Last Saturday, while awaiting the NFL playoffs, I thought I might catch some college hoops as a warm-up. CBS, in their infinite wisdom, trotted out a triple header of women's college basketball, so they lost my vote and I skipped over to ESPN channels.
Today, CBS figured out that nobody likes women's hoops, and is airing a regional men's game at 1:00. I'll get Villanova at Syracuse, so that's where I'll start.
The winner of this game should crack Monday's Top 25, and I'd expect that team to be Syracuse. The Orange have won 2 of 3 Big East games. Their only conference loss was to Pitt, and one of the wins was on the road at Marquette. The Wildcats are a shadow of the team they were last season and may not even make the NCAA tournament.
Currently, there are only 4 Big East teams in the Top 25 and UConn doesn't deserve to be there. The 'Cuse and Providence should be ranked, and eventually Georgetown, along with Pitt, W. Virginia and Notre Dame. Should there be 6 Big East teams in the Top 25? I think so. If the ACC, SEC, Pac-10 and Big 12 each get 4 in - and that may be a stretch - those five conferences would total 22 of the Top 25 at most. There are only 2 Top 25 teams in the Big 10 - Wisconsin and Ohio State, and there are a couple of deserving small conference schools which deserve notice.
Getting back to previews, #5 Ohio State hosts #16 Tennessee in a big game fro both schools. The Buckeyes are coming off a loss at Wisconsin; Tennessee lost to Vanderbilt on Wednesday, 82-81, and they need this game. The Vols are smaller and quicker and guard Chris Lofton should provide plenty of offense from the 2-spot. Greg Odom ought to have a big day inside for Ohio St., but he's fast becoming a head case, getting into early foul trouble and disappearing from the offense too often. Ohio State is favored by 10, but the Vols have a great shot at winning this one.
In the Big 12, #6 Kansas is at Iowa State, and the Jayhawks look like the class of the Big 12, and the Cyclones probably aren't close to being able to hand with them. After all, Iowa State lost to to Northern Iowa, Drake, Bradley, Iowa and Ohio State already, so they would really have to shoot lights out to beat Kansas. Ain't gonna happen.
#1 North Carolina better be careful against Virginia Tech today. The Hokies already have a win over Duke and their 4 losses have been by a total of 10 points. The Tar Heels didn't shoot well against Virginia Thursday night, and if they aren't sharp, they'll have their hands full in this big road test. Undefeated and #17-ranked Clemson travels to Maryland and that' a very tough place to play. Oddly, the Terps are favored by 4, despite losses to Boston College, Notre Dame and Miami (FL). They are at home and, as stated, it's a tough venue for ACC opponents. The key for the Tigers is forward James Mays. Clemson is 28-0 with him in the starting lineup and he's starting today. Good luck to Clemson as they seek to set a school record for consecutive wins (18) today. Even if they lose, shouldn't they be ranked higher? They look pretty darn good.
Later tonight (9:00 Eastern), two of the best big men in the nation go head-to-head when Georgetown visits #7 Pitt. The Panthers' Aaron Gray will get to know Roy Hibbert, the Georgetown center. Gray leads Pitt in points (14.9) and rebounds (10.2), while Hibbert has yet to demonstrate dominance, averaging only 11.7 points and 6.1 boards).
Tomorrow: recaps and player profiles.