On a Roll: Miami Makes its Case For No. 1

On a Roll: Miami Makes its Case For No. 1

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The Indiana Hoosiers remain atop the national standings, but its position there is a precarious one at best. Moving ever close to the Hoosiers is the the University of Miami, a team that has been showing everyone this year that it is a formidable men’s basketball competitor as it takes over the No. 2 spot in this week’s poll.

Miami Hurricanes

Miami’s ascendancy comes as other teams around it have been crumbling. Duke lost its third ACC game, falling to Maryland 83 to 81 on Saturday. Meanwhile, Miami took a pair of hard fought games last week against Florida State and Clemson, and has won 13 straight. The Hurricanes are 12-0 in the ACC and now has 20 No. 1 votes. Indiana is up to 43 votes from 26 last week, while Gonzaga, now the nation’s third-ranked team, has two top votes.

This past week was a good one for the current top three teams, but it once again saw some serious shuffling down the line. Michigan State clobbered Michigan 75 to 52 and now owns the fourth spot that was occupied by the Wolverines just last week. It will have its hands full tonight when Indiana comes calling, giving the Spartans the chance to make some noise nationally as well as to take over the Big Ten lead — perhaps eventually the national lead by registering a significant win at home.

Top Teams

Florida now holds the number five spot followed by Duke, Michigan, Syracuse, Kansas and Louisville. Kansas’ jump was a significant one, up five spots on the heels of bouncing KSU 83-62 a week ago. Louisville moved up by winning two games against lesser Big East opponents, rebounding nicely from a grueling and heartbreaking five-overtime loss to Notre Dame the previous Saturday.

It would be foolish to say that Gonzaga should win its final four regular season games without most of a challenge, though none of its remaining foes are currently ranked. Two games against 19-8 teams, Santa Clara and Brigham Young loom, with both of those schools needing a marquee win to make a case for the Round of 68. The Bulldogs beat second place and 22-5 Saint Mary’s twice, a team that would likely gain an NCAA nod with conference shuffling elsewhere. Likely, we’ll only see one team from the West Coast Conference this year, but one of the best teams in the nation at that.

Bracket Trackers

As February nears a close, we’re likely to see a handful of teams that are current on the bracket bubble, make a charge to finish the season strong. Maryland’s win over Duke may help its position, but four of its final six ACC games are on the road. Stanford at 15-11 will need to pick up at least three wins and do well in the Pac 12 tournament to receive consideration while Kentucky, the No. 3 ranked team at the start of the season has to wonder if its recent slide will cost it a chance to defend its championship.

See AlsoBracketBusters and the Art of College Basketball

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