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NCAA Hoops Weekly Report
by Scott Spreitzer - 02/06/2012
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: Murray State Racers
This is the second time that the Racers have landed in this spot. Much of what I stated last time is still in play this week. I understand that Murray State, at 23-0 and ranked 9th in this week's AP Top-25 is a nice story, but the Racers do not deserve their lofty ranking in my opinion. After all, to be in this spot, they had to be ranked above Duke, Michigan State, and Georgetown, to name a few. While I believe Duke should be in the 12-15 range, I don't believe they should be ranked behind Murray Statre. And as I stated before, beating up on college basketball's 309th ranked schedule (according to Pomeroy rankings, who has MSU ranked 61st) doesn't impress me as much as it does the pollsters. The team has talent, no doubt, thanks to a great job of recruiting done by former coach Billy Kennedy, who now resides in College Station, Texas. New coach Steve Prohm was an assistant on Kennedy's staff - so the transition has obviously gone smoothly. Prohm also has last year's OVC Player of the Year Isaiah Canaan leading the team. But I have a problem ranking teams in the top-10 when they play creampuff after creampuff. While I understand you can only beat the teams on your schedule, the bottom line is that just about every team in the top-25 could be 23-0 right now if they swapped schedules with Murray State. Single digit wins over Tennessee-Martin and Morehead State have to be factored into the mix. And while they were good enough to beat Memphis, the bottom line is that I don't believe they would be doing so if they played in a premier conference. The occasional win over Dayton or Memphis does not a top-10 team make. The Racers have the type of players to "shock" a bigger name in opening round Big Dance play. But due to their extremely soft schedule, they should not be in the AP Top-10. The final 4 games on Murray State's schedule will be their toughest stretch of the season, including a Bracket Buster game against St. Mary's. Sweep their way to an undefeated regular season and maybe my thoughts on this team will change - a tad. But for now, Murray State is this week's most overrated ranked team.
MOST UNDERRATED RANKED TEAM: Florida State Seminoles
Florida State has had their share of athletic teams over the last decade. But I have never been a big "believer" because of their lack of offense. The Seminoles finished last season ranked 151st in scoring, 176th in shooting percentage, and 199th in 3-point accuracy. Florida State looked much the same in the early going this season, despite possessing arguably the 3rd most talented team in the ACC. There were times this season when the 'Noles set the game back about 50-years on the offensive end. But Leonard Hamilton took the wraps off the offensive attack against North Carolina. FSU crushed the Heels, 90-57. The win was the second in what is now a 7-game win streak. Florida State has scored at least 75 points in 4 of their last 6 games without sacrificing anything on the defensive end. I felt they were in a tough spot against Virginia over the weekend, yet came through with a hard-fought 3-point win. That's the type of game previous FSU editions would have lost. Before this season began, the Seminoles were hoping to have a couple of players step-up on the offensive end. Instead, they have fared even better with 7 current players averaging between 13.2 ppg and 7.2 ppg. And 9 players average more than 11 minutes played per contest. With the wraps off on the offensive end - and with their continued ferocious play on the defensive end, FSU has the ability to beat anyone in the top-25. Just don't fall back into that sleepy offensive style and the Seminoles could make serious noise in March. But for now, Florida State is this week's most underrated ranked team.
UNRANKED TEAM THAT SHOULD BE RANKED: Temple Owls
I could have easily placed any of 4 teams in this spot. I have to admit that one could argue for Iowa State, Notre Dame, and Southern Miss and I would not disagree. All 4 have played tough schedules this season. But Temple has played the 13th toughest slate in the nation - and they're the least likely to lose before the weekend. While Temple hosts George Washington on Wednesday, Iowa State plays at Oklahoma State on Tuesday and Southern Miss plays at UAB on Wednesday. The Blazers are a little down - but the Eagles are off the win over Memphis, (albeit a week ago), finally getting the monkey off their back. UAB has confidence after taking Southern Miss to the wire on the road in the first meeting. And Notre Dame has a tough contest at West Virginia on Wednesday. Southern Miss has the best chance to stay unscathed of the 3 teams that fell short of Temple. But the Owls have won 6 straight and 11 of 13 and their defensive play can be stifling. And unlike the John Chaney era, Fran Dunphy's Owls can "shoot the rock." Temple has connected on 47.5-percent of their FGA, including 40.2-percent from behind the arc, ranking 34th and 11th in the nation, respectively. Posting a 17-5 mark and with those kind of numbers against the nation's 13th toughest slate is impressive. Temple edges out the 3 teams mentioned above in this week's report.