Showing posts with label AP Top 25. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AP Top 25. Show all posts

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pittsburgh Regains #1 Status in Latest AP Poll

On the strength of their road win over the UConn Huskies last week, the Pitt Panthers (25-2, 12-2) received 69 first place votes and reclaimed the #1 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 poll.

The Panthers look like good to maintain that position into the next poll, as they play Big East underlings, Providence and Seton Hall on the 24th and 28th, though both games are on the road.

After that, the Panthers will really be put to the test as they close out the Big East regular season with home games against #8 Marquette and #2 Connecticut. If Pitt can manage four wins, they are a near-lock to be a #1 seed and possibly the #1 overall seed for the NCAA tournament, despite having to navigate through the rugged Big East tourney first.

As they say, there's still a lot of ball to be played. Pitt benefited from other top 5 teams losses. Besides UConn, Oklahoma and North Carolina also lost during the week. The Sooners checked in at #3, and the Tar Heels, #4. Memphis filled out the top 5, followed by #6 Louisville, #7 Duke, #8 Marquette, #9 Michigan State and #10 Villanova, placing four Big East teams in the top 10 for the first time since November 24.

Pittsburgh has been ranked in the top 5 all season, and held the #1 position in the January 5 and January 12 polls. Since then, Wake Forest, then Duke, held the top spot, until Connecticut took it over on February 2.

North Carolina and Oklahoma have also been highly-regarded all season, though the Sooners have not been ranked #1 yet. North Carolina was top-ranked through the first 8 weeks of the season, through December 29.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

NCAA Hoops Saturday Wrap: Sooners, Bruins Fall

In the afternoon in which we saw #3 North Carolina blow a 16-point lead and lose to Maryland, a couple of other ranked teams - notably Oklahoma and UCLA - were also going down in flames while Pitt, LSU, Memphis, Washington and Kansas continued to march toward Madness.

The #2 Sooners could be forgiven for their 73-68 loss at Texas, since their All-American, Blake Griffin, left the game just 11 minutes in with a concussion. But, even without Griffin, shouldn't the Sooners have been able to handle the Longhorns, a team which had lost four of their last six games?

Oklahoma allowed A.J. Abrams to get off for 23 points - 16 in the final 8 minutes - to pull off the upset, rivaling Maryland's win over the Tar Heels. The Longhorns (7-5, 18-8) look more like the 4th Big 12 team that will receive an invite to the Big Dance, despite beating a handicapped Sooners squad.

#20 UCLA gets no such free pass in the 82-81 home loss to gritty Washington State. The Cougars (14-13, 6-9) are not, in all likelihood, going to the NCAA tournament, and the Bruins' loss demonstrates how weak the PAC-10 is this season, where arguably the best team cannot knock down a double-digit underdog on their home court.

There's some possibility that the Bruins won't be ranked after Monday. Washington and Arizona St. already have better records than they do, and unranked Cal may move into UCLA's slot. More clarity will come after the result of Sunday night's Arizona-Arizona State tilt.

There were more than a fair share of winners on Saturday's smorgasbord. #4 Pitt (which may end up as #1 on Monday night) made quick work of DePaul, winning by a 80-61 margin.

The Panthers got 20 points and 18 boards from sophomore star DeJuan Blair, who should be getting more mention in the player of the year circles. He's averaging a double double (15.8 points and 13 boards), and his Panthers have lost just twice, both on the road, at Louisville and Villanova.

Pitt should get the #1 ranking this week and very possibly will be a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Getting back to the Big 12, #11 Missouri and #15 Kansas were both victors Saturday. Missouri got 16 points and 13 rebounds from Leo Lyons in a 66-53 romp at Colorado. The Tigers may be the most dangerous team in the Midwest, having won six straight while compiling a 10-2 conference record and a 23-4 mark overall.

The Tigers play at Kansas on March 1 and host Oklahoma March 4. Those games are enormous in significance.

Kansas improved to 11-1 in the conference and tied the Sooners in the standings, knocking off Nebraska, 70-53. As usual, the Jayhawks rode their two big horses for the win. Sherron Collins led the way with 22 points; Cole Aldrich tossed in 18 with 12 boards.

