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yoco :: College Basketball
(a sports weblog) news and commentary on men's college basketball and the ncaa tournament

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

One Man's Top 10

From Illinois' perfect start to Kansas' victory at Kentucky and North Carolina's destruction of Maryland, here's one guest blogger's Top 10 power poll. My name's Mike and I write regularly at All Sports All the Time. Yoni asked me to contribute during his absence and I figured an early poll would inspire debate. This post is not my prediction for the Final Four, but a look at the teams I believe are the nation's 10 best at this point in the season, with an early read on their future prospects.

1. Illinois: The Fighting Illini have blown everybody they have played out of the water. A pretty impressive feat that will be hard to top during Big Ten play. Dee Brown and Deron Williams have been unbelievable but without Luther Head Illinois would be nowhere near as good. Can great guard play lead Bruce Weber's club to St. Louis?
Early Thought: Nope. The Elite Eight is as far as they go.
2. Kansas: Beat an overrated Kentucky team on the road in an arena in which they had never before won without their star player. Wayne Simien's injury could be a blessing in disguise for the younger players and when he returns, watch out.
Early Thought: Look for the Jayhawks in St. Louis. Bill Self's team has an excellent shot at winning the title.
3. Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons' guards are as good as they come but, unfrortunately, Skip Prosser's club doesn't play great defense.
Early Thought: While they'll contend for an ACC title, Wake is an unlikely bet for St. Louis because of their weak defense and lack of inside production.
4. North Carolina: Aside from an opening loss to Santa Clara, the Tar Heels have looked like the best team in America. Marvin Williams provides much-needed depth. Imagine if JR Smith hadn't of jumped directly to the NBA.
Early Thought: Should continue to improve over the season. Look for Roy Williams to get his first title in St. Louis.
5. Oklahoma State: This team plays ferocious defense but struggles to score at times. Holding Washington State under 30 was amazing, as was their sound defeat of a very good Syracuse team.
Early Thought: The Cowboys' occasional scoring droughts will catch up with them in the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight.
6. Syracuse: The Orange start five national champions. Combined with the emergence of sophomores Terrence Roberts and Daryl Watkins, this team is loaded. At 16-1, with their only loss coming to Oklahoma State in a game in which SU shot miserably from the free throw line but still had a chance to win with five minutes to play, Jim Boeheim's team looks really good.
Early Thought: These Orange might no longer be men but they will play like them in March and are primed for a return to the Final Four.
7. Gonzaga: So much for the underdog mid-major team. With early victories over Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, and Washington this team is for real. The duo of Turiaf and Morrison gives the 'Zags the inside-outside combo every team wishes it had.
Early Thought: A sleeper Final Four Pick, but I look for Gonzaga to lose in the Elite Eight. Still, it'd be another banner season for Mark Few.
8. Texas: The Longhorns' two losses are by a combined three points to Wake Forest and Iowa. Texas is extremely young and will improve drastically as the season progresses.
Early Thought: The Final Four awaits these young guns. Everyone in the nation will recorgnize Lamarcus Aldridge in March.
9. Georgia Tech: A top-tier ACC team that hopes to repeat last year's NCAA Tournament run, the Yellow Jackets looked bad against Gonzaga.
Early Thought: An early Tournament upset waiting to happen, experience and all.
10. Mississippi State: The team nobody is talking about with the big man nobody is talking about, Lawrence Roberts. This club will more than challenge Kentucky in the SEC East; I expect MSU to defeat Tubby's team and win the SEC.
Early Thought: Sweet Sixteen it is.

So there it is, one guest blogger's top 10. Many of you might ask why I left out Duke and Kentucky. I think that as the season progresses both teams will be exposed as overrated. Thanks for reading, please check out my blog, and feel free to comment on this post below.