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With just one month left till Selection Sunday, the college basketball season is now in full force with teams scrambling to show the committee impressive performances and resume building wins.
Teams such as Florida, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have navigated their schedules with just a few blemishes while other schools such as Arizona, Duke, and LSU have failed to live up to expectations. Here’s what we know going into the final month of the season.
1) Kevin Durant and Alando Tucker will battle it out for the Player of the Year award. We wondered what impact players such as Durant would have on the college game since they were forced to attend college instead of entering the NBA draft. If Durant’s 25.1 points per game aren’t enough to impress, add in his 11.4 rebounds and you know you’ve got one heck of a player; a player who will no doubt leave Texas for the NBA after just one season. At the opposite end of the spectrum is senior Alando Tucker who has led Wisconsin to a 24-2 record. Tucker averages 20.0 points per game but it’s his presence on the floor as a leader that is most impressive. Tucker is a big game player, evident by his 32 point performance in December against Pittsburgh. He’s scored 20-plus points in each of his last five games.
2) Just like football, the SEC seems to be taking the cake as the best conference top to bottom. Every school in the conference posts a winning record and while the season certainly won’t end up that way, it should be noted. Florida, reigning national champion and the current number one team in the country, resides in the SEC East. The SEC West, well, Alabama holds a one game lead with four teams separated by one game or less.
3) Even Coach K can’t find the reason (because we know he’d fix it) but its pretty obvious things are spiraling downward quickly at one of the nation’s premier programs. Duke has now lost four straight games and is sixth in the ACC standings with a 4-5 record after Sunday’s loss at Maryland. The Blue Devils still have games at Boston College, Clemson, and North Carolina on their schedule. Uh Oh.
4) Memphis is 21-3 and 10-0 in Conference USA. Thanks to the arrest of Gonzaga’s leading scorer Josh Heytvelt, the Tigers don’t have a team left on their schedule that should even come close to giving them a challenge. If Memphis finishes at 27-3, it would be tough to avoid giving them a number one seed.
5) Texas Tech is the best bad team in the country. Bobby Knight got his record, Texas Tech knocked off Kansas and Texas A&M in back to back games, and all was right in Lubbock, Texas. Then the Red Raiders lost five straight. Now on the bubble, games at Texas and Texas A&M loom.
6) Mid Majors are starting to make waves once again. If you’ve looked at the top 25 recently, you noticed Butler in the top 10. As impressive is that as, it will change quickly after Butler went to Wright State and lost by 12. Wright State is now at the top of the Horizon League standings and at 19-8 with a signature win could slide into the Big Dance. Two teams from the Horizon League? How about two teams from the Mountain West and three from the Missouri Valley?
7) Georgetown is my team to watch. The Hoyas have won seven in a row and are near the top of the Big East conference. With home games remaining against West Virginia and Pittsburgh, Georgetown could pick up two quality wins, receive a high seed for the Big Dance, and go deep into the tournament.
Only one thing is for certain; the next month of college basketball could be one of the most exciting on record. Keep an eye out for big time upsets and you won’t be disappointed.