Sound the alarm. Mid-major haters and blinders-wearing BCS-only-matters proponents, beware, the apocalypse is near.
Gonzaga as college basketball’s No. 1 now exists as a very, very real possibility, if not probability – as early as the start of next week.
With Indiana dropping its third game in the absolute meat grinder of a Big Ten schedule, the Bulldogs continuing to cruise through West Coast Conference softies and no one else really stepping up and staying up, the line between haves and have-nots may be blurred beyond recognition.
Oh, the horror …
Ever since Gonzaga crashed the big boys party with an Elite Eight run back in 1999, the higher ups in the Division I image pecking order have been dreading this. Oh sure, they’ll endure the Bulldogs getting a little national pub and maybe even smile when Gonzaga knocks off another ranked opponent, confident all the while that those upstarts from Spokane, Wash., will get what’s coming to them at some point – either in the polls, the NCAA seeding process or the NCAA Tournament itself.
Iowa State hired former Cyclone great Fred Hoiberg three years ago with no previous head coaching on his resume, but a lengthy background highlighted by a good career in the NBA. What Hoiberg has done over the past three years has been exceptionally fun to watch. Iowa State has long been a doormat to many Big-12 foes, but in the past few years that has started to change. Hoiberg may have little to none coaching experience but his players respect him and he has a university behind him.Iowa State is currently 19-9, while boasting a 9-6 record in the Big 12. They dropped an OT decision to a tough Kansas squad the other evening in which the NCAA later said that there was "some missed calls that potentially affected the outcome of the game". But nonetheless, the Cyclones will continue on their journey to March where they look to surprise some of the biggest names in college basketball. They rank in the top 20 respectively in assists, points and rebounds per game under Hoiberg. Their key wins are over Baylor (who currently is on ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi's last four in) and 13th-ranked Kansas State.
It’s been an enlightening season in college basketball. The blinders appear to have come off a vast majority and respect is being shown to some lesser lights that deserve it, from major schools to smaller ones.
Still, it seems a little extra insight might be in order … or at least a tweaking of respective grading systems such as the RPI and BPI – when it comes to conferences.
Sure, a mid-major circuit seems worthy of top-five acclaim – but the Mountain West, at No. 2, right behind the Big Ten?
No offense, but it doesn’t really compute, not when you compare the MWC to the Atlantic 10. Neither outfit needs to bow down to the big boys anymore. They’ve proven to be worthy opposition for any level. But if you stack up the resumes thus far in 2012-13, how does the A-10 stand behind the MWC at all, never mind five spots?
At this point, you pretty much have to throw your hands in the air with trying to make sense of this college basketball season.
Oh sure, we got Indiana atop the AP poll once again … less than a week after it lost as the No. 1 team on a last-second shot at Big Ten middling Illinois. That kinda stopped the craziness in voting circles, for awhile at least.
But it hasn’t stopped elsewhere in 2012-13.
–Miami leads the ACC by two full games over Duke, plastered the Blue Devils by 27 points recently, and still can’t climb above them in either the writers’ or coaches’ polls.
–The Hurricanes actually lost to Indiana State by two points in overtime back in December.
–The Sycamores, making like they haven’t since the Larry Bird days of three decades ago, also beat MVC rivals Wichita State and Creighton while the two were ranked. Then they lost to 8-18 Missouri State.
Last Second Heave: Kansas and Creighton Drop the Ball, Best and Rest of the Week in College Basketball (February 10)
A wild week of college basketball is complete, so it’s time to look at the highlights (and lowlights, depending on who you are) for the week of February 3 - 9.
(5) Kansas and (16) Creighton Both Lose Two Games in the Week
Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks entered the week reeling from their disappointing defeat at home to Oklahoma State, a loss that ended the Jayhawks’ longest active home winning streak in the nation at 33 games.
Instead of coming into TCU with the intention of overcoming their heartbreak, Kansas dropped a stunner, 62-55. The win was TCU’s first Big 12 victory of the season.