College Basketball is putting on a performance early in the year. Like every season we’ve seen our share of upsets and top 25 match ups. But this season is shaping up as something really, really special with the quality of games we’ve seen.
This week the Power 5 was as difficult as it’s been all season. There were seven teams vying for five spots.
The Wolverines make their debut into the Power 5 largely based on wins over North Carolina and Purdue plus they have the best defense in the nation. Is there a top notch coach more underappreciated than John Beilein?
The Wolverines survived a two point scare on the road against Northwestern as the Big Ten has two early season conference games. That should prove to be good for this team as they needed a tough road environment mixed in with their two dominant wins over ranked opponents.
Gonzaga’s loss to Tennessee was expected. The Bulldogs have played one heck of a non-conference schedule and that’s why they didn’t drop out. They have played Duke, Arizona, Washington and Tennessee. Oh and guess what, they play the Tar Heels this weekend. Coach Mark Few will have his crew battle tested by March. Right now, they’re catching North Carolina at the right team. Roy Williams’ young team has played inconsistently and a road win could all but solidify a number one seed for the Zags as long as they handle business in the conference.
Virginia’s lack of a true marquee win almost cost them their place in the Power 5. Wins over Wisconsin and Maryland save them. The Badgers were 24th when they faced the Cavaliers, now they’re 16th. Maryland was 25th and they’re now out of the top 25. But the Maryland win is a true road win in a difficult environment. South Carolina should pose a good test for Virginia.
That “Greatest Show in 94 feet” College Edition keep blasting opponents who dare step on the court with them. In their last four games, the closest win was their 21-point win over Indiana. Yes, you read that correctly. Next up in Princeton. The Ivy League has had a good non-conference run this season but don’t expect this to be one of them. The Blue Devils will deal them the same beating they’ve done to their last four opponents.
The Jayhawks have failed to slip up and, finally, I let go of my reluctance to put them in the top spot. Since the Tennessee win, they’ve taken care of three opponents that were no-brainers, even though, one could argue that the Stanford game was a little closer than expected. Kansas is in a tough spot this week. They have Villanova on the schedule with the Wildcats coming off a loss to Penn. Simply put, Jay Wright’s team isn’t where people expected they would be, even though, they’re where they should be considering all the roster changes. Kansas will win but won’t get the credit they would’ve gotten three weeks ago.
Nevada dropped out even though they didn’t lose and Tennessee didn’t jump in even though they defeated the number one team. We are splitting hairs here. Those teams can easily jump into the next Power 5 but this is the beauty of college basketball.