Time for a mid-season assessment and a little who's hot and who's not. We all know that Memphis, Kansas, UNC, Duke, Tennessee and UCLA are playing great basketball, but what lesser known schools are making some waves and who has cooled off relative to expectations.
UConn - I have been talking about UConn for a couple weeks now. Yes they have 5 losses but they are playing great basketball right now. Their losses include #1 Memphis, #9 Georgetown (on a last second 3 pointer) and Gonzaga. This win in Bloomington over #7 IU is very impressive.
Vanderbilt - I don't remember Vandy being in anybody's Top 25 to start the season, but here we sit deep into the season and the Commodores are 17-2 and one of those losses is to #3 Tennessee. Their best wins are against unranked teams so they still have something to prove, but they have impressive wins over Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, DePaul and UMass. This week's games against Florida and Mississippi and the 2/26 rematch with UTenn will be real tests for Vandy's true grit.
Xavier - They have wins over #7 IU, #14 Dayton, Kansas State, Auburn and Virginia. Their losses include #3 Tennessee and #25 Arizona State. At 16-4, they look like a lock to be dancing this year.
Dayton - In the past 10 days, the Flyers have lost to UMass, Xavier and Richmond. They also have an ugly early season loss to George Mason. Not a good trend for the Flyers.
The Big Ten - Tough year for the Big Ten, I could only find 5 wins by the conference over one of the top 4-5 teams from the other conferences. MSU is likely the only legitimate elite team in the conference this year. IU is one dimensional and it is unclear how good Wisconsin really is. Purdue is the surprise team in the conference, but it is hard to see this conference earning more than 4 spots in the tourney.
Texas A&M - The Aggies have been ranked as high as #10 this year but in the past 11 days, they have lost 3 times to unranked teams; Texas Tech, Kansas State and Baylor.
Villanova - The Wildcats were rolling in 2007 but 2008 has not been so kind to Nova. The cats have lost to 4 unranked teams in 08; DePaul, Cincy, Rutgers and Notre Dame. The Wildcats will have to turn it around to remain a tourney team by selection Sunday.