WSU HOOPS

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Cougs up to No. 5 on my BlogPoll ballot

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 12, 2007

Last week, I moved WSU down two spots to No. 7 on my BlogPoll ballot thanks to some less-than-convincing wins. Yes, the Cougs had beaten Baylor on the road, but they had not exactly looked spectacular in digging themselves out of yet another early hole.

Color me convinced now.

On the heels of last week’s impressive victory over Gonzaga — something ESPN.com’s Andy Katz called “one of the best true road wins of the season” — I’ve moved the Cougs up to No. 5 on my BlogPoll ballot, jumping over UCLA and Duke. If you read my post-game post, you know just how impressed I was. This is just an extension of that.

The other pollsters, however, were not as impressed. The Cougs remain steady at No. 8 in the overall poll (on the right-hand side of the page), although Nos. 6-8 are all tightly grouped in the voting.

Since I didn’t have time to work on comments this week, here is my ballot (minus the spiffy spreadsheet layout), with some notes below:

Rank (Last)
1 (1) North Carolina
2 (2) Memphis
3 (3) Texas
4 (4) Kansas
5 (7) WSU
6 (5) UCLA
7 (6) Duke
8 (8) Georgetown
9 (11) Michigan St.
10 (13) Indiana
11 (14) Marquette
12 (12) Gonzaga
13 (15) Tennessee
14 (16) Texas A&M
15 (18) Pittsburgh
16 (17) Oregon
17 (10) Butler
18 (20) Xavier
19 (19) BYU
20 (9) Louisville
21 (21) Arizona
22 (22) Clemson
23 (23) Vanderbilt
24 (24) USC
25 (25) Villanova

Last five out: Saint Mary’s, Miami (FL), Arkansas, West Virginia, Stanford

Dropped out from last week: None.

Thoughts:

  • The top four remain unchanged. No big surprise there, although I considered dropping Memphis after its struggle with USC. The Trojans provided a blueprint for beating the Tigers, who really should have lost that game. Mark my words: Memphis will not win the NCAA Tournament if for no other reason than it cannot shoot better than 60 percent from the line in a game. They will get upset by someone, probably a mid-major who plays disciplined offense and hard-nosed defense.
  • Georgetown still hasn’t impressed me. I think it’s funny that JTIII says his team could be “scary good” after whipping Jacksonville. Uh, yeah. Call me once you’ve played a decent team. No, Alabama does not count.
  • I didn’t penalize Gonzaga for the loss to the Cougs. They played well enough to beat just about anyone else.
  • A lot of other teams moved up by default. Butler will have to repair its image after a loss to Wright friggin’ State.
  • I finally relented — just a little — with regards to Pitt. Yes, I know the Huskies aren’t very good. And, yes, I know they would have lost had Justin Dentmon had a clue about the clock. (Seriously, dude, just one less dribble!) But, Hec Ed is one of the most underratedly (is that a word?) difficult places in the country to play when that crowd is jacked, and it was on Saturday. That’s a good road win for the Panthers.
  • Louisville suffered the most precipitous drop. That team is a mess right now. I initially overlooked some of the close wins the Cardinals had, but I’m now convinced that those should have been indicators. I probably should have caved to the urge to drop them from this week’s ballot altogether, especially with Caracter’s indefinite suspension.
  • I didn’t penalize USC for its great performance against Memphis. With a little more maturity, O.J. Mayo will start to win those games for his team. By the way, did you see the job he did on Rose? For all of the well-deserved attention Kyle Weaver gets, if Mayo brings that every night, he might be the Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-10. You heard it here first.
  • Tough to leave St. Mary’s out. If the Gaels play like they are, they’ll get in sooner rather than later.
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