1. Georgia is tied for last in the SEC. Georgia Tech is dead last in the ACC. Which team is more disappointing? Georgia, and not just because the Bulldogs managed to lose to Tech in Athens. (The Jackets are 3-9 since.) A team in Year 3 under its coach, as Georgia is, should be much further along than a team in Year 1, as is the case with Tech. If the Bulldogs don’t win a big game or two the second half of the league season, the advances of last season will be canceled out.
2. How many NCAA tournament bids will the ACC command? How many for the SEC? The ACC could get stuck on four — North Carolina, Duke, Florida State and Virginia — if North Carolina State continues to slide and Miami doesn’t make a big push. The SEC has four almost-certains — Kentucky, Florida, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State — but Alabama lost four in a row and, its RPI of 33 notwithstanding, could be overtaken by Ole Miss. There’s a chance the SEC could get six, but five seems more like it.
3. Will Bobby Cremins return to the College of Charleston next season? The guess is no. Although technically he has taken only a leave of absence for the rest of this season, the (unspecified but said not to be life-threatening) health issues that forced him to step aside don’t augur well for a comeback at age 65. His Cougars beat Clemson and Tennessee early in the season but have suffered a run of injuries and lost seven of the past nine games. It has been reported that Cremins offered to resign Friday but agreed to the leave of absence instead.
1. Kentucky: With Tennessee and South Carolina upcoming, this stands to be another ho-hum week. Next week, however, will bring games against Vanderbilt and Florida.
2. Ohio State: The surging Buckeyes only play once this week, but their date at Wisconsin on Saturday stands to be one of the Big Ten’s biggest games of the season.
3. Syracuse: Those seeking the worst call (or non-call, in this case) of the year need look no further than Baye Keita’s blatant goaltend against West Virginia on Saturday.
4. North Carolina: Only eight more days until the Tar Heels face Duke in the Dean Dome. Possible trap game: Carolina must play at Maryland on Saturday.
5. Missouri: All season folks have wondered if Mizzou is for real. This week should help provide an answer: The Tigers play at Texas, then face Kansas in Columbia.
6. Duke: Only eight more days until the Blue Devils face North Carolina in the Dean Dome. Possible trap game: Miami in Cameron on Super Bowl Sunday.
7. Baylor: For the Bears, this is the week before the week. They face Texas A&M and Oklahoma State on the road. Next week brings Kansas and Missouri.
8. Murray State: The Racers are still undefeated, and at 21-0 Steve Prohm is tied with Lou Rossini of Columbia for the third-best start by any first-year coach ever.
9. Kansas: Can’t carp overmuch about the Jayhawks’ upset loss at Iowa State. The resurgent Cyclones are pretty good, and Kansas hadn’t lost since before Christmas.
10. Michigan State: This is a prove-it week for the men of Izzo. They play at Illinois on Tuesday, then face Michigan, which just beat State by a point, in East Lansing.
11. Florida: The latest contender for second-best-team-in-the-SEC will be identified Saturday in Gainesville when the hot Gators face almost-as-hot Vandy.
12. Creighton: The Bluejays’ winning streak stands at 10 in a row. The name to know: Forward Doug McDermott, who averages 23.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game.
13. Saint Mary’s: The Gaels’ winning streak stands at 11 in a row. The name to know: Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova, who averages 15.4 points and 6.4 assists.
14. Florida State: The game to determine the ACC’s third-best team comes Saturday, when Virginia visits Tallahassee. First up for the ‘Noles: Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
15. Marquette: The Golden Eagles have risen to second in the 16-team Big East but have beaten only one conference opponent — Louisville — of real consequence.
16. Virginia: A narrow escape at North Carolina State lifted the Cavaliers to 15-3, but they still must play North Carolina and Florida State twice each.
Dropped out: San Diego State, Georgetown, Mississippi State.
By Mark Bradley