Posted on: January 24, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2011 3:31 pm

The Poll Attacks

There's always one voter who wants to be different for the sake of being different.

That voter usually ends up getting Poll Attacked.

 (I hope it was worth it, Ron.)

Let's do this!

(Details of AP ballots courtesy of

Associated Press poll: Duke might be America's best team, might win the national title, might finish the season ranked No. 1. Who the hell knows? But voting the Blue Devils No. 1 right now is just as silly as voting anybody but the Blue Devils No. 1 in the preseason, because there's nothing tangible to back up such a vote. For the millionth time, the games have to matter. And by any measuring stick the only team that can be voted No. 1 right now is Ohio State ... unless you just love San Diego State. Honestly, I would not ridicule anybody for ranking SDSU No. 1 because the Aztecs are obviously good and possibly great, and there's no stain on their resume to hold against them. Want to hold their schedule against them? Fine. I'm OK with that, too. That's why I have the Aztecs fourth, because they do lack quality wins. But any defense of SDSU can start with, "Yeah, but nobody has beaten them," and that's an obviously difficult thing to counter. So I guess what I'm saying is that you can do whatever you want with San Diego State, and you'll hear nothing from me. Rank them first or fourth or eighth. I'm cool with it.

But what I'm not cool with is Duke at No. 1.

How can that be justified?

The Blue Devils do have a stain on their resume, specifically that 66-61 loss at Florida State.

Beyond that, Ohio State has better wins than Duke.

Seriously, take a look:
  • Number of Duke wins vs. currently ranked teams: 1
  • Number of Ohio State wins vs. currently ranked teams: 4
Duke's only win over a currently ranked team is a home win over No. 25 Michigan State. Meantime, OSU has wins over No. 16 Minnesota (home), No. 20 Illinois (away), No. 22 Florida State (away) and No. 24 Florida (away). So by AP standards, OSU has four wins -- three of which came on the road -- better than any of Duke's wins, and one of those wins is a 58-44 win over the Florida State team that beat Duke. So to recap: OSU is 20-0 with four wins over currently ranked teams while Duke is 18-1 with one win over a currently ranked team. And OSU easily handled the team that beat Duke. And OSU (this is probably worth noting, too) didn't lose its best player to a toe injury last month.

Knowing all that, how could anybody rank Duke ahead of Ohio State?

Answer: I have no idea.

But I'd love for you to email Ron Morris from The State newspaper in South Carolina and ask him.

He's the lone AP voter ranking Duke ahead of Ohio State.

Perhaps he knows something the rest of us don't.

Or, more likely, he doesn't know any of the stuff I just referenced.

Coaches poll: I loved Baylor in the preseason.

Loved LaceDarius Dunn. Loved Quincy Acy. Loved Perry Jones. Loved the potential. But then the season began and Baylor started taking bad losses, and the Bears haven't done anything to offset them to date, which is why I can't comprehend -- neither can ESPN's Eamonn Brennan, by the way -- how some coach is still voting the Bears on his Top 25 ballot. The Bears are 13-5 with four losses to teams currently unranked in the coaches poll (Gonzaga, Iowa State, Washington State and Florida State) and one loss to a currently ranked team (Kansas). And their best win is a home win over unranked Oklahoma State. So while there might come a day when Baylor again deserves to be on a Top 25 ballot (I still like the potential of the roster), that day is most certainly not to day. So shame on the coach who voted Baylor 25th ... unless, of course, the guilty party is Baylor coach Scott Drew.

In that case, hey, I understand.

I guess.
Posted on: January 23, 2011 4:34 pm

Updated Top 25 (and one)

The Top 25 (and one) will be updated on the college basketball page shortly.

