College Top 25 Recap
A Top-25 breakdown for the week of January 27-February 1.
11. UNLV (21-3, 5-1)
The high scoring Rebels continued their winning ways with victories over Air Force (in OT) and Colorado State. Playing with heavy hearts after former UNLV coach Charlie Spoonhour passed yesterday morning, the Runnin’ Rebels came out and wiped the floor with Colorado State. UNLV is now tied with San Diego State for the lead out in the Mountain West and are scheduled for a huge game against each other on February 11. The Runnin’ Rebels continue to be led by Mike Moser’s strong play. The UCLA transfer is averaging 14.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per and has been a force in the paint, torturing opponents with his strong, physical play.
12. Florida (17-4, 5-1)
The Gators are reaping the benefits of playing in a weak SEC. Florida took care of business against Mississippi State at home and now have matchups with South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The Gators must stay focused though as a game with Kentucky looms on the horizon. Florida has one of the more potent offenses in the country, averaging a little over 80 points a game, and distribute the ball very well (16.7 apg). But, their low rebounding numbers are a cause for concern. If they don’t improve in that area they will get demolished by Anthony Davis and Co. on the boards, which will more than likely, make for a long evening.
13. Creighton (21-2, 11-1)
The Bluejays are playing stellar basketball as of late and putting up big numbers offensively. As a team, Creighton averages 81.8 points, 19.3 assists, and a ridiculous 51 percent field goal shooting. With that type of output, it’s no surprise that Creighton is tearing through the Mountain Valley Conference. Last night, the Bluejays crushed Illinois State to the tune of 102-74. They take on Northern Iowa on Saturday and should have no problems the rest of the way heading into their showdown with Wichita State next week.
14. Georgetown (17-4, 7-3)
After getting handled by Pittsburgh over the weekend, the Hoyas bounced back nicely last night with a 14-point victory over struggling UConn. G’Town may not put up stats that wow you, but they continue to play efficient, team oriented basketball. Georgetown is balanced with 5 players averaging 8 plus points and are led by senior guard Jason Clark’s 15.4 points per. Georgetown has a matchup with South Florida this weekend and then will get ready for a huge conference game with Syracuse next Wednesday.
15. Marquette (19-4, 8-2)
The Golden Eagles showed great resolve and great climbing back from an 18-point deficit to defeat Villanova in Philly on Saturday. Senior Darius Johnson-Odom carried his team to victory with 26 points and helped them win their sixth straight. Marquette than bounced back from a sluggish first half to take care of Seton Hall with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade sitting courtside. Looking at their schedule, it would seem that Marquette has an easy road the rest of the way with their next ranked opponent being Georgetown whom they play in March. But, looks can be deceiving. The Big East has been incredibly unpredictable so far—records are thrown out the window when Big East teams matchup. Marquette has a dangerous Notre Dame team fresh off a win at Connecticut up next then take on DePaul, both on the road. You can bet Coach Buzz Williams will have his team ready every night as he chases a Big East Regular Season Championship.
16. Virginia (18-3, 5-2)
Despite their putrid offensive performances, the Cavaliers continue to win games. After losing to Virginia Tech, Virginia reeled off three straight including two nailbiters against NC State and Clemson. Virginia has an interesting matchup against ACC foe and Top-25 ranked Florida State on Saturday in a game between two of the more surprising teams this year. Will the Cavaliers be able to hang with the explosive Seminoles, or will their tough defense prove to be too much? It’s an interesting matchup and definitely one to keep an eye on, as the ACC remains top heavy.
17. San Diego State (19-3, 5-1)
After getting blown out by Colorado State, the Aztecs won a close one against Boise State last night. San Diego State has to get it together as conference play rolls along—they can’t have these slipups against lesser teams. They have a matchup with the mediocre TCU before their showdown for WCC supremacy with UNLV.
