College Basketball This Week: Turmoil Upends College Basketball Rankings
Well, it has certainly been an interesting last couple of weeks, has it not? If you remember the last time we talked, we stated that Syracuse wouldn’t last as an undefeated team while the other undefeated in college basketball, Wichita State, would make it to the end of the regular season as an unbeaten. We didn’t see the Orange drop two consecutive games to fall from the #1 ranking in the game but, so far, we’re on course with the prediction for the Shockers.
The games during this week (up until Saturday) aren’t going to produce much drama, but they will be critical for teams positioning themselves for their conference tournaments. After that, it’s on the road to the National Championship, where we always find a surprise or two (home team in CAPS, pick in bold.)
#1 Florida vs. VANDERBILT
Welcome to the top of the college basketball rankings, Florida! The Gators have been quietly building an outstanding resume to this point of the year (winners of 19 in a row that include beating Kansas, Kentucky and Memphis) and can seize at least a share of the regular season SEC championship with a win tonight (they can take it outright if Kentucky loses Thursday against Arkansas). Interesting piece of trivia: the Gators haven’t been ranked #1 since 2006-2007…the last year they won the National Championship. Going into Tennessee to take on the Commodores is never an easy task, but I don’t expect the Gators to mess up their first trip out as the nation’s #1 team, especially against a middle-of-the-road Vanderbilt squad.
#2 Wichita State vs. BRADLEY
If they are to take the #1 spot away from Florida, then the Wichita State Shockers will have to what they have done so far this year…keep winning. Looking to become the first 30-0 team since the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels back in the 90s, Wichita State has already locked up the Missouri Valley Conference title behind F Cleanthony Early and G Fred VanVleet.
The Shockers aren’t going to falter against the Braves tonight. A team that was predicted to challenge for one of the top seeds in the MVC, Bradley is instead sitting in seventh in the conference (7-9) with a 12-17 record. A little over a month ago, the Shockers thumped the Braves in Kansas by 22 points; expect that to happen again.
California vs. #3 ARIZONA
Since falling from the top slot a couple of weeks ago in a loss on the road at California, the Wildcats have been trying to regain their status as an elite team in college basketball. That drive took a hit in a double-OT loss at Arizona State in what was one of the more entertaining games of this season. G Nick Johnson and super-freshman F Aaron Gordon have the ‘Cats as a contender, though, as we get closer to March Madness.
Don’t think that Arizona won’t want to lay a little retribution on the Golden Bears tonight at home! Since that victory over the Wildcats, the Golden Bears have been a paltry 3-2 in their last five games. You’ve got to take Arizona in this game as they aren’t going to make the same mistake twice.
#19 North Carolina vs. NORTH CAROLINA STATE
One of the most perplexing teams this season has been Roy Williams’ Tar Heels. After losing four of their first five ACC conference games, they have run off nine consecutive victories to be in the mix for the ACC title (although that could end tonight with a Virginia win or a Carolina loss). This is a team, however, that dropped games to Belmont and Alabama-Birmingham earlier this year. In a tough rivalry game with the Wolfpack, I expect them to lose again…take NC State for the win and on the money line.
These are the only four games that might have any interest to them until this weekend. This weekend there will be several games of interest, so check back in on Friday or Saturday to see what we think about those!
Last Time Out: Went 3-3, with Duke’s loss to North Carolina ruining what could have been a good week.
Season: 11-8-1…it’s time to start stringing some big weeks together.
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