1. Kentucky Wildcats (15-0)

Tate’s Take: The SEC hasn’t been very kind so far to Coach Cal and the ‘Cats. Two games into conference play, UK has played a total of 3 overtimes resulting in wins by a combined 9 points (vs. Ole Miss & @Texas A&M). It appears that Kentucky doesn’t look as strong and intimidating as many had thought they would this early in the season, yet, they’re still undefeated although many believe a loss is looming and soon approaching. The powerhouse of the Blue Grass State has to get it together and get it together soon… sooner than later. Putting all your eggs in the baskets of 18 and 19 year-old kids may be tough but so is their defense and play on the road in comparison to it on their home court in Lexington which should raise some eyebrows. The SEC isn’t overly tough but you cannot tell
that to the Kentucky faithful. In retrospect, is the SEC as strong as UK says or are they just simply walking around with a bullseye on their backs and getting everyone’s best shot? Looking for an upset? @LSU and vs. Arkansas will be UK’s biggest unexpected tests as both are putting together very good teams this season and playing exceptionally well thus far. Expect UK to get up for Florida in coming weeks but lay an egg shortly after especially if the game comes down to late game free-throw shooting. Up Next: Tonight vs. Mizzou

2. Virginia Cavaliers (15-0)

Tate’s Take: The Cavs may not be bolstering the numero uno next to their name, but they are playing the most impressive basketball in the country. In large part beacuse Tony Bennett has his team playing phenomenally on both sides of the ball with a balanced attack. Defensively, VA is the best team in the nation using the eye test. Although getting stops is not only their specialty, during critical times and throughout the duration of the game, there aren’t many loop holes in the Cavs’ style of play. Virginia is road tested after outlasting Maryland, Notre Dame, VCU, and Miami (FL) respectively. The only issue seems to be that lately, Bennett’s ballclub has been on a bit of a scoring rollercoaster. Junior Guard Malcolm Brogdon is the leader and catalyst of this team… one of the more underrated palyers in the nation. Up Next: Tonight vs. Clemson

3. Gonzaga Bulldogs (16-1)

Tate’s Take: The Zags are peaking at the right time and expectedly so considering their remaining games in the West Coast Conference. A short stint of a break from conference play will come in the last day of this month when they welcome a mediocre at best Memphis team with solid talent and loaded with athleticism to ‘The Kennel’ in Spokane. It’s far from a stretch for GU to go undefeated the remainder of the season entering postseason play and claiming the overall #1 seed (regional #1 seed in the West for sure) behind natural Point Guard Kevin Pangos & Co. Gonzaga isn’t very deep in the backcourt but upper classmen, Byron Wesley (a proven and very capable heavy scorer Byron Wesley…transfer from USC), role player of all role players Gary Bell Jr. and Kyle Draginis do more than just make up for the minimal losses that the Bulldogs possess. Being ranked in the Top 10 of 3 statistical caterogies doesn’t spell FLUKE by any stretch of the imagination: 82.6ppg (10th), 17.4apg (10th), 52%FG (2nd) Up Next: Thursday @Pepperdine

4. Duke Blue Devils (14-1)

Tate’s Take: As impressive as Duke has been in recent weeks, only 1 win as come to a current Top 25 team (@Wisconsin) and although the others (Michigan St, Temple, Stanford, Uconn) weren’t complete ‘cream puffs’, give the Durham Devils credit for scheduling those ‘traditionally tough’ games away from Krzyzewskiville (Cameron Indoor Stadium) and taking them @ a neutral site. Of course the 12 point loss @ NC State hurts a bit but there’s no question that Duke will rebound and do so in a massive way in their next upcoming contest. Duke ranks 8th nationally in points per game and 5th in FG percentile. Up Next: Duke’s upset. I wouldn’t want to be Miami (FL) tonight.

5. Villanova Wildcats (15-1)

Tate’s Take: The quick-striking, long distance dialing, hot shooting, typical guard heavy Wildcats of Villanova are winning in as much fashion as Jay Wright’s wardrobe closet. Duke isn’t the only team that has served opponents L’s on a silver platter on neutral sites… Nova made a statement ealy in the season and outlasting foes such as VCU, Illinois and Michigan. Nova has seemed to nearly run through the entire East Coast to in defeating inner-city rival Temple, former in-conference rival and foe Syracuse, and @St. John’s after taking down Butler and only faltering to an up and coming Seton Hall. Up Next: Wednesday vs. Xavier

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