WHO WANTS TO BE NUMBER 1? IS CAROLINA STILL THE TOP DOG?

21 Jan

January 26, 2009

From the opening tip of the season the overwhelming consensus seemed to be that North Carolina was the team at the head of the pack. With Player of the Year Tyler Hansborough fighting through an early-season injury people began to wonder if that would be the case. Roy Williams squad seemed to quickly squelch those doubts by jumping out to a 12-0 start and putting a strange hold on the top spot of all the polls, then…
Then came January 4th, when the Boston College Eagles faced off with Goliath, in Goliath’s cave and slung down the giant 85-78. The next day Pittsburgh ascended to the top of the Mountain for the first time in school history, while very deserving and perhaps the deepest team in the country, given the ferocity of the Big East it was only a matter of time before UNC reclaimed their spot atop the polls, right? Wrong…
Wrong because on January 11th (must be something about Sunday ACC games) a very good Wake Forest took down Carolina again. So Pittsburgh stayed in the #1 spot for 2 weeks, until January 17th when they traveled to Louisville to take on Rick Pitino’s Cardinals and lost a 69-63 battle. The team that handed North Carolina its second loss, Wake Forest was next in line to give the #1 ranking as on the same day Pittsburgh got knocked off, Wake went into Littlejohn Arena and handled a previously unbeaten Clemson 78-68. The Demon Deacons reign was shorter than George O’Leary’s as head man of the Notre Dame football team. Four days after handing Clemson their first loss, the Deacons got a taste of their own medicine as Virginia Tech saddled them with a 78-71 defeat in Wake’s first game as the #1 team in the country.
In walks the Duke Blue Devils to take their turn in the revolving door at the top of the polls, Duke who may be playing the best basketball of anyone in the country has a tough week as the new number one. Coming off a 41-point blowout of Maryland on Saturday the 24th they travel to Wake Forest on Wednesday the 28th and host Virginia on Super Bowl Sunday (another Sunday ACC game with #1). If they survive that they have a date with Clemson at Littlejohn on Feb. 4th.
So to recap, since North Carolina fell to BC there have been four polls that included three different #1s. Meanwhile Roy Willliams’ squad may still be the team to beat, but one thing has become clear, the word parity is not synonymous with mediocrity. As the turbulence in the top half of the polls have shown of late, there is indeed parity among basketball’s elite.

 

College Hoops Haven

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