But time is of the essence. Sorry for the lack of posts this week. But hey, I've given you more than the Journal World has, so that's got to count for something, right? On account of my recent lacking, we'll be lumping in both power polls today. And of course, linking to Mike Patrick's guest column at EDSBS.
First, the Big 12…
Kansas (24-2, 9-2) I could easily have Texas here as well, since they have the easier remaining schedule and hold the tie-breaker, but since it's 50/50, I'll be a homer. As we've said before, something had to still be wrong with Sherron – and that's pretty disconcerting, but for now there's no reason not to remain optimistic that he'll be better in a month when it really matters. As for this weekend, I'll be shocked and mildly disappointed if they let the Pokes hang around – more worried about next Wednesday. KU 76 OSU 59 (EDIT: Please, please, please LET THIS HAPPEN!)
Texas (22-4, 9-2) As I said, they could easily be in the top spot – then again, Kansas hasn't been blown out by A&M and Methzou, and they certainly didn't lose at home to Wisconsin. But all that aside, I don't see a team in the nation (even UCONN!!!) playing better than the Horns right now and I highly doubt they'll have any trouble with OU this weekend. Monday could be a different story.
KSU (18-7, 8-3) "It's gonna be a fun night. I might go for fifty tonight. No, seriously. I'm so serious." (Michael Beasley, 2/20/08) Or not. Don't get me wrong, 17 & 10 is a solid night, but against a team whose ONLY inside presence is a lumbering, slow, Australian oaf, more was expected. Bad loss for the Wildcats, who now start a string of: @ Baylor, Texas, @ Kansas. Technically, they still have every chance to win the league as they play both teams in front of them and by beating them would own the tiebreakers. But that ain't happenin', so why worry about it?
Texas A&M (20-6, 6-5) Talk about a team that fucked me from behind. I make them 12th in my power poll and they go out and lose to Sean Sutton, AT HOME, and follow that up by getting absolutely run off the court in Austin. Not their best 3 day swing. I'm not sure if Turg is having trouble reaching some of his players or what, but something isn't right down there. They've got two easy wins to get back on track before closing: @ OU, @ Baylor, Kansas.
Oklahoma (18-8, 6-5) If there were ever a team that's more lucky than good, this is it. First, the injuries. Both Blake Griffin and Longar are supposedly lost (for at least a month each) and yet both are playing 2 games later. Then Godbold throws up a prayer to beat Tech. And then Baylor happens. I think this is a tournament team, but they've still got three roadies left and A&M at home, so they've got some work to do.
Baylor (17-8, 5-6) I'm praying for them. I'm also praying that Aaron Bruce's crunchtime minutes are over. Like I said before, their entire season is on the line Saturday against KSU. That's a tough loss to bounce back from, but if they don't do it, they may be hosting NiIT games in Waco come March.
Texas Tech (14-11, 5-6) Real solid road win @ Colorado. Close with: @ A&M, Texas, @ Kansas, Baylor. Ouch
Methzou (14-12, 4-7) It's funny to me that under an ESPN local search, the only articles that come up are for Methzouri State. They're apparently more relevant than this team.
Oklahoma State (13-12, 4-7) Coming off two good wins (BU, @ A&M) – have a chance for a 3rd Saturday.
Nebraska (15-9, 4-7) Good win. Bad choice on the floor storm.
Iowa State (14-12, 4-7) Still not sure how much Ryan Greene had been smoking when he said this was a top-half Big 12 team…
Colorado (10-15, 2-9) Bzdelik is a good coach. Colorado is a bad team. That just lost it's best player of the future.
Now, I know you'll be shocked by this, but I don't have Memphis and Tennessee as my numbers 1 and 2, respectively. And neither should you, because neither are the one of the best two teams in the land. Then again, I'm pretty stubborn.
UCLA (23-3) Typically, announcers and "analysts" all like to jump on the same bandwagon once someone sees a player do something – and run like hell with it. Kevin Love's outlet passes are no different – but man has he earned every bit of their praise. Once again, they looked great last night. I still worry about their outside shooting though.