Here's how it will look:

1. Ohio State (20-0)
If they Buckeyes win out, they'll record college basketball's first ever 40-0 record.
2. Pittsburgh (19-1)
The Panthers dealt DePaul its 20th straight Big East loss.
3. Duke (18-1)
The Blue Devils are 18-1 for the third time in the past four seasons.
4. San Diego State (20-0)
The Aztecs' next test will come Wednesday at BYU.
5. Connecticut (16-2)
The Huskies' win over Tennessee allowed them to finish their non-league schedule with a 12-0 record.
6. Texas (16-3)
J'Covan Brown's 23 points helped Texas snap KU's 69-game winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse.
7. Kansas (18-1)
The Jayhawks blew a 15-point lead in Saturday's loss to Texas.
8. Villanova (17-2)
Maalik Wayns has scored at least 21 points in Villanova's past two wins.
9. Syracuse (18-2)
Rick Jackson has 13 double-doubles in 20 games this season.
10. BYU (19-1)
Jimmer Fredette is averaging 34.2 points in BYU's past five games.
11. Notre Dame (16-4)
Ben Hansbrough's career-high 28 points lifted Notre Dame to a weekend win over Marquette.
12. Texas A&M (17-2)
The Aggies' 4-1 league record has them all alone in second in the Big 12 standings.
13. Missouri (17-3)
Missouri's 33-point win over Iowa State this weekend was the largest in series history.
14. Kentucky (15-4)
Brandon Knight has scored at least 20 points eight times this season.
15. Wisconsin (15-4)
Josh Gasser's triple-double helped Wisconsin cruise Sunday at Northwestern.
16. Minnesota (15-4)
The Gophers out-rebounded Michigan by a 38-13 margin in Saturday's win at Crisler Arena.
17. Purdue (17-3)
The Boilermakers shot 58 percent in Saturday's win over Michigan State.
18. Washington (15-4)
Six of Washington's seven Pac-10 victories have come by double-digits.
19. Georgetown (14-5)
Austin Freeman is averaging 26.5 points in Georgetown's past two wins.
20. Florida (15-4)
The Gators' 4-1 league record has them alone atop the SEC East standings.
21. West Virginia (13-5)
Casey Mitchell got 13 points and 14 rebounds in Sunday's win over USF.
22. Vanderbilt (14-4)
The Commodores rebounded from that loss at UT with double-digit wins over Ole Miss and Saint Mary's.
23. Illinois (14-6)
The Illini squandered an eight-point second-half lead in Saturday's loss to top-ranked Ohio State.
24. Michigan State (12-7)
Only one of the Spartans' losses is to a team not ranked here. They own wins over No. 15, No. 16 and No. 18.
25. Florida State (15-5)
FSU would be the top seed in the ACC tournament if the season ended today.
26. Saint Mary's (17-3)
SMC can probably secure the WCC title with wins this week at Gonzaga and at Portland.

IN THIS WEEK: Washington, Florida, Vanderbilt, Florida State
OUT THIS WEEK: Temple, Georgia, Gonzaga, Louisville
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 22, 2011 7:59 pm

That's 20 down, 20 to go for OSU

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Ohio State's win over Illinois here at Assembly Hall early Saturday pushed the Buckeyes' record to 20-0 overall, 7-0 in the Big Ten. Let the record show that I'll be shocked if anybody catches them in the league standings, but I'm not ready to talk perfection just yet.

Could OSU do it?

Sure, I guess.

I mean, the Buckeyes are halfway there already, and Jared Sullinger is awesome. But Ohio State still has road games at No. 14 Purdue, No. 15 Minnesota and No. 18 Wisconsin, and I can't imagine anybody -- Duke, Pittsburgh, the Miami Heat, anybody -- going 3-0 on those games. Beyond that, I just watched Kansas lose at home for the first time since February 2007. And if KU can lose at home, anybody can lose at home.

In other words, the odds remain stacked against perfection.

But 38-2 with a national title?

Yeah, I could see that.
Posted on: January 22, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: January 22, 2011 7:37 pm

I'm in Illinois for OSU-Illini

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- I'm at Illinois for today's game against Ohio State. It's the first of three games over the next five days during which I'll see all three remaining unbeatens in person in road games against formidable opponents.

My schedule looks like this:
  • No. 1 Ohio State (19-0) at No. 23 Illinois (14-5) on Saturday
  • No. 2 Kansas (18-0) at Colorado (14-5) on Tuesday
  • No. 6 San Diego State (20-0) at No. 9 BYU (18-1) on Wednesday
Ohio State is supposed to win 70-67 this afternoon, Kansas is supposed to win 83-71 on Tuesday and BYU is supposed to win 74-69 on Wednesday, according to That means that site has the unbeatens going 2-1, which means, statistically speaking, I'm probably going to see at least one court-storming during my trip. Maybe more. Either way, should be fun. And with that, I'm heading over to Assembly Hall.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 4:46 pm

Witherspoon reinstated but ailing

Memphis coach Josh Pastner told on Thursday that Wesley Witherspoon has been reinstated to the team but added that the junior forward will not play Saturday at UAB because of an ailing knee that figures to hold him out of pregame practices.

