Sunday, January 15, 2012

Top 25 Rankings

So, it feels like a very long time since I did this in season, and it probably has been. Let's see if I still have the hang of it.

1. Syracuse- No huge wins on their resume, but they've beaten everyone they've played and that says everything.
2. Kentucky- A one point loss at the buzzer is the only blemish on Kentucky's record this season. Plus, they probably have the SEC player of the year and freshman of the year on their roster.
3. Baylor- The Bears are exceeding expectations so far this season. They've beaten several good teams. Let's see if they can take down Kansas on Monday night.
4. Duke- Two tough games this week, and both resulted in wins. Duke's back in the top five, even if it is only for a moment.
5. Missouri- Easily good be top three right now. this team will finish top two in the big twelve regular season.
6. Kansas- I think we all knew Bill Self would coach his team up during the season. Excluding their loss to Davidson, this team has played past its potential.
7. Ohio State- Thad Matta's team followed up a loss to a good Illinois team with a blowout win against a far better Indiana squad.
8. Michigan State- Even with the loss to Northwestern on Saturday, this team has exceeded expectations this season and is still worthy of their ranking.
9. North Carolina- The game against Florida State was just absolutely terrible. This Tarheel team is better than that, and I think everyone in the country knows it.
10. Murray State- Not sure if the Racers are truly a top ten ball club, but they move up by default.
11. Connecticut- After falling off the wagon a little bit, the Huskies have regained their composure and once again look like a team capable of playing in April.
12. Indiana- Two losses last week has me questioning the Hoosiers right now. Are they still top ten?
13. Florida- Losses by everybody else in America help the Gators move up. This team has the potential to finish second in the SEC, if they play up to their potential.
14. UNLV- A loss to San Diego St isn't bad, especially on the road. The Rebels are still a very talented team.
15. Georgetown- The Hoyas lost to a Cincinnati team that had their season turned around after the fight with Xavier. The major thing that hurts is that it was a home loss.
16. Mississippi State- Beat tough teams in Tennessee and Alabama this week. This is a very good ball club.
17. Michigan- Tough loss to Iowa. This club is better than that.
18. Virginia- Close game against Duke. This team is forreal.
19. San Diego St- This is a good Aztecs team, and they showed it against UNLV over the weekend.
20. Vanderbilt- May be a little premature, but the Commodores are the only team besides Kentucky undefeated in the SEC right now. Kevin Stallings has not lost since December 17.
21. Louisville- Providence destroyed Louisville last week. We can only hope the Cards will rebound this week.
22. Marquette- Following a little bit of a drop off a few weeks ago, it looks as though the Golden Eagles are back on track.
23. Alabama- All of a sudden, those losses the Crimson Tide had to then unranked Georgetown and Kansas St don't look so bad.
24. Kansas State- The Wildcats shouldn't have lost to Oklahoma. Let's see how they fair this week.
25. Cincinnati- The Bearcats are second in the Big East with their only conference loss being by two points to St. Johns.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Response to the current rankings

Alright, so I'm gonna be honest. I got this idea from Cbssports website. Not from the weekly poll attacks, but from its responses by fans. You can see the article here, along with its comments from fans.
I have no trouble with what Gary Parrish is saying. As a matter of fact, I am not even going to make an argument about his points in this article. Because everything he said is irrelevant to what made me want to write this article.

I decided to write it based purely off of the responses on that message board.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Kentucky fan. I support them whether they lose or win, although I am rather upset when they lose.

I was especially upset last week when the new polls, and I believed it to be a good reason to be upset. Because Kentucky had lost a game, I understood that they would lose a spot or two in the rankings, depending on what happened in the other games.
When the cats lost on a miracle three point shot on the road, they were dropped to #3. Understandable normally. Except when #2 also goes down on the road by double figures to a team with one loss.

That's enough about that. Let's look at the other mess ups in the polls.

Florida Below Kansas?
Alright. So both of these teams had two losses coming into this week when the votes were made. None of the losses were bad either. Coming into this week, Kansas had lost to Duke and Kentucky on neutral courts. Those are two top ten teams.

Florida, on the other hand, had lost to Syracuse and Ohio State. Those are probably better losses than Duke and Kentucky, at this point. With the Orange and the Buckeyes being ranked #1 and #2, respectively, and both losses being under ten points on the road, this is a Gator team that is top five material.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Preseason Top 25

Hoops Recaps and Previews is back folks, and better than ever. It's about time for the season to start, and you know what that means. It's time for the preseason poll from Mr NCAAB. So without further ado, here it is.

