Vols prove their worth with big win over Connecticut
Posted: Monday January 8, 2007 1:55PM; Updated: Monday January 8, 2007 2:39PM
The top teams continue to show they're ready to contend for the national title. Candace Parker and her Tennessee teammates certainly looked primed for the postseason in Saturday's win over Connecticut.
Others weren't as fortunate. Parity and the familiarity that comes with conference play appears to be taking its toll on our lower ranked teams. Four have lost since our previous rankings. See who hung on and who fell out.
NCAA Basketball Power Rankings
Maryland Terrapins (17-0)
We finally had the chance to see the defending national champions play a tournament-caliber team, and the results were the same. Maryland used its balanced scoring from the perimeter and the paint against Michigan State to win its 23rd straight. And, as Spartans coach Joanne McCallie put it, "They play well together and they are extremely well coached."
Next three: 01/10 at Miami; 01/13 at Duke; 01/19 vs. Virginia
North Carolina Tar Heels (17-0)
Junior LaToya Pringle is emerging as another big threat inside for the North Carolina. With 10 points a game, she is one of five Tar Heels averaging double digits on offense. She's second on the team in rebounding with 7.7 a game. But it's her shot blocking ability (56 swats so far) that has really made things rough for opponents.
Next three: 01/08 vs. Virginia; 01/11 at Clemson; 01/15 vs. Connecticut
Tennessee Volunteers (14-1)
There isn't much the Lady Vols haven't seen this season thanks to their usually tough schedule. They've withstood pretty much all of it too. The challenges have just made Tennessee better. Candace Parker is certainly ready for SEC play after putting up player of the year numbers against Connecticut. Parker had 30 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks and yet another dunk in the win over the Huskies. Poor SEC opponents.
Next three: 01/11 at Florida; 01/14 at Georgia; 01/18 vs. Mississippi State
Duke Blue Devils (16-0)
I'll admit, I underestimated the Blue Devils at the start of the season. Do I think they'll beat Maryland? No. But Duke is getting the job done. The Blue Devils have strong defenders on the perimeter and a dominating shot blocker in Alison Bales (4.1 bpg.). The offense has the same inside-outside balance.
Next three: 01/10 vs. Georgia Tech; 01/13 vs. Maryland; 01/18 at N.C. State
Connecticut Huskies (12-1)
I'm not dropping Connecticut for its loss to Tennessee, but the Huskies showed they're full of fight and worthy of sharing space with our top teams. Tennessee may have shown it's better than Connecticut, but few others have. Look out for the Huskies come tournament time.
Next three: 01/09 vs. Seton Hall; 01/13 vs. Syracuse; 01/15 at North Carolina