College Top 25 Recap
A Top-25 breakdown for the week of January 19-26.
13. San Diego State (18-2, 4-0)
After last season’s terrific run, the Aztecs look primed to once again make some noise come Tournament time. San Diego State has now won 11 straight, including wins over UNLV, New Mexico, Air Force, and Wyoming, which was coach Steve Fisher’s 25oth career win. The Aztecs are led by the backcourt of Chase Tapley and Jamaal Franklin who have combined to score a little over 31 points a game for the season. Coach Fisher’s squad now plays Colorado State and Boise State the next two games as they look to push their win streak to 13.
14. Florida (15-4, 3-1)
Featuring one of the most potent and unselfish offenses in the nation, the Florida Gators have won three straight in the SEC but have a tough week coming up against Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Led by Kenny Boynton’s 18.3 points per game, the Gators are scoring 82 points a game good enough for 7th best in the nation. After blowing out Georgia, South Carolina, and LSU in successive games, Billy Donovan has his team playing well at the right time.
15. Creighton (18-2, 8-1)
Creighton has built one of the more successful mid-major programs in the nation becoming a perennial Tournament team and winning 20+ games seemingly every season. This year is no different; in fact, this may be one of the more talented teams Creighton has ever put on the floor. Much like fellow mid-major UNLV, the Bluejays are a high scoring, unselfish, efficient team. After last night’s victory at Drake, Creighton find themselves in the middle of a nine game win streak and tied for the lead in the Missouri Valley Conference with Wichita State. Creighton is led by sophomore forward Doug McDermott who averages 23.5 points and 8.5 rebounds a game. The Bluejays have a two game home stretch, hosting Bradley on Saturday and Illinois State on Tuesday.
16. Indiana (16-4, 4-4)
After dropping three straight to Minnesota, Ohio State and Nebraska, the Hoosiers finally got back to their winning ways with a blowout of Penn State. Indiana has already dropped four games in the Big Ten and will need to play well tonight if they expect to escape Madison with a win over Wisconsin. Freshman big man Cody Zeller has been impressive so far this season, averaging 15 points while showing a myriad of creative post moves that would suit a player years his senior. But, at 6-11 he only averages 6.4 rebounds a game, a number he will need to build on, especially since most Big 10 Conference victories depend on every possession. After tonight’s outing against the Badgers, Indiana returns home to play Iowa then travels to Ann Arbor for an important conference game with the Wolverines.
17. Marquette (17-4, 6-2)
Winners of five straight, Marquette looks to build on its streak with games against ‘Nova, Seton Hall and Notre Dame. Senior guard Darius Johnson-Odom has been playing exceptionally well and is now averaging 18 points a game for the consistent Eagles. Look for Marquette to continue its winning ways—they don’t play another ranked opponent until their February 18 meeting with UConn in Storrs.
18. Mississippi State (16-4, 3-2)
After beating a talented Vanderbilt team in overtime last Saturday, the Bulldogs beat LSU 76-71 at home last night. Junior forward Arnett Moultrie has been a force inside for Mississippi State and has really come on strong in SEC play. Over the last two games Moultrie has put up stat lines of 21 points and 14 rebounds against Vandy and 28 and 12 against the Tigers. The Bulldogs have a huge conference game on Saturday against Florida, a game that will see one team separate themselves from the pack as the rest of the conference chases Kentucky.
19. Virginia (15-3, 2-2)
After dropping a heartbreaker to instate rival Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers must regroup and get ready to play Boston College at home. Virginia has been one of the more surprising teams this season and is winning games thanks to its stingy defense. Over the last two games they have held Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech to 38 and 45 points respectively. But, their tremendous defensive effort hasn’t exactly translated on the offensive end—Virginia averages a putrid 64.3 points per game which puts them at 251st in the nation. If head coach Tony Bennett expects to hang with the Dukes and North Carolinas the rest of the way, he has to get a better offensive effort from his team.
20. Michigan (16-5, 6-2)
Behind the play of guard Tim Hardaway Jr. the Wolverines look like they are on a straight path to the promised land that is the NCAA Tournament. After squeaking by Purdue, Michigan gets five days off to prepare for its murder’s row schedule—they play Ohio State, Indiana, and Michigan State in three straight games. Michigan has made a habit of getting itself into close games and look for that trend to continue as they play their most brutal stretch of the schedule.
21. Saint Mary’s (19-2, 8-0)
After dropping one to Baylor back in December, the Gaels have been on fire with nine straight victories—including a huge win over conference rival Gonzaga earlier this month. Saint Mary’s now sits at 19-2 and are undefeated in conference play with games against Loyola Marymount, BYU and San Diego coming up.
22. Kansas State (14-4, 3-3)
The Wildcats are once again playing competitive ball in a loaded Big 12 Conference. Coach Frank Martin has his team playing like winners—blowing out lesser opponents like Oklahoma State and Texas Tech and giving all they got against teams like Baylor and Missouri. The Wildcats have two winnable games coming up, playing Oklahoma at home on Saturday before traveling to Ames to take on Iowa State next Wednesday.
23. Florida State (13-6, 4-1)
At 13-6, the Seminoles have been upset minded as of late. After demolishing Carolina by 33, FSU beat Duke at Cameron Indoor by three thanks to a buzzer beating three-pointer by Michael Snaer, effectively ending Duke’s 45-game home win streak. The ‘Noles are currently 4-1 in conference play and look like they are playing much better basketball than their overall record would have you believe. Coach Leonard Hamilton’s squad travels to Winston-Salem to play Wake Forest and then get a week’s rest before taking on Georgia Tech.
24. Connecticut (14-5, 4-3)
The reigning National Champs once again have an incredible array of talent but have been incredibly inconsistent this season. With Jeremy Lamb and ubertalented freshman Andre Drummond you would expect the Huskies to rank much higher instead of just sneaking in at 24. UConn now finds themselves in the middle of the pack in the Big East—a similar spot they found themselves in a year ago—after losing two straight to Cincinnati and Tennessee. The Huskies host Notre Dame this weekend then travel to Georgetown next week to for a key matchup. Having already lost to Seton Hall and Rutgers this season, Coach Calhoun needs to get his team focused and ready to improve their play.
25. Wisconsin (16-5, 5-3)
Year in and year out, the Badgers play a slow, physical, grind it out style of basketball that yields the same results: wins. This year is no different and the Badgers are currently riding a four game win streak into tonight’s matchup with Indiana. Wisco has not allowed an opponent to score more than 65 points against them this season, which is a good thing considering they only average 65.6 points per game themselves. After tonight’s game against the Hoosiers, Wisconsin heads to State College for a game with the Nittany Lions.