Assessing Texas, Pitt and other struggling teams; more notes (cont.)
I think you can also see why the Jigsaw Man wanted to give South Florida guard Dominique Jones to Duke. All Jones has done the last eight days is score 46, 28 and 37 points in wins over Providence, Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. The best part: Jones scored 38 of those points from the foul line while attempting a total of 12 three-pointers. That's how you get Capone.
Arizona senior guard Nic Wise will get the most love for hanging 30 points on California Sunday afternoon, but I'm telling you, I love this Derrick Williams kid. The 6-8 forward, who originally committed to USC, has been amazingly consistent for a freshman, scoring in double figures in all but two games. He had 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds against the Bears.
Anyone else notice that William & Mary is tied for fifth in the CAA? Doesn't sound like an at-large team to me.
This week's AP ballot
(Last week's ranking on my ballot in parentheses)
1. Kansas (2)
Dropped out of my rankings: Clemson (17), Connecticut (19), Ole Miss (20), Northwestern (21), Temple (22), Oklahoma State (25).
Skinny: Kansas saved a lot of voters the trouble of deciding whom to vote for as the No. 1 team by winning at K-State. I did not know who I would have chosen, but you can see by this ballot which direction I was leaning. I'm sure I would have gotten outvoted (and I'm guessing I have Kentucky higher than they will end up in the final tally), but I don't get the logic that I'm supposed to vote a one-loss team lower than other one-loss teams solely because its loss occurred last week as opposed to last month. When I look at the body of work, and more important when I check my instincts and ask who's better, I still give a very slight edge to Kentucky over Villanova and Syracuse.
I was inclined to drop Duke much further because of how soundly it was beaten by Georgetown, but that didn't seem right considering Georgetown was at home and I had the Hoyas ranked ahead of the Blue Devils going in. Even though Kansas State lost at home to the Jayhawks, I wanted to reward the Wildcats for playing so tough, and also for beating a very good Baylor team in Waco. As for Texas, who Baylor knocked off over the weekend, the Longhorns are in danger of following UConn and North Carolina right out of the polls. But as I wrote at the top, I still believe they will get themselves back on track.
Vanderbilt fans have been on me all season for not ranking their Commodores, so I hope I made it up to them by installing their team at No. 15 on the basis of the win at Tennessee. I probably left the Vols higher than they should be, but I don't think you can make a strong case that the teams ranked behind them are definitely better. You'll also notice that I left Wisconsin ahead of Purdue, even though the Boilermakers beat the Badgers last week. That game was in West Lafayette, and it was darn close. From a rankings standpoint, I call that a wash.
Meanwhile, Xavier is very quietly sitting alone in first place atop a very good Atlantic 10. It's time the Musketeers got a little AP love. I'm guessing that some other teams will notch impressive wins this week that will knock Cornell off my ballot, but the Big Red delivered a rankings-worthy statement against Harvard over the weekend.
The list of teams I considered but left out leads with Clemson, Missouri, UAB and Northern Iowa. UNI gets Wichita State and Southern Illinois at home this week. If the Panthers can win those two, they could very well be back on my ballot next week.
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