Weekly Top 25 Commentary: Pittsburgh Surges
The Story: There are currently four unbeaten teams, Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, and Purdue, and they are the top four teams in the country for the 2nd week in a row. Two previously undefeated teams, Syracuse and West Virginia, both fell to No. 7 and No. 8 respectively. Their Big East losses enabled Duke and Villanova to climb up to No. 5 and No. 6 this week. Ohio State is beginning to feel the effects of losing Evan Turner. The Buckeyes lost twice this week to rival Big Ten opponents, Wisconsin and Michigan, and have dropped from both polls after being ranked No. 15 last week. UAB, Clemson and Northwestern join Ohio State as the other teams to fall from the AP poll. Northwestern, who earned its first ranking in the AP poll since 1969, started conference play with two consecutive losses. Texas Tech was the only team, joining Ohio State, to fall from the Coaches’ poll. Temple and BYU are newcomers to both polls this week, while Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh join the AP poll.
Polls: AP & Coaches’
Ryter’s Block: Pittsburgh and Jamie Dixon seem to land one great college point guard after another. Ashton Gibbs (CollegeHoops.net's Player of the Week) turned in two great performances this week (23 points, 7 boards, 4 assists vs. DePaul and 24 points and 8 boards vs. Syracuse) to land the Panthers in this week’s top 25. How is Pitt ranked in the AP poll, but not the Coaches’? They should be ranked in place of Butler (10-4). Another individual performance worth noting that helped land their team in this week’s polls is BYU’s Jimmer Fredette. Fredette dropped 49 points at Arizona in leading the Cougars to a 30-point blowout win. The Evan Turner injury has finally caught up to the Buckeyes, or so it seems. I realize they played two consecutive conference games on the road, but with Turner I think they come out with a victory in one of those games.
Ryter’s Rant: Although Tennessee is still ranked (No. 16/15) they took the biggest hit this week. Four players, including Tyler Smith were suspended indefinitely after being charged with gun possession and other counts. The other counts include possession of marijuana and an open container. What’s the deal with guns recently? Delonte West, Gilbert Arenas and now this. We see the marijuana/alcohol issue more often and it’s a common mistake among college kids to “experiment” with partying. This is what college is for, to get the partying out of your system. (Note: I’m not condoning the use of marijuana or any drug, but the media and fans and even police officers are more apt to turn their heads the other way when kids are caught at a party with drugs or alcohol.) However, when there is a gun in play, this is a completely different issue altogether. Where drug abuse, you mainly are causing harm to yourself (unless operating a vehicle), carrying a gun is on a different level. I am commenting on this before knowing all the details, but as their senior leader, Tyler Smith should have avoided this situation. Tennessee had a legitimate shot at the SEC title this year. They seemed to be the only contender aside from Kentucky. Now with what has taken place it seems as if the Wildcats should have no problem capturing the conference crown.
Here are the games to watch this week, highlighted by a jam packed Saturday…
Wednesday, January 6
#20 Wisconsin at #11 Michigan State
#12 Georgetown at Marquette
Saturday, January 9
#4 Purdue at #20 Wisconsin
#5 Duke at #17 Georgia Tech
#8 West Virginia at Notre Dame
#13 Connecticut at #12 Georgetown
UNLV at #14 New Mexico
#23 BYU at UTEP