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College Hoops Top 25 Report
by Scott Spreitzer - 01/04/2012
CBB 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 RANKED TEAM: Syracuse Orange
We posted Louisville in this spot last week and the Cardinals finally faced a step-up in the strength of their schedule. The Cardinals lost both games, albeit against tough opposition (Georgetown & Kentucky). While the Orange may not lose between now and next week's article, the fact is, I'm not impressed with the schedule they have faced thus far. I understand you can only play the teams you're scheduled to play, but judging the Orange by theirs just doesn't make me believe they're the nation's top-ranked team. Syracuse has had just two legitimate "step-up" games and weren't that impressive in beating Stanford in NYC and winning at home by 4 points over Florida. The Orange do miss Rick Jackson's strength and toughness, if you will. And one of these days...sooner rather than later, I'd imagine, the frontcourt is going to have to step-up and make a difference in the paint. Thus far, the team has been led by their strong backcourt and forward Kris Joseph who tends to fire away from the perimeter too often to be considered an interior talent. Four of their next seven games are on the Big East road, and again, while they may still be undefeated this time next week, I have Syracuse as the 6th best team in the nation at this time. Syracuse, ranked #1 in the AP Top-25 again, are this week's most overrated ranked team.
MOST UNDERRATED RANKED TEAM: San Diego State
The Aztecs are ranked 24th in this week's AP Top-25 and I believe there's a legitimate argument to be made that Steve Fisher's troops ought to be closer to 15th. SDSU have lost just two games all season and both were against tough opposition. In fact, there first loss came against Baylor and the Bears have Final-4 potential. SDSU's other loss came at home, but against another underrated team, the Creighton Blue Jays. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Aztecs, but Fisher continues to clone players. He truly is recruiting the exact style of player and athlete that fits what he wants his team to do on the floor. Only a handful of coaches have the ability to do so. No less than nine players have seen action in at least 12 of their 14 games, and all nine average at least 12 minutes played per contest. Fisher's squad have proven they can play and win at any pace and already own wins in tough venues in Santa Barbara and in Tucson, Arizona. The Aztecs are an absolute nightmare for opposing backcourts with Chase Tapley leading four guards averaging between 17.3 and 10.5 ppg. Xavier Thomas owns a 5.4 to 2.5 assist-turnover ratio, while James Franklin & Garrett Green combine for almost 13 rpg. New Mexico and UNLV are the only teams who can truly hang with SDSU in the backcourt and those matchups ought to be tremendous. And they'll face no one with the interior ability that they saw in their 10-point loss at Baylor. SDSU will be 14-2, barring a miracle, by the time they face UNLV at home on January 14. They follow the game against the Rebels with a contest at New Mexico. We'll learn just how strong this team truly is in those two games. I suspect they have sweet-16 potential, and SDSU is this week's most underrated team.
UNRANKED TEAM THAT SHOULD BE RANKED: Creighton Blue Jays
Greg McDermott's Blue Jays dropped out of the top-25, (barely), despite winning in Wichita over the weekend. Creighton lost (again) at home to Missouri State during the week - and the pollsters decided they were dropping the Jays no matter how they looked against the Shockers. But it should be noted that Missouri State would have beaten most teams last Wednesday. Kyle Weems and Anthony Downing combined to make 22 of 36, 61% of their shots, and they couldn't miss from the arc where they connected on 7 of 10 tries. And let's not forget that the Bears beat Nevada by 22 points in Reno and came within 2 points of beating West Virginia in a 70-68 OT loss in Las Vegas. The Jays bounced back in a hurry with a huge road win at Koch Arena. No less than 10 players have seen significant action in all 13 games for the Jays and 8 of those players average in double-digits in minutes played per contest. Doug McDermott is still one of the toughest matchups in the country, Antoine Young is one of the most underrated point-guards in the nation, and 8 other players know their roles as well as any team in college basketball. Creighton hosts Drake and travels to Peoria to face Bradley this week. They should be 13-2 SU when our next article is written next Monday evening. Creighton is this week's unranked team that should be in the AP top-25.