"Wesley will not practice today or tomorrow," Pastner said. "His knee has been bothering him so I am going to hold him out of practice and, obviously, if he doesn't practice he won't play Saturday."

Witherspoon, who had knee surgery in December, was suspended for two games following last week's loss at SMU. Pastner has declined to discuss the reason for the suspension, but multiple sources told last week that it was the result of Witherspoon mocking an assistant on a bus after the SMU loss.

"[Wesley not practicing now] has nothing to do with any discipline," Pastner said. "It's strictly based on cautious and preventive measures with his knee. The discipline thing is done with. This is fresh and clean starting today. The reason he won't practice and play this weekend is strictly due to health concerns."

Witherspoon is averaging 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

The Tigers are 14-4 overall and tied for first in C-USA with a 3-1 league record.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 1:33 am
Edited on: January 20, 2011 7:26 am

Purdue's Johnson now in POY race

Every player who flirts with the NBA Draft before returning for his senior season claims three things:
  1. He loves school.
  2. He loves his teammates.
  3. He wants to improve his stock.
I'm genuinely convinced there's a handbook somewhere called "How to properly withdraw from the NBA Draft" -- Mississippi State's Dee Bost has never owned this handbook, by the way -- and that prospects simply highlight sentences from that publication and repeat them when necessary. It's always the same stuff. Help my stock. Raise my stock. Increase my stock. Whatever. But the truth is that most borderline first-round picks who return to school raise their stock very little, if at all, because borderline pros usually remain borderline pros in this sport.

Purdue's JaJuan Johnson might be the exception, though.

At the very least, he looks like it.

"JaJuan is very confident," Purdue coach Matt Painter told reporters late Wednesday after Johnson made an 18-footer to give the Boilermakers a 63-62 win over Penn State. "I would say that's his last step in his development. He's skilled. He's athletic. He can run. He's coachable. He's fun to be around. He's unselfish. [And] now he's confident."

I saw this firsthand over the weekend when I attended Purdue-West Virginia, and I was blown away by how Johnson's game has changed. The 6-foot-10 forward was taking and making jumpers, and he seemed comfortable and confident the entire time. He finished with 27 points points and six rebounds in that narrow loss, then backed it with a 25-point effort against Penn State late Wednesday that lifted his scoring average to 20.5 points per game while further legitimizing him as a serious National Player of the Year candidate.

So how much has Johnson raised his NBA stock this season?

Honestly, I'm not sure.

But he's raised his profile tremendously, already.

And that was always gonna be the first step in this process.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 19, 2011 1:52 am

Fredette takes and makes 30-foot jumper

Jimmer Fredette got 21 points in BYU's win over TCU late Tuesday.

Nothing special.

Just 21.

But three of those 21 came on a ridiculous 30-foot jumper, and, just so we're clear, the shot wasn't at the end of a half or as the shot clock was about to expire. In other words, it wasn't forced by circumstances. Fredette simply looked up, saw he had a clean look and pulled because, well, I'll let him tell you why. "I take pride in being able to shoot from anywhere," Fredette said. "If they're not going to guard me, I'm going to take that shot."

Fair enough, Jimmer.

Fair enough.

(Click this link to watch the shot on YouTube.)
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 18, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 4:01 pm

Bowling Green to announce record donation

The Bowling Green men's basketball program is expected to announce Wednesday that it has received a donation representing the largest in school history and MAC basketball history, multiple sources told

The donation will be used to increase the program's recruiting budget, grow compensation packages for coaches and enhance student support on academic and conditioning fronts, one source said. The money will also help the school secure an undetermined number of buy games previously unavailable.

Louis Orr is the coach at Bowling Green.

The Falcons are 2-1 in the MAC heading into Wednesday's game against Ohio.
Category: NCAAB
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