Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Silent majority rankings #15 (Feb. 15)

1. Xavier (21-2, 10-0 Atlantic 10)
Last week: 1
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 2 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 2 seed
The Musketeers are steamrolling towards a second straight undefeated A-10 regular season. Biggest remaining obstacles come Saturday, when those road warriors from Duquesne visit the Cintas Center, and in the Feb. 27 regular-season finale at fellow conference unbeaten Temple. On deck: Wednesday at Saint Louis (7-18, 1-9); Saturday vs. Duquesne (20-5, 7-3). 

2. Marist (23-2, 14-0 MAAC)
Last week: 2
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 10 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 10 seed
No wonder Arizona State wanted no part of these guys. Recent games have been somewhat closer, but the Red Foxes continue piling up victories against overmatched MAAC foes. The players haven't been bashful about expressing their desire for an 18-0 conference season. Let's just say we like their chances of pulling it off. On deck: Friday vs. Manhattan (19-6, 11-3); Monday at St. Peter's (3-22, 3-11)

3. Green Bay (24-1, 13-0 Horizon)
Last week: 3
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 5 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 5 seed
Games this time of year are supposed to be a grind, right? Well, Green Bay has won its four games this month by 24, 59(!), 31 and 26 points. Some grind. On deck: Saturday at Wisconsin-Milwaukee (9-15, 6-7)

4. Temple (19-6, 10-0 Atlantic 10)
Last week: 4
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 8 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 9 seed
Temple and Xavier give the Atlantic 10 the only Division I conference with two teams that have yet to lose a league game. Overall there are 12 conference unbeatens; the Owls and Musketeers are joined by UConn (Big East), Baylor (Big 12), Houston (Conference-USA); Green Bay (Horizon), Marist (MAAC), Stanford (Pac-10), Arkansas-Little Rock (Sun Belt), Gonzaga (Big West) and Louisiana Tech (WAC). On deck: Wednesday at George Washington (8-16, 3-7); Saturday at Dayton (16-9, 7-4). 

5. Gonzaga (22-4, 10-0 WCC)
Last week: 5
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 11 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 12 seed
Courtney Vandersloot became the fourth NCAA Division I player to crack the 1,000-assist mark for her career Saturday as the  Bulldogs rallied from a 9-point second-half deficit to trump Pepperdine 73-59. Vandersloot now has 1,006 dimes and trails only Penn State's Suzie McConnell (1,307 assists), FIU's Andrea Nagy (1,165) and Pacific's Tina Freil (1,088) in Division I history. Also, on Monday the Bulldogs cracked the AP Top 25 poll at No. 25. On deck: Thursday vs. Santa Clara (8-16, 4-6); Saturday at San Francisco (4-20, 1-9). 

6. Houston (20-4, 11-0 Conference USA)
Last week: 7
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 8 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 9 seed
Moving the Cougars up a notch and ahead of Louisiana Tech corrects a mistake we made last week. Of course Houston should be ahead of the Lady Techsters; the Cougars beat them head-to-head in Ruston, La. back in November. Yes, it was a long time ago. But given that the teams have otherwise similar profiles, that head-to-head win takes on greater significance. On deck: Thursday at Tulsa (5-14, 1-10); Sunday vs. UTEP (13-10, 5-6).

7. Louisiana Tech (18-5, 10-0 WAC)
Last week: 6
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 11 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 11 seed
The Lady Techsters have won 11 straight and scored at least 85 points in each of their last four games. With an RPI of 26, they appear to be well-positioned for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid should they fail to win the WAC Tournament. On deck: Thursday vs. Hawaii (8-16, 2-9); Saturday vs. San Jose State (2-21, 2-8). 

8. Middle Tennessee State (21-5, 12-1 Sun Belt)
Last week: 12
NCAA projections: ESPN: The Blue Raiders clinched their third straight Sun Belt East Division title Saturday by thumping FIU 66-52 in Murfreesboro. Last month, FIU handed MTSU its only conference loss. On Monday, freshman star Ebony Rowe became the first freshman in Sun Belt history to earn player of the week honors four times. On deck: Thursday at Troy (5-20, 2-10); Sunday at Arkansas-Little Rock (17-5, 11-0). 

