Originally created 02/12/02

Tuesday Tipoff



Reviewing and previewing college basketball in the ACC, SEC and elsewhere:

WHO'S HOT

Cincinnati. Forget the 14-point loss to Marquette. Romps since then at Charlotte and Wake Forest have shown that the Bearcats are worthy of the No. 1 seed they'll get come March.

WHO'S NOT

Georgetown. The Hoyas, ranked as high as No. 14 this season, have lost seven of their past 12 games.

OVERRATED

Virginia. Beating a bad Clemson team doesn't eliminate the questions a four-game losing streak produced.

UNDERRATED

Michigan State. The Spartans play four of their final regular-season games at home in the Breslin Center. Their physical style means they won't be an easy out in the NCAA Tournament.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Tennessee's two losses to South Carolina this season have come by a combined 52 points. The Volunteers' nine losses to everyone else have come by a total of 41 points.

RANKING THE BIG FOUR

1. Georgia (18-6, 7-4 SEC, No. 11 RPI) ... Losses at Auburn, South Carolina and Vanderbilt could cost the Bulldogs a high seed in the NCAAs and a short trip to Greenville, S.C. for the first and second rounds.

2. South Carolina (14-9, 4-6 SEC, No. 47 RPI) ... Gamecocks have a reasonable shot to win all of their remaining games. But they could lose them all just as easily.

3. Georgia Tech (10-14, 3-8 ACC, No. 112 RPI) ... It doesn't get easier for the Yellow Jackets, who follow Saturday's blowout loss to Duke with a trip to Maryland.

4. Clemson (11-13, 2-9 ACC, No. 137 RPI) ... Tigers need four more wins to qualify for the National Invitation Tournament.

RANKING THE ACC, TOP AND BOTTOM

1. Duke ... Blue Devils should be tested Sunday at Maryland.

9. North Carolina ... Tar Heels have lost 10 of their past 11 games, and eight of their nine ACC losses have come by 10 or more points. Is it football season yet?

RANKING THE SEC, TOP AND BOTTOM

1. Alabama ... Crimson Tide can't afford to lose at South Carolina on Wednesday.

12. Auburn ... Tigers proved they still have some fight left in Saturday's upset of Georgia.

RANKING THE POWER CONFERENCES, BY RPI
(previous week's ranking in parentheses)

1. SEC (1)

2. ACC (2)

3. Big 12 (3)

4. Big East (6)

5. Pac-10 (4)

6. Big Ten (5)

7. Mountain West (7)

8. Conference USA (8)

9. Atlantic 10 (9)

10. WAC (10)

WHAT'S NEXT

Clemson plays host to Wake Forest on Wednesday at 9 p.m. and at N.C. State on Saturday at 4 p.m.; Georgia plays host to Florida tonight at 9 and to Kentucky on Saturday at 1 p.m.; Georgia Tech plays at Maryland on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and at St. Louis on Saturday at 1 p.m.; South Carolina plays host to Alabama on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and travels to Vanderbilt on Saturday at 5 p.m.

THEY SAID IT

"We beat them down there last year. Then they came back to our place and just beat us like a drum." - Georgia coach Jim Harrick, whose team suffered an 82-71 home loss to Florida last season 17 days after beating the Gators in Gainesville, Fla.

-Larry Williams