And then there were zilch . . .
First Wyoming, then Arizona, then Duke and then, finally, Michigan fell by the wayside in the most recent “week” (Monday-Sunday) of college hoops, leaving us with nary an unbeaten two weeks into 2013.
That resulted in a bit of a shakeup in my latest ratings, with Indiana – which barely survived a furious rally by Minnesota Saturday in Bloomington – moving into the top spot, replacing another Big Ten club (Michigan) which slipped just a notch after narrowing pulling off another remarkably rally on Sunday in Columbus.
But there could be an even more pronounced remix of the Top 16 next week as the result of some of the intriguing matchups on tap for this week.
And the best of those are: Monday (No. 5 Louisville at No. 15 Connecticut); Thursday (No. 2 Michigan at No. 10 Minnesota; No. 12 Florida at Texas A&M); Saturday (No. 4 Syracuse at No. 5 Louisville; No. 7 Gonzaga at No. 9 Butler; No. 8 Arizona at Arizona State; No. 11 Ohio State at Michigan State; No. 13 Creighton at Wichita State).
Rank (Last Week)
1. Indiana (3)
|The Hoosiers’ 23-point advantage at intermission nearly totally dissipated against visiting Minnesota on Saturday before Tom Crean’s team held on for the victory, snapping the Gophers’ winning streak at 11.|
2. Michigan (1)
|The Wolverines found themselves in a 21-point hold late in the first half in Columbus Sunday before nearly completing a stunning rally.|
3. Duke (2)
|The Blue Devils aren’t nearly as formidable as they were prior to losing senior forward Ryan Kelly with an injured right foot. Getting to the FF without him will be quite the challenge.|
4. Syracuse (4)
|The Orange’s scoring punch and depth take a hit with James Southerland sidelined with undisclosed eligibility issues.|
5. Louisville (5)
|Coach Rick Pitino’s squad has allowed as many as 60 points only six times this season.|
6. Kansas (7)
|The Jayhawks needed every one of those Ben McLemore jump shots to pull out the home victory against Iowa State.|
7. Gonzaga (8)
|The Bulldogs may have their best-ever combination of post and perimeter play.|
|8. Arizona (6)|
|The Wildcats’ streak of narrow escapes ended in Eugene Thursday night.|
9. Butler (9)
|The Bulldogs will be game and fierce, but lacking in significant scoring ability, until Rotnei Clarke returns from neck injury suffered Saturday in Dayton.|
10. Minnesota (10)
|Like Michigan a day later, the Gophers nearly pulled out a remarkable come-from-behind Big Ten road victory on Saturday afternoon.|
11. Ohio State (14)
|The Buckeyes suddenly look like Big Ten challengers again after handling Purdue on the road and edging then-unbeaten Michigan in Columbus|
12. Florida (15)
|Actual (Arizona in Tucson) and close-enough (Kansas State in Kansas City) road losses to quality teams nothing to be ashamed of.|
13. Creighton (16)
|If I was casting my ballot today, Doug McDermott would be my choice as the 2013 John R. Wooden Award winner.|
14. North Carolina State (NR)
|Coach Mark Gottfried’s crew looked every bit the part of the best team in the ACC Saturday afternoon against Duke.|
15. Connecticut (NR)
The Huskies don’t have the carrot of post-season play motivating them but they continued their surprisingly quality season with a win at Notre Dame on Saturday.
16. San Diego State (NR)
|SDSU has showdown with Mountain West foe Anthony Bennett and UNLV set for Wednesday. They proved they are among the West’s best falling by 1 to Arizona on Christmas.|
On the cusp: Boise State 13-2, BYU 14-4, Cincinnati 14-3, Georgetown 11-3, Illinois 14-4, Kansas State 13-2, Marquette 12-3, Michigan State 14-3, Mississippi 13-2, Missouri 12-3, New Mexico 15-2, Oklahoma 11-3, Oregon 14-2, Texas A&M 13-3, UCLA 14-3, UNLV 14-3 and Wichita State 14-2.
TOP PERFORMANCES OF JAN. 7-13
TEAMS: North Carolina State (handed Duke its first loss Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, its 10th win in a row). Texas A&M (handled Kentucky by 12 points in Lexington Saturday for a 2-0 start in their first season in the SEC). Ohio State (the Buckeyes won at Purdue then held off Michigan Sunday to topple the nation’s last unbeaten squad). Connecticut (the Huskies got a pair of Big East wins, beating DePaul at home on Tuesday and then upsetting host Notre Dame on Saturday). UCLA (defeated Utah and Colorado for the Bruins’ first “real road” wins of the season to extend winning streak to nine).
PLAYERS: Elston Turner (Texas A&M). The former University of Washington player had quite a week, going for 15 points and eight rebounds in his team’s 69-61 win over Arkansas on Wednesday night, then ripped Kentucky for 40 points (14 of 19 from the field including six of 10 behind the arc), six rebounds and four assists in the Aggies’ 12-point victory in Lexington Saturday.
Doug McDermott (Creighton). One of the leading candidates for national Player of the Year scored 39 points in 33 minutes (hitting 15 of 19 from the field) in a Missouri Valley), with 10 rebounds, in a 22-point Missouri Valley Conference victory at Missouri State Friday night. Tuesday night, in 26 minutes, he had 16 points and seven rebounds in a 30-point victory over visiting Drake.
Ben McLemore (Kansas). The sophomore guard scored 33 points – 10 of 12 from the field, including six of six behind the arc, and seven of seven from the free-throw line – to help the Jayhawks send the game into OT and then beat Iowa State Wednesday night in a Big 12 game.
DeShaun Thomas (Ohio State). The junior forward had 22 points and seven rebounds in the Buckeyes’ 20-point victory at Purdue on Tuesday night then chipped in with 20 points and four caroms to help his team hand Michigan its first loss Sunday afternoon in Columbus
Jamaal Franklin (San Diego State). The junior forward and last season’s MWC Player of the Year averaged 21.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 blocked shots in the Aztecs’ narrow conference victories at Fresno State and against visiting Colorado State.
Frank Burlison has been covering hoops for 30+ years for a variety of publications.
Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at www.burlisononbasketball.com. College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]