After a long layoff from finals week for most of college basketball, there was yet another layoff this past week for the Christmas holiday. Still, however, we saw some interesting results this week: Jacksonville over Florida 71-68 in OT, USC over Tennessee 65-64, Washington St over Baylor 77-71. Even Drake won a basketball game this week (over Chicago State).
But what this upcoming week is really all about is wrapping non-conference play for many teams, and/or starting up conference play for many others. College basketball is going to turn it up a couple of notches and get REAL serious! Or something like that at least...
Iowa State Recap:
Overall a pretty slow week. Iowa State downed Chicago State last Tuesday 104-63. In that game, DG scored 18 points, and is now #25 on the all time career scoring list for Iowa State. It was another game in which everybody played and scored. You just don't gain a lot when you play arguably the worst D1 team, but it is what it is.
This coming week, they play @Virginia on Thursday, in what will be their first road game outside the state of Iowa all season. Virginia has been up and down this season, having wins @Minnesota and @VA Tech, but also having losses against @Stanford, Wichita St., (and most recently) Seattle.
Ken Pomeroy Ratings:
This week: #56, projected to go 19-12 (6-10).
Last week: #65, projected to go 19-12 (6-10).
Being ranked #56 is definitley an upgrade from the beginning of the season when we started in the 140s and 150s. If it held, we'd be a bubble NIT team, but a lot of that will be determined by how the Cyclones do in the conference season, as their non-conference schedule is ranked #320 (there are 347 D1 college basketball teams).
Big 12 Power Rankings, Top 16, and TV Picks after the jump!
Big 12 Power Rankings:
1. Kansas (1-0 this week, 11-0 overall, #1 last week): After a close one with USC the previous week, the Jayhawks got a convincing win @Cal, 78-63 in their first true road game all season. They probably won't go undefeated throughout the season, but I don't know if there will be a game in which they won't be the favored in... At least in the foreseeable future. They take on Texas Arlington and Miami (OH) this week.
2. Texas A&M (1-0 this week, 11-1 overall, #2 last week): The Aggies stay in my #2 spot, after downing Wagner 86-51. They take on McNeese St. on New Year's Eve, which is a tricky day to play a home game.
3. Texas (1-0 this week, 10-2 overall, #3 last week): The Longhorns look to have righted the ship, as they defeated Michigan State in E. Lansing 67-55. The Longhorns are used to peaking around the early part of the conference season, and their challenge will be to keep strong after mid-January or so. The Longhorns play Coppin St on New Year's Eve.
4. Missouri (1-0 this week, 11-1 overall, #4 last week); The Tigers got a nice W over Illinois 75-64. The Tigers play Northern Illinois and Old Dominion this week.
5. Kansas State (1-1 this week, 10-3 overall, #6 last week): Kind of a tough one here in terms of how to seperate K-State and Baylor. They both lost games on neutral courts to teams ranked in the 20-30 range. If they had Pullen and Kelly (who were suspended), one could argue they may have beat UNLV, which is why I put K-State above Baylor at this point. This past week they lost to UNLV 63-59, and beat UMKC 80-64. They've got North Florida on New Year's Eve.
6. Baylor (1-2 this week, 8-3 overall, #5 last week): Beat San Diego 83-50, lost to Washington St. (77-71) and Florida St. (68-61). They play just one game this week: Texas Southern on Sunday.
7. Oklahoma State (1-0 this week, 11-1 overall, #7 last week): The Cowboys beat Stanford 79-68. They travel to Gonzaga on New Year's Eve.
8. Iowa State (1-0 this week, 11-2 overall, #8 last week): What continues to separate Iowa State from Nebraska for me, is the fact they have played a couple road games and have a road win, whereas Nebraska does not.
9. Nebraska (1-0 this week, 10-2 overall, #9 last week): Beat Grambling 79-39 at home, and take on North Dakota on Sunday.
10. Colorado (1-1 this week, 8-4 overall, #10 last week): Lost to New Mexico on a neutral court (89-76), but beat Indiana 78-69. Indiana is not the Indiana we grew up watching, but beating them is something I would not have expected necessarily, after seeing their crappy performances against Georgia and Harvard.
11. Texas Tech (1-0 this week, 6-6 overall, #12 last week): It was hard to decide who got the 11th vs 12th spot, as Texas Tech and Oklahoma are pretty equal. I went with Tech because they got the slightly better win: Tech got a win over Texas Arlington at home (73-56) to snap a 3 game losing streak. They play New Mexico and A&M Corpus Christi this week.
12. Oklahoma (1-0 this week, 6-6 overall, #11 last week): The Sooners beat Sacramento St. 66-63, and take on Central Arkansas this week.
1. Duke (1-0 this week, 11-0 overall, #1 last week): The Bluedevils took down Elon 98-72, have a tuneup against UNC Greensboro on Wednesday, before opening up ACC play against Miami on Sunday. Their closest game on the year was a 5 point victory over Michigan State, and they really are dominating opponents.
2. Kansas (1-0 this week, 11-0 overall, #4 last week): They are not as dominating as Duke, but wins over Arizona, UCLA, Memphis, USC, and Cal is a very nice non-con resume. That 2 point victory of USC keeps looking better and better as USC has picked up wins over Texas and Tennessee this season.
3. UConn (2-0 this week, 10-0 overall, #2 last week): Got wins over Coppin St. (76-64) and Harvard (81-52). They open up Big East play tonight @Pitt, which should be a heck of a game. If you do not know the name "Kemba Walker" by now, watch tonight and get acquainted.
