Musings from the Bald Prophet: A Midwest Renaissance and the Third BP Top 25

Marc DaleyAnalyst IDecember 22, 2008

Five random thoughts

1) The Big Ten has had some issues in the arena of college hoops, but this year will result in a return to prominence.  Minnesota knocked off a tough Louisville team, and Illinois has come back strong from a disappointing campaign last year.  However, David Lighty's injury bears watching—Ohio State will miss his toughness.

2) UK's Jodie Meeks channeled his inner Dan Issel with an eye-popping 46 against Appy State.  It will be interesting to see if Meeks throws his hat in the draft ring come April.  I wouldn't recommend it—Meeks is purely a streak shooter who has gone multiple games without an assist (though he had three on Saturday), and since he may have to play the point at the next level, he would do well to improve that facet of his game.

3) UConn showed a lot of fortitude to beat a tough Gonzaga team on the road by coming back from double digits.  They look like a very strong Final Four candidate.

4) Getting back to the Big Ten—Tubby Smith must feel like he's been dipped in honey and rose water compared to the acid bath he took in his final season at UK.  It helps that hoops is second banana in hockey-land, but Smith has recruited better and seems a lot more relaxed. He's turned the Gophers around in quick order.

5) I harped a little bit on the Pac-10 with good reason.  However, the SEC doesn't look much better.  Tennessee looks like the only top 25 team right now, though UK is playing their best basketball and LSU has some talent.  However, there seems to be one SEC team that breaks through to make a Big Dance run.

And now the latest poll...

1) UNC

2) UConn

3) Pitt

4) Oklahoma

5) Wake Forest

6) Villanova

7) Texas

8) Duke

9) Gonzaga

10) Syracuse

11) Xavier

12) Georgetown

13) Louisville

14) UCLA

15) Notre Dame

16) Arizona State

17) Tennessee

18) Ohio State

19) Memphis

20) Clemson

21) Purdue

22) Marquette

23) Minnesota

24) Baylor

25) Illinois