SportsTemps home

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Power 16: January 29, 2012

The Racers danced with excitement when I informed them of their inclusion
in my latest Power 16.  This is the type of reaction we like to see here at Sportstemps.

January's nearly over and there's still quite a bit of shuffling going on.  Syracuse finally lost, a third team entered the ACC title discussion (Florida St.), Wisconsin's back making the Big Ten more muddled than ever, and mid-majors are on the rise.  February is the most important month of the year since it's the last chance for teams to grab quality wins before the conference tournaments and mid-majors get to play in Bracket Busters.  This is also the month where the average fan who wants to win money in their bracket pools should begin to pay attention. Read on to see who's moved since the last Power 16.

              vs. RPI top 50
22-1 (9-1)
21-1 (7-0)
Ohio St.
18-3 (6-2)
North Carolina
17-3 (4-1)

Though Syracuse lost at Notre Dame, they still sit atop the Big East and are an impressive 4-0 against the RPI top 50 with three of those wins coming against top 25 teams.  Kentucky won a close one last weekend against Alabama and now have a commanding lead in the SEC.  Their only loss remains a one point defeat at Indiana making this team a lock for a 1 seed.  Don't look now but Ohio St. is officially on a roll - playing Nebraska and Penn St. helps - and are sitting in a first place tie with Michigan St. in the Big Ten. UNC moves into the 1's almost by default as Baylor continues to struggle with the best teams.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Conference Power Rankings: Missouri Valley

The Missouri Valley is a conference I enjoy following and this was before I attended one of the schools.  I've always liked the mid-majors but this is a conference whose style is similar to that of the Big Ten.  The tempo is slower than most, defense is emphasized, and rebounding and fundamentals are a must.  Think of it as the Big Ten's little brother.  Though it's been a few seasons since the MVC has made an impact in March, I believe the conference is turning the corner.  This is exemplified by the top two teams Creighton and Wichita St.  If they have success in the NCAA Tournament it's likely the conference will ride the effect for several years much like the Colonial did after George Mason's great run from 2006.

Father and son have been a lethal combination for the 
 Blue Jays this season. Winning Coach and Player of 
the Year honors
may be just the beginning of this team's 
post-season success. 

  1. Creighton 18-2 (8-1) - The Blue Jays avenged their only conference loss last week with a one point victory over Missouri St.  If they can defeat Wichita St. in the rematch there will be no doubt who the best team in the conference is.  Winning the conference title will also be a big help to Doug McDermott's All American chances.
  2. Wichita St. 17-3 (8-1) - The Shockers' three losses this season have come to Alabama, Temple, and Creighton.  While it's a bit worrisome they haven't defeated any of the ranked teams they've played, they're close to a lock for an NCAA berth.  The rematch with Creighton takes place in Omaha on Feb 11th.
  3. Missouri St. 12-9 (5-4) - To me this team has been a bit disappointing.  Losing to Creighton and Wichita St. is fine but the two home losses to Evansville and Illinois St. sting.  They'll have to win the conference tournament to earn the MVC a third NCAA bid.
  4. Drake 12-8 (5-4) - They're 0-4 against Creighton, Missouri St., and UNI and haven't even played Wichita St. yet.  Basically they're beating up on the bottom of the conference which is nice but getting a couple of wins against the top teams would go a long way in building their NIT resume.
  5. Evansville 10-9 (5-4) - Currently riding a three game winning streak, junior Colt Ryan has emerged as one of the conference's top players highlighted by his 39 points against Bradley.
  6. Northern Iowa 14-7 (4-5) - After playing great in the non-conference portion of the schedule, the Panthers have been mediocre during the regular season. They have a nice one point win over Missouri St. but also lost to Bradley.  They have a good enough non-con profile that they could have been a bubble team but it's too late for that now unless they go undefeated the rest of the way.
  7. Illinois St. 12-8 (4-5) - After starting off 3-1 in conference play, the Redbirds have gone 1-4 with their only win coming against Indiana St.  While ISU is + 14 in turnovers in their last four losses, they're only forcing 11 a game.  That's not enough when you're allowing opponents to make 46% of their two point shots.
  8. Southern Illinois 6-14 (3-6) - SIU opponents shoot free throws on 52% of their field goal attempts. That is an atrocious number that I'm willing to bet ranks in the bottom ten in the nation.  They also shoot 28% from three while allowing opponents to shoot 36%.  In case you're not getting the hint, this team is bad - worse than their record suggests.
  9. Indiana St. 11-7 (2-7) - What happened to this team? Their poor conference record is a result of the odd combination of not defending the three and not getting offensive rebounds.  I expected much more from this squad.
  10. Bradley 6-15 (1-8) - Their one win is perhaps the biggest surprise of the conference season thus far (defeated NIU 78-67).  They could squeak out a couple of more before the season ends but this team is pretty much entrenched in last place.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Conference Power Rankings: Horizon League

