The Story: It’s no surprise that Kansas and Kentucky remain in the top two spots in both polls. The Jayhawks, who received all but one first place vote in the Coaches’ poll, won a close battle against Texas A&M before handling Colorado relatively easily. Kentucky on the other hand had a harder week. The Wildcats won two games on the road, beating Mississippi State by six in overtime followed by a thriller at Vanderbilt. Last week’s No. 3 team, Villanova, falls to No. 7/8 after losing two in a row to Connecticut and Pittsburgh. Purdue, Syracuse, and Duke round out the top five thanks to Villanova’s departure. Gonzaga falls six spots to No. 15 in the Coaches’ poll after losing at Loyola Marymount. Georgetown and Michigan State also dropped a few spots in both polls. Ohio State, previously No. 9 in the AP poll, has now also cracked the top 10 in the Coaches’ poll. The Buckeyes split their games last week, losing at home to Purdue, but they bounced back to beat Michigan State on the road. Wake Forest is the only team to fall off of the AP poll this week and is replaced by Northern Iowa (who lost a shocker to MVC low-life Evansville last night). Wake and Baylor fall from the Coaches’ poll and are replaced by Richmond and UTEP.
Ryter’s Block: I haven’t brought this up in awhile, but here goes…Why can’t both polls get on the same page? Butler is No. 10 in the Coaches’ and No. 15 in the AP. Vanderbilt is No. 20 in the Coaches’ and No. 16 in the AP. A 1-3 spot differential is relatively acceptable, but 5 spots for Butler? Come on. 5? There shouldn’t be that much of a difference. (Which one do you think is more appropriate, or are both off?)
How good is John Wall? The block he made in the closing seconds at Vanderbilt that led to a Kentucky victory was amazing. Please take the time to watch it. He doesn’t bite on the pump fake (which enabled Vandy to hit a 3 on the possession before from the corner), stays on the ground and rises just as Vandy’s John Jenkins rises to shoot. You can try to teach this stuff as a coach, but that play was made by Wall’s instincts. He’s a game changer, we all know that, but instinctively he’s got what it takes to lead Kentucky deep into March.
I realize the Big East beats up one another because it is such a deep conference. However, I wrote last week that it was ridiculous that Georgetown was ranked in the top 10. Well, they lost again, granted it was to Syracuse, but manage to only fall one spot in the AP poll. Really? This team has no depth. They rely too heavily on their starters and if Monroe is in foul trouble, it equals disaster for the Hoyas. They should be lower in the polls at (18-7, 8-6). They're good enough to beat mediocre teams like Louisville last night, but aren’t consistent enough to be just outside of the top 10.
Connecticut pulled off a much needed win at home against West Virginia Monday night. If the Huskies win out, they’ll finish 10-8 in the Big East and that may be enough to get them in. Do you think they deserve to be in field?
Enough rambling…here’s a look at this week’s games….
Wednesday, February 24:
Dayton at #18 Temple
#23 Texas A&M at Baylor
Saturday, February 27:
#2 Kentucky at #17 Tennessee
#8 Villanova at #4 Syracuse
Missouri at #6 Kansas State
#12 New Mexico at #11 BYU
#21 Texas at #23 Texas A&M
Illinois State at #22 Northern Iowa
Sunday, February 28:
#14 Michigan State at #3 Purdue