9. James Madison (19-6, 12-1 CAA)
Last week: 14
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 12 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 11 seed
In building a 10-game winning streak, the Dukes have sometimes done it with defense - Exhibit A: Sunday's 
53-40 smothering of George Mason. Other times, they've done it with defense. But occasionally, as was the case in last Thursday's 71-51 dismantling of VCU, they've excelled at both. And when this team plays at that level, virtually anything seems possible. On deck: Thursday vs. Towson (8-16, 2-11); Sunday at Delaware (15-9, 8-5).

10. Charlotte (20-5, 8-2 Atlantic 10)
Last week: 18
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 10 seed; Collegerpi.com: Not in field.
The 49ers turned in one of their best two-way efforts of the season in routing Dayton 73-52 Saturday for their program-record ninth straight win. On deck: Wednesday at LaSalle (8-17, 4-6); Saturday vs. Saint Louis (7-18, 1-9).

11. Duquesne (20-5, 7-3 Atlantic 10)
Last week: 8
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 9 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 9 seed
The Dukes fell on the road for the first time in 13 games with Saturday's 70-63 loss at St. Bonaventure. But that only means they must now be evaluated as a team that's gone 12-2 in road games this season, and that's still very good. On deck: Wednesday vs. St. Joseph's (15-9, 5-5); Sunday at Xavier (21-2, 10-0).

12. Princeton (17-4, 6-1 Ivy)
Last week: 11
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 13 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 13 seed
Tigers star Devona Allgood earned Ivy League Player of the Year honors after scoring a game-high 13 points in a win over Columbia and getting a career-high 22 points the following night in a victory over Cornell. On deck: Friday vs. Yale (10-12, 6-2); Saturday vs. Brown (7-15, 3-5).

13. Old Dominion (17-7, 11-2 CAA)
Last week: 16
NCAA projections: ESPN: Not in field, among last 8 out. Collegerpi.com: Not in field, among last 8 out.
Lady Monarchs exhibited poise under pressure in holding off much-improved UNC Wilmington 68-60 on Sunday in Norfolk. Lady Monarchs seniors Jasmine Parker, Russia Voronina, Shadasia Green and Kquanise Byrd continue to play with an infectious, every-game-could-be-our-last passion. 
 On deck: Thursday at VCU (14-9, 9-4); Sunday at Hofstra (14-10, 6-7).

14. Fresno State (17-7, 8-2 WAC)
Last week: 13
NCAA projections: ESPN: Not in field; Collegerpi.com: Not in field
The Bulldogs rallied from a 12-point first half deficit to win by 18 against tough Utah State. Jaleesa Ross hit just one 3-pointer, but it was enough to eclispe former Colorado State star Becky Hammond's 12-year-old WAC record of 365. On deck: Thursday at Boise State (11-14, 2-9); Monday at New Mexico State (10-13, 4-5).

15. Florida Gulf Coast (20-2, 13-2 Atlantic Sun)
Last week: 9
NCAA projections: In last year of reclassifying period; not eligible for NCAA Tournament.
Another stumble in conference play by the Eagles, who turned it over 26 times in an 11-point loss at sub.-500 Kennesaw State. But FGCU remains invincible at Alico Arena where they have won 34 straight, the third-longest home winning streak in Division I. On deck: Saturday vs. Campbell (11-14, 10-6); Monday vs. Stetson (14-11, 10-6). 

16: BYU (18-7, 10-1 Mountain West)
Last week: 20
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 12 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 13 seed
After rolling up six straight double-digit victories - the last three by 25 points or more - the Cougars proved they could be just as successful in a nail-biter Saturday as they held off Utah 61-58 in Salt Lake City. On deck: Saturday vs. TCU (17-8, 9-2).

17. Dayton (16-9, 7-4 Atlantic 10)
Last week: 10
NCAA projections: ESPN: Not in field. Collegerpi.com: Not in field.
Tough to figure out these Flyers, who can take Xavier to overtime one week and lose by 21 at Charlotte the next. No shame in a loss to Charlotte, of course, but man, did Dayton get spanked. Have a feeling they're about to play really well again Saturday vs. Temple. On deck: Saturday vs. Temple (19-6, 10-0).