#5 Memphis topped UTEP, 70-63, for their 53rd straight Conference-USA win and 18th straight win, the longest win streak in the nation. Tyreke Evans scored 25 points to lead the Tigers. Memphis can clinch the C-USA title outright with a win at UAB Thursday night.

Bringing up the rear of the standings, #22 Washington bumped off USC, 60-51; #17 Gonzaga romped, 92-58, past Pepperdine; #25 Dayton dropped a road game at St. Louis, 57-49; and #23 LSU continued to impress in the SEC, winning their 8th straight, 79-72, over Auburn.

LSU (11-1, 23-4) clinched the SEC South division with the win, and are clearly heading to the NCAA tourney. The Tigers will likely be the only SEC South division representative. Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida - all in the North - look like the other probable bid recipients.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Top 25 Roundball Roundup

Here are some of the highlights from Wednesday night action:

(1) Connecticut 63, Syracuse 49 - Top-ranked Connecticut buried Syracuse, sending the Orangemen to their 6th loss in their last 8 games. The Huskies won their 12th straight, and are now 23-1 overall and 11-1 in the Big East. UConn looks to be the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tourney, though they have to navigate the remainder of their Big East schedule and the conference tournament. They have six regular season games left, two with Pitt and one with Marquette.

(2) Oklahoma 78 Baylor 63 - Blake Griffin recorded his 21st double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Oklahoma improved to 24-1.

North Carolina State 82 (7) Wake Forest 76 - Unranked NC State knocked off a serious ACC foe in the night's biggest upset. The Wolfpack improved to just 3-6 in the conference and 13-9 overall, while the Demon Deacons lost for the 4th time in their last 6, looking very vulnerable as the season progresses.

(8) Memphis 63 Tulsa 37 - Robert Dozier scored 23 points, as the Tigers humiliated Tulsa. Memphis is 21-3 and undefeated in Conference-USA at 9-0.

Dayton 71 (14) Xavier 58 - Eleven different players scored for Dayton, as the Flyers overmatched #14 Xavier and tightened the Atlantic-10 race. St. Joseph's leads the conference at 7-1, with unappreciated Dayton and Xavier tied at 8-2. Dayton already holds a 69-58 win over St. Joseph's. The Flyers are flying just beneath the national radar, but could make a good deal of noise in March.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Thornton leads Seminoles over #8 Duke

Florida State 68 Duke 67 - Forward Al Thornton is making the most of his senior year at Florida State. He's scored in double figures in all 23 games this season, scored 20 or more 12 times, and has 3 double-doubles. But yesterday was possibly his best as his 21 points, 8 rebounds and floor leadership helped the Seminoles upset #8 Duke at Cameron Arena. Florida State had lost their 15 previous trips to Duke, but this time Thornton and his teammates were determined not to leave without a win.

Greg Paulus scored 23 for Duke, but Florida State held the Blue Devils scoreless in the final minute to seal the 1-point victory. Afterwards, Seminole players danced and celebrated on Duke's home court.

With the win, Florida State improved to 16-7 on the season and into a tie with Duke for 5th place in the topsy-turvy ACC at 5-4. The road victory virtually ensured that the Seminoles would receive an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, though they must still play well down the stretch and in the ACC tourney. The Seminoles advanced to 3-4 against ranked teams, the two other wins coming against Florida and Virginia Tech.

Just one game involves Top 25 teams tonight, but it's a good one. #22 Texas invades #10 Texas A&M at 9:00 EST. By the time these two tip, their rankings will almost certainly have changed. On Saturday, Texas lost at home to Kansas State, while the Aggies won at #6 Kansas.

One other game of note is in the Big East. Syracuse plays at UConn. Both teams are perennial tournament fixtures, but have fallen on lean times this season, especially the Huskies, who are 3-6 in the conference and 14-8 overall. Syracuse is 5-4 in the Big East and 16-7 overall. A win tonight by Boeheim's boys could send Calhoun's kids home early this season.