1. North Carolina
The Tarheels recovered last season and made it to the Elite Eight after only making it to the NIT in 2010. With the return of guys like Tyler Zeller, John Henson, and especially Harrison Barnes due to the NBA season in question, this is a team most analysts already have in their bracket for New Orleans in March.

2. Kentucky
What does the #1 recruiting class in America, top returnees in Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, and a coach who wins get you? Well, for Kentucky fans, their highest ranking in the preseason in Calipari's three seasons as head coach. With four or more future NBA players on this season's roster, Kentucky fans would be dissapointed without a return trip to the Final Four.

3. Ohio State
The Buckeyes lost a mere two regular season games last season and were the #1 overall seed heading into the big dance. They looked like they deserved to be, too. Well, until they met Kentucky in the sweet 16. With the majority of their roster returning, this team will look to get rid of that sour taste from last season.

4. Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt returms the core of its lineup from a team that was a 5 seed in last year's tournament before getting knocked out in the first round by Richmond. With their top guys back on a veteran laden team, the Commodores will look to not only knock John Calipari's Wildcats off the top of the SEC, but also to challenge for a ticket to New Orleans.

5. Connecticut
The Huskies lost Kemba Walker, sure, but Jim Calhoun has Jeremy Lamb back for another year to pair with late recruit and possible #1 NBA draft pick Andre Drummond. Throw in Shabazz Napier and Roscoe Smith, and the reigning champs will look to hold off Syracuse for the Big East title.

6. Duke
With Doc Rivers's son Austin playing for Coach K, along with the return of the core of their lineup, the Blue Devils are hands down the second best team in the ACC. With Coach K's track record, I would not put it past the Devils to be able to knock off Carolina for the crown.

7. Syracuse
Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph are going to do what they do. If hyped 2010 recruit Fab de Melo steps it up in his sophomore season and Rakeem Christmas turns out to be all he is built up to be, the Orange could be looking down at everyone else in the conference this season.

8. Louisville
Peyton Silva and Rakeem Buckles both proved to be huge last year for Rick Pitino and the Cardinals. If both can do the same thing and took over more of a leadership role this season as juniors, it will once again be a tight race for the Big East championship.

9. Pittsburgh
Jamie Dixon's club is right in the mix once again. With Ashton Gibbs and Nasir Robinson back for their senior years, and after last season's second round exit in the big dance, the Panthers will be looking to help Jamie Dixon's street cred and get him to his first ever Final Four.

10. Memphis
Memphis did not live up to the hype given to their freshman until the end of last season. With these guys a year older, most critics are giving them a second chance. Although I'm not convinced their top ten material just yet, it will be fun to watch.

11. Baylor
With Kansas down this year and Baylor returning Perry Jones and bringing in highly touted recruit Quincy Miller, the Bears are going to be the early season favorite for the Big 12 crown. They better not get comfortable with their ranking and slip though, or else Kansas will do to them what it did to Texas last season.

12. Wisconsin
Bo Ryan has his second leading scorer back from last season and he is once again going to have a Badger squad that is ready to challenge for second at least, in the Big Ten.

13. Florida
Florida returns Kenny Boynton and Patric Young, and brings in transfer Mike Rosario from Rutgers and freshman Brad Beal. If these guys can learn to play together under Billy Donovan's system, it should be a fun year in Gainsville.

14. Arizona
Sean Miller has returned this program to national prominence in just two years. The question will be can he continue to succeed like he did last season with the trip to the Elite Eight. If so, the Wildcats will be dangerous for years to come.

15. Xavier
With Kenny Frease on the interior and Tu Holloway on the exterior, the Musketeers are almost a sure fire bet to not only win their conference but also to receive a nice seed in March.

16. Kansas
Although Kansas starts out here now, there is no way they are this low come March. Under the direction of Bill Self and guys like Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson, the Jayhawks will be chasing Baylor all year long.

17. Alabama
Regardless of anything the Crimson Tide should have made it to the Big Dance and Anthony Grant is definitely going to have his team proving they belong their this season. That should not be too hard with guys like JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell back for another year.

18. UCLA
The Bruins and Ben Howland are back. After a few down years, the team is back in the Top 25 and is going to look to make some noise, not only in the Pac-12, but also in March.

