Some critics have said that the Panthers don’t deserve such a high ranking, having not beaten another top-25 team yet (i.e., Gonzaga, UNC, Oklahoma), yet the facts remain that the Panthers have won every game by 13 or more points. That includes very solid wins over Belmont, Texas Tech, and Washington State, the latter two teams being undefeated before facing the Panthers. I will say this: any time you look at a schedule and say “all of these should be wins” the key word is SHOULD. If you want any further proof, look at Louisville/Western Kentucky last night, or Marquette/Dayton during the week. The fact is, the Panthers have beaten who they have played, and they have beaten them well, and they deserve this ranking.
On a positive note, I did get up to Newark to see the semifinal game of the Legends Classic against Texas Tech, and for the most part I loved what I saw. This is really really tough team. I can tell all season that people are going to find plenty of things to complain about, but this is not the kind of team that will win like UNC does, with 4 future NBA players on the roster. This is a team that will love to win games 57-41 instead of 101-98, a team built for defense and rebounding. Gilbert Brown looked much improved from the Belmont game, and I’m sure he’ll look back to normal this week against Duquesne. Interestingly, it seems to be Nasir Robinson rather than Travon Woodall who loses out minutes due to Brown’s return, though I was hoping it would be the other way around. Nothing against Travon (or Ashton) but we could use the rebounding help down low, especially when DeJuan and Sam Young are out of the game.