The Horizon League is often a one-bid league but they sure have been successful pulling off upsets.  Look no further than Butler's two straight trips to the NCAA Championship game for proof.  This year isn't likely to have the same fairy tale ending but it will be interesting to see who draws the Horizon League rep in the first round of this year's tournament.

Ronald Nored's free throw percentage (37%) should
tell you all you need to know about Butler's chances
of getting back to the Final Four this year.

  1. Wisconsin-Milwaukee 13-6 (6-1) - The loss at Butler is understandable but the Jan 3 loss to Western Michigan means they'll have to win the conference tourney if they want to participate in March.  Sunday's matchup with Cleveland St. is huge.
  2. Cleveland St. 15-4 (5-2) - Cleveland St. has the best chance of an at-large bid in the conference thanks to wins over Vanderbilt, Kent St., and Akron.  Their loss at Youngstown St. really stings and may be the one that ends up costing them the regular season title.
  3. Valparaiso 12-7 (5-2) - Has it really been fourteen years since Bryce Drew hit a three at the buzzer to upset Ole Miss in the NCAA Tournament?* The home wins over Green Bay and Cleveland St. are nice but there are too many issues on defense to consider them the conference favorite.
  4. Butler 10-9 (4-3) - Right when I was starting to take them seriously they drop a must-win to Detroit and then lose at home to Cleveland St.  There is no magic this year which makes me sad.
  5. Youngstown St. 9-8 (4-3) - The Penguins (great nickname) won three in a row to put themselves in first place but now have lost two straight. They're 5-1 at home this year.
  6. Detroit 9-11 (3-5) - Lost a squeaker to Valpo then upset Butler and won in Green Bay. They're playing better now than they have all season.  This team will be a handful in the conference tournament.
  7. Wright St. 9-11 (4-4) - Nearly pulled an upset of Butler and then did upset Valpo only to lose their next two games in the state of Wisconsin.  This team is so up and down I don't know which direction they're heading.
  8. Wisconsin-Green Bay 7-10 (3-5) - Green Bay's first two conference games came in the first week of December (they won both) but they didn't play their third until Dec 29.  After losing four straight they managed to finally get back on the right track when they defeated Wright St. Saturday.
  9. Illinois-Chicago 6-11 (2-5) - Remember when UIC upset Illinois last year?  
  10. Loyola 5-12 (0-7) - Last year Loyola was respectable though that now seems an aberration.  This team is clearly the worst in the conference and the only game I can see them being favored in is their home match against UIC in February.
*Editor's note: People often forget Valpo also beat Florida St. in the next round to advance to the Sweet 16.  Definitely one of the most unsuspecting Cinderellas ever.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Power 16: January 18, 2012

Soph. Dion Waiters leads the Orange's excellent defense this season.
According to Waiters ranks 3rd in the nation in steal % which
along with his teammates puts Syracuse first nationally in steal %. This team
has to be the favorite to cut down the nets in April.
It's been more than two weeks since I put out a Power 16 and there has been some shuffling.  Conference play is underway for everyone so we're starting to sort out the pretenders from the contenders.  At 2/3 of the way through the season, if your team hasn't started to put things together by now it's likely they will not.  Here's how we stand in the third week of January:

              Top 3 Quality Wins
20-0 (7-0)
   Florida, Marquette, Stanford
18-1 (4-0)
  Kansas, UNC, Louisville
Ohio St.
16-3 (4-2)
Duke, Florida, Indiana
17-1 (4-1)
  Kansas St., St. Mary's, BYU

