By Hocine LOUKKAF on 12/8/2022
Purdue is number one for the moment considering its schedule but that should change pretty soon after the game between unbeaten Virginia and Houston.
#1 Purdue (9-0)
The Boilermakers have had a pretty tough schedule, beating two top 10 ranked Gonzaga and Duke while also beating two very solid unranked teams (Marquette and WVU). Edey (23.2pts 13.3rbds 1.8bl) is the centerpoint of this roster in which, other than Edey, only Loyer scores more than 10pts but nine players play more than 14min per game. The Boilermakers have no non-conference ranked opponent scheduled before facing their traditional Big Ten rivals.
#2 Virginia (8-0)
The Cavaliers could have been first as they beat Baylor (behind SG Armaan Franklin’s 26pts and intriguing junior Kadrin Shedrick’s 17pts on 6/6 FG, 2bl and 2st), Illinois and Michigan. They have great depth with four players scoring 10+pts per game, two others scoring more than 7.5pts and the team shooting almost 40% 3pt. They will have their biggest test soon against Houston.
#3 Texas (6-1)
Despite a short OT loss against the underrated Fighting Illini, wins against Gonzaga and Creighton allow the Longhorns to remain highly ranked. While ISU transfer Tyrese Hunter (15.1pts on 36% 3pt) has adapted quickly to his new team, 5th year senior Marcus Carr (14.6pts on 40% FG 32% 3pt) is still struggling with consistency. The paint seem also pretty weak as, whatever freshman Dillon Mitchell (7.6pts 5.7rbds) or senior Disu (7.3pts 3.6rbds 1.4bl) provide, the team lack a true C. Texas should have a pretty quiet schedule until playing Alabama to close 2022 on New Year’s Eve.
#4 Houston (9-0)
Until they play Alabama on Saturday and Virginia soon after, the Cougars have yet to be tested and almost lost to Kent State and St Mary’s. Yet, behind a group of four upperclassmen getting most playing time, including senior guard Marcus Sasser (16.9pts 2.9as), Houston has an even better group of underclassmen (Arceneaux, Francis, Sharp) who will keep improving along the season, including potential 2023 draft top ten pick Jarace Walker (9.6pts 6.9rbds).
#5 UConn (10-0)
The Huskies remain unbeaten and despite having played only one ranked team, they won against a solid squad of Alabama which is better than its former #18 AP position. UConn has a nice mix of upper- and underclassmen with Sanogo (18.5pts 6.9rbds 0.8bl), Hawkins (13.5pts 39% 3pt) but also intriguing freshmen Clingan (9.4pts 6.6rbds 2.1bl in 15min) and Karaban (9.3pts 38% 3pt). If only Andre Jackson Jr, who has been filling the statsheets (6.1rbds 4.3as 1.6st 0.9bl), could be as efficient offensively as he was last year (37% FG 26% 3pt), thr Huskies could become the favourite to win it all.
#6 Kansas (8-1)
One of the favourites this year, the Jayhawks suffered a tough loss against Tennessee (64-50) as they were outrebounded 45 to 27 while shooting a poor 32% FG. With Wilson, their main scoring threat (21.9pts on 42% FG) being more of a stretch four than a pure big man, Kansas may need more offensive impact inside as they have only one other big man scoring more than 3.2pts (KJ Adams with 7pts). On the other side, Gradey Dick has been the big statisfaction thus far with 15.3pts on 45% 3pt.
#7 Tennessee (7-1)
The Volunteers would be ranked far better if they had not been beaten in their second game against Colorado as they shot an awful 16/63 from the floor with only Zeigler (4/12) and James (5/11) shooting at least 33% FG. Since then, freshman Julian Philips has emerged as the top scorer despite bad efficiency (39% FG 21% 3pt) while Nkamhoua has been the only real threat inside (10.8pts on 57% FG). Their next two games against Arizona and Maryland could propel them into the top 5.
#8 Alabama (7-1)
One of the most well-rounded teams in the country, the Crimson Tide only lost again better ranked UConn. Freshman star Brandon Miller (19.1pts 8.9rbds 46% 3pt) has lived up to the expectations but is well supported by Sears (14.9pts 3.5as 44% 3pt), Bediako (5.8pts 7.3rbds 2.3bl) and another rising freshman, Noah Clowney (8.6pts 8rbds 1.3bl). They have big test coming against Houston tomorrow.
#9 Arizona (7-1)
Arizona was impressive against San Diego State and Creighton before falling against Utah. In that game, Kriisa (12.8pts 7.8as) and Larsson (9.6pts) combined for 1/14 FG including 0/8 3pt as their big men Ballo (19.1pts 9.3rbds 2bl) and Tubelis (20.1pts 8.3rbds) combined for 42pts and 13rbds. This kind of drought had better not happen too much as the Wildcats are pretty weak offensively behind their six best scorers. Indiana and Tennessee are the next two bog opponents to face for the Wildcats.
#10 Maryland (8-1)
Before losing against the nerve-wracking Badgers, the Terrapins beat Illinois, one of the toughest teams to handle. The roster is stacked with experience as seniors Young (15.3pts 4.7rbds 3as), Scott (14.7pts 6.4rbds 1.1bl and Hart (12.8pts 5.3rbds) lead the scoring while sophomore Reese (12.3pts 7.6rbds 1.3bl) handled his own against Illinois (10pts 6rbds 2as 2bl). Next game against Tennessee will allow Maryland to solidy a top 10 spot.
The wildcard :
The Fighting Illini have already lost twice but against unbeaten Virginia and at Maryland, before beating top 3 ranked Texas behind Mayer’s 21pts and Shannon’s 10pts in overtime. The former Raider is the clear offensive leader (19.3pts) but can count on a deep roster with seven players scoring more than 7pts including big men Dainja (10.9pts 6.1rbds 1.2bl) and do-it-all Hawkins (10pts 6.1rbds 4as 1.6bl) but also improving freshmen guards Clarck and Epps (17.8pts 3.9as combined). Yhey should have a quiet schedule before facing their Big 10 rivals.
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