The Top Freking 10 gets a new No. 1, goes after a crybaby coach and examines where Doug McDermott stands among the NCAA’s greatest scorers. Guess what? March begins in three days. Get those office pools ready.
1. WICHITA STATE (last week: 2)
The bloviating over the Shockers potentially gaining a No. 1 seed over Kansas, a team that could add a Big 12 tournament crown to the share of the regular season conference championship it seized Monday night, has already begun. It’s fodder like this that makes me glad I don’t cover politics — the posturing and predicting of the 2016 election began the day after President Obama was reelected back in November of 2012. (Though, I am not totally immune from this practice — I am guilty of authoring ‘Way-Too-Soon’ top 10 exactly 10 days after the 2012-13 college basketball season ended in April). So, to recap: it’s way too soon to get worked up over Wichita State ‘stealing’ a No. 1 seed from Kansas.
2. FLORIDA (LW: 3)
Thanks to Syracuse’s stinker of a week, Florida was elevated to the Associated Press’ No. 1 spot for the first time since 2007, the year it repeated as national champion. With a victory at Vanderbilt Tuesday night, the Gators extended their school-record winning streak to 20 and moved within three wins of a perfect 18-0 run in SEC play. The three previous teams to run the SEC’s regular season slate loss-less are 1956 Alabama, 1996 Kentucky and 2012 Kentucky.
3. ARIZONA (LW: 6)
The Wildcats didn’t find sustained success until the late 80s, so it makes a little sense that their 88-61 shellacking of Colorado Saturday was Arizona’s first victory in Boulder since 1973. Coach Sean Miller surely appreciated the easy win away from home — his team’s previous two road games went into overtime.
4. SYRACUSE (LW: 1)
Unfortunately for Jim Boeheim, his team lost its second straight game Saturday at Duke. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Boeheim’s temper-tantrum-turned-ejection after the Orange caught the wrong end of a block/charge call in the closing seconds overshadowed what was nothing short of an awesome back-and-forth game in front of Cameron Indoor Stadium crowd that possessed an enthusiasm usually reserved for European and South American soccer venues. Boehim’s tirade was nothing short of child-like, and it was another example of college coaches acting their shoe size. Boeheim’s antics also reminded me of another clear double standard in college athletics. Defenders of Mt. Boeheim’s eruption pointed to the gravity of the perceived missed call as reason enough for the outburst, but can you imagine if a player reacted the way Boeheim did? There’d be all kinds of crusty old men phoning local radio shows lamenting for the old days when guys “just played ball.”