Kansas (24-2) Nobody in the nation has better losses. But a lot of teams have better wins. Still, this team has every piece of the puzzle to go all the way and if the committee puts them and the Bruins in the same bracket again, I am not going to be a happy fella. Luckily, Duke was finally exposed and as long as both teams take care of business, they should both be 1's.
UNC (25-2) Shocked? Me too. But how fast would Hansbrough foul out Dorsey? And without Dorsey, Memphis' inside presence becomes Dozier (or Taggart off the bench) – or in other words, they won't get many rebounds. And assuming Lawson comes back healthy, he's definitely good enough to beat Rose off the dribble and free up some shooters. Gun to my head, I'd take the Heels over Memphis.
Memphis (26-0) In continuing my last argument, UNC has barely escaped against Clemson (twice), Virginia and Florida State. In three games, they were without Lawson. Memphis, on the other hand, has barely escaped against UTEP, Houston and UAB – and have been fully healthy in doing so. From that minimal data, which is less impressive? That's what I thought.
Texas (22-4) Yes, they have two more losses than Tennessee. But they also embarrassed the Vols on a neutral court – not to mention their wins over UCLA and KU. When they get the kind of inside production they have been, they're as good as anyone. Problem is, they won't get that for 6 straight games (or probably 4) in the tourney.
Tennessee (24-2) Yes, they are running through the SEC (Kentucky loss aside). But let's not forget that the two teams tied for second are… Mississippi St. and Kentucky – not horrible teams but ones that between them couldn't beat the likes of Gardner Webb, San Diego, Miami (OH), SIU, South Alabama, etc., totaling an OOC record of 9-5 for MSU and 6-7 for Kentucky. Yikes. I've never trusted this team. And now I have numbers to prove why.
Duke (22-3) This team is bunk. And finally other people are seeing it. How's this for a set-up, Jayhawk fans…Duke wins out, UNC game(s) aside and end up the 2 seed (to Kansas' 1 ) in the Midwest? I like. Also, this Stewart Mandel piece would have been a lot better 2+ weeks ago, but it was still pretty solid.
Xavier (23-4) The A-10 isn't nearly as good as the "experts' thought it was, but it's still a solid league that Xavier is generally running through. @ Dayton and @ St. Joe's represent their only "tough" games until the conference tourney. I haven't watched them as much as I'd like, but they seem like a legitimate Elite 8 team.
Stanford (21-4) I have watched them a bit more lately, but really I'm just trusting the "experts" here as I think they're extremely susceptible to a bad match-up (i.e. any team that pressures the perimeter). But they present a match-up problem of their own with the Lopez twins. I'm excited for their 3/6 game @ Pauley.
Connecticut (21-5) While everyone seems infatuated with them (could geography be to blame?), I see a team that at home, could only beat ND by 6 and DePaul 5, while needing a last second shot to win @ South Florida. Yes, Price looks great lately. And yes, Thabeet has improved tremendously. But no, this team is not one of the best in the country. Ten is probably too high, in fact.
Indiana (22-4) I may have them overrated and it remains to be seen how they play without Kelvin, but by Big 11 standards, they look pretty solid lately. When I watch them, I don't see how they could possibly contend with the top teams on this list (the answer; they can't), but they're certainly capable of the Elite 8.
Louisville (21-6) Again, this may be too high, but with David Padgett on their team, they are national title contenders. Right? I mean, he is putting up numbers like: 10.6, 4.6 and 1.6? Truth be told, we all know numbers don't tell the whole story and he certainly makes them a lot better, but there's not a better example of what I mentioned before in regards to Kevin Love. One guy says something and all of a sudden they all believe it ten fold.
Georgetown (21-4) For a four loss team from the Big East, this seems a little low. But they just lost to Louisville (and clearly looked like the 2nd best team) and they are some lucky plays away from being 19-6. When it's all said and done, I'd call them a 3 seed, probably bowing out in the Sweet 16. No shame in that.
That seems like enough. Anna Rawson is probably a better golfer than I am. And perhaps better looking as well. Your thoughts?