Big developments last week for top ten teams. North Carolina wins, Maryland loses, Kentucky loses, Cheick Diallo is free, etc. Lot’s of things going on in the world of college hoops so let’s take a look around the top ten right quick
- Michigan State
Sparty went toe to toe with my Cards last week and won a close one at home. While I found out the Cards are capable of playing with anyone this season, I also found out that Michigan State is well deserving of their no. 1 ranking. Sparty’s got it all. National player of the year candidate, Tom Izzo, Blue blood, and they’ve looked impressive versus just about everyone they’ve played this year. You could make some arguments for other teams at that no. 1 slot, namely UNC and Oklahoma, but Sparty is playing about as well as anyone and they haven’t slipped up yet, so until that happens I’m ok with that big bold 1 next to their name.
The only stiff competition that Kansas has faced this year is a close tilt against Michigan State in the Champions Classic, a game they lost 79-73. Other than that, the road hasn’t been too rocky, but the Jayhawks can score the shit out of the ball and they just got super freshman Cheick Diallo back in the fold, which should obviously increase their depth as well as their defensive prescence and rebounding. If everything pans out the way Bill Self hopes, this Kansas team could make a deep run in March.
- North Carolina
The Tarheels looked impressive and much improved in last week’s victory over Maryland in Marcus Paige’s return from a busted hand. Forget the Jordan/LeBron GOAT talk, I think Marcus Paige has to be in the conversation now because apparently he’s the best basketball player of all time? At least that’s what Carolina fans would want you to think. Either way, it’s pretty evident that this team is a whole ‘nother animal with Paige on the floor. I guess we’ll see what they’re really made of, as a tough ACC slate is just around the corner.
- Iowa State
Iowa State hasn’t played any ‘elite’ competition thus far, but they’ve still beaten the likes of Colorado (game 1), Virginia Tech, and Illinois, so it’s not like they’re lining up D II cupcakes or anything. They’ve still got Naismith candidate Georges Niang, Monte Morris, and five guys averaging double figures, so things are looking good for the folks out there in Cyclones land.
The Wildcats are still a work in progress. I said last week that the UCLA loss won’t hurt them that much and I still stand by that statement. The number one concern in Lexington right now is to just get on the mend. Get Ulis healthy, have Skal stop playing a little bit less like a big, wet, flapping, pussy, and start gelling a little more as a team and the Cats will be fine. I mean, it’s Kentucky and Cal for Christ’s sake. They’ll get there.
Much like Kentucky, Maryland is a work in progress. They looked tough in that loss at the Dean Dome and Melo Trimble looked great, but also really shitty at times. They turned the ball over a lot and I think they need to stop leaning on Trimble and going as much as he goes so much, but when it’s all said and done Maryland can probably compete with anyone. They’ve got UCONN tomorrow night, who’s obviously no slouch, so that will be a good chance to see where they’re at after that UNC loss.
Oklahoma will get their first real tough test tonight when they take on no. 9 Villanova. To this point, Oklahoma is playing as well as anyone and is a dark horse contender for the best team in America right now. To this point, their record is unblemished and their 3 best players are as good as any trio in the country. Naismith candidate Buddy Heild and Isaiah Cousins doing it from the guard spots and big man Ryan Spangler crawling out from his trailer park home to hold things down in the post. I’m a bit Leary of Oklahoma in the tournament, but these guys are as good as anyone right now and well deserving of that no. 7 rank. Probably should be a bit higher imho.
Duke is another one of those work in progress teams. Fortunately for the Dookies and the other aforementioned programs, it’s still only January so there’s plenty of time to get things right. Grayson Allen has shown he’s capable of playing as good of ball as anyone in the country, he just needs to find a little consistency, and I still think super-freshman Luke Kennard from my neck of the woods is really going to come on before the final whistle. Also I’ve been told that Kryz-a-whiskey guy is a pretty good basketball coach? I don’t know. I’ll have to check that out and get back to you guys.
To be completely honest, tonight will be the first time I’ve really seen Nova play all season long. I’m just going to assume that they’re doing the usual 4 or 5 guard, shoot the 3 and defend type thing? Arcidiacano is probably running around like a bat out of hell, bringing that hard hat, lunch pail attitude to the floor while Jay Wright rocks those $3,000 suits night in and night out? Should be a good game against Oklahoma tonight.
I always try to be as objective as I can and try to show love where possible when blogging about teams on here, but I just can’t do that with the Cavaliers. Sorry Wahoo fans. UVA just isn’t as good as they were for most of last season. I know they return a lot and Tony Bennett is still the coach, but this team really sputtered and died at the end of last season and it looks like they haven’t really injected much life into themselves ever since. They’re boring as shit to watch and nothing they’ve donw has really been overly impressive. Unless they can figure out a way to get Justin Anderson to walk back through that door and stop having players get appendectomy’s (seriously, what’s up with that?) then we should go ahead and temper expectations