Daily Dribble: Top 10 Final Predictions
First off, I'd like to apologize that yesterday's Dribble went in the wrong section of the site. It was linked from the front page, but those who go directly to the Daily Dribble homepage would not have found it.
Anyways, yesterday's schedule was rather thin so I'm not going to recap the action. Basically this is what you need to know about Monday night's results: UCONN showed that they're still mediocre, Vermont and Albany are the class of the America East, Wright State has suddenly won 8 of 9 games, Northern Iowa's odds of making the Tournament are very slim, Texas A&M is real good, Jaycee Carroll lit up NMSU for 44 points, Derek Raivio has reverted to last year's form.
That basically covers Monday.. and instead I'm going to predict the final regular season records of the Top 10 (Coaches Poll) teams today.
#1 Florida - Currently 21-2. 8 games left. Prediction: 28-3
The Gators have a tough schedule.. a home and home with Kentucky, road games at LSU, Tennessee, and Vandy as well as a home game with Top 20 Alabama. I don't see them losing at Kentucky, but I could see them getting surprised at LSU or Tennessee (Lofton should return tonight or the Vols next game). The Gators will be #1 at the end of the season with little doubt.
#2 UCLA - Currently 20-2. 8 games left. Prediction: 26-4
Man, UCLA has a tough schedule left. Road games at Arizona, Washington, and Washington State in conference play, plus USC and Stanford at home. USC is a lot of trouble, but the Bruins should end up sweeping the season series. More dangerous are the conference road games. Arizona will be in major need of a centerpiece Pac-10 win and the Cats played the Bruins well in Los Angeles. I'm going to give that game to Arizona. Finally, there's also an intriguing non-conference game at West Virginia. The Mountaineers are 18-4 and their style of play should keep the game close to the end. I cant say WVU will win that game.. but I can say UCLA will lose either that game or at Washington State (even Washington isn't a given).
#3 Ohio State - Currently 20-3. 7 games left. Prediction: 27-3
I don't see Ohio State losing the rest of the way. The toughest game is at home against Wisconsin.. but I'm pretty certain OSU will win that game. They don't face MSU or Indiana again, and they have Purdue at home. The game at Michigan seems like its losable, but only if this was 10 years ago before Tommy Amaker was the coach. The Buckeyes will win the Big Ten.
#4 Wisconsin - Currently 22-2. 7 games left. Prediction: 27-4
As noted above, i think OSU will end up winning the conference. The Badgers have the huge game at Columbus, but also a home and home with Michigan State. The Badgers have 4 easy wins before the trip to Lansing, and I could see the Spartans matching up well in that game. Finally after the back to back losses at MSU and OSU, Wisconsin will return to beat MSU at home in the finale.
#5 UNC - Currently 20-3. 8 games left. Prediction: 26-5
Heels have some tough games left.. at Duke, at BC, at Maryland, at GT and then home against Duke again to end the season. I still think UNC is legit, but its hard to win every ACC road game. In our Expert Picks article, I picked Duke to win (though I keep wavering on this).. so that's one loss for UNC. Then it would be too much to ask UNC to win all 3 of their remaining road games, and I could see them getting surprised at Maryland.
#6 Texas A&M - Currently 19-3. 7 games left. Prediction: 25-4
A&M finally broke through on the road with the big win at Kansas. Now playing their best ball, games against Nebraska (road), Texas Tech, and Oklahoma (road) should be wins. 2 of the final 4 games though are at Texas and at Oklahoma State. The Aggies will lose one of those, most likely at Texas. The final score of last night's 100-82 win by A&M looks bad, but this game was 76-72 with 7 minutes to go.
#7 Pittsburgh - Currently 20-3. 8 games left. Prediction: 26-5
I have the Panthers down for two losses the rest of the way. Georgetown played the Panthers close in Pitt and should be favored at home. Still, that game could go either way. The same holds true for Pitt's trip to Marquette. The Eagles beat Pitt at Pitt, which would make it seem like they're a lock to win at home, but that's definitely not the case. That game could go either way as well. Besides those two, there's also a home and home against surprising West Virginia, and at home against an improving Louisville team that will be fighting for a postseason bid. Finishing 6-2 the rest of the way would be impressive for the Panthers.
#8 Memphis - Currently 19-3. 8 games left. Prediction: 26-4
The CUSA simply stinks. Its conceivable Memphis has an off day and drops a game at UTEP later on, or maybe at Tulsa. But the odds of that are slim. Instead the one game I have down as a loss is the tough road trip to Gonzaga. The Tigers are the better team, but the venue and timing of the game are too heavily in Gonzaga's favor.
#9 Kansas - Currently 19-4. 8 games left. Prediction: 25-6
Coming off the loss to A&M, Kansas should handle Kansas State tomorrow, and then beat two of the league's weakest teams (Colorado and Missouri) on the road. Then another home game with Nebraska should leave the Hawks at 23-4. The last 4 games though include tougher affairs at Kansas State, at Oklahoma, and home against Texas. The game against K-State should be interesting because the Wildcats could be fighting for their tourney lives. Finally, I like Texas in that final game even though the Horns havent been great on the road.
#10 Butler - Currently 22-2. 7 games left. Prediction: 28-3
The Bulldogs have been rolling through the Horizon League in recent weeks. A game at 17-8 Wright State seems like it could be trouble.. but Butler destroyed the Raiders earlier and should win again. Loyola (Chi) gave the Bulldogs trouble in Chicago, but in Indy it should be an easy win. The one loss I have marked down is against Southern Illinois in the BracketBusters event. SIU's been playing great ball recently, and I think they'll peak as the season nears its end. This is easily the best game of the event.