19. Texas A&M
Under new coach Billy Kennedy, the Aggies are looking to continue their success of being a top tier team in the Big 12 and making it to March with something to play for. That should not change this year.

20. Michigan
With four out of their top five scorers from last year returning, the Wolverines and their fanbase are excited about this season. If they can play together as they did last season, this will be a team to be reckoned with.

21. Texas
After last season's somewhat of a collapse, Rick Barnes should have this new group of Longhorns ready to challenge Baylor and Kansas for the Big 12 crown immediately this season.

22. Gonzaga
Mark Few is going to have this team playing well as he always does. The Zags should easily win the WCC this season rather than having to sweat it out as they did in 2010.

23. Michigan State
What happened last season was not a Tom Izzo type season. He knows it just like his bosses and the fanbase do. Even though this team is young, Izzo will have them playing like veterans come 2012.

24. Cincinnati
The Bearcats have an experienced cast who's played in some big games. With last seasoon's trip to the 3rd round of the NCAA tournament, the Bearcats will look to capitalize on the experience and go even farther this year.

25. Clemson
Say what?? Yup. Clemson's in the top 25 here, mainly due to the experienced lineup of Tanner Smith, Devin Booker, Milton Jennings, Through in six talented freshman, and this team will be a darkhorse for a top four finish in the ACC.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 25: Best coaching hire

This is a tough one. Do we look at what a program needed for the future or what they needed right now? Because both John Calipari of Kentucky or Tom Crean of Indiana could easily be at the top of this list.
But both of these guys have flaws.
Although Calipari has made two Elite Eights in his first two seasons as well as a Final Four, many critics out there still believe he is a cheater.
Crean, on the other hand, hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in three seasons at Indiana as he rebuilds the program, although he could end up being a great coach for the school in the long run.
Well, call this another score for the little guys, because the best coach I've seen hired has got to be Butler's Brad Stevens.
Stevens has been amazing for the Bulldogs, and has basically turned them into America's sweethearts.
In his first season at the school, he led the team to a 30-4 finish before losing in the second round of the Big Dance.
The next season, Stevens coached this team to a 26-6 record and the first round of the Big Dance.
Over the last two seasons, Stevens has led the school to two more conference championships, two final fours, two national title games, and has had two of his players selected in the NBA draft.
What's really remarkable though is the loyalty he has shown to his school, passing up millions of dollars to stay with Butler after their Final Four run in 2010. At 35, Stevens should be a coach every team wants.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 24: Biggest scam

Since it's too early to see just how much the ramifications of Bruce Pearl's poor decision making are going to affect Tennesse next season, they can't really be counted in this category.
But Indiana can. And they will.
Although what Indiana did wasn't the worst thing that could be done, (certainly not as bad as the Fab Five or Kentucky and Eddie Sutton), we, as fans, have to look at how the scam affected the program.
With Kelvin Sampson being under fire at the University of Oklhoma for making illegal phone calls, Indiana hired him, because, well, he was a good basketball coach. And still is.

Sampson was at IU for a year and a half before he came under fire once again, and this time it wasn't pretty for the guy or the school. Sampson was again suspected of making illegal phone calls.
By mid February, Indiana University had launched a full investigation into the basketball program, which the school president would take seven days.On February 22, 2008, Sampson resigned at Indiana.
The Hoosiers struggled for the rest of the season, and went from being one of the top teams in America to a one and done in the 2008 Big Dance.
In the fallout of the scandal, two players were left on the Indiana men's basketball team for new head coach Tom Crean, one of them being on a scholarship. That doesn't say much.
What Sampson did should digust fans of the college game. It disgusts me. This guy took a top five power in college basketball and brought them down to nothing.
He couldn't recruit the right way, had to always get an advantage over the other guy on the recruiting pipeline.
As I said earlier, this guy is one hell of a coach. And I used to like him as a coach until all of his issues came out.
Because he's a cheater. That's all.
He could have been a Hall of Fame coach. That's how good I thought he was. But he had to steal recruits, such as Eric Gordon.
Although Crean is still in the rebuilding process, he has never led the Hoosiers to a finish above 9th in the Big Ten, much to his depleted roster. He has recruited and brought guys in, but the turnaround should finally start to show next season.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 23: Best Top college player going on to be an NBA Bust

