21. Syracuse – For all the talk of New York and Philadelphia as the Mesopotamias of East Coast basketball, why doesn’t Maryland get more love? Syracuse and Georgetown both owe previous Final Four success to the Old Line State, home of legendary DeMatha High, and if they win anything this year it’ll be on the backs of Maryland natives Greene, Hibbert and Summers.
23. Virginia – Given the way Arizona played defense Saturday night I’m not entirely convinced my Dad’s rec league basketball team “The Sweathogs” couldn’t have blown them out.
24. Clemson – Honestly, at this point Clemson could be ranked in the Top 10 in Mid February and there’s still no way they’re making the tournament.
25. Florida – Florida has acquitted itself rather nicely this early in the season given they’re playing the next few months without Tim Tebow.
Arizona – Although our initial reaction is that the Wildcats will be back here soon, defense played as badly as the Wildcats are playing is often indicative of larger problems, like not giving a shit.
Arkansas – Of the Razorbacks loss to Providence in Puerto Rico, Steven Hill said, “It rubs the lotion on its skin.” When asked to elaborate, he added, “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”
Stanford – Lawrence Hill was banged up and Brook Lopez was cramming for his Lit exam at the opening night of “Beowulf”, so while the loss to Siena was a surprise it’s not the end of the world for the Cardinal. All of the numerous parallels that were drawn between this game and Siena’s first round upset of Stanford in the 1989 NCAA Tournament just reminded us of the tragedy that was the basketball career of Todd Lichti, a favorite of ours despite the fact that we have no love lost for Stanford. An ambidextrous wing who could put it on the floor and hit from the outside, Lichti’s collegiate career ended with that devastating loss to Siena. After falling to the 15th pick in the ensuing draft, he had a couple of promising seasons before a tragic accident which killed his fiancée and crushed his foot. Lichti bounced around the league for a few years but never really recovered from the accident. And now to brighten things up, the short, happy life of Ian Curtis…
North Carolina State – Lost in the Rose/Mayo/Beasley/Gordon/Love shuffle are some other truly exceptional freshmen, like Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn, Arizona’s Jerryd Bayless, Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin and NC State’s J.J. Hickson, who has scored 53 points in his first two collegiate games. For all of the deserved fuss over last year’s freshman class, it was fairly top heavy, and the depth of this year’s freshman class may prove to make it a better one. With Hickson and Brandon Costner, the Wolfpack will be back, it’s just a matter of when.