Syracuse has been phenomenal.  At 20-0 they're one of only two undefeated teams remaining (Murray St.) and though the Big East is no cakewalk there are no teams that are on the same level with the Orange.  Kentucky will be tested vs. Alabama this weekend but with their only loss at Indiana they've got a firm grasp on a one seed.  Ohio St. is only 4-2 in conference play but has one of the best resumes of any team in the nation.  Plus Jared Sullinger is healthy and the committee will take that into consideration.  Baylor is a bit of an enigma.  They haven't played many top teams and their 18 point loss at Kansas raises some questions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Conference Power Rankings: ACC

And now back to the Power Rankings series.
The ACC is typically one of the best conferences in college basketball with North Carolina and Duke consistently considered contenders as the best team.  In the last couple of years, however, the ACC has begun to slip.  This was first noticed when they lost the Big Ten/ACC Challenge for the first time in 2009 after winning it ten straight years. After three straight losses and a season in which it's likely to have more teams on the bubble than as locks come March, it's apparent to most fans this conference ain't what it used to be.  Now, this doesn't mean the ACC is a bad conference, just until some of the other schools like Maryland, Wake Forest, and N.C. State regain the success they had in the 80's, 90's, and 2000's the conference will not be considered elite.

Mike Scott has led the Cavaliers to a 14-2 start making
them perhaps the most surprising team in the country and
with rekindled hopes of an NCAA bid.
  1. Duke 15-2 (3-0) -  I don't think Duke is the best team but right now they have the best profile; when you're undefeated you sit at the top. Close wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia are still wins. 
  2. North Carolina 15-3 (2-1) - The Tar Heels  road woes continue - UNC is 12-0 at home, 2-0 on a neutral floor, but just 1-3 on the road.  
  3. Florida St. 11-6 (2-1) - Statement wins are nice and Saturday's 90-57 win over North Carolina was just that.  The only thing FSU is lacking is consistency.  If they can put together a nice little streak of wins they'll be taken seriously.
  4. Virginia 14-2 (1-1) - Virginia started off 13-1 and has really played well lately. They'll likely be favored in their next five games putting them at 19-2 which would really open a lot of people's eyes.
  5. North Carolina St. 13-5 (2-1) - They beat Maryland then dropped a silly one at home to the Yellow Jackets. Following up that win with a 36 point shellacking of Wake Forest keeps them in the top five.
  6. Maryland 12-4 (2-1) - What do you know, Maryland is 9-1 in their last ten games. The level of difficulty is about to increase significantly with FSU, Temple, and Duke the next three games. Let's see what happens.
  7. Georgia Tech 8-9 (1-2) - GT doesn't have to play Duke, UNC, FSU, or Virginia twice this year. There is a chance for a fifth place finish and a solid NIT bid.
  8. Miami 9-6 (0-2) - There's still time to right the ship. With North Carolina and Virginia out of the way, Miami's next five games are all winnable. 
  9. Boston College 7-10 (2-1) - The win over Clemson was a bit of a surprise.  This team isn't as bad as many thought though losses to Holy Cross and Boston gave cause for people to see the worst in them.
  10. Clemson 9-8 (1-2) - The loss at Boston College may say more about this team than the close loss to Duke. The Tigers play decent defense but they seem to struggle getting to the free throw line and their best players aren't good foul shooters anyway. That makes winning close games even tougher.
  11. Wake Forest 10-7 (1-2) - Slowly but surely the Demon Deacons are climbing out of the cellar.  This is a team that went 1-15 in ACC play last season.  They've already got their win so perhaps they can double last season's total?
  12. Virginia Tech 11-6 (0-3) - It wasn't supposed to be like this.  Losing to BC and Wake is inexcusable and with the next two against UNC and at Virginia it's about to get worse.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 Hall of Fame Candidates: Ballot review

Two years ago I did a post about players on the Hall of Fame ballot and it received some positive feedback so I thought I'd do one this year too.

I'm sure we'll hear plenty about Barry Larkin this summer as the lone inductee - and he is a worthy inductee - but this is more of a chance to glance at everyone who didn't make it. Each writer gets to vote for up to ten players or as few as zero. So, if I had a ballot I couldn't vote for the top fifteen guys I feel are Hall worthy.  Below is the shakedown.
Stand up, Barry Larkin, this Bud's for you.

Barry Larkin, 86.4%: Larkin was arguably the best shortstop of the 90's though he's often forgotten when discussing great shortstops of his era.  I'm sure he'll make a nice speech.

Jack Morris, 66.7%: I'm not a fan of his candidacy but it now seems inevitable that he'll be enshrined one day.  His career ERA+ is 105.  Without researching I'm guessing that would be the worst of any Hall of Famer.

