College Basketball: Top 25 Commentary
The Story: The Connecticut Huskies have reclaimed the top spot in the nation this week. The Huskies will have a much anticipated rematch against Pittsburgh this Saturday. Pittsburgh won the first match-up, which enabled the Panthers to grab the No. 1 ranking last week. Pittsburgh lost their very next game to Providence, which has dropped them to No. 4/3 this week. The only other team receiving first place votes besides the Huskies in both polls is Memphis. Memphis has continued to dismantle every Conference USA team in sight (56 consecutive Conference USA wins including the postseason) and sit at No. 3/5. ACC leader, North Carolina, has jumped up to No. 2. Oklahoma, No. 5/4, fall a few spots from their previous No. 3 ranking after losing a game to Kansas without Player of the Year candidate Blake Griffin. The win by Kansas and their most recent home blowout win against Missouri have enabled them to crack the top ten, jumping six spots to No. 9. LSU, the SEC leader, also makes a significant jump to No. 11/12. Texas is the only team to drop off both polls after losing at Oklahoma State. No. 25 Syracuse replaces the Longhorns in both polls with two straight Big East victories.
AP Top 25
ESPN/USA Today Poll
Ryter’s Block: The roller coaster year for No. 1 teams continues. It seemed as if Pittsburgh took a night off in Providence and paid for it. You can’t take a night off in the Big East, the conference is too deep. Memphis deserves to receive some first place votes, however, I like them more at No. 5 in the AP rather then No. 3 in the Coaches’ poll. Marquette is a tricky team to rank at this point. They have lost Dominic James for the year and two straight games, albeit to the top two teams in the Big East. It doesn’t get any easier as they close out the regular season with another two tough games at Pittsburgh and home against newly ranked Syracuse. With the loss of James and the remaining games, look for them to slide down a few more spots next week. LSU and Villanova should swap spots in the AP poll. LSU only has one conference loss, while Villanova is coming off a loss to Georgetown at home. This week is do or die for many teams vying for a tournament bid. Conference tournaments begin this week and Selection Sunday is only a few weeks away (March 15). It will be fun to see how things pan out. What teams will fall? What teams will rise to the occasion?
As some conference tournaments begin this week, here are some other games to watch that will be sure to change the polls…
Monday, March 2: No. 16 Villanova at Notre Dame
Wednesday, March 4: No. 15 Marquette at No. 4 Pittsburgh
No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 12 Missouri
Saturday, March 7: No. 1 Connecticut at No. 4 Pittsburgh
Texas at No. 9 Kansas
California at No. 21 Arizona State
Sunday, March 8: No. 7 Duke at No. 2 North Carolina
No. 19 Clemson at No. 10 Wake Forest