This was a big week as most major conferences started conference play this past week. We saw some pretty good matchups early on, and the next two months or so should make for some really exciting college basketball.
Iowa State Recap:
Iowa State went down to Charlottesville, VA to take on the Cavaliers of Virginia and took care of business, winning 60-47. It was a nice win, not a great win, but a nice win. On one hand, it is great the team went on the road and beat a BCS conference opponent. On the other hand, that Virginia team was missing their best player. I probably shouldn't complain about wins, but as a fan, that particular win just does not get me as fired up as some of the other fans.
Iowa State closes out the non-conference season Monday night against Northern Illinois, and opens up Big 12 play on Saturday, traveling to Nebraska in what will be Iowa State's toughest test of the season to date.
Ken Pomeroy Ratings:
This week: #45, projected to go 20-11 (7-9)
Last week: #56, projected to go 19-12 (6-10)
Right now, Iowa State is sandwiched right between USC and St. John's in the ratings. I should also note that Iowa State is also rated #46 by Jeff Sagarin, and his predictive model has Iowa State 30th right now. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself and get too excited thinking winning this many games is a lock. These are just models projecting the rest of the season based on the past performances of the season. Either way, I think winning 6-7 conference games would be an amazing season. Iowa State has a critical 5 game stretch to start conference play, which should show us if they can indeed compete in the conference the way some are thinking/hoping.
Big 12 Power Rankings, Top 16, NCAA Tournament Watch, and TV Picks After The Jump!
Big 12 Power Rankings
1. Kansas (2-0 this week, 13-0 overall, #1 last week). Took down Texas Arlington and Miami (OH) as expected. Face UMKC and Michigan this week, and do not start conference play until they play Iowa State on January 12th.
2. Texas A&M (1-0 this week, 12-1 overall, #2 last week). Beat McNeese St. as expected. Face Nicholls St. and head to Oklahoma this week.
3. Texas (1-0 this week, 11-2 overall, #3 last week). Beat Coppin St 97-75, and play Arkansas and UConn in what should be a couple of very interesting matchups.
4. Missouri (2-0 this week, 13-1 overall, #4 last week). Blew out both Northern Illinois and Old Dominion. The Tigers play N. Alabama before traveling to Boulder to take on the Buffs.
5. Kansas State (1-0 this week, 11-3 overall, #5 last week). North Florida traveled to Manhattan this past week, and the Wildcats took care of them, beating them 100-76. K-State faces Savannah St and then travels to Oklahoma State, in a game that ought to tell us quite a bit how the Wildcats may perform this season. I have them in the #5 spot now, but this is a team that I could see slipping into being a bubble team heading into the Big 12 season if they do not get their act together on and off the court.
6. Baylor (1-0 this week, 8-3 overall, #6 last week). Barely got by a 2-9 Texas Southern team, as this squad continues to look shaky despite their talent. The Bears will play Morgan State and then go to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech in a game they should win.
7. Iowa State (1-0 this week, 12-2 overall, #8 last week). Moved Iowa State up this week, as Oklahoma State plays poorly against Gonzaga. If the Cyclones are going to do well in conference play, they are going to need to continue playing good D, and hitting 3 pointers like it is their job.
8. Oklahoma State (0-1 this week, 11-2 overall, #7 last week). When I saw they were traveling to Gonzaga this week, I figured it would be a close game, but wasn't going to be shocked if the Cowboys lost. I am a little surprised that they got blown out 73-52, however. I thought they were a better team than that.
9. Nebraska (idle this week, 10-2 overall, #9 last week). The Huskers game against North Dakota got moved to tonight. The Huskers have a big week, taking on North Dakota, Savannah St., and then Iowa State.
10. Colorado (2-0 this week, 10-4 overall, #10 last week). The Buffs beat MD Eastern Shore and won at Cal St. Bakersfield as well. You know the state of your program isn't the greatest when you have to travel to San Francisco, Harvard, and Cal St. Bakersfield in order to play them.
11. Texas Tech (1-1 this week, 7-7 overall, #11 last week). Yes, they are the only Big 12 team without a winning overall record, but their latest loss was against an OK New Mexico team, by 1 point. They beat A&M Corpus Christi, and should head into Big 12 play with a winning record. They take on Delaware State early in the week, before taking on Baylor.
12. Oklahoma (1-0 this week, 7-6 overall, #12 last week). The Sooners beat Central Arkansas this week by just 3 points at home, 76-73, but a win is a win I suppose. The Sooners go for their third straight win on Monday (all against teams ranked in the 300s) when they face MD Eastern Shore. Then it gets more real for the Sooners as they start a three game stretch of A&M, Baylor, and Texas in Big 12 play. The A&M game is this week, while the other two are the following week.
1. Duke (2-0 this week, 13-0 overall, #1 last week). The Bluedevils keep doing their thing, having won at UNC Greensboro and then beating Miami in their ACC opener. They go against UAB and Maryland this week. The win over Greensboro put Coach K 2nd all time in wins.
2. Kansas (2-0 this week, 13-0 overall, #2 last week). The Jayhawks have done better than expected thus far, but it's clear to me, at least at this point in the season, that they are the class of the Big 12. They face UMKC at home and then go to Ann Arbor to face Michigan.
