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College Basketball Notes
by Scott Spreitzer - 12/12/2011
CBB WEEKLY TOP-25 REPORT
Each week throughout the college basketball season, Scott will dissect the new top-25 rankings on Monday evenings and post what he feels is the week's most overrated top-25 team, along with the most underrated ranked team, and an unranked squad that he feels should be in the AP top-25.
MOST OVERRATED: Louisville Cardinals
The Cardinals have built a 9-0 SU record, a #4 ranking, and even a couple of first place votes in the AP Top-25 without playing an overly difficult schedule. Rick Pitino's squad is solid, has deep tourney potential, and is a top-12 team. But I don't believe they should be ranked in the top-5...at least not yet. Beating Butler in Indianapolis this season is no great accomplishment. And let's not forget that Butler, (4-6 SU), led the Cardinals midway through the second half. Louisville's toughest contest came at home against Vanderbilt on December 2. Vandy is certainly a top-20 team. But the point is, the 4th ranked Cards were taken to OT before winning by a basket on a late Peyton Silva layup. Louisville's weakness is that they're basically a 7-man team. Eventually, the lack of depth will catch up to this squad. Louisville had their problems last season on the glass. They have hit the boards well so far this season, but again, the compeition has not been what they'll face in Big East play. Pitino has serious talent in the top-7 players and a deep tourney run in March is possible. But for now, they still have to prove themselves against top compeition. The Cardinals do host a decent but not great Memphis team this Saturday. We will find out a lot about this team when they face Georgetown and Kentucky on December 28 and 31, respectively. The contest at UK with be just their second true road game of the season. Louisville is this week's Most Overrated ranked team.
MOST UNDERRATED RANKED TEAM: Marquette Golden Eagles
We'll stay in the Big East for our underrated squad. Marquette is extremely athletic and love to force a fast-paced tempo. Having said that, their most impressive performance of the season came in Madison, when Wisconsin forced their typical halfcourt affair. The rigors of Big East play has served Marquette well. They were not intimidated by the physical Badgers and were never truly threatened down the stretch. It should be noted that the Eagles played the game without point-guard Junior Cadougan, who is the true on-court leader of this team, averaging over 6 assists per game. Yet, even shorthanded, Marquette had no trouble with the deliberate pace, out-rebounding Wiscy by a 44-32 margin, and holding the Badgers to 32% shooting. The mark of a quality team is how they perform against solid opposition without their leader. Just see Ohio State's performance at Kansas without Jared Sullinger if you need proof. Marquette came alive this past March. But they must remain consistent from one game to the next which was a problem last season. Buzz Williams' troops passed a huge test in Madison and 5 of their 9 wins have come away from home. The schedule lends itself to a 12-0 record when the Eagles host Vanderbilt on December 29. Marquette is this week's Most Underrated ranked team.
UNRANKED TEAM THAT SHOULD BE RANKED: Harvard Crimson
Tommy Amaker has done a tremendous job with Harvard. Last week, they landed their first AP top-25 ranking. I don't believe the Crimson should have dropped from the rankings based on a loss at Storrs, their only loss of the season. Harvard went through a couple of rough shooting droughts in the loss at UConn, but it should be noted that they were within 7 points with 4:30 to go in the contest. Everyone is back from last year's 23-7 squad. No less than 10 players have seen a decent amount of action in all 10 games this season. Eight of those 10 average between 14 and 29 minutes played per game. Harvard slammed the door on the glass and defensive end when they held then 22nd-ranked Florida State to 41 points in a 5-point Crimson win. That's the same FSU team who's only other two losses came against UConn and Michigan State. Harvard owns athleticism and power with forwards Kyle Casey and Keith Wright, respectively. Harvard's next "real" test will be on New Year's eve against a tough defensive St. Joe's team that just handed Creighton their first loss of the season. Harvard is mentally tough, they're deep and well coached - and I believe they're more qualified to be ranked in this week's top-25 than 3 teams who are. Harvard is this week's Unranked team that should be in the AP top-25.