January 18th, 2012

Beyond the Top 25 – A College Hoops Weekly

Contributed by Taylor Jordan – Strike Point Sports

There’s a lot of be said for games in January. Conference play continues to take shape, yet you can see postseason play right around the corner. For teams like Syracuse and Murray State (the last two unbeatens), it’d be difficult not to think of Bob Knight’s Indiana squad that ran the table and bolstered its own perfect season. Pressure is surely on the Orange, while the Races continue to provide a great story and will no doubt be a headliner for Bracket Buster Saturday in February.

And I am sure the likes of Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Ohio State and Baylor are focusing on making a run at number one seeds for the NCAA Tournament. Either way, this college basketball campaign continues to offer a great amount of entertainment. There aren’t too many leagues, mid-major or top profile conference that has a runaway favorite, and that makes for a great couple of months left of hoops to watch.

Here is a deeper look at the teams on the outside looking in of the Top 25 for week eleven:

Wisconsin, 14-5 Straight Up (10-6 Against The Spread)

The Badgers turned in back-to-back league wins to snap their three game losing streak, but the schedule doesn’t get any easier for Bo Ryan’s team. Games at home against Northwestern and Indiana are up next, along with a road game at Illinois sandwiched in between.

New Mexico 15-2 SU (10-4 ATS)

There isn’t a whole lot holding these Lobos back from a spot in the Top 25, at least if you ask me. They’ve won ten straight and are clicking on all cylinders, however their potential place in the rankings will be dictated this week, as they host San Diego State, then travel to Vegas to clash with the Runnin’ Rebels.

Seton Hall, 15-3 SU (10-4 ATS)

The Pirates went 1-1 since we added them to this list. Their loss at South Florida was all too ‘Seton Hall’ like. I guess you can’t complain about them stumbling on the road in the Big East, as it was bound to happen at some point. Now is where the schedule gets tricky, with three of their next five on the road as well, including consecutive games at Marquette and Connecticut.

Vanderbilt, 13-4 SU (7-6 ATS)

Vandy is doing all they can to reestablish itself as a ranked school this season. The Commodores won both its games last week, but two tougher opponents wait this week. First they travel to T-Town to face Alabama and then host upstart Mississippi State on Saturday.

Harvard, 15-2 SU (7-5 ATS)

Ah, life in the Ivy League. Even when you win, it’s still not good enough. Harvard took care of business this past week, but even the Crimson’s recent victories were not enough to convince voters to slot them back into the rankings. There is probably not a whole lot they can do, with five straight conference games on the schedule in the last couple of weeks, and losses by schools ahead of them will be the likeliest of scenarios to get back into the national rankings.

Cincinnati, 14-4 SU (5-7 ATS)

The Bearcats’ obvious moment this season was its brawl with Xavier during its heated game with its in-state rivals. But their play on the court has been strong just the same. Winners of two straight and nine of its last ten games overall, you’d have to say Cincy has responded well since being in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Now can they continue this good play, especially with a tough string of games upcoming: traveling to Storrs to face Connecticut and then to Morgantown to visit West Virginia this week, and then a huge Big Monday home game against No. 1 Syracuse.

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