So as we approach the one month mark in college basketball, there is a difficult and interesting question to answer… who’s good this year??
Because, in truth, the answer depends on how stringent your criteria for determination. Arizona has looked amazing at times, beating Duke with ease – then struggled mightily against a lousy UNLV team at home. Michigan State was #1, then got blasted at home by a North Carolina team who lost to UAB and Belmont (so is UNC any good??). What to make of Kansas? They impressively beat Duke but have now lost to both Villanova and Colorado. Kentucky has a world of talent, but has yet to put it together against top-tier teams, losing to both Michigan State and Baylor… And under the radar and largely unnoticed are undefeated teams like Missouri, Wichita State, Colorado, UMass, Oregon, Iowa State and Connecticut.
I suppose my point is, it is going to be another parity filled year of college hoops, especially once we dig into conference play. Here are my top ten teams that I think have a good shot to contend for a national title, in order: Arizona, Syracuse, Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Florida.
But if I had to rank based on JUST performance to date, it’s easy: Syracuse, Wisconsin, Ohio State and 1,2,3.
Let’s get to an interesting game tonight. It isn’t one you are likely to find on television, but it is an interesting line.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at Creighton Bluejays -12
Nebraska didn’t fare as well as the hoped in the Charleston Classic, but upon further review, the loss to UAB who has also beaten North Carolina and own an overtime loss to New Mexico, isn’t as bad as it might have seemed and a six-point loss to UMass will end up being a GOOD thing by the end of the year. The Huskers have also beaten Miami, Georgia, and hammered a decent Florida Gulf Coast.
Nebraska will certainly have their work cut out for them tonight against Creighton, but I’m not sure it’s quite the mismatch that the -12 point line suggests. If you take away the fantastic performance against Arizona State, Creighton has been largely average this season. They’ve lost games to George Washington and San Diego State (two of their last three, actually), and they’ve played close games against St. Joe’s and Tulsa.
There is a really interesting dynamic at play tonight. Nebraska is clearly the “little brother” in this rivalry, despite being the clear and only massive public school. I think their inferiority complex will serve them well tonight. They aren’t a great team, but they do have some Big Ten caliber athletes. There’s no Doug McDermott on their roster, but there is some depth. I think it’s enough to keep things close enough to cover.
Free Pick: Nebraska Cornhuskers +12