Behind William Buford's 24 points, Ohio State pummeled Indiana on New Year's Eve and did enough to remain entrenched in the #2 ranking in both the AP Poll and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Buckeyes, behind superstar freshman Jared Sullinger, moved to 14-0, but are still looking for a statement win, as none of their marquee non-conference wins are really holding up thus far (Florida, South Carolina and Florida State are all underachieving and their non-con SOS stands at 220th overall). But their dominating performances have earned them the top spot in the KenPom rankings, and they hold the #3 offensive efficiency and #1 defensive efficiency in the country. Not too shabby.
Cincinnati entered the polls this week (24/25), but I am still not sold on the Bearcats. Their 14-0 start, albeit gaudy, is a bit of a mirage. Cincy's best non-conference win is a semi-home contest over Dayton, followed by Wright State and 8-6 Oklahoma. Starting 2-0 in the Big East was a big help to UC, but we'll see what the Bearcats are really made of in their next five games, where they take on cross-town rival Xavier, then @ Villanova, home against South Florida, @ Syracuse and @ Notre Dame. If Cincinnati can make it out of that stretch 3-2, I'll start to take them seriously, but they better not overlook Xavier, who is desperately searching for a solid non-conference win to help their at-large chances (which aren't looking good at the moment).
Meanwhile, all Cleveland State does is win, win, win. After their hiccup @ West Virginia, the Vikings have won their last three games (USF, Loyola Chicago, Illinois-Chicago) by a combined 49 points and are now 4-0 in the Horizon, good for some votes in both the Coaches and AP Polls. Butler is next up for CSU, and the Vikings better be ready because the Bulldogs are looking to make up for their embarrassing loss to Wisconsin Milwaukee on Monday. The Vikings may not have the signature bullet point win this year, but while Cincinnati's non-con SOS is 340th in the country, CSU's was 161 by comparison. The Vikings just need to take care of business in the Horizon to put themselves in contention for an at-large bid, but they MUST beat Butler at least once.
Here is the full Top 25 (from ESPN):
|AP Top 25|
|6||San Diego State||15-0||1,198|
|ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll|
|6||San Diego State||15-0||600|