Posted on: February 12, 2011 12:30 am
Edited on: February 12, 2011 12:41 am
 

The No. 1 and undefeated Buckeyes are underdogs

MADISON, Wis. -- I just landed here in Wisconsin and realized the Ohio State Buckeyes -- those 24-0 and top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes -- are a 1.5-point underdog Saturday against No. 13 Wisconsin, according to Sportsbook.com.

That's the power of the Kohl Center.

This is the first time the Buckeyes have been an underdog all season, and lots of people -- including yours truly -- believe Wisconsin will put a blemish on their presently unblemished record come Saturday afternoon. Either way, OSU will probably lose eventually -- if not this weekend then at some point over the next few weeks. Needless to say, there are odds on that, too. Click this link to check those out.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 11, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Videos, videos and more videos!

You want to watch me preview seven of this weekend's games with Jason Horowitz?

Click this link.

You want to hear me talk about myself for 20 minutes?

That's this link.
Posted on: February 10, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Huge game for Alabama on tap at Vandy

Can the team that lost to St. Peter's be the SEC champion?

Can a team that lost to Iowa be the SEC's best?

The Alabama Crimson Tide have won 10 of their past 11 games and jumped to 7-1 in the league to make a strong case. They own wins over Kentucky and Tennessee, and two wins over the Mississippi State team that beat Florida. But they remain unranked because of some questionable non-league losses, which is proof that nobody really knows what to make of Anthony Grant's second season in Tuscaloosa.

That's why tonight's game is huge.

You can continue to doubt Alabama if you want.

For the record, I still do.

But if the Crimson Tide somehow beat Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym then we'll have no choice but to take them seriously. Vanderbilt is ranked 23rd and good, and winning at Memorial is typically a chore. So while I don't usually get too excited about a game between two schools ranked outside of the top 20, I'm most certainly looking forward to tonight's game that tips at 9 ET. If Vanderbilt wins, I'll continue to think what I think about Alabama. But if the Crimson Tide move to 8-1 in the SEC, well, I think that'll be my cue to start coming around.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Fredette leads POY straw poll

The results of the latest AnnArbor.com National Player of the Year straw poll are now available.

They reflect the exact ballot I turned in yesterday.
  1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
  2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
  3. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
Nolan Smith (Duke) and Derrick Williams (Arizona) round out the top five.

Click this link to see all of the results.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:11 pm
 

My current top three for POY

I just submitted my top three National Player of the Year candidates for the AnnArbor.com straw poll.

Here's what I sent Mike Rothstein:
  1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
  2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
  3. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
The results of the straw poll will be announced later this week.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 12:10 am
 

That's what a No. 1 seed looks like

Did you see that Monday night?

Did you see what Kansas did to Missouri and what Pittsburgh did to West Virginia? I hope you did. Because if you did you'll understand why both schools are probably headed toward No. 1 seeds in next month's NCAA tournament, and why both programs are basketball powers that won't disappear as long as Jamie Dixon and Bil Self are in charge.

Kansas beat Missouri even though its top prospect, Josh Selby, is sidelined with a foot injury.

Pittsburgh won at West Virginia even though its leading scorer, Ashton Gibbs, is sidelined with an MCL injury.

A team playing without a key player typically struggles, at least against a quality opponent (and especially on the road). But the No. 2 Jayhawks looked unbelievably sharp in a 103-86 win over No. 19 Missouri, and the No. 4 Panthers were just as tough as ever -- and way tougher than the Mountaineers -- in a 71-66 win at No. 25 West Virginia. It was impressive stuff and a testament to Self and Dixon's ability to plug reserves (like Mario Little) into key roles and continue without really missing a step.

No Selby?

No problem.

No Gibbs?

No problem.

Kansas and Pittsburgh both turned in the type of performances that enhance the opinions of believers and convert any remaining skeptics. More important, they each added another quality win to their bodies of work -- the type of quality win that figures to help them earn No. 1 seeds on Selection Sunday.
Posted on: February 7, 2011 8:17 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 9:39 pm
 

The Poll Attacks

You have to rank Wisconsin and you shouldn't rank Minnesota.

That's what you'll learn in this week's Big Ten-heavy version of the Poll Attacks.

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of PollSpeak.com.)

Associated Press poll: There is nothing I hate worse than realizing one person did something dumb and then discovering the one person who did it is somebody I like. My heart sinks. But, as I've explained before, the Poll Attacks are loyal to nobody. So welcome back, Dave Jones, and I'd love to hear why you left Wisconsin off your ballot.

The Badgers are 17-5 and perfect at home. Their five losses have come by an average of just five points, they've lost by double-digits to nobody, and only one of the losses (at Penn State) is to a school that hasn't been ranked at some point this season. In other words, Bo Ryan's team has a rock-solid resume (that features a win over the Purdue team you ranked 16th) and is playing so well that KenPom.com actually has them projected to beat No. 1 Ohio State this weekend at the Kohl Center, which is why there's no way to justify not having the Badgers in the top 15, which is why they're 13th in the AP poll and 14th in the Coaches poll. So do me a favor, Dave. Get rid of Utah State or Cincinnati and add the Badgers next week (regardless of how they do against Ohio State). You do that and I can get back to focusing on dumb people I either don't know or don't like. Or both.

Coaches poll: I'll be the first to admit that ranking teams is tough these days when you get outside the top 20. Around there, we're all picking between average teams with average bodies of work. So I'm hesitant to clown the bottom of either poll. But ... Minnesota at No. 25?

Look, I used to love the Gophers, too.

Interesting roster. Great coach. Slashers, shooters, an explosive big. I watched them in November and saw lots of reasons to be excited. But I've also watched them in February, and I'm less excited about this team now because of what it's been doing lately. I ranked West Virginia, Marquette and UCLA, so Minnesota's seven losses aren't the problem for me, obviously. The problem is that they've beaten just one NCAA tournament team (Purdue) since Nov. 21 and lost three straight games (including a game to Indiana). Also: They have no real point guard.

Devoe Joseph transferred.

Al Nolen go hurt.

That means Minnesota is basically operating without two of its top three guards, and it shows.

Again, the Gophers have dropped three straight.

Why they haven't also dropped from the coaches poll is a mystery to me.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 7, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Duke lands another elite recruit

Alex Murphy ended his recruitment Monday when he committed to Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils.

"The whole process was fun, but, like everybody says, when you get it off your chest ... it’s just nice to know everything is set in stone," Murphy told Scout.com. "Like I said, it just feels good."

Murphy -- the younger brother of Florida's Erik Murphy -- is a standout in the Class of 2012, though it's possible he could graduate early and enroll at Duke in time for next season. The 6-foot-8 forward from Massachusetts told Scout.com that decision will be made later.

"I’m going to focus on my high school season and finish it out strong and hopefully win a championship," Murphy said. "The 2011 and 2012 thing will be something discussed with my family sometime in the spring and after the season."

Scout.com and Rivals.com both rank Murphy as the No. 11 prospect in the Class of 2012.

He accepted an offer from Duke while rejecting offers from Florida, North Carolina, Kansas and many others.
 
 
 
 
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