and A&M got through that one. It is early, but Mark Turgeon has to be the front runner for Big 12 coach of the year.
3. Texas (2-0 this week, 2-0 in Big 12, 14-3 overall, #3 last week): They beat the two worst teams in the conference to start the season. Big whoop. I want to see how they do on Wednesday against Texas A&M.
4. Colorado (2-0 this week, 3-0 in Big 12, 14-4 overall, #8 last week): The Missouri win on the 8th was no fluke. This Colorado team is going to be dangerous. And to be honest, this was the kind of success that some thought they would have. It was borderline shocking to see them struggle like they did in the non-con. Colorado has beat two teams I pegged for the NCAA tournament in the preseason (Missouri, K-State) and one I had for the NIT (Oklahoma State). The Buffs go to Nebraska tomorrow which ought to be a fantastic game.
5. Missouri (1-1 this week, 1-2 in Big 12, 15-3 overall, #7 last week): Bounced back nicely this week, beating Nebraska and taking a really good A&M team to OT on the road. This is a tournament team that just ran into a couple of tough games to start off conference play. After these two home games against K-State and Iowa State this week, we will really know what is going on with this team.
6. Nebraska (0-2 this week, 1-2 in Big 12, 13-4 overall, #9 last week): Yeah, they went 0-2 this week and I moved them up. They lost on the road to a good Missouri team, and they lost to KU on the road by only 3 points in a game they lead for a good part of. Lance Jeter would give Scott Christopherson a run for "Most Underrated Player In The Big 12".
7. Iowa State (1-1 this week, 1-2 in Big 12, 14-4 overall, #10 last week): Continue to outperform expectations, and playing with a ton of confidence.
8. Baylor (1-1 this week, 2-1 in Big 12, 12-4 overall, #4 last week): A big tumble for the Bears. They have two conference wins, over the two worst teams in the conference. They don't have a win against a team ranked better than 100 in Ken Pomeroy's ratings. They are the very definition of a paper tiger at this point.
9. Oklahoma State (0-2 this week, 1-2 in Big 12, 13-4 overall, #5 last week): After picking up a nice W over K-State to start off the Big 12, they got absolutely smoked by A&M (71-48) and got outplayed by Colorado. This upcoming stretch of Iowa State, @Baylor, and Texas is going to tell me whether this is an NCAA bubble team, or a NIT bubble team.
10. Kansas State (1-1 this week, 1-2 in Big 12, 13-5 overall, #6 last week): Last week I talked about how if they do not get their stuff together they could fall to the NIT. They got a big win over a terrible Texas Tech team. This week, they go to Missouri and go to A&M, and face the possibility of being 1-4 to start the conference season. This is their biggest week of the year.
11. Texas Tech (0-2 this week, 0-3 in Big 12, 8-10 overall, #11 last week): It is getting tougher and tougher to differentiate Tech and Oklahoma. Both have been blown out in their three conference games. The good news is they face each other on Tuesday, so somebody is going to win.
12. Oklahoma (0-2 this week, 0-3 in Big 12, 8-9 overall, #12 last week): They have a real shot at getting their first (and possibly only) conference win of the season on Tuesday.
1. Ohio State (2-0 this week, 5-0 in Big 10, 18-0 overall, #2 last week): With Duke falling, a new #1 is in town. Ohio State is the best team in the best conference this year.
2. Syracuse (2-0 this week, 5-0 in Big East, 18-0 overall, #5 last week): Wins over St. John's and Cincy leap-frogged the Orange over Kansas and others.
3. Kansas (2-0 this week, 2-0 in Big 12, 17-0 overall, #3 last week): Undefeated, but maybe the shakiest undefeated team. They will have chances to prove their skill this week, however.
4. Duke (1-1 this week, 3-1 in ACC, 16-1 overall, #1 last week): I still think this is the best team in America, which is why I have them above undefeated SDSU. Good teams lose, sometimes.
