Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Top 25 Not Representing the Best

On Monday, the AP and USA Today each released their updated Top 25 (also shown below in the margin). While they may have it right from 1-5, after that, it's really a guessing game, and as you get towards the bottom of the list, it's outright hilarious due to the inclusion of Alabama and Arizona.

The Crimson Tide has been beaten repeatedly in conference games, and Arizona was a 28-point home loser to North Carolina on Saturday after losing 4 of 6 conference games. Their inclusion brings the value of the entire poll into question.

In any case, they got a few things right. Vanderbilt, Texas and Stanford were included in this week's poll (replacing LSU, Indiana and USC), but Georgetown, Georgia and Virginia didn't get in. Heck, Virginia and Georgia only got 11 votes apiece.

Good thing there's a tournament at the end of the year so we're able to determine which teams really are contenders and which are pretenders (and from the looks of it, there are plenty of the latter).

There were only three Top 25 games on Monday night, so here are the highlights:

Butler 71 Illinois-Chicago 45 - The Flames were snuffed out by #13 Butler, limited to just 30% shooting on the night. The Bulldogs avenged a Jan. 10, 73-67 overtime loss at Ill-Chicago, improving to 20-2 on the season and 8-1 in the Horizon League. Junior forward Pete Campbell matched his season high with 17 in just 25 minutes on the floor.

Kansas 76 Nebraska 56 - #6 Kansas used a 27-0 first half run to humble Nebraska in front of 12,000+ disappointed Cornhusker fans. Brandon Rush continued his scoring assault with 20 points, leading all scorers. Rush is averaging 16.4 in Big 12 play.

Pittsburgh 65 Villanova 59 - The Pitt Panthers also proved to be road-worthy, winning on their cross-state rivals' floor in Philadelphia. Levance Fields lit up the Wildcats with 20 points and the Panthers hit on 8 of 19 3-point attempts. #7 Pitt improved to 20-3 overall and 8-1 in the Big East, increasing their lead over Marquette (6-2) to a game and a half. Pitt gets a deserved rest, as their next game isn't until Feb. 7, at West Virginia. Marquette will try to keep pace, hosting Providence on Saturday.

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