3. Ohio State (2-0 this week, 14-0 overall, #4 last week). Destroyed Tennessee Martin 100-40, and traveled to Bloomington to defeat the Hoosiers 85-67. They travel to Iowa, then take on Minnesota at home this week.
4. Pittsburgh (1-0 this week, 13-1 overall, #8 last week). Moved up big after beating UConn big 78-63. Up next for the Panthers is @Providence and Marquette.
5. Syracuse (2-0 this week, 15-0 overall, #7 last week). Beat Providence by 7, and then took down Notre Dame in impressive fashion, winning 70-58. The Orange play just one game this week, @Seton Hall.
6. Kentucky (2-0 this week, 11-2 overall, #9 last week). It's a young team, so there are growing pains here and there, but winning at Louisville 78-63 was impressive. No doubt in my mind that this is the team that wins the SEC. The Wildcats have two games this week: Penn and @ Georgia.
7. San Diego State (1-0 this week, 15-0 overall, #6 last week). They are not losing games, yet are moving down. Why? Because they haven't played anybody with a pulse in nearly a month. The Aztecs took down Occidental 93-50, big whoop. This week they have @TCU and @Utah, and should be sitting at 17-0 a week from now.
8. BYU (2-0 this week, 14-1 overall, #10 last week). Won @Buffalo 90-82, and also beat Fresno Pacific 93-57. They go to UNLV in what is their biggest test this season, and follow that up with a home game against Air Force.
9. Purdue (2-0 this week, 13-1 overall, #11 last week). Purdue fans ought to be thankful for having JuJuan Johnson. The Senior is having the best year of his career thus far, averaging nearly 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. The Boilermakers are 2-0 in the Big 10, having won @Michigan 80-57 and against Northwestern 82-69. This week, they play @Penn State, then Iowa.
10. Notre Dame (1-1 this week, 12-2 overall, NR last week). The Irish have had a pretty good year thus far with wins over Wisconsin, Gonzaga, and Georgetown. This past week, they got tripped up by a very good Syracuse team. They play two potential NCAA tournament teams in UConn and St. John's this week, but that's the Big East for you: a bloodbath every week.
11. Villanova (2-0 this week, 12-1 overall, NR last week). I've slept on 'Nova a week for too long. I should have had them on here last time, and their win over Temple solidified it. They also beat Rutgers, which is no surprise. This week they play @South Florida and then against Cincinnati.
12. Texas A&M (1-0 this week, 12-1 overall, #15 last week). Not much more to say about A&M that I haven't said before. They get another pretty easy week, facing Nicholls St. and Oklahoma.
13. Texas (1-0 this week, 11-2 overall, NR last week). I've liked what the Longhorns have been doing the past couple of weeks, picking up Ws against North Carolina at @Michigan State. This past week they blew out Coppin St 95-75. They face Arkansas and UConn this week.
14. Georgetown (1-1 this week, 12-2 overall, #5 last week). Lost @Notre Dame by 14, which was borderline unexpected. Georgetown has a history of doing this however. It seems once they get you thinking they are elite, they slip up a couple of times. Either way, they have done enough this season to stay on the list and with games @St John's and against WVU, it makes for an interesting week for the Hoyas.
15. UConn (1-1 this week, 11-1 overall, #3 last week). Heading into the year, this team was expected to finish below .500 in the Big East and miss the NCAA tournament yet again. Nobody expected them to have the kind of start they had to this year, and I did not doubt that they'd likely fall out of this Top 16 poll I had. But I had to give them their due while they were doing big things. They play @Notre Dame and @Texas this week. They will probably be underdogs in both games, but this week will show what the Huskies are made of.
16. Missouri (2-0 this week, 13-1 overall, NR last week). Missouri has picked up some big wins: Vanderbilt, Illinois, and Old Dominion. Their only loss was to @Georgetown in OT. I look for them to go 2-0 next week, and getting to 15-1 on the season. It is impressive what Mike Anderson has done with the program: recruiting the right guys for his system.
Dropped Out: West Virginia, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Louisville
Also Considered: Wisconsin, UNLV, Louisville, Illinois
Monday: We got the Iowa State game on TV. If you are looking for something to watch before it, Georgetown vs. St. John's at 6pm CST, on ESPN2 could be a good one.
Tuesday: UConn vs. Notre Dame, 6pm CST, ESPN3.com
Wednesday: Sadly, nothing catches my eye too much. Memphis at Tennessee looked like a better game a few weeks ago, than it does now, but that one is on at 8pm CST on ESPN2
Thursday: Xavier vs. Cincinnati, 6pm CST, ESPN2
Friday: Cleveland St vs. Butler, 6pm CST, ESPNU - for real. One of these two teams will win the Horizon League this year.
Saturday: Lots of good games: WVU vs. Georgetown, 10am CST, ESPN2; K-State vs. Oklahoma State, Noon CST, ESPN2; UConn vs. Texas, 2:30pm CST, ESPN; then at 7pm CST, we have Iowa State vs. Nebraska.
Sunday: Ohio State vs. Minnesota on the Big 10 Network. Maryland vs. Duke, 7pm CST, FSN.