5. San Diego State (2-0 this week, 4-0 in MWC, 19-0 overall,#7 last week): Picked up two very nice wins over UNLV and @New Mexico. They go to BYU in a week from Wednesday, which ought to be fantastic.
6. Pittsburgh (2-0 this week, 5-0 in Big East, 17-1 overall, #4 last week): Preseason, I thought this was the best Big East team. But now I'm not sure, thanks to the success of Syracuse this year. Fortunately for us, these two teams play each other tonight, and we will see for ourselves who the better team is.
7. BYU (1-0 this week, 3-0 in MWC, 17-1 overall, #6 last week): Routed a very down Utah team this week. It won't get too interesting for BYU until a week and half from now or so.
8. Villanova (2-0 this week, 4-0 in Big East, 16-1 overall, #9 last week): 'Nova is picking the right time to step it up a notch. On a 3 game win streak over Cincy, Louisville, and Maryland. Now they have two tough ones with @UConn and @Syracuse.
9. Kentucky (2-0 this week, 2-1 in SEC, 14-3 overall, #11 last week): The SEC stinks. Kentucky loses a tough one to Georgia, but then gets to beat up on Auburn and LSU.
10. UConn (2-0 this week, 3-2 in Big East, 14-2 overall, #13 last week): The Kemba Walkers face 'Nova and Tennessee at home this week. I am not sure how many wins they will end up with in the buzzsaw that is the Big East, but they are going to be competitive every night, and are a better team than others with better records.
11. Texas A&M (2-0 this week, 3-0 in Big 12, 16-1 overall, #12 last week): If you've been reading, you know I'm not shy with my love for the A&M basketball team. They are getting it done! They go to Texas and face an angry K-State team this week. Will be challenging, but if they persevere, the lovefest will go up a couple notches!
12. Purdue (0-2 this week, 4-1 in Big 10, 15-3 overall, #8 last week): I don't know how anyone can fault them too much for losing two road games, both against likely NCAA tournament teams, and by a combined score of 7 points. I still think they are the second best team in the Big 10.
13. St. Mary's (2-0 this week, 4-0 in WCC, 16-2 overall, #16 last week): The Gaels are tearing it up in the WCC! The first of two big showdowns against Gonzaga happen a week from Thursday.
14. Wisconsin (1-1 this week, 3-2 in Big 10, 13-4 overall, #14 last week): Lost in OT at Michigan State, but got revenge over Illinois. They have a little 3 game stretch that should add to their win total.
15. Louisville (1-1 this week, 3-1 in Big East, 14-3 overall, #15 last week): Lost to a better Villanova team, and just edged Marquette by 1 at home.
16. Texas (2-0 this week, 2-0 in Big 12, 14-3 overall, NR last week): Off to a nice start in the Big 12, but it gets harder for the Longhorns this week; They face A&M at home, then go to Kansas this week.
Dropped Out: Notre Dame
Also Considered: West Virginia, Washington, UNLV, Michigan State
Monday: Big basketball day today! A quadruple header on ESPN, starting at 2:30pm CST: Villanova vs. UConn, (4:30pm CST) K-State vs. Missouri, (6:30pm CST) Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh, (8:30pm CST) Kansas vs. Baylor.
Tuesday: 6pm CST, ESPN2, Colorado vs. Nebraska
Wednesday: 8pm CST, ESPNU, Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State. It's a damn shame that Texas vs. Texas A&M is on at the same time on ESPN2
Thursday: 9:30pm CST, FSN, Arizona vs. Washington. The battle for the best in the Pac 10.
Friday: Nothing worth watching
Saturday: 11am CST, ESPN, Villanova vs. Syracuse; 1pm CST, ESPN, K-State vs. Texas A&M; 3pm CST, CBS, Texas vs. Kansas; 8pm CST, ESPNU, Iowa State vs. Missouri
Bottom line, if you want to watch ISU this week, get ESPNU, or make a friend that has ESPNU.