Jeff Bagwell, 56.0%: I don't comprehend why he hasn't been inducted. I'm assuming many voters believe he was a steroid user because he was muscular and hit for power.  This is a man who has never been on any lists and was not investigated in the Mitchell Report even though his team trainer was the star witness. He was a good base runner, excellent fielder and his 1994 season is one of the greatest ever by someone not named Bonds or Ruth.

Lee Smith, 50.6%: Lee Smith was a pretty darn good reliever for a long time which is how he was able to amass 478 career saves.  Unfortunately for him relief pitcher is the toughest position to earn enshrinement with only five relievers in the HOF (Wilhelm, Fingers, Eckersley, Gossage, Sutter). Now that his saves record has been broken by two people it's going to be even harder for him to get in.

Tim Raines, 48.7%: This is a significant gain; Raines has more than doubled his vote total since 2009 when he only managed 22%.  Did you know Tim Raines's career OBP is .385?  By comparison, Tony Gwynn's is .388 and last year's inductee Andre Dawson sports a career .325 mark. Just sayin'.

Edgar Martinez, 36.5%: Edgar's holding steady in the mid 30's.  He's a tough case for a lot of voters since he's the first pure DH to warrant serious Hall consideration.  He led the league in batting twice (in the Kingdome!), OBP three times, runs scored twice, doubles twice, runs and RBI once, and finished with a career OPS+ of 147. The man could hit.

Alan Trammell, 36.8%: What's this, a sudden spike in votes for Trammell?  It's his eleventh try on the ballot so it may be too little too late but it's something. Bill James ranked him as the 9th greatest shortstop of all time in his 2000 Baseball Abstract.

Fred McGriff, 23.9%: 493 career home runs ain't what it used to be. I'll have a Keltner List up for McGriff later but as of now his prospects don't look good.

Larry Walker, 22.9%: It's easy to forget how good Walker's statistics are. He won three batting titles, an MVP, seven Gold Gloves, and was a five time All-Star.  That's a pretty good resume.  Still, we need to take his numbers with a grain of salt since he played in Colorado in the pre-Humidor era.  He's a good candidate for a future Keltner List post.

Mark McGwire, 19.5%: 583 career home runs, 12 time all-star, led the league in OBP twice, slugging four times, and OPS+ four times.  Won a gold glove and finished in the top six in MVP voting five times.  Alas, there's a steroid scandal and if weren't for that he'd be in.

Don Mattingly, 17.8%:  Don Mattingly is sort of like Nomar Garciaparra.  He was great in his peak years but otherwise just another player.  Like Nomar, Mattingly had some injuries contribute to his downfall.  If not for that he may have been another Hall of Famer. Always "what if."

Dale Murphy, 14.5%: This is his fourteenth year on the ballot meaning it's 2013 or bust.  He has a pretty solid case to be inducted but when his prime was over so was his career.

Palmeiro: "I have never used steroids." This is all
you need to know about why he's an afterthought.
Rafael Palmeiro, 12.6%: Career longevity led to 3020 hits and 569 home runs. Steroids led to him only getting 72 votes.

Bernie Williams, 9.6%: I figured he would do a little better being a Yankee and all.  See how I feel here.

Everybody mentioned thus far will return on 2013's ballot. The players listed below failed to receive 5% of the vote and won't get another chance for induction.

Juan Gonzalez, 4.0%: I'm pretty surprised he didn't make it over the 5% threshold. He hit 40+ homers five times and had 157 RBI in 1998.  A two-time MVP, even with steroid rumors he deserved better.

Vinny Castilla, 6 votes: Castilla was a good defensive third baseman who had some serious pop. In 1996 and 1997 he finished with the exact same triple crown stats (.304/40/113) which is really weird. He hit 30+ home runs six times.
What happens when you win 2 MVP's, hit 40 home runs
five times but are rumored to have used PEDs?  You get
kicked off the ballot after two years. 

Tim Salmon, 5 votes: Salmon is probably the best player to never make an All-Star game. He finished just one homer shy of 300.

Bill Mueller, 4 votes: Pedro Gomez of ESPN voted for you and not Tim Raines!  A good OBP guy who was underrated until he had his career year with Boston.  After that he became overrated.

