No surprises at the top of this week's poll: Villanova, Temple and St. Joe's are still 1, 2 and 3. I was a bit surprised, though, to see the Wildcats extend their lead over the Owls from 19 to 21 points even though both teams got lower (i.e. better) scores than last week.
(Remember, teams get one point for a first place vote and two for second and so on.)
There was definitely movement below the top three, though, with Rutgers moving up and La Salle moving down. Penn got a significantly better score after an impressive performance at No. 1 North Carolina, but did not improve its No. 7 ranking. Its opponent tomorrow, Drexel, moved up four spots.
Before I list the poll results, we had two games over the weekend between teams in the poll: St. Joe's beat Rider at the Wachovia Center, 69-57, and Rutgers beat Delaware at the RAC, 85-77.
Now for the rankings:
1. Villanova, 18 points (14 first place votes)
- "They have 5 guys who can put up double figures every night." (Rob Falcone, DAC Pack President)
2. Temple, 39 points (2)
- "Bad news for Temple after losing to the Clemson Tigers: it faces at least three more feline-nicknamed teams." (Zach Klitzman, The Daily Pennsylvanian)
3. St. Joseph's, 60 points
- "Nivins surprised me in both games this weekend. He looked far more aggressive than last season." (Rob Falcone)
- "Martelli needs to worry less about Nivins and more about PG play and depth." (Dave C.)
4. Rutgers, 75 points
- "Former 'Nova assistant Fred Hill collects season-opening wins at expense of former Hawks in clashes of Holy War disciples, edging Matt Brady's Marist Red Foxes and Monte Ross's Delaware Blue Hens." (Bryan Armen Graham, Sports Illustrated)
- "Will we have an All-Schuylkill Squad? Early candidate should be Rutgers' Hamady Ndiaye. Expect good things from him." (Dan Levy, On the DL Podcast)
(Answer: Maybe. Also, I'm a guest on the show that will go out for download on Tuesday morning, so be sure to listen.)
5. Penn State, 91 points
6. La Salle, 102 points
-"Rodney Green and Jerrell Williams impressed me in LaSalle's game against Morgan State. The student student section could use some work (and a better name...Explorer Entourage? Come on.)" (Rob Falcone)
(I'm just the messenger.)
7. Penn, 192 points
- "Even without Hansbrough, Penn showed more in defeat than La Salle did in victory." (Marco Anskis, Storming the Floor)
- "Losing by a modest 15 points in the den of universal Final Four pick UNC provides no silver lining, but watching sophomore revelation Tyler Bernardini (game-high 26 points) sure does." (Bryan Armen Graham)
(This thing must be legit if SI writers are voting in it.)
8. Drexel (153 points)
- "Drexel has a huge game this week against Penn. Penn has a somewhat important game this week against Drexel." (Zach Klitzman)
9. Rider (157 points)
- "Rider, clearly looking to impress S-16 voters early on, scheduled six out of their first eight games -- including their first three -- against other S-16 teams." (Zach Klitzman)
10. Bucknell (158 points)
- "As much as it pains me to say, it's going to be a long, long season in Lewisburg." (Marco Anskis)
11. Delaware (160 points)
- "Egerson and Dawson looked like a good tandem, but when you shoot 40% and force 20 turnovers, you need to find a way to win." (Rob Falcone)
12. Lafayette (170 points)
13. Lehigh (173 points)
14. Princeton (224 points)
- Princeton freshman Doug Davis was the most exciting thing I've seen at Jadwin Gym since the ice sculpture when they retired Bill Bradley's jersey." (Jon Solomon, princetonbasketball.com)
15. Monmouth (236 points)
16. Delaware State (238 points)
- "Delaware St.'s 67-64 loss to D-II Cheyney at home still isn't the worst Schuulkill 16 loss of the last four seasons. That'd be Princeton's 51-46 loss to D-III Carnegie Mellon in Dec. 2005." (Zach Klitzman)
Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts in the comments. And be sure to vote in the Readership Survey; I really want to break last year's record of 2,357 votes cast.
A few news items to consider this evening:
- As has been reported by the AP and other websites this afternoon, Fox has announced that it will not match ESPN's bid for BCS rights from 2011 to 2014. Personally, I won't miss Fox's presentation of those games, because I don't think too highly of their announcers and I think ESPN/ABC does a better job with college football and many other sports.
Having said that, reports (and this ESPN non-denial) say that the games will be on cable instead of on ABC, and I hope that doesn't happen. Even without Keith Jackson, the BCS games deserve to be on network television - especially the national championship game.
- The New York Times' college sports blog reports that Bucknell's basketball program has a new tradition: Song Night. But unlike karaoke, this version used an iPod and a fork instead of a jukebox and a microphone.
- Also from the NYT, we learn that Penn State is auctioning off the schoolbuses that transported players to Beaver Stadium from 1980 to 2007. The starting price on eBay is $3,200, and the bus comes with a certificate of authenticity and a fire extinguisher. The winning bidder is responsible for picking up the vehicle or arranging shipping costs.
Other items up for auction include a gas-powered deep fryer and a commercial-strength carpet scrubber.
- Legendary former Cal-Berkeley men's basketball coach Pete Newell died today at 93. Definitely read this tribute to Newell by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins, who wrote a biography of the coach in 1999.
- Finally, Awful Announcing informs us that John Saunders and Bob Valvano will be the commentary team for ESPN's broadcast of the Penn-Drexel game tomorrow.
I'll be live-blogging from the DAC all morning, so be sure to bring your questions during the game and send in your fan photos afterwards.