Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Silent Majority rankings #16 (Feb. 22)

1. Xavier (23-2, 12-0 Atlantic 10)
Last week: 1
Streak: Won 13 straight. Status: Tied with Temple atop A-10. 
We thought the Musketeers might be challenged Saturday against Duquesne. Instead, they rolled 77-51 in what forward Amber Harris called one of the team's best performances of the season. Temple doesn't figure to be put away so convincingly...although we thought the same thing about Duquesne. On deck: Wednesday vs. George Washington (8-18, 3-9); Saturday at Temple (21-6, 12-0).  

2. Marist (25-2, 16-0 MAAC)
Last week: 2
Streak: Won 21 straight. Status: Clinched top seed in MAAC Tournament 
Baylor's loss at Texas Tech on Saturday left Marist with Division I's longest winning streak, and the Red Foxes punctuated the achievement Monday by crushing St. Peter's 79-38. Marist is now  two wins away from one of its stated goals - an 18-0 conference season. On deck: Friday at Siena (12-14, 10-6); Sunday vs. Fairfield (17-10, 10-6). 

3. Green Bay (25-1, 14-0 Horizon)
Last week: 3
Streak: Won 16 straight. Status: Clinched a share of their 13th straight Horizon League regular-season title.
Green Bay has the second-best overall record in Division I; only UConn's 26-1 mark is a tick better. No other team has fewer than two losses. On deck: Thursday vs. Valparaiso (7-20, 4-11); Saturday vs. Butler (17-10, 11-4). 

4. Temple (21-6, 12-0 Atlantic 10)
Last week: 4
Streak: Won 14 straight. Status: Tied with Xavier atop A-10.
We tend to think of the Owls as a defense-first team, so it's worth noting that Temple has scored at least 76 points in five of its last eight games and 82 or more three times during that span. This stretch also includes Wednesday's 89-36 pummeling of George Washington - the second-largest margin of victory in the history of program. Looks like they're ready for Saturday's showdown with Xavier, although they can't overlook Wednesday's Big Five title game at St. Joseph's. On deck: Wednesday at St. Joseph's (17-9, 7-5); Saturday vs. Xavier (25-2, 12-0). 

5. Gonzaga (24-4, 12-0 WCC)
Last week: 5
Streak: Won 14 straight. Status: Clinched 7th straight WCC regular-season title.
Point guard Courtney Vandersloot, a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award for the nation's top point guard - and the clear favorite - collected her 12th career WCC Player of the Week award after averaging 26 points and 11.5 assists in two games last week. On deck: Thursday vs. St. Mary's (9-17, 5-7); Saturday vs. San Diego (14-12, 4-8).  

6. Houston (22-4, 13-0 Conference USA)
Last week: 6
Streak: Won a school record-tying 13 straight. Status: Clinched C-USA regular-season title
Courtney Taylor racked up her 17th double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds in Sunday's 77-61 victory over UTEP. Only three Division I players - VCU's Courtney Hurt (21), Alabama's Tierney Jenkins (18) and Morehead State's Ashar Harris (18) - have more double-doubles than Taylor. On deck: Thursday at Marshall (8-18, 4-9); Sunday at Rice (17-10, 9-4). 

7. Louisiana Tech (22-5, 12-0 WAC)
Last week: 7
Streak: Won 13 straight. Status: Two-game lead over Fresno State atop WAC.
San Jose State apparently believes in moral victories, or at least their sports information staff does as evidenced by this headline on the school's official site after the Spartans' 62-53 loss to Louisiana State Saturday. On deck: Saturday at Utah State (14-11, 8-4); Monday at Nevada (19-7, 8-5).

8. James Madison (21-6, 14-1 CAA)
Last week: 9
Streak: Won 12 straight. Status: Two-game lead over UNCW and ODU atop CAA.
With an RPI of 39, the Dukes are methodically building a solid NCAA at-large case should JMU fail to win the CAA Tournament, which this year will be held at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. It's the first time the league tournament will be played in a neutral site in a non-CAA city. On deck: Thursday at Georgia State (10-16, 5-10); Sunday at Hofstra (15-11, 7-8).

