Weekend Wrap

By - November 27, 2006

With nation’s top two teams suffering losses this week, who will ascend to the top slot in the Top 25 when the polls are released Monday afternoon? A quick look at the three prime candidates:

Pittsburgh (Odds: 3-2)

The Panthers have sprinted to a 6-0 start for the fifth consecutive season. Pitt won the First Commonwealth Colonial Athletic Association Classic on Friday with a win over Florida State — thanks to earlier victories over Northeastern, Massachusetts and Oakland.

Nov 12 W. Michigan W 86-67
Nov 14 Delaware St. W 67-50
Nov 17 Northeastern W 78-52
Nov 18 Massachusetts W 85-68
Nov 19 Oakland W 66-55
Nov 24 Florida St. W 88-66

Ohio State (Odds: 2-1)

Probably worth mentioning that the Buckeyes are the only ballclub besides Florida to have received a first-place vote in any of the three USA Today/ESPN Polls. Thad Matta’s capable group has annihilated all comers through six contests — but how the fourth-ranked Buckeyes handle their visit Wednesday to second-ranked North Carolina will be the subject of national scrutiny.

Nov 10 Virginia Military W 107-69
Nov 11 Loyola Chicago W 87-75
Nov 12 Kent St. W 81-59
Nov 17 E. Kentucky W 74-45
Nov 20 San Francisco W 82-60
Nov 24 Youngstown St. W 91-57

UCLA (Odds: 5-1)

The Bruins (3-0) are the top-ranked team in the RPI, having victories over Brigham Young (RPI No. 33), Kentucky (No. 105) and Georgia Tech (No. 15). (Their first-round victory in Maui over NAIA program and host school Chaminade doesn’t count toward the RPI.) But Ben Howland’s side would need to hop over Pitt and Ohio State. Will that cupcake-free schedule be enough to impress the voters?

Nov 15 BYU W 82-69
Nov 20 at Chaminade W 88-63
Nov 21 at (20) Kentucky W 73-68
Nov 22 at (19) Ga.Tech W 88-73

My vote for No. 1 would go to the Bruins thanks to their impressive showing in the Maui Invitational. But as the above odds would indicate, I’d be surprised if they hurdle the Panthers and Buckeyes.

Some more thoughts on the weekend action:

  • Butler University, the unlikely NIT Season Tip-Off champion whose four-game run through the stacked tourney field has garnered national press, collected a win Saturday over a quite good Kent State team less than 24 hours after slaying Gonzaga at Madison Square Garden.

  • Southern Illinois and its trademark brand of suffocating defense surrendered a season-high 64 points but collected its second consecutive victory over a BCS school: a 69-64 triumph over Virginia Tech in the fifth-place game at the Old Spice Classic.

  • How about Albany getting steamrolled in a rematch of last year’s NCAA first-round thriller between top-seeded Connecticut and the No. 16-seeded Great Danes?

  • Speaking of Connecticut, 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet is averaging 5.2 blocked shots for the No. 18-ranked Huskies.

  • Fun game on tap tonight at the Carrier Dome. Holy Cross (5-0) takes on No. 17-ranked Syracuse (6-0) in a battle of unbeatens.

Posted by at 09:41 AM on November 27, 2006

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