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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.

               Top 3 Quality Wins 
North Carolina.
15-3 (2-1)
     Michigan St., Wisconsin, Texas
15-3 (5-0)
      Baylor, Ohio St., Kansas St.
Michigan St.
15-4 (4-2)
     Indiana, Florida St., Wisconsin
15-2 (3-0)
    Michigan St., Kansas, Michigan

This is group is tightly bunched.  UNC's road woes (1-3) will need to be fixed if they are to move into one seed territory.  Kansas' huge win over Baylor makes them the favorite to win the Big 12 which in turn would likely give them a one seed.  Michigan St. lost a golden opportunity at Michigan last night; winning in Ann Arbor would've given them another impressive quality win.  Duke continues to roll along though they'll likely need to go 14-2 in ACC play to earn a one seed.

               Top 3 Quality Wins
17-1 (4-1)
   Illinois, Texas, California
14-3 (4-2)
  Louisville, Marquette, Alabama
15-3 (3-3)
Kentucky, Ohio St., Michigan
15-3 (4-1)
  Ohio St., Gonzaga, Minnesota 

Missouri turned out to be a bit of a pretender when Kansas St. blew them away last week. They travel to Baylor this weekend where a win would go a long way in building their NCAA profile.  Georgetown probably has the best chance of finishing second in the Big East which would give them at worst a three seed. Indiana and Illinois continue to win somehow.  IU covers up their poor defense with one of the nation's most efficient offenses while the Illini defense has been good enough to overcome their turnover issues.

              Top 3 Quality Wins
16-3 (0-1)
  UNC, Illinois, California
14-3 (4-2)
  Harvard, Florida St., West Virginia
14-2 (1-1)
  Michigan, Miami, George Mason
Kansas St.
12-4 (1-3)
   Missouri, Alabama, Long Beach St.

UNLV's loss to San Diego St. knocked them out of three seed territory and down into the fours.  There's still a good chance for them to move up especially if they beat New Mexico.  UConn continues to roll along although their conference schedule hasn't gotten difficult yet.  Virginia has a string of winnable games coming up that should boost their record and may cause them to become overrated.  Kansas St. beat Missouri but has lost to Kansas, Baylor, and Oklahoma in their last four games. They're barely hanging on here.

Also considered: St Mary's, Seton Hall, Creighton
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