Monday, 12 February 2007

My NCAA Basketball Top 10

Since everyone likes lists (right??), I figured this would be a good place to rank my top 10 in College Basketball right now.

(1) Florida - Despite having the huge target on their back, the Gators have been the best college basketball team in the land so far. Their two losses were in a neutral court game against Kansas by 2, and on the road to FSU by 4. Not bad. On Saturday they played a pretty subpar game (by their standards) and still beat a solid Kentucky team at Kentucky. Don't mess with the Gators.

(2) Wisconsin - They did lose last week, but as far as losses go, losing on the road to Indiana isn't so bad. Overall, they have the same number of losses as Florida (2) , and have some quality wins against Pittsburgh and Ohio St. The national polls seem to have the Buckeyes at #2 over the Badgers, but I don't see it based on their resumes. I'll take the Badgers right now.

(3) North Carolina - They haven't exactly been easing anyone's fears that they are a little too young right now, as they've been a little sloppy in some recent games. Still, the talent is undeniable, and they have more firepower, depth, and athleticism than possibly anyone in the country. Young or not, this is not a team anyone wants to see come Tourney time.

(4) UCLA - They lost at West Virginia, but I'm willing to see that as a game that they flew across country for and lost tight in a game that probably won't matter to them as far as seeding goes. So I'm not too worried about that. What is a little worrisome is that the Bruins still don't have any consistent inside scoring, which could pose problems. Big game coming up this Saturday against a resurgent Arizona squad.

(5) Texas A&M - One of the toughest teams in the country, and one of my favorite to watch. They take hits and they just keep on coming, led by Acie Law. They're a balanced team with 4 players scoring at least 12 PPG, which will serve them well. Also, the fact that they are very well-coached and very good defensively will help.

(6) Ohio St. - The talent is there, with that Oden guy, as well as fellow frosh Mike Conley, who's a bit underrated and is another one of my favorite players to watch. Since Conley doesn't get as much pub, I'm going to use this space to talk about him... he's already one of the best distributors and PGs in America. His A/T ratio is over 3/1, because he averages over 6 APG. He's not a great outside shooter, but he doesn't force things. He's shooting 53% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc. Just an excellent, excellent player, and one who doesn't get enough credit for what he does.

(7) Kansas - Still one of the most talented clubs in the country. They have four players averaging in double figures, but its a 5th player (Sherron Collins) that might be their most explosive offensive threat. They responded very well to the A&M loss by just thrashing Kansas St. and Missouri, suggesting this may be a more mature team than last year's first round losers. This is definitely a team that can go all the way if they can put it together when it counts.

(8) Memphis - I think they are flying a little under the radar because they don't have many really great wins and they're not getting competition within their conference, but under John Calipari they don't rebuild, they reload. They have athleticism, depth, ballhandling, shooters, solid inside play, etc. In other words, don't be at all surprised if Memphis is back in the Elite 8 this year.

(9) Pittsburgh - The timing of these rankings were unkind to Pitt, as they did no favors by getting crunched by Louisville on Monday. But they are still 22-4 overall and 10-2 in the Big East, so they're in fine shape. The guy that really makes Pitt go is sophomore Levance Fields, a tough PG that can shoot, distribute, and rebound the ball. If he is playing well, Pitt can make a deep run. If not, they could be in trouble.

(10) Washington St. - I never thought I'd be putting WaSt in a top 10 list this year, but they've certainly earned it. They beat Arizona twice, beat Gonzaga, and lost to UCLA by 3. Rookie coach Tony Bennett has them playing very well on both ends of the floor, and they're only a half game back of UCLA for the Pac-10 lead.

What changes to my top 10 would you make?