Doctor J
on Basketball

                   Reference              Comments?           2/28/98

Another big week of upsets! It looks like the top seeds for the Big Dance are not going to be decided until the week of the draws. The biggest of the upsets has to be the loss that UNC took to NC State at Chapel Hill. The Wolfpack took the game to the Tar Heels and managed to neutralize Antwan Jamison. Twenty points and eight rebounds is not normally neutralizing someone but Jamison can take over a game if given a chance and in this game he wasn't given the chance. It didn't hurt that NC State was 10-16 from three-point range and shot 94% of their free throws either.
New Mexico really celebrated their entrance into the top ten.
And as for Purdue ...
They go out and get slaughtered by TCU! That is thirteen wins in a row for TCU. Look out for them at tourney time. Purdue losses two in a row and are still ranked in the top ten. I don't mean anything bad about the Boilermakers but they haven't led their conference all year and I don't think the Big Ten is that strong. If you have to have a Big Ten team ranked, at least take the top team. Michigan State leads their conference by two games, they have a better overall record and they have already beaten Purdue by seventeen points, yet they are still ranked behind Purdue. What gives here! I guess it is the media's fascination with the scowling Gene Keady. Give me a break. The same situation exists with Utah. The Utes probably won't win their division of the WAC and TCU, in the other division, has a better record than of the WAC teams.
For those of you out there who don't believe Princeton belongs in the top ten ... Let me say this, this team is good. Sure the Ivy League is not exactly the ACC but check out Princeton's non-conference wins. The Tigers beat Texas, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Rutgers. Their only lose was by eight to UNC. That is not bad at all and they deserve their lofty ranking.
Stanford bounced back... from the drubbing they took at UConn to win four in a row and move back into the top ten. UCLA, on the other hand, went to Durham and got totally demolished. Duke beat up severely on the Bruins. This game was over at half. This big win, coupled with UNC's loss, moved the Blue Devils back to number one in the land. I still think UNC is the best team in the country but in basketball, unlike football, you have to prove it on the court.
Bobby Knight went on one of his patented tirades this week. Tuesday night against Illinois (which they lost by the way), he got upset about a call (duh!) and went ballistic. He was out on the court ranting and raving until he finally got shown the door. If anyone else in college basketball acted this way he would be suspended. How Knight gets by with it , or why IU puts up with it, I'll never know
The SEC went about as expected this week. The Ole Miss - MSU game was closer than I thought it would be but the Rebels pulled it out. Tennessee whipped up big time on Vandy. UT is for real and whoever plays them in the SEC tournament (or NCAA tourney for that matter) had better look out. This team has put it all together. This is the last week of regular season play for the SEC and the West division is still up for grabs. Kentucky locked up the East this week with a win over Auburn. Mississippi pulled into a tie with Arkansas by whipping up on the Pigs at home. That division will be decided this weekend.
Well enough of this, on to the games.
The top ten features some big games this weekend with many conference titles on the line.

Top Ten Teams
(1) Duke vs. (3) UNC The rematch of rematches.
Duke has the Tar Heels at home this time and they look for a better showing. Elton Brand's return for the Blue Devils may be the difference in this game. He gives them an inside presence that was sorely missed in the first game. This game will be much closer than the first but I am still taking the Heels.
(2) Arizona vs. Stanford Stanford has sorted of righted their ship after a tough stretch.
Zona though is on a roll. The Wildcats have won 17 in a roll. Two of their last four opponents include Stanford and UCLA. If Zona wins out it will be a very impressive run into the Big Dance.
(4) Kansas at Oklahoma State Eddie Sutton has quietly guided the Cowboys to a 21-4 overall record and ...
probably the runner-up spot in the Big Twelve. Kansas is certainly one of the top four teams in the country but the overall competition in the conference is weak. I think this will be a close game and I smell an upset here.
Oklahoma State
(6) UConn vs. St. John's The St. John's Red Storm (that will never sound right) has really turned their season around.
They lost their first three conference games but now sport a 13-4 Big East record (2nd best in the conference) and 21-7 overall. In addition SJU is 7-1 in conference road games. Earlier in the year there were rumors that SJU coach Fran Fraschilla would be gone at years end. Don't count on that now. UConn has played well all year but St. John's is on a roll. I see another upset here.
St. John's
(7) Princeton at Cornell I hope Princeton can keep this string going.
Nothing against Cornell but this is a great story.
(8) Kentucky at South Carolina This game means nothing more than bragging rights now.
The Cats clinched the East this week. The Cats will have a let down now though. Hopefully it won't carry into the SEC tourney.
South Carolina
(10) Purdue at Michigan State I have probably commented on Purdue enough already.
Michigan State leads the Big Ten in rebound margin with a +10.4 per game. This is a pretty big difference. They are also allowing the fewest points and the second lowest field goal percentage of all Big Ten teams. Who (besides Rick Pitino) says defense doesn't win games.
Michigan State

Arkansas at Alabama This is a must win for the Hogs in terms of SEC tourney seating.
They could have locked it up this week but didn't even come close. They will win this one though.
Auburn at Mississippi Same story here for the Rebels.
Mississippi has played themselves into contention for the West Division championship. They aren't about to blow it here.


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