Brad Radke, 2 votes: One of the best pitchers in Twins history, Radke had impeccable control and was a 20 game winner once.

Eric Young & Javy Lopez, 1 vote: Lopez probably deserved more while Eric Young should be happy to get one.

Jeremy Burnitz, Ruben Sierra, Phil Nevin, Brian Jordan, Terry Mulholland, and Tony Womack* - 0 votes.  Congrats for being on the ballot.

*Womack somehow made the cut over superior players like Edgardo Alfonzo. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Conference Power Rankings: Mid-American Conference

Wally Szczerbiak is no longer here to help provide
excitement for MAC fans in March.  Luckily Ohio is having
some fans talk of an at-large bid thanks to a hot start.
In the 1990's the MAC was one of the best mid-major conferences often sending multiple schools to the NCAA Tournament. In the last decade they've been passed by the MVC, WCC, and arguably the Colonial, too.  In fact the conference hasn't earned multiple bids since 1999 when Kent St. (11) and Miami (10) - who had All-American Wally Szczerbiak - each qualified. I'm not trying to pile on but in the past ten NCAA Tournaments (2002-2011) the conference has gone 5-10 with three of those wins coming from Kent St. in 2002.

Unfortunately I've been unable to catch any MAC games except for the Northern Illinois-Purdue tilt which was quite possibly the biggest mismatch I've ever seen between two Division I teams.  Follow this link to an accurate assessment by people who actually follow MAC basketball.

MAC Power Rankings

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bernie Williams Keltner List

I'd like to change gears here for a couple of days and remind everyone that it's baseball Hall of Fame season.  My favorite way to analyze retired players is with the Keltner List and I've done a few Keltner Lists on this blog to decipher candidates voters are divided on (Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Jim Rice).  As a reminder the Keltner List is a systematical method used to determine the Hall of Fame eligibility of a Hall of Fame candidate created by Bill James.  It is comprised of fifteen non-numeric questions that allow the voter (or fan) to evaluate how the player is viewed both historically and when compared to others of his era.  This year's most discussed candidate is Bernie Williams.
In Bernie Williams' 16-year career, he played in the postseason  twelve
times including six World Series. His career postseason OPS is .850.

Conference Power Rankings: West Coast Conference

Have you ever been home late on a Saturday night and turned the channel over to ESPN2 or ESPNU and seen some college basketball being played in what looked to be a high school gym? Odds are you were watching a West Coast Conference game. The WCC is comprised of nine small private schools - most of which do not have football - with strong religious affiliations. Gonzaga is the most well known to the casual basketball fan. After all, they've made 13 straight NCAA Tournament appearances winning at least once in ten of those years.
Gonzaga's not the only school to make an NCAA appearance during this run, either.  Here's a quick rundown of who has qualified out of the WCC since 1999:

Year Schools (seed) YearSchools (seed)
1999 Gonzaga (10) 2006 Gonzaga (3)
2000 Gonzaga (10), Pepperdine (11) 2007 Gonzaga (10)
2001 Gonzaga (12) 2008 Gonzaga (7), St. Mary's (10), San Diego (13)
2002 Gonzaga (6), Pepperdine (10) 2009 Gonzaga (4)
2003 Gonzaga (9), San Diego (13) 2010 Gonzaga (8), St. Mary's (10)
2004 Gonzaga (2) 2011 Gonzaga (11)
2005 Gonzaga (3), St. Mary's (10)

As the chart shows, six times in the past thirteen years the WCC has sent multiple schools to the Big Dance. Not bad for a mostly obscure conference relegated to playing Saturday night games on the little brother channels of the ESPN network.  Prior to this season the WCC was an eight-member conference but newcomer BYU (basketball only) adds some clout to the hardwood.  The WCC isn't as deep as the Mountain West but St. Mary's and Gonzaga present challenges just the same.  Last year the Cougars earned a three seed and while that's not going to happen this year it's not unreasonable to think that BYU makes this a three-bid league.  So the next time you're flipping through the channels in the middle of the night and you see a couple of WCC schools battling it out stay a while and take it in.  There's some pretty good basketball out there.

