B/R College Basketball Top 25: Explaining My Picks

Andrew KaufmanSenior Analyst IJanuary 26, 2009

Each week, Jameson Fleming publishes a weekly college basketball top 25, featuring a variety of voters from throughout the Bleacher Report community.

But great minds do not always think alike, and I have a tendency to disagree with the general consensus. Below, I explain my picks, particularly those which could be considered a bit controversial. My actual top 25 can be found in the comments section.

The ACC tops the Big East… for now

The top-five is almost a toss up right now, but when push comes to shove the top three ACC teams all have better résumés than their Big East counterparts.

Duke and UNC have slightly better non-conference wins than Pittsburgh and UConn, and only Lousville’s victory over Pitt can match Wake Forest’s win over UNC.

But even though Louisville has been hot of late, they must pay for their three losses—at least until some of the teams ahead of them start to slip up.

The recent poor play of Georgetown, Notre Dame, and Villanova has hurt the top Big East clubs, who are seeing the value of some of their victories begin to dwindle.

The winner of Wednesday’s Duke-Wake Forest game will likely earn my No. 1 ranking next week.

Purdue is Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

When so many teams have winless weeks, four straight wins is suddenly enough to vault a team to the cusp of the top-10—and that’s exactly what the Boilermakers have been able to put together since a disappointing loss to Penn State January 6.

Purdue has been solid, if unspectacular—it’s important to remember that two of the Boilermakers’ four losses were to Duke and Oklahoma—whereas teams such as Syracuse and Clemson can’t seem to get out of their own way. Thus, Purdue jumps five spots to No. 11 in this week’s poll.
Texas is still mired in mediocrity

Nothing new to report here. Simply put, a nine-point home victory over Texas A&M isn’t exactly enough to change my view of the Longhorns.

Teams such as Arizona State and St. Mary’s did more to impress me this week, so they leapfrog Texas, which means the Longhorns are one of the few teams who failed to really rise in the polls despite the precipitous falls of teams such as Georgetown.

Is Syracuse really 12 spots better than Georgetown?

So I was wrong—Georgetown isn’t so good after all. Two poor losses to below-average Big East competition dropped the Hoyas 11 spots in my poll, to No. 20.

But Syracuse lost twice last week too. Sure, their losses were against much better competition—both Pittsburgh and Syracuse are in my top-six this week.

The Orange still lost to the Panthers by 18 points. Syracuse’s five Big East wins have come against South Florida, DePaul, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Notre Dame. They don’t deserve to be ranked No. 12.

I learned my lesson with UCLA—now everyone else needs to

I don’t understand how UCLA can be ranked No. 20 while Washington is unranked. I don’t understand it all.

Washington is a game ahead of the Bruins in the Pac-10, just beat UCLA head-to-head, and has lost one game since November 25.

Is that Opening Night loss to Portland really going to haunt the Huskies all season?