For the St. Joe’s fans who write in about the disrespect for their unbeaten team, which is ranked No. 11, we say this: Get in a bigger league or just keep winning, not whining.
This time of year, it’s like real estate folks. Location. Location, location. Just look at the Hawks compared to Georgia Tech, which is No. 5 at 8-0.
St. Joseph’s has beaten a team -- Gonzaga -- many figure is ready for the Final Four. Georgia Tech beat UConn, albeit without Charlie Villanueva, which is certainly Final Four caliber.
St. Joe’s also beat a team in a major conference, Boston College. So did Tech, which thumped Ohio State of the Big Ten and Texas Tech of the Big 12.
So the difference in rankings? Pretty simple. It’s the difference between being located in the A-10 or the ACC.
The Hawks can remedy the mid-major respect thing by winning and winning. With Gonzaga behind them, they are certainly good enough to win every game on the schedule, including Saturday’s game against Cal in Oakland, Calif.
If St. Joe’s was in the Big East and unbeaten, sure, it could be No. 6 right now. But that’s life.
I can see this team cruising out to 20-0 and climbing to No. 5 before it loses steam, gets an injury, and loses a game. Jameer Nelson is the best point guard in the country and Delonte West is a brilliant scorer on the other wing.
What Nelson lacks in size -- he’s 5-11 -- he makes up for in hoops savvy and upper body strength. He’s a first-round pick, though a late first-round pick when you factor in the Europeans and a couple of high school kids.
What else about the Hawks? They spread you out and carve you up, just like a lot of college teams. They are well-coached. That said, they need a third scorer and they need to play better interior defense.
The Top 10? It will happen in January, but only if Hawks stay unbeaten.
Q: How long will it take Kansas to adjust to Bill Self's 'high-low' system? It's such a drastic change from what they did under Roy Williams. I keep wondering if it's a better offense.
--Jeff Pretty, Denver, CO
A: I think this offense is pretty slick because it can isolate Wayne Simien down low against a man-to-man and also against a zone defense and create space for Keith Langford to abuse someone one-on-one.
If one Kansas big guy flashes to the free-throw line, the defense, whether it’s a zone or man, has to respect that and send a big guy with him. That leaves Simien inside one-on-one. Most teams are not going to drop a wing guy to help and expose themselves to a three-pointer. Simien is tough to handle alone.
This offense seems built to work against a man defense and zone defense, so that makes it an outstanding scheme. It’s the type of scheme that also allows for some drives from the wing for Miles and Langford.
The thing that takes practice in this high-low post, motion scheme are the passes from the big guy at the foul line inside to the big guy inside.
Looking at the shooting statistics, Kansas is shooting pretty well from the floor (47 percent), so they have some of this down, I think. KU’s turnovers per game look high (15) for the caliber of competition, but they shouldn’t make you nervous.
Q: Do you think the Yellow Jackets can really be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC, or is their early season performance a fluke?
-- Ben, Cary, N.C.
A: They are not a fluke. This is a veteran team that plays hard on defense in the half court and creates offense for itself. Tech has already mangled all preseason predictions and will not fold.
The Yellow Jackets will win at home in the ACC. The key is whether they can have the quality possessions in the last two minutes to win on the road in the ACC. That’s the difference between good and very good.
What’s key? Jarrett Jack, the sophomore point guard, is vastly improved. He was a highly-regarded high school point guard, but I thought he was overrated when I watched him last year. Just look at him now. He can shoot better; he makes good decisions with the ball; he’s been a nasty defender on the ball.
By the way, think where Tech would be without their big man. I’m not talking about Chris Bosh. I’m talking about Emeka Okafor. Jackets coach Paul Hewitt had him recruited, but the NCAA would not budge and give Tech back a scholarship it was owed and Okafor signed with UConn.
Q: Can you compare UConn's Ben Gordon to other great guards such as Khalid El-Amin or even Allen Iverson when they were in school?
-- Lamont Jones, Bridgeport, CT
A: Iverson? Uh, no, he’s no Iverson. El-Amin? That’s closer, but still not a fit.
Gordon is a terrific shooter and scorer, but remember El-Amin was the point guard for a national championship team. He was an explosive scorer who got things done and led the team.
Gordon is a wing guard who is, by far, a better pro prospect and will be a better player than the too short, too chunky El-Amin.
How good is Gordon? We'll find out the second half of the season. He might have to turn into a Richard Hamilton-type leader if the Huskies want to win the crown because Emeka Okafor’s bad back is still a problem.
Q: Auburn is off to their best start since the 1998-99 season. What are the chances of them making the NCAA tournament and making a run in the tournament?
-- Chris, Birmingham, Ala.
A: You don’t want me to knock Auburn, do you? The last time people crawled on the Tigers they nearly beat Syracuse in the 2003 tournament.
The Tigers can get in the NCAA tournament, no sweat. Make a run in the tournament? Maybe the Sweet 16, yes. The Tigers lost Marquis Daniels, a versatile talent who could play four spots, but they have better depth and more experience this season.
The December schedule is weak, of course, just like it was last season. But look what happened. Auburn nearly beat national champion Syracuse with its deliberate style.
A couple of things to consider:
This is the best team in the SEC West. Too bad the schedule does not give us better insight into this club.
CBT: Kansas commit Andrew Wiggins impressed in his first workout with the Jayhawks.
Former Rutgers staffer Erik Murdock is still seeking compensation for his termination and says he confronted his co-workers about Mike Rice's behavior.
Latest from CollegeBasketballTalk
Jarnell Stokes posts a Vine of a Marcus Smart 360 dunk5 hr 46 min ago
Gorgui Dieng says Louisville will be better next season6 hr 59 min ago
Report: Oregon lands ex-Iowa State commit Richard Amardi8 hr 29 min ago
Penn State grants forward Jon Graham release, will transfer9 hr 19 min ago
College basketball videos
Rutgers AD has no recollection of abuse
DPS: Craig Wolff of the Newark Star Ledger discusses the details of the allegations against Rutgers AD Julie Hermann with the DPS crew. She says she does not remember the abuse, even an incident in which she was caught on videotape.
Three cheers for college hoops
Take a look at cheerleaders in action from around the country.