4. Ohio State (2-0 this week, 12-0 overall, #3 last week): Beat both UNC Asheville and Oakland in blowouts. This team is kind of like Kentucky in that they rely on 5 freshman contributors, but are better than Kentucky in my mind. The Buckeyes take on Tennessee Martin tonight before opening up Big 10 play @Indiana the following weekend.
5. Georgetown (1-0 this week, 11-1 overall, #7 last week): I decided to move them up after winning in Memphis, 86-69. They open up Big East play @Notre Dame on Wednesday and then against DePaul on Saturday.
6. San Diego St. (2-0 this week, 14-0 overall, #6 last week): Just edging by San Francisco and IUPUI isn't going to move you up in my rankings. Especially when you are facing a D2 team in Occidental this week as well. Major props for them having a good team and picking up Ws against some decent teams like St Mary's, Gonzaga, and Wichita State. UNLV, New Mexico, and of course BYU should be the only teams that really challenge the Aztecs the rest of the way.
7. Syracuse (2-0 this week, 13-0 overall, #8 last week): They are a very quiet 13-0, especially when you consider the program's tradition. I should say, I think it is quiet. I've been in upstate New York for several days, and was working like mad before the holidays, and have not watched ESPN or any sporting events in probably 10 days or so. It could just be I've had my head in the sand a bit. Either way, I'm not sure if the Orange were expected to be doing as well as they are. They open up Big East play this week against Providence and Notre Dame this week.
8. Pittsburgh (1-0 this week, 12-1 overall, #9 last week): Picked up a W over American 61-46, and face UConn tonight in thier sole game this week. Even though I have UConn and Syracuse ranked ahead of them at the moment, I think it is this Panthers team that will be the #1 seed in the Big East tournament, but there's a long way to go, and many anticipated slugfests in the Big East between now and March.
9. Kentucky (1-0 this week, 9-2 overall, #5 last week): After moving up the past couple of weeks, and after picking up a W, I move them down. What gives? To be honest, this team is good and should win the SEC, but they just do not WOW me right now. Their best win is against Notre Dame (although some may argue Washington), and they have been playing so-so teams the past couple of weeks. They play Coppin St. on Tuesday before going to Louisville on New Year's Eve, which ought to be a heck of a game, and one in which I could come away impressed.
10. BYU (2-0 this week, 12-1 overall, #10 last week): After losing to UCLA the previous week, the Cougars have gotten back on the winning track, winning @Weber St. and against UTEP. They travel to Buffalo on Thursday, in their final non-conference game before starting off MWC play.
11. Purdue (1-0 this week, 11-1 overall, #11 last week): Beat up IUPU Fort Wayne as one would expect. They travel to Michigan on Tuesday to open up Big 10 play, before facing Northwestern at home this coming weekend.
12. Wisconsin (1-0 this week, 10-2 overall, #12 last week): Smacked Coppin St. 80-56, and play Minnesota and @Illinois this week.
13. West Virginia (1-0 this week, 8-2 overall, #13 last week): Beat a Cleveland St. team that could very well challenge Butler for the Horizon League championship this year. It is onto Big East play now for Huggins and his group, and they will face St. John's and @Marquette this week.
14. Louisville (1-0 this week, 10-1 overall, #15 last week): I still cannot believe they lost to Drexel. Had they won that one, this is a team in the Top 10 easily. Winning @WKU was good, and they should beat Morgan St. tonight. It's that home game against Kentucky I've got circled on my calendar on New Year's Eve.
15. Texas A&M (1-0 this week, 11-1 overall, #16 last week): I still like what I'm seeing from the Aggies. They will have it easy the next couple of weeks, until they face Oklahoma State on January 12th.
16. Minnesota (1-0 this week, 11-1 overall, NR last week): After having a nice showing in Puerto Rico, the Gophers haven't played anybody of note since. Their loss at home to Virginia kicked them out of my rankings, but when other teams lose and you still have a few nice wins on your resume, it's a matter of time before you come back. How good is this team really? We will find out quick, as situations get deep for the Gophers: they play @Wisconsin and @Michigan State this week.
Drop Outs: Florida
Also Considered: UNLV, Notre Dame, Texas, Missouri
Monday - UConn vs. Pitt, 7:30pm CST, ESPN2
Tuesday - Minnesota vs. Wisconsin, 6pm CST, ESPN2; UNC vs. Rutgers, 8pm CST, ESPN2
Wednesday - Georgetown vs. Notre Dame, 6pm CST, ESPN2; Marquette vs. Vanderbilt, 8pm CST, ESPN2
Thursday - Temple vs. Villanova, 6pm CST, ESPN2. Iowa State vs. Virginia is also on Comcast at 7pm CST, but hopefully I can find it online somewhere.
Friday - Kentucky vs. Louisville 11am CST, CBS; Minnesota vs. Michigan State, 3pm CST, Big 10 Network; Oklahoma St. vs. Gonzaga, 9pm CST, ESPN2
Saturday - WVU vs. Marquette, 10am CST, ESPN2; Notre Dame vs. Syracuse, 2:30pm, ESPNU; I think there might be a bowl game or two on this day as well (ha ha ha), but this doesn't conflict too much with the one I would like to see (Rose Bowl at 4pm)
Sunday - Wisconsin vs. Illinois, 5pm CST, Big 10 Network.