Miami Moves Into The Fab Four

Miami Moves Into The Fab Four

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What a year this has been so far for men’s college basketball. Indiana, the preseason No. 1 pick, is still the top ranked team in the nation, but at 21-3 its place atop of the heap is a precarious one at best. Kentucky, ranked No. 3 before the season started, is currently No. 25. No. 2 Louisville is ranked No. 12 with No. 4 Ohio State sitting in at the thirteenth spot.

Miami Hurricanes

Although not a final indicator for which teams will hold the top seeds once the tournament gets underway in March, it is certainly plain to see that there are some surprises underway this season including the Miami Hurricanes currently ranked No. 3 and the University of North Carolina nowhere to be found.

Miami’s ascendancy has come following a pair of unexpected losses earlier this season, the first to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and the second at the hands of Indiana State. On Jan. 23, it rolled then No. 1 Duke at home by 90 to 63 and most recently hammered the UNC Tar Heels by 87 to 61. Its winning streak is at 11 games and it, along with Duke are the only two ACC teams that are currently ranked.

Bubble Busters

There is a lot of regular season left with most schools still having at least eight games remaining on their schedules. The NCAA tournament seedings will also consider conference tournament play, but we are now at the beginning of trying to figure out which teams might burst the bubble and get in and what ones will have to settle for something else when the Selection Sunday picks are announced on March 17, 2013.

Indiana’s loss to Illinois last Thursday seemed to indicate that the top spot would change once again. However, the Hoosiers were given a chance at redemption on Sunday, and did so by slamming Ohio State by 81 to 68 on the road. That Duke, Florida and Michigan also lost helped keep Indiana on top for this week.

Winners and Losers

After starting the season at 15-0, Duke was brought down to earth by the NC State Wolfpack, losing 84 to 76 on the road. It then beat up on Georgia Tech before Miami gave it one of its worst beat downs in recent memory. However, the Blue Devils have resumed its winning ways, rolling off five consecutive wins including a rematch with NC State. On March 2 it will have a chance against the Hurricanes again, with the winner having a strong chance of eventually securing one of the four top seeds on Selection Sunday.

Michigan is currently ranked No. 4 and would seemingly earn a top spot if the picks were announced today. But, they won’t be and starting tonight and again on March 2, the Wolverines will take on the archival Michigan State Spartans, itself ranked No. 8 in the nation. Then, on the last day of the season, they will host Indiana in a game that just may burst either team’s aspirations. Just one slip up by Michigan and Gonzaga may make a case for itself as the a top seed, typically an unlikely scenario for a team that is not part of the Power Six conference structure.

March Madness

Are there other teams that might mess things up as we approach March madness? Yes, including the obvious ones such as Syracuse, Florida and Kansas. There is also a good chance that Kentucky and North Carolina will play spoilers, perhaps putting on a late season surge themselves or ruining the chances of a foe in the conference tournament.

See Also — BracketBusters and the Art of College Basketball

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