Saturday, December 4, 2010

Schools look to stop Duke from repeating but no one from the West is on the radar

If you look at the top-25 to start the season as we’re six games in there are some things that you expect to see, such as Duke sitting atop the polls and bogarting all the first place votes in both polls and Tom Izzo and his green army looking to get back to another Final Four, but what is a total surprise is that six games into the new season there is only one school west of the Mississippi in the top TWENTY and they’re not even from the Pac-10. No powerhouse that starts 3 seniors, no sleeping giant like Gonzaga, waiting in the wings, just San Diego State sitting at 6-0. So what happened West Coat hoops? It’s one thing to claim East Coast Bias but you can’t make a case for being snubbed come tournament time and not have on team of substance to make a case. Now I know this is not the NBA and you don’t bring back a starting five from a playoff team but the flipside to that coin is that you can go from worst to first one good recruiting class so there is no reason to not be in the mix two years in a row. Conversely, to say that Duke just re-loaded would be an understatement as they may be better than they were last season and getting a chance to see Kyrie Irving and Nolan Smith play it’s amazing how they seem to be able to ‘select’ rather than ‘recruit’ each year. But if they are going to repeat it certainly won’t be easy and the remaining top five teams of Ohio St., Pitt, Kansas, and K State are no strangers to competitive play and have the strength of schedule to back up their undefeated records. So what to expect from the rest? Well, OSU has only had one game against a top 10 opponent (#10 Florida) and won’t face one until next year when conference play begins and they host Tubby Smith and Minnesota. Now if Pittsburgh gets through December after facing Texas (#22), Tenn (#17), and UCONN(#9) and still has a zero in on the right side of the ledger then they’ll be number two and stealing some votes from Duke if they haven’t jumped over them by that time. KU escaped at home against UCLA and was almost caught ahead looking towards Memphis but after that they should be able to stay up near the top as they won’t play a ranked school until well into January. KState has already had their litmus test and failed miserably vs. Duke last week and will need wins against Florida(#16) and UNLV (#23) to get back in the talk of the best in the nation. The good thing about hoops is, (and you know where this is going), than unlike their kinsport football the season is all about seeding and we’ll get a chance to settle this on the court with no speculation or conjecture. In the meantime hopefully we’ll get a chance to see what the tournament has in store for us with more games like the Missouri/Georgetown TO thriller. Which schools have been overlooked so far this season? Can anyone challenge Duke? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

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