FanHouse Terrific 12: Here's to Offense
How many times these days do we hear coaches talking about their teams establishing their "identity as a defensive team?" How many teams are making their bones on pressing and trapping and making ugly basketball for everyone.
Yeah, it can win you games against many teams, against most teams. But as Duke found out the hard way Monday night, not often against the very best teams.
If you want to beat Connecticut, or Stanford, or Baylor or Tennessee, you are going to have to score.
As fans, we'll take a shootout over a defensive battle any day.
FanHouse's Terrific 12 Teams
1. Baylor. The Bears are holding firm to the No. 1 spot after winning on the road against Texas A&M.
2. Connecticut. Down to nine players after the departure of Samarie Walker, the Huskies are still managing to make it look easy.
3. Stanford. The Cardinal are in a major groove right now and no one in the Pac-10 looks like they can come close.
4. Tennessee. The Lady Vols are under the radar, but playing very well.
5. Texas A&M. Tough loss to Baylor requires a big bounce-back for the Aggies.
6. Duke. The Blue Devils' dismal showing against Connecticut ended an unbeaten season. Did it shake Duke's confidence as well?
7. Xavier. The Musketeers were looking to extend a win streak to eight games Tuesday night.
8. Notre Dame. The Irish have won five in a row and will take on Syracause -- a team on the verge of the rankings -- Tuesday.
9. UCLA. The Bruins are on Stanford's heels and have to play at USC this weekend.
10. DePaul. The move up to No. 9 in this week's national poll is the program's highest-ever.
11. Oklahoma. The Sooners have won six of seven (the only loss a two-point defeat against A&M) and Wednesday's Baylor game should be a good one.
12. West Virginia. A rough week for the Mountaineers with losses to Georgetown and DePaul. The Feb. 8 date with Connecticut looms.
Terrific 12 Players
Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown. The sophomore guard came up big against No. 8 West Virginia last weekend with a career-high 30 points. She was 10 of 10 from the free-throw line.
Shoni Schimmel, Louisville. The freshman guard put up 25 points in a loss to Marquette, a good day in a good streak. She has scored in double-figures in 18 straight games, the longest such streak by a Louisville freshman in the past 20 years.
Kristi Kingma, Washington. The junior guard scored 29 points in the rivalry win over Washington State on Sunday. She was 11 of 20 from the floor.
Odyssey Sims, Baylor. The freshman guard matched her career high with 25 points against Texas A&M Sunday, an effort that propelled Baylor to the win and allowed them to keep their No. 1 ranking.
Kionna Kellogg, Minnesota. The freshman forward, making her second and third career starts pushed the Wolverines to their first two Big Ten wins, pulling down an average of 14 rebounds a game in victories over Northwestern and Michigan.
Katelan Redmon, Gonzaga. The junior forward put up a game-high 24 points in the Bulldogs' big win over second-place Saint Mary's and then put up 20 against San Diego two nights later. She's had three straight 20-plus point games.
Glory Johnson, Tennesee. The junior forward made the most of her return to the starting lineup for the Vols. She had career-bests in points (22), assists (7) and blocks (4) and matched a career-high with 18 rebounds against Mississippi State.
Shey Peddy, Temple. Peddy, a junior guard, led the Owls to a pair of wins. Against Massachusetts, she finished with 19 points, eight steals and five assists.
Mindy Bonham, BYU. Bonham has come oh-so-close to a pair of triples-doubles in the past week. Against San Diego State she finished with 14 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
Jerica Coley, Florida International. The freshman guard scored a game-high 25 points, 16 of those in the second half to help her team rally from a 14-point deficit to defeat Western Kentucky.
Eryn Jones, Portland State. Jones, a junior guard led the Vikings to a pair of wins last week, averaging 18.0 points a game. She shot 50 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (7 of 14) and turned the ball over just twice in 66 minutes on the floor.
Rachel Clancy, Cal Poly. Clancy, a senior guard, had to step up when the Mustangs lost last year's Big West Player of the Year Kristina Santiago to a season-ending knee injury in the first two minutes of the first two games of the season. Clancy has led Cal Poly to an 8-0 record and is averaging 16.1 points a game.
Terrific 12 Games of the Week.
Oklahoma at Baylor, Wednesday. Both teams coming off big wins. Are the Sooners the ones to make Baylor stumble?
Stanford at Arizona State, Thursday. The Sun Devils need a big win to solidify their NCAA hopes. Can they get it against the dominant Cardinal who beat them by 45 in the first round?
LSU at Vanderbilt, Thursday. LSU is coming off a win over No. 20 Georgia.
Miami at Duke, Thursday. Coming off Connecticut, the Blue Devils will get back on the horse against the surging Hurricanes.
DePaul at Connecticut, Saturday. The 9th-ranked Blue Demons will be the latest ranked team to take their shot at the Huskies, who have won 59 straight games against conference opponents.
Xavier at Dayton, Saturday. Dayton has won four straight games heading into this week.
Fresno State at Louisiana Tech, Saturday. A game that will decide first place in the Western Athletic Conference.
USC-UCLA, Sunday. USC looking to start out the second half of the Pac-10 season on a good note after losing to Bruins in season opener.
Duke at North Carolina, Sunday. A game against the Tar Heels completes the toughest week of the season for the Blue Devils.
St. John's at Marquette, Saturday. At No. 23, Marquette is ranked for the first time since 2007.
Penn State at Iowa, Sunday. The surprise team at the top of the Big Ten looks for a big win against the Hawkeyes.
Tennessee at Kentucky, Monday. This will be the toughest game on the SEC schedule for both teams.