With my increasingly hectic schedule, I haven't paid as much attention to college basketball as usual. Here are the teams that jumped out at me, after checking out the records.
All the experts knew the Pac-10 was as good as it has ever been. So far, the league has exceeded even those lofty expectations. Outside of the stinky Beavers, every other team in the Pac-10 is at least 4 games over .500. It seems like a lock that the league will get 7 NCAA tourney teams, with even an 8th squad joining them, if they can get to 6 wins.
Baylor is 16-2 and ranked for the first time in 40 years. The Bears won a 5 overtime game the other night versus A&M. Scott Drew is the leader in the clubhouse for coach of the year. No coach has come into a worse situation than Drew inherited when he came to Waco. Miraculous.
Right behind Drew for coach of the year is Keno Davis, who is in his first season as the head man at Drake. The Bulldogs are 17-1 under the son of Dr. Tom Davis. Last year was the first winning season at Drake in 20 years, as a school that used to have a lot of basketball tradition during the 60's and 70's, had become a dismal coaching job. Drake's only loss was to a very good St. Mary's team.
The new NBA age restriction rule has brought more quality players to college basketball than I've seen in 15 years. Freshmen will have a bigger impact in the tourney this year than any year in history.
Memphis will end up undefeated at the end of the regular season, but will fail to make the Final 4 because they are not prepared for the tourney grind playing in the weak Conference USA.
Kentucky is 8-9, while Minnesota is 12-5. Do you think Tubby Smith knew something?
Florida lost most of its starting 5 to the NBA and still is 17-3.
Speaking of the SEC, both Mississippi schools are actually good.
Butler has lost 2 games in the Horizon League and is still ranked 15th in the polls.
Indiana has the best inside/outside combo in the nation in D.J.White and Eric Gordon.
If I was to pick a Final 4 at this point, I would go with Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, and Tennessee.