College Basketball Contenders; Weekend Preview

At this point in the College Basketball season I am not sure we know much beyond this, Ohio State is looking really good and may be the only safe contender for the Final Four.  In the last week Syracuse has lost twice, Villanova lost by double digits at Providence, Pittsburgh lost at home, Kansas lost at home and San Diego State lost at BYU.  That is a lot of losses for top ten teams in one week.

I will break down my categories based upon the ESPN Power Rankings and the Ken Pomeroy Efficiency Ratings.

Favorite:  Ohio State

Ohio State – The Buckeyes are bordering on dominant after a very impressive week.  Or at least as dominant as a team can be with the revolving door in today’s college basketball.  Last week Ohio State won at Illinois and trounced Purdue at home.  I am very interested in their two games against Wisconsin.  If they can handle a slower pace and still be very impressive there will not be much left for them to prove in the regular season.  They have great three point shooting, athletic wings and inside scoring.  Tough out.

Contenders: Duke, UConn, Texas, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Washington

Duke – Everyone jumped off of this bandwagon after Kyrie Irving got hurt but Duke is still good enough to win it without him.

UConn – Boosted by Kemba Walker and good shot blocking UConn might still be a little over-rated.  I think they are final four material but not championship material yet, neither their offense or defense is in the top 10 in efficiency.

Texas – Very impressive wins at Kansas and at Oklahoma State(on the plane crash dedication night).  This Saturday they host Missouri.  Texas has suffocating defense(ranked 1st in nation) with a couple of playmakers on offense.  Can we trust a Rick Barnes team?

Kansas – The Texas lost hurt my opinion.  It could be possible that Texas’s defense is just that good but I do not love the scoring options for Kansas.

Pittsburgh – Great offensive team.  They really attack the offensive glass but the loss at home to Notre Dame hurt my view.  Need to see more of them, and hopefully some defense.

Kentucky – Typical Calipari team, great players, great athletes, great on defense but again the SEC is weak so it is tough to judge them.  Kentucky is a much better shooting team this year so teams cannot just zone them like last year.

Washington – While the Huskies are a good team I think they will benefit more by likely getting a 1 seed since they one of the only strong teams in the West.  They have a chance to get a very smooth path if they do get the 1 seed in the West, which is likely.

Final Four Possible -  BYU, Villanova, Wisconsin, Syracuse

These are teams that need some help to get to a Final Four but can get there.  They would need to be in a favorable region, get good matchups, or both.  Jimmer Fredette from BYU will be the major story of the tournament if BYU can last.  If BYU can get to a Sweet 16 I think they will be extremely dangerous because they will become the crowd favorite for all of the neutral spectators.

Weekend Preview

Louisville @ UConn – I did not include Louisville in any of my lists above because I do not believe they are all that good.  I watched them beat West Virginia at home this week on a last second shot and West Virginia had not scored a field goal in over 13 minutes in the second half.  They can begin to sway me with a win here.  UConn will be favored by 5-7.

Georgetown @ Villanova – Disappointing loss for Villanova this week at Providence but that happens on the road in conference games.  I really liked Villanova before that loss so hopefully they can bounce back.  We do not know much about Georgetown, they beat bad teams, loss to good teams.  Villanova will be favored by 6ish.

Missouri @ Texas – When can we start to trust Texas?  A win here would help.   Missouri is another team we need to see more of and it starts with this game.  Texas should be favored by 8.

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