I said I was saving Adam Morrison. And well, now his turn comes.
Morrison was a star in the WCC for Gonzaga from 2003-2006.
In his freshman season, Morrison averaged a solid 11 points in helping to lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA tournament once again. His play earned him All freshman conference honors.
Morrison was a much bigger piece in his sophomore season, once again leading his team to the NCAA tournament along with senior Ronny Turiaf. Morrison averaged 19 points a game over the season and was elevated to all WCC honors.
Morrison became a star in his junior season, scoring 30 points 13 times, as well as being the leading scorer in the country.
Morrison's fantastic play began early in the season at the Maui Invitational, where Gonzaga had to play Maryland in the first round and then possibly another perennial power in Michigan State.
Morrisin scored 25 points for the Bulldogs against the Terrapins, leading his team to the semis to play MSU.
Morrison was Jordan-like in this game, scoring 43 points and never backing down in a triple overtime win against one of the top teams in the country, in a game that really put Gonzaga on the map for that season.
Morrison led Gonzaga in his junior year, and he seemed like a man on a mission, leading them to a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament, where they advanced to the Sweet 16.
In their sweet 16 game, Morrison and the Zags were pitted against UCLA. Gonzaga, the lower seed, controlled the game until UCLA eliminated a 17 point halftime deficit in the closing seconds, where Morrison began to cry on the court.

Following this game, Morrison declared for the NBA draft as his stock was as high as it would likely ever be.
Morrison was drafted #3 overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in Michael Jordan's first pick as Bobcats owner.
Morrison was a solid rookie in his first season, averaging just under 12 points for the Bobcats. Heading into the 2007 season though, Morrison was injured, and missed the entire season.
When he returned, Morrison averaged 4.5 PPG for the Bobcats before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played 8 games and averaged 1.3 points for the rest of that season.
The following season, Morrison averaged 2.4 points a game for the Lakers in just 8 minutes of action per game. Although he did win two championships with the Lakers, Morrison averaged a total of four points in the playoffs.
The Lakers did not resign him, and he went to training camp for the Wizards last season, where he was eventually waived.
Morrison sat out all of last season and is currently a free agent.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 22: Best team

The best team or team with the best record? Because in this case, the best team I've seen play did not finish with the best record. As a matter of fact, they were nowhere near close.
Following their 2006 championship, the Florida Gators starting lineup all decided to hold on on going pro, even though their stock had bolted over the past season, to return to school for an attempt at winning a second straight national title.
The Gators begin the season #1, being led by future NBA players Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, and Al Horford. Taurean Green and Lee Humphries were also fantastic in both seasons as the starting guards for this team.
Many thought this gator team could go undefeated. Others expected it to following what they had done the previous season.
They didn't. Through their first nine games, the team was 7-2, and critics were starting to ask themselves, "What the hell is going on"?
After all, in the previous season, the Gators had started the season 17-0 before winning the national title. Since they'd been together for a year more, shouldn't they be even better.
And they were. That's what makes this the best team. Not only were they good on the court, they were friends off the court and had team chemistry level likeable to the early nineteen nineties Duke teams.
Following their 7-2 start, the Gators would go on 17 game winning streak before losing 3 of their final five regular season games to finish at 26-5, 13-3 in the SEC.
The Gators pulled themselves together though, and were able to win their SEC tournament games by margins of 17, 21, and 21. Heading into selection Sunday, the Gators had moved back into the top five ranking.
In what came as a surprise, the team was picked as the overall #1 seed for the Big Dance.
The Gators easily made it through their first round game, but from there it became a lot more difficult. The team struggled to put away both Purdue and Butler in the second and third rounds before winning by eight in both contests.
To get to the Final Four for a second straight season, the Gators had to defeat Oregon. The Gators were led by their guards in the matchup against the Ducks, as Humphries and Green scored 44 of the team's 85 points en route to an 85-77 victory.
In the final four, Florida had to play UCLA in a rematchup of the previous season's national title game. Although this matchup was closer to the previous, the Gators still won the game by 10 points, 76-66.
In the national title matchup, the experienced Gators who had been playing together for three years played Ohio State and their trio of starting freshman Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daquean Cook.
Conley and Cook had both been playing together since middle school, but they were still freshman, playing juniors and a senior who all already had a national title.
The Gators started out quickly and led the game by eleven at halftime. Led by Al Horford and Taurean Green, the team kept it up in the second half and defeated the Buckeyes to become the first repeat champions since 1992 and the first team ever to repeat with the same starting five.
The juniors all went pro after season, Humphries graduated, and the team went down in history as one of the best ever at 35-5.

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