9: BYU (19-7, 11-1 Mountain West)
Last week: 16
Streak: Won 8 straight. Status: 2 1/2 game lead over TCU atop WAC
Freshman guard Kim Parker earned WAC Player of the Week honors after scoring 14 points to lead the Cougars past TCU 70-60 that solidified BYU's grip on the WAC lead. In addition to playing some lights-out hoops, the Cougars are rallying around sophomore forward Alexis Kaufusi, who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and will miss the remainder of the season. On deck: Wednesday at Colorado State (12-13, 5-7); Saturday vs. San Diego State (12-13, 6-7). 

10. Hampton (20-6, 13-1 MEAC)
Last week: 18
Streak: Won 9 straight. Status: Clinched top seed in MEAC Tournament.
Monday's 88-49 rout of Florida A&M was fairly typical of the way the Lady Pirates have punished MEAC foes. But it's not just that. Four of Hampton's losses came when star point guard Jericka Jenkins sat out with injury. With a (relatively) healthy Jenkins the Lady Pirates are 19-2 with non-conference wins at JMU and against Florida. And one of the losses came when Hampton inexplicably fell asleep with a 17-point second-half lead at Bethune-Cookman and failed to wake up in time. So no, they're not perfect. But the Lady Pirates are better than a lot of folks realize. On deck: Saturday at Delaware State (9-17, 5-9)

11. Northern Iowa (21-5, 14-1 Missouri Valley)
Last week: 19
Streak: Won 13 straight. Status: Two-game lead over Creighton atop MVC
It's hard to be more dominant than the Panthers were last week in posting a 68-41 win at Southern Illinois followed by a 69-33 rout at Evansville. The 21 victories gives UNI its most victories since becoming a Division I team in 1982. On deck: Friday at Bradley (12-13, 6-9).

12. Princeton (19-4, 8-1 Ivy)
Last week: 10
Streak: Won 5 straight. Status: One game lead over Harvard atop Ivy.
The Tigers continue to get contributions across the board - five players scored in double figures in a 16-point victory over Yale, and four scored in double digits Saturday as Princeton poured it on in the second half and routed Brown 75-38. On deck: Friday at Cornell (5-19, 2-8); Saturday at Columbia (5-19, 4-6). 

13. Arkansas-Little Rock (18-6, 12-1 Sun Belt)
Last week: 20
Streak: Won one. Status: Clinched Sun Belt West Division title.
Stumbled at home Wednesday against Western Kentucky for their first loss in 15 games, but made it for that setback - and then some - by rallying past Middle Tennessee State 69-61 in a battle of Sun Belt titans. On deck: Wednesday at South Alabama (15-11, 7-7); Saturday at Arkansas State (14-13, 7-7). 

14. Middle Tennessee State (22-6, 13-2 Sun Belt)
Last week: 8
Streak:Lost one. Status: Clinched Sun Belt East Division title.
The Blue Raiders led by four at halftime but couldn't hang on in Sunday's 69-61 loss to UALR. Should be one heck of a rematch if both teams can advance to the Sun Belt Tournament final. On deck: Sunday vs. Western Kentucky (12-14, 9-5). 

15. Fresno State (19-7, 10-2 WAC)
Last week: 14
Streak: Won 4 straight. Status: 2nd place in WAC, 2 games behind Louisiana Tech
With Monday's 65-55 victory at New Mexico State, Fresno State seniors Jaleesa Ross, Hayley Munro, Taja Edwards, Emma Andrews and Marnique Arnold have been involved in 91 wins, the most by any class in Bulldogs history. On deck: Thursday at Boise State (11-14, 2-9); Monday at New Mexico State (10-13, 4-5).

