The first thing I want to address is the craziness of the #1 debate. Between last Sunday and this past Sunday, Kansas, Texas, Pitt and Ohio State all lost. So now everyone wants to know "who's #1?" My response: Who cares?
At this point in the season, it doesn't matter very much (to be fair, I've often said rankings never matter and I stand by that, but I digress). There are always lots of upsets in the final few weeks before conference tournaments. Teams have seen each other before, they've watched each other throughout the season, bubble teams are playing with more urgency in a last minute attempt to secure an NCAA tourney bid, everyone's tired, etc. Right now, despite what any coach or player says, the tournament is on the brain. I don't say that as a criticism--it's completely natural. In a little over a month, we'll know for sure who's #1...so I'm not going to waste time debating it.
In other news, where did St. John's come from?!? I absolutely love any time there is a resurgence of a program--Arizona, Indiana (which still has a way to go, but they are definitely improving), etc. I think it only makes the game more exciting when every game is competitive and every opponent has to be taken seriously. Let's be honest--so many of the great teams that are disliked (Duke, UNC, Kansas, Kentucky and dare I say, in the last few years, Michigan State) are disliked because they're always on top and frankly, people get sick of it. Steve Lavin has done a tremendous job with that group and I would hate to face them in the tourney. One thing I would love to ask him is how much of his experience as an analyst has helped him--or has it? The man has spent the past several years watching hours and hours of these top teams, coaches and players--how much of that knowledge makes a difference when he is preparing his team for a game? It may not matter at all, but the concept is fascinating to me.