Kevin Pangos looks to lead Gonzaga to an incredible
14th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Now on to the Power Rankings:
  1. St. Mary's 14-2 (3-0) - How impressive was St. Mary's victory over BYU?  According to, BYU still ranks 30th in the nation in defensive efficiency even after giving up 98 points to the Gaels. That's some offense.
  2. Gonzaga 12-2 (2-0) - The Zags continue to prove that the road to a WCC conference crown goes through Spokane. A 39 point victory over Portland was a great way to start the conference season.
  3. BYU 13-4 (2-1) - BYU got a reality check when they visited St. Mary's last week. The best win on their schedule is still Oregon so they'll need to beat one of the top dogs to secure an at-large berth.
  4. Loyola Marymount 8-7 (1-1) - Loyola played BYU tough and has a couple of nice wins against UCLA and St. Louis but there is a clear divide between #3 and the rest of the conference.
  5. Pepperdine 7-7 (1-2) - Pepperdine had people believing they could be a spoiler in the WCC until they lost by 29 to St. Mary's. Losing badly at Gonzaga may even hurt their chances of a CBI invite.
  6. Santa Clara 8-6 (0-1) - Thursday night's loss was not the way the Broncos wanted to start the year. A trip to Spokane is next meaning Santa Clara is likely going to be staring 0-2 in the face. This team is better than that and I expect they'll get their act together and make a push for fourth place.
  7. San Francisco 10-6 (0-2) - San Francisco continues to play nobody in the non-conference schedule which probably hurts them when they run into the likes of Gonzaga/St. Mary's/BYU.  They may be the fourth best team in the conference or the 8th best.  It's too early to really tell but 0-2 puts you closer to last than first.
  8. San Diego 5-9 (0-2) - San Diego's best win to this point is Maine and only two of their losses are by single digits.
  9. Portland 4-11 (1-1) - Portland has played a respectable schedule with few cupcakes but no real world beaters either.  With only three wins they're stuck in the basement though they're possibly better than San Diego.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Conference Power Rankings: Big East

It's no secret the Sportstemps are partial to the happenings in the Midwest and tend to neglect items that happen on the coasts.  While the watching games on the West Coast can be a bit inconvenient due to scheduling, East Coast games seem to be on whenever you're flipping through the channels.  The world's biggest sports network will pummel the average American with commercials advertising mediocre matchups just because they happen close to home.  Let Dick Vitale continue to praise the awesomeness of the ACC just because he was buds with Jimmy V and Dean Smith.  And let Doug Gottlieb continue to pretend he knows all just because.  That being said, there is some good basketball being played out east and just because we don't have a horse in the race doesn't mean we don't follow what's going on.
I've decided to take a break from the Big Ten this week and start a run-down of the major conferences to provide a quick overview of how each team is doing and where they stand in relation to their league-mates.  We'll start with one of ESPN's favorites: the Big East.

The Sportstemps agree there's good bball
in the Big East but regardless of what ESPN
would have you believe, DePaul, USF, and Rutgers still
remain members of the conference meaning the
Big East also contains the Big Least of roundball.

  1. Syracuse 16-0 (3-0) - A perfect 15-0 record to go along with a more than convincing win over Seton Hall.  This is a team whose biggest road bump to an undefeated January will be a home match with Marquette.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Power 16: Ringing in the New Year

What better way for the blog to celebrate the new year than with the first Power 16 of the college basketball season!  It's still early and only half the conferences have played a conference game but we're starting to see some separation at the top.  Remember, the Power 16 predicts which teams would earn protective seeds if the NCAA Tournament began today. 
Marquis Teague may be the best freshman
in the country.  He's also the starting PG for
the nation's best team. 

              Top 3 Quality Wins
13-1 (0-0)
   Kanas, UNC, Louisville
North Carolina 
12-2 (0-0)
  Michigan St., Wisconsin, Texas
13-1 (1-1)
Kentucky, Ohio St., NC St.
14-0 (1-0)
Florida, Stanford, Seton Hall

Kentucky has been the best team this season; they own the best collection of quality wins and their only loss was suffered at IU.  I expect them to maintain their position all year.  North Carolina looks like another top tier team despite suffering a couple of losses (@UNLV, @Kentucky).  Their non-conference schedule was strong and boosts them to the #2 overall at this point. Indiana has home victories over both Kentucky and Ohio St.  They may not be able to sustain this level all year but they're pretty darn good and it will be a surprise if they lose at home this season.  Despite zero losses Syracuse sits at number four.  Going undefeated this long is impressive but it's slightly less impressive when you see they've only played one true road game, tied with Missouri for the fewest in the country.