Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Top 25

I'm sorry, Big East.

Sorry I doubted you. Before this college basketball season began, I thought the nation's pre-eminent conference had taken a dip in stature. I actually thought the Big 10, maybe even the Big 12, could be more competitive conferences this season.

I sit corrected. The Big East may not have as much star power as in years past, but it takes a back seat to no other conference this season. Its teams are a combined 133-33, and it's the only league with three unbeaten teams (Syracuse, Cincinnati and UConn).

More to the point, it's got depth. Or put it this way: UConn is the fourth-ranked team in the nation as I write this Sunday night, yet there's a chance the Huskies aren't even the fourth-best team in the conference.

The Big 10? Ohio State is very good, but Michigan State has disappointed with three losses (including to UConn) and a narrow escape against Oakland. Illinois just lost to Illinois-Chicago and Purdue isn't as good as it would have been with Robbie Hummell.

The Big 12? Kansas State scored 44 points in a loss to Florida last week and choked in its statement game with Duke. Baylor just lost to a struggling Gonzaga squad, Kansas (even with Josh Selby) nearly lost to USC and, after last year, Texas has to prove itself a lot more before I vote for them in my Top 25.

Who else? The SEC? Yeah, nice job, Tennessee, losing to Oakland (there they are again!) and Charlotte last week. I had a good mind to not vote for the Vols this week, but they did have some good wins earlier in the season.

The ACC? It's Duke and sort out the rest. Consider this: as things stand right now, Duke doesn't have another game against a Top 25 team on its schedule this season. UConn has 10, and plenty other Big East teams have a similar number.

Anyway, here's the top 25 I submitted to the AP Sunday night:

1. Duke
2. Ohio State
3. Kansas
4. Syracuse
5. UConn
6. Pittsburgh
7. Missouri
8. Villanova
9. San Diego State
10. Kansas State
11. Kentucky
12. Illinois
13. Michigan State
14. Brigham Young
15. Memphis
16. Georgetown
17. Tennessee
18. Purdue
19. Minnesota
20. Baylor
21. Florida
22. Texas A&M
23. Louisville
24. Notre Dame
25. Central Florida


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