Welcome to the latest edition of Talking Hoops with Ted Sarandis. Conference play is in full swing, so there is much to talk about now.
First, we talk about a team that ascended to the top spot in the polls for the first time, but apparently will have a short stay there. Baylor went from overlooked before the season to the top spot after a number of good wins, but the Bears went to West Virginia on Tuesday night and were blown out. The Mountaineers simply pressed them into submission, and while this is naturally labeled an upset, that is a bit of a misnomer.
We then head out west to talk about some surprises in the Mountain West Conference. San Diego State, a comfortable preseason favorite, started off 0-3 before finally beating San Jose State on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Boise State is off to a surprising 4-0 start, while Nevada and New Mexico are among the teams behind them. Nevada made a rally for the ages on Saturday night to beat New Mexico at The Pit, with transfers Jordan Caroline and Marcus Marshall coming up big. Eric Musselman is building something at Nevada, and the Wolfpack may now be the favorites there.
Heading east, the ACC continues to give us plenty to talk about, and it probably will continue to. Florida State has continued to win, including a convincing win over Duke on Tuesday night that also brought Duke guard Grayson Allen into the public eye again. This time, though, he has someone with the other team – Florida State assistant coach Dennis Gates – backing him up. Gates, who played high-level college basketball at Cal, is quite simply one of the best people you’ll ever meet, and if he takes no issue with what happened, we probably shouldn’t, either.
We also look elsewhere in the ACC, where North Carolina held off Wake Forest and NC State went down again on Wednesday, this time at Boston College. NC State is looking like a feast-or-famine team, which they have been a few times in recent years.
The Big East comes into focus with Creighton continuing a fine season, and we also take a look at the Atlantic 10, where a pair of arch rivals – Richmond and VCU – lead the way right now.