Tag Archives: Ryan Kelly

Week 15 NCAA men’s basketball power rankings

During Week 15 of last year’s college basketball season, it was evident that the Kentucky Wildcats were the premier team in college basketball and UK’s freshman center Anthony Davis was the best player in the country. The Wildcats had  a 25-1 record, with their only slip up being a 73-72 loss at Indiana early in December that will forever be remembered for the “Wat Shot.” Kentucky lost only one more game, the SEC Championship, the rest of the season and lived up to expectations by winning last year’s NCAA Tournament.

There is no Kentucky this year. In the past six weeks, the No. 1 team has changed five teams. No one has separated from the pack and any team that enters the top five seems to play hot potato with the No. 1 spot by losing. Last week, four of the top five teams–Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Kansas–in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll lost at least once. Kansas dropped consecutive games for the first time since November 21-22, 2005. Every team in the latest AP Poll has at least two losses, the average number of losses per top 25 team is slightly over four and No. 20 Wisconsin has seven.

So what does it all mean?

A) The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee are going to have a difficult time determining the field of the 68 teams that make it to the Big Dance.

and

B) Once the teams and seeds are finalized, the national championship is truly up for grabs.

Without further adieu, here are my NCAA men’s basketball power rankings for Week 15:

1. Miami Hurricanes (19-3, 10-0)-Miami is the only team in one of the power six conferences to have a perfect conference record. The Hurricanes’ 10-0 record in ACC play has given Miami a two-game cushion over Duke. The Hurricanes have proven that they can run traditional college basketball powerhouses out of the gym as seen by their 27-point win against Duke and 26-point victory over North Carolina.

The Miami Hurricanes are the only team in a power six conference that is undefeated in conference play. (Image courtesy of http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/29/3118194/win-signals-progress-for-miami.html)
The Miami Hurricanes are the only team in a power six conference that is undefeated in conference play. (Image courtesy of http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/29/3118194/win-signals-progress-for-miami.html)

2. Indiana Hoosiers (21-3, 9-2)-Indiana let an 11-point lead with seven minutes remaining against Illinois slip away, which could been a major concern for the Hoosiers if it wasn’t for IU’s bounce back win at No. 10 Ohio State. The 81-68 victory was Indiana’s first road win over a ranked opponent since 2002 and kept the Hoosiers atop the AP Poll.

3. Michigan Wolverines (21-3, 8-3)-If Ben Brust’s half-court prayer didn’t force overtime in Madison, Wisc. and eventually lead to a Badgers victory, Michigan would likely be No. 1 team in the country. The Big Ten’s abundance of tournament-bound teams has taken its toll on the Wolverines, who are tied for third in the conference with Wisconsin.

4. Duke Blue Devils (21-2, 8-2)-The Blue Devils have finally gotten their feet under them after losing senior forward Ryan Kelly to a foot injury. Duke lost two of its first three games without Kelly but have rattled off five straight wins as the team sits in second place in the ACC.

5. Michigan State (20-4, 9-2)-Don’t look now but the Spartans are tied for first in the Big Ten with Indiana. The Spartans still have to play Michigan twice as well as Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin a second time; if Sparty can survive the gauntlet, they have a shot at a No. 1 seed in March.

6. Florida Gators (19-3, 9-1)-The Gators should not be judged too harshly for their 80-69 loss to Arkansas. Every team has off nights and Florida showed that their lone conference loss was a fluke. They returned to their prior form by beating Mississippi State by 25 on Saturday.

7. Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-2, 10-0)-Barring a horrible loss or two, Gonzaga seems destined for a No. 2 seed with an outside chance to be a No. 1 if the teams in front of them don’t finish the regular season on high notes. The Bulldogs are a major question mark because of their weak conference schedule. They aren’t tested on a nightly basis the way that ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 or Pac-12 teams are. Gonzaga played against three ranked opponents and lost two of those matchups, which could hint at an early exit in the tournament.

8. Syracuse Orange (20-3, 8-2)-If Syracuse can settle senior forward James Southerland’s eligibility issue, then the Orange may be the favorite to win the Big East and ‘Cuse could match last year’s Elite Eight appearance.

9. Kansas Jayhawks (20-4, 8-3)-Last week may have been the darkest period in the history of Kansas basketball with three losses. Texas Christian University’s first Big 12 win, an unexpected 62-55 upset of the Jayhawks, was sandwiched by Kansas losses to unranked Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. With four teams within one game of the conference lead, Kansas doesn’t have any more room for error in a wide open Big 12.

10. Arizona Wildcats (20-3, 8-3)-Arizona was one of the hottest teams in the country and arguably the best team out West early in the season with wins against No. 5 Florida, Miami (Fla.) and No. 17 San Diego State during its 14-0 start. However, the Wildcats have started to show their true colors and fade from the spotlight with losses to unranked Oregon, UCLA and California.

