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Mid-Season College BBall Recap

January 28, 2009

Now that we're almost at the end of January, it's time to take a look at my first ever preseason college basketball rankings and see, as of right now, how I did. Here were the rankings.
25. Villanova
24. Florida
23. Georgetown
22. USC
21. Oklahoma
20. Wisconsin
19. Arizona St.
18. Kansas
17. Miami Fla.
16. Xavier
15. Marquette
14. Davidson
13. Gonzaga
12. Tennessee
11. Purdue
10. Notre Dame
9. Pitt
8. Memphis
7. Duke
5. Michigan St.
4. Texas
2. Louisville
1. UNC

Teams I definitely missed on:
Wake Forest: Wake was on the cusp of making my top 25, but I didn't know how good they actually were obviously. Jeff Teague has been the player of the year in ACC and might be a First Team All-American. They are huge inside, and are a number 1 seed in the latest projections.

Syracuse: Injuries to Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf killed them last year, but having seen them personally, they're impressive. They have to get to ball inside to Onuaku and Jackson more, but they'll be around in March.

Clemson: I underestimated the ACC a little bit in hindsight. Clemson has gotten great inside play from Trevor Booker, and even if they do their usual fade in the second half, they should still be dancing.

Butler: I had Gonzaga and Xavier right, but I thought Butler lost too much last year to get back to an elite level. Matt Howard and Frosh Shelvin Mack have them back in the top 15.

Minnesota: Tubby Smith is a great coach, and I don't remember Minnesota being relevant like this since the Bobby Jackson-led Final 4 team. Big test against the Illini on Thursday.

St.Mary's: I did mention that they would push the Zags, but I didn't think they would be this good. Patty Mills is legit, and the others have stepped up as well.

Illinois: I knew nothing about them other than that MJ's kid plays for them, but especially as of late, they've really come on. Demetri McCamey can light it up, and Chester Frazier has turned from the worst pg in college basketball to being a steady leader.

Now, on to what i did, and didn't get right.

25. Villanova: The Cats have been in the top 25 all season, but might not stay there for long. They've beaten all the teams they should have, but haven't beaten any of the top Big East teams yet. Dante Cunningham has been their best player, and they still have good guards, but they need to beat Pitt tonight, or someone else in the top 10 to be taken seriously.

24. Florida: The Gators had some early losses but they're still 17-3. Calathes has been big for them, and they have a lot of offensive balance. They should win the SEC.

23. Georgetown: What's going to determine how far Georgetown advances is if they can find some consistency from the outside. When they're hitting, they can be dangerous. Monroe has been great for them, and is an extremely versatile big. Dejuan Summers has also been really good. They're in a little bit of a funk right now, but they can right the ship and be a factor.

22. USC: The Trojans have been a disappointment. As of right now, they're one of Bracketology's "Last 4 out." The Pac-10 has been a little better than advertised with Cal, Washington, and Stanford playing well. Demar DeRozan hasn't been the top player in his Frosh class as advertised. Wisconsin and USC were probably my biggest misses in my poll.

21. Oklahoma: In contrast to USC, I definitely underestimated these guys. I talked about how I didn't really know why Blake Grifin was so highly-touted, but now I know. He's been a player of the year candidate, averaging a double-double. They have gotten excellent guard play from freshman Willie Warren, Tony Crocker, and Austin Johnson. They have everything set up for a Big 12 Championship and a Final 4 berth.

20. Wisconsin: The Big 10 has been a lot better than expected, and the Minnesota's and Illinois' of the world have passed the Badgers as of right now. They're penciled in as an 11 seed right now, but with an 12-8 record, they need to get to hot. Winning games like last night against Purdue at home would have helped, and if they keep losing they'll be NIT-bound.

19. Arizona St. The Devils have been right around the spot I had them at from the beginning. They have a great chance at winning the Pac-10, having already beaten UCLA in overtime. James Harden is averaging about 22 a game, and the cast around him has been steady. This could very well be a Sweet 16 team.

18. Kansas: Kansas has been predictably up and down a little bit, but they're still 15-4 and still second in the Big 12 behind the Sooners. Right now, they're a 6 seed, and if Cole Aldrich keeps playing as well as he has, and the Freshmen continue to get better, they'll be around in March.

17. Miami Fla: The Canes have been disappointing. They're down to 3-4 in the ACC, with a 14-6 overall record. They lost an important game at home to emerging Virginia Tech, and need to win games against these type of teams to get to the tourney.

16. Xavier: I was hesitant at having them this high in the beginning, but Xavier has predictably been cruising through the A10 slate. They too have beaten everybody they should have beaten so far, but I'm still troubled by how god-awful they looked against Duke. They might not get another test on the schedule until the tourney, so I'm predicting they will stay around the top 10, but will go down early in March.

15. Marquette: The Warriors fell out of the top 25 for a couple of weeks, but since the Big East play has started, they've been one of the hottest teams in the land. Wesley Matthews has really raised his game, Jerel McNeal is also a Big East POY candidate, and Dominic James has been referred to as "a Barry Sanders type athlete." James has seemed a lot steadier than in years past. I'm still troubled by the lack of a post presence, but with these guards, they might not need it to get to Detroit.

Later on, I'll tackle the top 14, and I'll try not to kill my Tar Heels too badly.


Langston said...

I knew replacing Lofton for the Vols would be tough, but I figured the upgrades they made across the board would help take the focus away from the 3-game. But I and many others overestimated the immediate impact the freshman class would have. However Bruce is a great coach and should have the team playing where it needs to be come tourney time.

January 28, 2009 at 12:23 PM
John said...

Hey there, thanks for the comment on my blog. Just one question here.

What do you think about Pat Mills chances of making it into the NBA? I'm telling you from what I've seen from him in Beijing, he can play amongst the best.

January 28, 2009 at 9:52 PM
Langston said...

I like his chances, he runs the point well and has the ability to score at will. Not a lot of point guards out there with that ability.

January 29, 2009 at 2:49 AM

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