18. St. Mary’s (21-2, 8-0)
St. Mary’s has now won 11 straight and are separating themselves from the rest of the WCC. The Gaels have now beaten their most worthy conference opponents—Gonzaga and BYU—by 21 and 14 points respectively. Not to look too far ahead but, St. Mary’s takes on Murray State later this month in a matchup that should be very telling. In fact, that could be one of the most important games of the season as it will tell just how seriously we should take both of these heading into March. For now, St. Mary’s takes on San Diego tonight then has a week’s rest before they face Gonzaga.
19. Wisconsin (18-5, 7-3)
Much like Virginia, Wisconsin has been able to overcome its offensive shortcomings with great defensive effort. Wisco has now won 6 straight, including victories over Indiana and Illinois, and haven’t given up more than 63 points in the process. Saturday they face their biggest test to date when Jared Sullinger and Ohio State touch down in Wisconsin for an afternoon duel.
20. Indiana (17-6, 5-6)
The up and down Hoosiers dropped another Big Ten game against Michigan last night. Indiana has now lost five out of their last seven and are fading fast at the wrong time. Early wins against Ohio State and Michigan aside, the Hoosiers have looked unimpressive. Cody Zeller has continued his strong freshman year, averaging 15 points a game, but he can’t do it by his lonesome, other guys will need to step it up. Indiana plays fellow state school Purdue on Saturday, which is no cakewalk, before facing Illinois next week in a battle between the Big Ten’s most inconsistent teams.
21. Florida State (15-6, 6-1)
The surprising Seminoles continued their hot streak with last night’s 68-54 victory over Georgia Tech. With that win, Florida State has now won six straight ACC games with victories over both Duke and Carolina. They have an interesting matchup against number 16 Virginia this weekend in Tallahassee before taking on Boston College next week. If someone were to tell me that Virginia and Florida State would be playing an incredibly meaningful game in February at the beginning of the season, I would have called them crazy.
22. Mississippi State (17-5, 4-3)
The Bulldogs lost a tough one to SEC foe Florida over the weekend and now find themselves sitting in fourth place in the SEC. Mississippi State has a chance to rebound against Auburn—a mediocre team at best. The Bulldogs do get a chance to string together some wins. After Auburn they take on Ole Miss, Georgia, LSU, and Auburn once again, all teams that find themselves in the middle to bottom half of the SEC.
23. Michigan (17-6, 7-3)
With last night’s victory against Indiana, the Wolverines are now 12-0 at home on the season. Michigan has won 4 out of their last 7 and has a chance to make a statement against Draymond Green (if healthy) and Michigan State. Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to impress and is now averaging 15.1 points per but needs to make better decisions with his shot selection, especially from behind the 3-point line. The Wolverines must be able to win on the road if they expect to make noise come Tournament time and their matchup with State will be a tremendous opportunity for them to build confidence away from home.
24. Gonzaga (17-3, 7-1)
After losing to St. Mary’s, the Zags reeled off 4 straight victories, with Loyola Marymount providing the only real challenge. Despite trailing St. Mary’s in both the polls and conference, the Zags are never a team to be slept on. They have proven time and time again that they are a dangerous team come Tournament time and this season should be no different. Gonzaga has an experienced team and a great coach. They also have incredible balance with three players averaging over 10 points a game and eight players averaging at least 15 minutes a game. Gonzaga takes on BYU tonight then plays Pepperdine this weekend before a re-match with St. Mary’s next Thursday.
25. Vanderbilt (16-6, 5-2)
After a slow start, Vandy finds its way back into the Top 25. But, Vanderbilt probably won’t be here for very long after continuing their hot and cold season with a loss to Arkansas earlier this week. Vanderbilt has one of the more talented teams in the SEC and is led by guard John Jenkins who can fill it up with the best of them, but the team lacks consistency. You never know what you’re going to get when this team hits the court, which makes them both alluring and maddening. They have a great opportunity to get back on track with a win against Florida on Saturday.