Archive - 2013 - Article
The final full “regular season” week is on tap as the “Big Six” conferences prep for their conference tournaments next week, as does the conference that is every bit as good – or better – as the aforementioned six configurations.
That would be, of course, the Mountain West Conference which seems on the verge of being represented by at least the four squads (Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico) that played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Repeating as champions is very difficult to do, evidenced by the fact that only two schools (Florida and Duke) have done it since John Wooden left the sidelines of UCLA. It gets even harder when you lose your entire starting lineup to the NBA draft, including the top two overall selections and your only true veteran leader. However, that was the situation the University of Kentucky found itself in coming into this season. Was it an enviable position? Probably not, but any coach in the country would have gladly taken it if it meant they had won the title the year before.
From February 22nd to 24th Red Star Belgrade held the fourth and final qualification tournament (Rome, Siaulai and L’Hospitalet were the other venues), of the Nike Junior International Tournament. The winner was the home team Red Star, winning the final game against Mega Vizura, after having dominated the entire tournament. Here it is a list of the prospects that showed the biggest potential, with most of the talent concentrated within the top four teams.
Dusan Ristic (1995, 6’11”, C, Red Star Belgrade, Serbia)
Indiana hung onto the top spot in these ratings in fine fashion last week.
The Hoosiers played just once but it was a dandy performance while pulling away down the stretch to topple host Michigan State in a gut-twisting Big Ten Conference showdown.
But, over in the Big East, Georgetown pulled off a road win that was every bit as impressive as the Hoosiers’ effort while beating Syracuse.
And the same could be said of Kansas, which made amends for a home loss to Oklahoma State by beating the Cowboys in Stillwater.
Yeah, it was quite a week . . .
As usual at this point in a college basketball season, there are a lot of compelling matchups this week.
None of them, however, present quite the intrigue of the one that will be played in East Lansing, MI, on Tuesday night and in Stillwater, OK, on Wednesday evening.
Tuesday night the top-ranked Indiana Hoosiers visit East Lansing to face No. 3 Michigan State in a Big Ten contest that will have both conference and national (re: NCAA Tournament seeding) implications.
Who is fielding the best college hoops team in the land right now?
That would probably be the University of Miami.
But you should all be well-versed on my Top 16 rules of engagement by now: Teams don’t leap-frog teams that don’t lose in the previous week.
And that’s why the Hurricanes, despite their remarkable 10-0 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference, only climbed to No. 6 (after being No. 12 last week) in this week’s updated ratings.
The Indiana Hoosiers climbed back onto the top spot in this week’s ratings, courtesy their victory over then-No. 1 Michigan and a home loss by No. 2 Kansas on Saturday.
Hanging onto the top of the heap for a second week in a row is going to be a tough chore for the Hoosiers, though.
That’s because they take to the Big Ten road twice over the next seven days, visiting Illinois on Thursday night and Ohio State on Sunday.
There are no such rankings (at least that I’m aware of), but Oregon and Miami would be two solid candidates to sit atop any national “Most Surprising Teams” Top 25.
The Ducks are sitting (relatively) comfortably atop the Pac 12 standings (at 6-0 in conference and 18-2 overall) while Miami is looking down at the ACC (6-0 and 15-3).
And Mississippi (6-0 in the SEC and 18-2 overall) would be in that mix, as well.