Week 5: Kentucky Defends The Mountaintop; Ten Ranked Schools Lose
NCAA basketball is the purest form of basketball in the world.
You can take that to the bank. The NBA, the Olympics, the World Championships; none of them come close to the parity and team skill that the NCAA holds. From week to week, any given team can shoot poorly, play shoddy defence or simply come out flat. And they pay the price. Eventually, the better teams will find a way to win those poor-shooting games, rising them to top of the pile. But in November, these March-bound teams are still learning from their mistakes.
And boy, is it ever fun to watch.
Points of interest from Week 4:
- Xavier (was #11) stuns Vanderbilt (was #20) at home in an overtime comeback win, 82-70, Monday night. Xavier outscored Vandy 16-4 in the extra frame.
- Michigan (former #15) fell to Virginia on Tuesday night. The game was close until around the middle of the second half. Then Michigan looked like a Junior Varsity team, watching their older brethren run them all over the floor. That is Michigan’s second loss in their last three.
- Duke (former #3) and Ohio State (former #2) met up in a rare early-season clash of titans on Tuesday night. In what was supposed to be a very close game, Ohio State could rarely miss against a decent Duke defence, finally setting for a 22 point win, 85-63. This game was over early; hopefully a late-season rematch will produce a better game.
- North Carolina (was #5) topped Wisconsin (was #9) on Wednesday night, 60-57, in Chapel Hill, NC. In a game that no one seemed to want to win – there was sloppy play all over the place: missed layups, bad passing, terrible shot selection – the low final score reflects a mediocre game.
- In a “you need to keep an eye on this team” game, Indiana (8-0, NR) easily knocked off North Carolina State (NR) 86-75 on NC State’s home floor, on Wednesday night. At 8-0, Indiana may play themselves into earning a spot in the Top 25.
- Syracuse (#4) continues their run, despite sideline distractions, and knocked off visiting #10 Florida, 72-68 on Friday night.
- It took overtime, but #6 Louisville took out a feisty Vanderbilt (was #20) 62-60, also on Friday night.
- After a mediocre showing against Wisconsin, North Carolina (was #5) traveled to Kentucky (#1) on Saturday. In a very good game that went back and forth, Kentucky came out on top, 73-72, with a last-second shot block to preserve their #1 ranking.
- In another “you should watch this team” game, Illinois (was NR, now #24) beat Gonzaga (was #19, now #24) 82-75 to preserve their perfect record, now standing at 8-0.
- Speaking of perfect records, the Marquette Golden Eagles (were #16, now #11) now sit at 7-0 after beating Wisconsin (was #9) 61-54. That marks Wisconsin’s second loss this past week to a ranked opponent, dropping the Badgers to #14 in the AP Poll.
- After starting 8-0, UNLV (was #18, now NR) fell to an inferior Wichita State on Sunday night, 89-70. Sorry UNLV, but if you want to stay in the rankings, you can’t lose these gimme games.
Upcoming games to watch, Week 5:
- Ohio State (#2) drops in to Kansas (#13) on Saturday afternoon in what should be a pretty good battle. Tip-off time is at 3:15 EST.
- #12 Florida hosts the formerly ranked Arizona on Wednesday night in a must-win game for the Wildcats. If they want their resumé to stand out in March, these are the games they need to win to turn their season around.
- #9 Connecticut hosts the newly ranked #25 Harvard Crimson. Don’t adjust your monitors, that really does say “Harvard”. Tip-off is Thursday night, 7PM EST.
Associated Press Poll, December 5, 2011
|2. Ohio State|
|4. North Carolina|
|17. Mississippi State|
|22. Texas A&M|
Welcome to the rankings Creighton Blue Jays, Illinois FIghting Illini, Georgetown Bulldogs, and the aforementioned Harvard Crimson. Seriously… Harvard.
This past week, ten ranked teams lost. Ten.
And it’s only December.
March can not get here fast enough.
… and that’s the last word.