One Tough Poll
In the two years I've represented Connecticut as an AP Top 25 voter, this week's may have been the toughest I've had to do. Toughest poll this side of Lech Walesa. (Oops, that's Pole. Tough week for Mike Krzyzewski, too).
Of the 25 teams I ranked last week, 15 lost at least once. Two teams (Villanova and Syracuse) lost twice, while Missouri, Texas A&M and Wisconsin lost the only game they each played. (I'm submitting this poll contingent on Washington beating Washington State tonight. If Washington loses, they'll drop to No. 13, Georgetown will move up to No. 9, etc. Gotta love those late West Coast games).
It's tough for me to move 'Nova and Syracuse down so far, because it's pretty obvious that the Big East remains the best, most competitive conference in the nation. Look no further than St. John's domination of Duke on Sunday.
Big East teams are simply beating each other up, sending Syracuse to a whopping four straight losses (a fifth coming Wednesday night in Hartford?). And it's not so much that the league's best teams are so great (there are NO great teams in the country this season). It's that the lower tier is better than expected. With the exception of DePaul, there is not a single gimmie victory in the league, at least on the road.
South Florida, you ask? You mean the same Bulls who took UConn to overtime in Hartford on New Year’s Eve? Providence, which knocked off No. 23 Louisville and No. 8 Villanova in the span of four days last week? Rutgers, which gave No. 2 Pittsburgh all it could handle in a 65-62 loss Saturday night at the RAC? Seton Hall, which crushed Syracuse in the Carrier Dome and seems rejuvenated by the return of Jeremy Hazell?
St. John's? Ask Coach K.
As for the Huskies, I'm leaving them where I had them last week: No. 6. A nice road win at Marquette and a double-OT home loss to a Top 25 Louisville squad is no reason to move them down, especially given what most of the teams around them did or didn't do this week.
And why, you ask, do I have Texas ahead of UConn, despite the Huskies having beaten them in Austin a couple of weeks ago? The Longhorns are simply playing better right now. Can't always go with that type of reasoning, anyway. After all, I still have UConn ranked well ahead of Louisville.
1. Ohio State
5. San Diego State
8. Brigham Young
16. Notre Dame
18. Texas A&M
21. Utah State
24. North Carolina