Monday, January 20, 2014

UMass basketball is ranked #12 in the country. I wish they were that good, but they're not

Derrick Gordon made the game-winning layup at GMU, 88-87.
When the UMass Minutemen first cracked the Top 25 in late November, I had a feeling they might be there for a while.  After knocking off then #19 New Mexico back on Nov. 22nd, they haven't played a ranked team since.  With Temple, Xavier, and Butler (yes, Butler was actually in their conference for a year, weird I know) now gone the Atlantic 10 isn't what it used to be.  As of right now UMass will only play one more Top 25 team this year, when they host current #19 Saint Louis in the regular season finale on March 8th.  

The thing about college basketball polls is that if you don't lose you tend to keep moving up, regardless of the quality of the wins or strength of schedule.  In three of the Minutemen's last four victories they trailed St. Joe's at home by 9 with under six minutes left, St. Bonaventure by 4 with less than two minutes remaining (as well as by 13 with nine minutes to go, also at home), and at George Mason by 5 with just :40 seconds left on the clock.  Most recently UMass led throughout the game in a 10 point victory over Elon, but if you can tell me where Elon is located or what name they go by I'll be very impressed (the answer to one of those two questions is Phoenix, but I'll leave it up to you to figure out which it is).  The 16-1 Minutemen have ridden their string of comeback victories all the way to #12 in the USA Today Coaches Poll (#13 AP), but should a bunch of close wins over mediocre (at best) competition really have them climbing that high in the rankings?

Kentucky (who's entire starting five is projected to be drafted by the NBA) dropped a two-point game in OT at Arkansas last week, and because of that fell to #14.  As much as I want it to be true, it's a bit of a pipe dream to believe UMass is actually better than Kentucky (or Duke, Ohio State, Michigan, and probably several other squads currently ranked lower).

The Minutemen visit my alma-mater Richmond Spiders (12-6, 2-1 A-10, another solid but unspectacular team) on Wednesday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see UMass stumble.  They've been living on the edge for far too long.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back to homepage