2013: Week 2 in review (Jan. 6-12)

College football’s Kelly’s flirt with the NFL

After four consecutive BCS bowl appearances, Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly decided to remain in Eugene, Ore. despite interest from the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. It remains to be seen if Kelly’s recruiting at Oregon will be impacted in the future due to his interest in the NFL but his window of opportunity to make the jump to the next  level may be closing after turning down several offers to be an NFL head coach.

The Philadelphia Eagles also interviewed Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly just days after the Fighting Irish lost the BCS National Championship to Alabama. Kelly certainly would have been a leap of faith for Philadelphia since he has no NFL experience as a player or coach. Also, Kelly has moved up the ranks incredibly quickly. He has won everywhere that he has coached but just 13 years ago he was an assistant coach at Grand Valley State University. Three years at Central Michigan, three years at Cincinnati and three years at Notre Dame is a very fast progression but Kelly has certainly earned consideration to coach at the next level.

By winning his third BCS National Championship in four years, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban is definitely in the conversation for the greatest college football coach of all time. While he only has won half the number of national championships that former Alabama Head Coach Bear Bryant won, this is a different era. In Bryant’s day, coaches could have well over 100 players on scholarship. Today the number is 85. Saban announced that he is “at peace” with his current position, which indicates that he is unlikely to return to the NFL. At 61 years old, Nick Saban still has time to bolster his resume and potentially vie for more national championships in the future.

Only one rookie QB advances to the Divisional Round; three great Saturday games

In Ray Lewis’ final home game of his career, the Baltimore Ravens defeated Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts behind Joe Flacco’s two passing touchdowns. The Colts ran 31 more plays and held the ball for 15 minutes longer than Baltimore but could only kick three field goals.

In Washington, Mike Shanahan put rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III in the game despite visible signs of being hurt and RGIII ended up tearing his ACL and LCL in the fourth quarter. The Redskins had taken a 14-0 lead before RGIII left the game to see the team trainer. Seattle then scored 24 unanswered points and ran for 224 yards in the game. Griffin III had surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews, who has worked with Tom Brady, Brett Favre, Albert Pujols and Drew Brees, soon after Washington’s playoff loss and has an eight to twelve month recovery period. Who knows, RGIII could be next year’s Adrian Peterson if he can rehabilitate his knee and come back even stronger.

Somewhere Tim Tebow has to be celebrating secretly that he managed to win a playoff game in Denver and Peyton Manning fell short this season. Despite a Trindon Holliday’s 90-yard punt return and a 104-yard kickoff return for touchdowns, the Broncos could not put away Baltimore, extending Ray Lewis’ career by at least one week. Joe Flacco lead scoring drives in the final thirty-six seconds of both halves. In the first half, the Ravens had three plays for 58 yards and Flacco found Torrey Smith for six on a 32-yard strike. With the game on the line, Baltimore had another three-play drive that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown reception by Jacoby Jones after a blown coverage by Denver safety Rahim Moore. Peyton Manning threw an interception at the end of the first overtime period and Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker won the game in double OT with a 47-yard field goal.

Well, it looks like Jim Harbaugh’s gut paid off. After benching starting quarterback Alex Smith in favor of second-year backup QB Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49’ers have had a record of 6-2-1 and Harbaugh’s team is in the NFC Championship Game for the second year in a row. Against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick rushed for an NFL record 181 yards, which is the most ever by a quarterback in a single game. He also threw for 263 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns as the 49’ers downed the Packers 45-31 in Candlestick Park.

San Francisco 49'ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick set an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game with 181 yards against Green Bay. (Image courtesy of http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20130113/nfl-playoffs-49ers-packers/)
San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick set an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game with 181 yards against Green Bay. (Image courtesy of http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nfl/news/20130113/nfl-playoffs-49ers-packers/)

Two top teams suffer first loss in college basketball

Duke and Arizona were in the top three in virtually every college basketball ranking. However, everything changed in a three-day span. On Thursday night, the No. 3 Wildcats traveled to Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. to face the 12-2 Oregon Ducks. Arizona was down 12 points with 3:10 remaining in the game and in typical Wildcat fashion, Sean Miller’s squad fought their way back to within four after Mark Lyons knocked down a pair of three pointers. However, it was too little too late for Arizona and Oregon won 70-66. Two days later, a short-handed Duke team (without senior Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry was injured in the game) lost on the road to No. 20 N.C. State, who was led by C.J. Leslie’s 25 points and six rebounds.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sports.Eat.Sleep.Repeat.!