18. Hampton (19-6, 11-1 MEAC)
Last week: 17
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 15 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 14 seed
The Lady Pirates snapped North Carolina A&T's 30-game home winning streak Monday in a nationally televised (ESPNU) contest. Next up is Bethune-Cookman, the only team to have beaten the Lady Pirates in conference play this season. But after Monday's brawl involving Bethune-Cookman and Maryland-Eastern Shore players, it remains to be seen how many of the Wildcats will be cleared to play. On deck: Saturday vs. Bethune-Cookman (12-11, 5-6); Monday vs. Florida A&M (13-11, 8-4). 

19. Northern Iowa (19-5, 12-1 Missouri Valley)
Last week: 21
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 13 seed; Collegerpi.com: No.12 seed
Prior to Saturday's game against Drake, UNI coach Tanya Warren pledged to give $25 to the breast cancer awareness cause for every 3-pointer the Panthers made. Her players responded with a season-high 12 bombs in the 74-55 victory. Guess it was simply a matter of giving them the right motivation. On deck: Thursday at Southern Illinois (2-21, 0-12); Saturday at Evansville (8-15, 3-9). 

20. Arkansas-Little Rock (17-5, 11-0 Sun Belt)
Last week: 22
NCAA projections: ESPN: Not in field. Collegerpi.com: No. 12 seed
Chasity Reed became the first Trojan to eclipse 2,000 career points in Sunday's 55-52 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. The win gave UALR at least a share of their fourth straight Sun Belt West Division title. They can claim it outright with a victory Wednesday against Western Kentucky. Then it's on to Sunday's Sun Belt showdown with Middle Tennessee State. On deck: Wednesday vs. Western Kentucky (10-14, 7-5); Sunday vs. Middle Tennessee State (21-5, 12-1). 

21. Toledo (18-6, 10-1 MAC)
Last week: 25
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 13 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 13 seed
It took us a while to recognize the Rockets, and it's taken even longer to realize that at this stage, Toledo has earned the right to be ranked higher than a Bowling Green team they've already beaten. Better late than never, we suppose. On deck: Wednesday vs. Western Michigan (7-17, 3-8); Saturday at Ball State (9-15, 4-7). 

22. Bowling Green (20-4, 8-3 MAC)
Last week: 19
NCAA projections: ESPN: Not in field; Collegerpi.com: Not in field.
Maybe we should start calling this the Prochaska report. Here's this week's update: Lauren the Great went for 37 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's 60-55 victory at Eastern Michigan. The 37 points were the second-most in program history, topped only by the 43 Prochaska poured in two years ago. The feat earned her MAC East Division player of the week honors.

23. TCU (17-8, 9-2 Mountain West)
Last week: 23
NCAA projections: ESPN: Not in field; Collegerpi.com: Not in field.
TCU's up-and-down season is currently on an uptick after wins at New Mexico and over Wyoming. Big test on Saturday at BYU. On deck: Wednesday at Colorado State (12-11, 5-5); Saturday at BYU (18-7, 10-1). 

24. Appalachian State (21-4, 15-2 Southern)
Last week: NR
NCAA projections: ESPN: No. 13 seed; Collegerpi.com: No. 13 seed
The Mountaineers earned at least a share of the SoCon regular-season title - its first since 1995-96 - and clinched the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament Monday with a 57-56 win at Chattanooga. Kelsey Sharkey's layup with 11 seconds left was the game-winner. That's the good news for AppState fans. The bad news is that BCS schools that have openings will no doubt be taking a serious look at Mountaineers coach Darcie Vincent. The woman can really coach. On deck: Saturday vs. Wofford; Monday vs. Georgia Southern.

25. UNC Wilmington (18-6, 10-3 CAA)
Last week: 24
NCAA projections: ESPN: Not in field; Collegerpi.com: Not in field.
The Seahawks were impressive in defeat Sunday at Old Dominion, particularly considering UNCW had lost all 52 previous meetings with the Lady Monarchs. But Seahawks coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke took little comfort in the close call. "We didn't come here to lose," the coach said.
On deck: Thursday vs. Georgia State (10-14, 5-8); Sunday vs. Northeastern (8-16, 3-10). 

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