Ranking the Rankings: Pitt's Full Circle
Headlining: Pittsburgh beat Connecticut to kick off the week, led by DeJuan Blair's ridiculous 22-point, 23-rebound effort. It seemed relatively unlikely at the time that the Panthers could manage to jump both North Carolina and Oklahoma, providing that either one of the two won out for the week.
But then Saturday rolled around. The Tar Heels fell to Maryland and Oklahoma, without Blake Griffin for most of the game, coughed one up to Texas.
And suddenly, Pitt was No. 1 in both polls and without any real question to the matter. Just four first-place ballots went elsewhere. There shouldn't have been any debate, either. Memphis nearly lost to UTEP while the Panthers throttled DePaul to close out the week on a seven-game winning streak.
Free-Fallin': Wake Forest (20-5). Despite the dead-horse nature of "young Wake team in Cameron" from Sunday night, there's a little bit of truth to what people are saying about Dino Gaudio's team -- they've hit a wall. It's intriguing to see just how streaky Wake Forest, and specifically star guard Jeff Teague, played in Durham. Yes, they're obviously talented, but, no, they're probably not winning the national title this year.
You Gotta Rise Up: Duke (22-5). It's not so much that the Devils skyrocketed in the polls, it's just that they switched Elliot Williams into the starting lineup and pumped Mike Krzyzewski full of Red Bull for the six hours leading up to the Wake game. It was a bizarre turn for a team that seemed to be free-falling (hence their inclusion) and games at Maryland and at Virginia Tech this week could make for some interesting schizophrenic tendencies as well. But, frankly, I think the Blue Devils are much more likely to keep rolling.
Hyped: UCLA (20-7). The Bruins earned three of their seven losses over the past two-and-a-half weeks, dropping games to Arizona State, Arizona and Washington State. It's certainly a rough patch, although it is a stretch that includes a win over Washington. That's nice and all, but the problem, as Mr. Papagiorgio pointed out, is that it was UCLA's first win over a ranked opponent. Yet, somehow they're still in the Top 25. See where I'm going with this?
Bunked: Kansas (23-5). What interests me is how high the pollsters will push the Jayhawks after their win over Oklahoma. I tend to think they might get discounted because Griffin didn't play on Monday. If that's the case, it seems a little bit silly since Kansas has only lost twice since the start of 2009, and those two losses were to Michigan State and Missouri. Yes, both teams are in the top 10.
WTF? Griffin didn't play Monday night because he couldn't pass the "Standard Assessment of Concussion." Like a good little blogger, I googled that mess to try and find out what kind of sheet Holly Rowe was actually holding up. And this link (a Word Doc) appears to best represent the test. Frankly, I hope they administered that before the season and gauged Griffin based on relative results, because there's almost no chance that I could pass that thing right freaking now.
People Who Vote Are Smart (Brought to You by Pollspeak.com): Roger Clarkson pulls the bizzaro ballot this week, and really it's for just two reasons. First of all, he has Wake Forest ranked seventh. That's unacceptable with the week the Deacons had, unless he missed the game Sunday night against Duke. That would actually be even more unacceptable. Secondly, he's got Memphis 12th. Twelfth! Something ain't stirring the Kool-Aid there.