To start off I am very excited that this week I'm going to come out with my first top 25 rankings of the season. The first few weeks are really hard to rank since no one really has a body of work, but with the preseason tournaments in full swing we are starting to see a few teams really separate themselves from the pack, and a few teams really start to falter.
#6/6 Purdue: 4-0 (0-0)
- I get concerned with highlighting Big Ten teams because I'm not always sure that the conference has enough offense in it, but their win against #9/11 Tennessee was pretty big in the Paradise Jam. Look for Purdue to be a contender down the stretch.
#10/9 Syracuse: 5-0 (0-0)
- Syracuse is arguably the hottest team in the nation right now. I can't say best, but in terms of body of work they certainly have the best wins around. Throttling #13/12 California and #6/4 UNC is no laughing matter. If the Orange stay consistent look for them to be dancing deep into March.
#23/NR Notre Dame 5-0 (0-0)
- Notre Dame will be a disappointment if they do not run the table in their non-conference schedule. They are playing well, but I'm really interested to see what this team looks like going into Big East play. Their toughest non-conference opponent is a down-trodden UCLA team.
Cincinnati 4-0 (0-0)
- If Cincy beats Gonzaga tonight there is absolutely no way they are not a Top 25 team. Wins against all ranked teams in the Maui Invitational should boost them to around 17-20 I would say.
#21/22 Maryland 4-2 (0-0)
- Just as quickly as they burst into the top 25, they are going to freefall right back out of them. Beating New Hampshire and Fairfield by 30 points is all well and good, but when you play the bigger boys, you have to show up and Maryland clearly has not, losing to Cincy and now Wisconsin.
#NR/23 California 3-2 (0-0)
- Injuries have pestered the team so far this year, but losing twice to ranked teams isn't going to help them later on during the year. Are they still the favorites for the Pac-10? Who knows this year. Just remember when thinking about California is that teams that live by the 3 also die by the 3.
Dayton 2-2 (0-0)
- Starting off the season ranked is pretty good for Dayton, being in a non-BCS conference, but their consecutive losses to Villanova and Kansas State have them reeling a bit. I still like Dayton, and I think they will make a splash this year in March. The good news is that their losses have been close.
#5/5 Kentucky 5-0 (0-0)
- Okay, don't get me wrong here, I think Kentucky has the potential to go very far this year, but they still need to prove that to me. If they beat UNC on December 5th or UConn on December 9th, Kentucky will not only be taken off of this list, they will shoot right up my rankings. I'm a big advocate of 'prove it on the court' and that is how I base my rankings, so until they do that against a quality opponent I don't think they should be anywhere close to #5 in the nation.
#8/8 West Virginia 2-0 (0-0)
- More so than Kentucky, WVU not only hasn't played a quality opponent yet, they have barely played anyone yet! The 76 Classic in Anaheim will show what they are made of.. there are some good teams in that tournament. I fully expect them to get beaten by Purdue in December, and end up in the middle of the Big East at the end of the year. Please, Mountaineers prove me wrong.
#18/19 Georgetown 3-0 (0-0)
- I'm worried that the Georgetown can't score. I've been worried that Georgetown can't score for the past 3 years. They always play great defense, but I don't think that they're going to be able to outscore opponents this year. Every team has bad games, but a 46-45 win over Temple? Just barely getting by Temple is one thing, but only scoring 46 points is absolutely abysmal.
** I would put Maryland on this list as well, but the new week's rankings don't come out until Monday, and I'm pretty sure they won't be in them, so I can't really say that they are overrated based on that.
Game of the Night - Wednesday
Maui Invitational - Championship Game - Honolulu, Hawaii
Cincinnati 4-0 (0-0) vs. Gonzaga 4-1 (0-0)
10:00 PM - ESPN
Game of the Night - Thursday
76 Classic - Quarterfinals - Anaheim, CA
#22/16 Minnesota 3-0 (0-0) vs. #12/10 Butler 3-0 (0-0)
8:30 PM - ESPN2
Game of the Night - Friday
Legends Classic - Semifinals - Atlantic City, NJ
#2/2 Michigan State 4-0 (0-0) vs. Florida 4-0 (0-0)
My Picks 0-0 on the season, 0-0 in conference games
- I know that's a lot to swallow for one post, but enjoy it, and expect to hear a lot more from me this year on college basketball.