Mid-Week Madness: Little Guys Take Center Stage In Our Power Rankings

 
on January 23 2013 2:23 AM

Blah, blah, blah … Blah, blah, blah …

Think about it, what more can you say after a weekend in which Syracuse knocked off No. 1 Saturday afternoon in Louisville and then got one-upped later that night in a mid-major classic for the ages, in which two mid-majors that really shouldn’t be considered mid-majors at this point showed once again why they shouldn’t be considered mid-majors at this point.

In short, “little guys,” you got the floor …

DAVIDs

Butler, 16-2. If ever any doubts existed that something special was brewing with the Bulldogs under Brad Stevens, they should have been put to rest in front of a national-TV audience Saturday night. Of course, they should have been put to rest by back-to-back NCAA title-game appearances in 2010 and 2011, but that’s another story to beat BCS conference propaganda mongers over the head with at another date. A word of warning – Butler has a legit trap game tonight at overlooked La Salle before hosting giant-killer Temple on Saturday.

Gonzaga, 17-2. In reality, Zags gave that game to Butler – even with getting 20 points off the bench from Sam Dower. If they’re going to take the ultimate step and really be a legit national power, they can’t be easing off the throttle and getting outplayed by a team with less talent and missing its best player/leading scorer (Rotnei Clarke).

Virginia Commonwealth, 16-3. While Butler grabbed all the national acclaim over the weekend, guess who still stands atop the Atlantic 10 standings? The Rams are a dynamic group of ballhawks with a voracious appetite to score. They’ve eclipsed 90 points seven times already this season.

Wichita State, 17-2. Honestly, there was no shock in the Shockers upending better-publicized Missouri Valley Conference rival Creighton on Saturday. Senior F Carl Hall returned after being out seven games with a thumb injury and led the charge with 17 points and 13 boards. They’re solid.

Wyoming, 15-2. Gotta give the Cowboys some love after they shut down No. 15 San Diego State. Thing is, they handled No. 19 Colorado back in December. Behind Leonard Washington (14 points and 14 boards vs. the Aztecs), they’re good, especially when they don’t overlook an opponent.

GOLIATHs

Duke, 16-1. Blue Devils handled Georgia Tech last time out. Yawn. Things could get a little more interesting when they visit No. 25 Miami tonight.

Michigan, 17-1. The backcourt of Trey Burke (see BMOCs) and Tim Hardaway Jr. is just beautiful to watch. It spearheaded the charge in a rebound victory at No. 9 Minnesota last week.

Kansas, 16-1. The Jayhawks are about as entertaining as a cooking show on TV, filmed in black and white, but they keep winning. Not by much, but they keep winning.

Syracuse, 17-1. Somehow that impressive road win against the Cardinals lost even more of its luster after Saturday, as Louisville then got its head handed to it Tuesday by struggling Villanova.

Arizona, 16-1. ’Cats appear to be cruising under the radar, just waiting to pounce. The reality, though, is that they currently are third in the Pac-12 standings.

BMOCs

Mike Muscala, Bucknell, senior C. Yeah, yeah, he plays in the Patriot League, but he’s already shown he can play with anyone, as evidenced by his 25-point, 14-rebound assault in a two-point loss at Missouri. The big fella currently boasts the best double-double combo numbers in the country: 20.1 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.

Trey Burke, Michigan, sophomore PG. He’s a model of consistency, and seeing as how he directs the Wolverines’ attack, that makes them a serious national-title contender. He averages 18 points and 7.2 assists per game. At Minnesota last time out, he had 18 and 9 – consistent, people.

Doug McDermott, Creighton, junior F. The Bluejays fell at Wichita State, but D-Mac was brilliant as usual, depositing 25 points and 6 boards in the bank. He averages 24.1 and 7.2 for the season. He also shoots 56.5 percent from the floor, including 52.5 from beyond the arc.

Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, sophomore PG. The wunderkind would be an even more likely candidate for POY honors if he weren’t a turnover machine. However, his numbers otherwise across the board are great: 12.3 points, nation-leading 9.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game.

Mason Plumlee, Duke, senior C. He’s a better-known version of Muscala, courtesy of his Blue Devils connection. But the guy can play, averaging 17.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Only shot 7-for-20 vs. G-Tech, but still stuffed the stat sheet: 16 points, 13 boards, 3 blocks, 3 steals, 2 assists.

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