Monday, February 14, 2011

Status Quo

It was pretty easy for me to choose this week's Top 25, with the exception of one pesky little position: No. 1.

Otherwise, it seemed pretty clear-cut: kick out Minnesota, welcome in St. Mary's (briefly even consider St. John's) and, voila, there you have it.

But it was very tricky picking this week's No. 1, given Ohio State's loss at Wisconsin on Saturday. Here was my quandary:

For one, I always make my rankings off of my previous week's poll, not the actual AP poll itself. The two are often similar, but there are usually a few significant variances. With that in mind, my top four last week were: 1. Ohio State, 2. Kansas, 3. Pittsburgh, 4. Texas.

The Buckeyes, of course, lost, while the three teams behind them each won twice. Since I almost always penalize a team at least a spot or two for losing, this was easy, right? Leapfrog Kansas to No. 1, drop OSU to No. 2 and keep Pittsburgh and Kansas in their respective spots.

But then I would have Kansas at No. 1 and Texas at No. 4, even though the Longhorns beat the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse a few weeks ago, snapping Kansas's 69-game home winning streak. While you can't always use such logic (UConn, after all, beat Texas in Austin), is it fair to have the Jayhawks three spots ahead of Texas?

OK, easy solution: move Texas to No. 3, drop Pitt to No. 4. But how can I drop the Panthers, who beat two top 25 teams (West Virginia and Villanova, on the road) last week? Pitt is far and away the best team in the best conference in the nation. At 23-2 overall, you can make a strong argument they should be No. 2 or even No. 1. Nah, not dropping them.

And so, I decided to keep the status quo. Ohio State remains my No. 1. A loss at Wisconsin (whom I've got at No. 10 this week) is nothing to sneeze at. Not at all. The Buckeyes may have squandered a 15-point lead in the game, but they were still in it until the final seconds. In Jared Sullinger, they may have the national player of the year. Their starting five is probably the most complete in the country. They are still probably the best team in the country, in my opinion. So, they're my No. 1.

And my top four (in fact, my top seven) remains the same. Texas may be playing as well as anyone right now, but it does have three losses. (Plus, as a former PC fan, I'm never bullish on a Rick Barnes-coached team come tourney time).

I dropped UConn from No. 8 to No. 12. That's what an ugly loss at St. John's (which, like I said, did merit top 25 consideration) will do. Here's my Top 25, submitted late last night:

1. Ohio State (24-1)
2. Kansas (24-2)
3. Pittsburgh (23-2)
4. Texas (22-3)
5. San Diego State (25-1)
6. Duke (23-2)
7. BYU (23-2)
8. Georgetown (20-5)
9. Notre Dame (21-4)
10. Wisconsin (19-5)
11. Florida (20-5)
12. UConn (19-5)
13. Purdue (20-5)
14. Arizona (20-4)
15. Missouri (19-6)
16. Louisville (19-6)
17. Villanova (19-6)
18. Kentucky (17-7)
19. Utah State (23-3)
20. Texas A&M (19-5)
21. Syracuse (20-6)
22. North Carolina (18-6)
23. Temple (19-5)
24. St. Mary's (22-4)
25. Coastal Carolina (24-2)


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