16. Florida Gulf Coast (22-2, 15-2 Atlantic Sun)
Last week: 15
Streak: Won 2 straight. Status: 2-game lead over East Tennessee State atop A-Sun.
The Eagles' 64-59 victory over Stetson on Monday gave FGCU its 36th straight victory at Alico Arena - Division I's third-longest home winning streak - and moved the team to within one victory or one East Tennessee State loss from clinching the A-Sun regular-season title. On deck: Thursday vs. Jacksonville (13-14, 8-10); Saturday vs. North Florida (13-14, 11-7). 

17. Old Dominion (18-8, 12-3 CAA)
Last week: 13
Streak: Won one. Status: Tied with UNCW in 2nd place in CAA, 2 games behind JMU.
The Lady Monarchs turned in a real stinker in a 20-point loss at revved-up VCU, but used a Kquanise Byrd layup with 3 seconds left to nip Hofstra 79-77 and return from a tough road trip with a 1-1 mark. On deck: Thursday vs. William and Mary (3-22, 2-13); Sunday vs. Delaware (15-11, 8-7).

18. Charlotte (21-6, 9-3 Atlantic 10)
Last week: 10
Streak: Won one. Status: 3rd place in Atlantic 10.
Not sure what happened to the 49ers last Wednesday in their 85-84 loss at LaSalle as typically stingy Charlotte gave up a season-high in points. But they got back on track Saturday with a 70-53 Senior Night victory over Saint Louis and are well-positioned to earn a first-round bye in what should be a rugged Atlantic 10 tournament. Neither of their final two games are gimmes, though, and if they happen to stumble in both, that LaSalle loss may come back to haunt them. On deck: Wednesday vs. Duquesne (20-7, 7-5); Saturday at St. Bonaventure (17-10, 7-5). 

19. Toledo (20-6, 12-1 MAC)
Last week: 21
Streak: Won eight straight. Status: Clinched share of MAC West Division title
Saturday's 67-49 victory at Ball State gave the Rockets their first win in seven visits to BSU's Worthen Arena and allowed Toledo to maintain a two-game edge over Bowling Green for the best record in the MAC. On deck: Wednesday vs. Eastern Michigan (18-9, 9-4); Saturday at Northern Illinois (11-15, 5-8). 

20. Bowling Green (22-4, 10-3 MAC)
Last week: 22
Streak: Won 5 straight. Status: 1-game lead over Kent State in MAC East Division.
Tracy Pontius earned MAC Co-Player of the Week honors, along with Kent State's Taisja Jones, after averaging 23 points and hitting 9 3-pointers in victories over Ohio and Miami. The Falcons are 5-0 in February games this season and 48-3 in the second month of the year since the 2004-05 season. On deck: Tuesday at Akron (13-12, 6-7); Saturday vs. Kent State (18-7, 9-4).  

21. UNC Wilmington (20-6, 12-3 CAA)
Last week: 25
Streak: Won 2 straight. Status: Tied with ODU in 2nd place in CAA, 2 games behind JMU. 
Talk about turnarounds - the Seahawks have won 20 games for the first time since 2002-03 and will have a first-round bye in the CAA Tournament for the first time since the league expanded to its current 12-team format in 2005-06. On deck: Thursday at Towson (9-17, 3-12); Sunday vs. George Mason. (12-14, 6-9).

And finally, since it's nearly impossible to sort out the jumble of teams in the middle of the Atlantic 10:

22 (tie). Duquesne (20-7, 7-5 Atlantic 10)

22 (tie). St. Joseph's (17-9, 7-5 Atlantic 10)

22 (tie). St. Bonaventure (17-10, 7-5 Atlantic 10)

22 (tie). Dayton (16-10, 7-5 Atlantic 10)

22 (tie) Richmond (16-10, 7-5 Atlantic 10)

One of these teams will nab a No. 4 seed and earn a first-round by in the A-10 tournament. The other four will face having to win four games on a neutral court to claim the tournament title. Dayton appears to have the most manageable remaining schedule. But the way this league's teams keep knocking each other off, who knows how it will all turn out?

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  1. Look at Louisiana Tech's record -- I believe you made a mistake -- I think the team is 22-5, not 12-5.