Buffalo Sports News Men's Top 25 – March 7, 2004

The Buffs come in at number 20 in the new BSN top 25. We take a look at all of the top schools and what is currently happening with them. Plus, we tell you who to keep an eye on, where all of CU's opponents rank, who's caught flopping, and update the mid-major top ten.

1. Kentucky (23-4)
Sunday's honorees at KU's Senior Day have been on teams that won two Southeastern Conference regular-season championships, two SEC Tournament titles and four Eastern Division crowns. The victory at South Carolina on Wednesday was No. 100 for these seniors.

2. Oklahoma State (24-3)
The Cowboys toyed with Texas A&M on their way to a 70-41 win over the Aggies on Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena, clinching the Big 12 title. Oklahoma State (24-3, 14-2 Big 12) had not won an outright league crown since 1965, when it won the Big Eight title.

3. Mississippi State (25-2)
It's become a regular part of Shane Power's pregame routines at Humphrey Coliseum. At some point during warmups Power will beckon one or two of Mississippi State's student managers for his unique version of a pep talk. "I tell them to yell at me and make fun of me so I'll feel like we're playing away from home," Power said. "I like it. It gets me in the mindset like when we're on the road, where you've got to prove something to somebody."

4. UConn (24-6)
Down to the wire. How else would you have figured it would have gone in the Big East? This marathon will turn into a dead sprint for the regular-season title as it rounds the corner into the weekend. At stake: the No. 1 seed in next week's Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York.

5. Saint Joseph's (27-0)
Josh Childress of top-ranked Stanford, Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's, and Hakim Warrick of defending national champion Syracuse are among 20 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award as college basketball's player of the year.

6. Stanford (26-1)
In the happy tumult of Washington's victorious locker room Saturday after their victory over previously undefeated Stanford, Brandon Roy was asked what has been the question of the month on Montlake - do the Huskies deserve an NCAA tournament bid? "I think we do," Roy said. "I can't believe there are 65 teams in the country better than we are."

7. Pittsburgh (27-3)
Chris Taft led Pittsburgh's comeback from its worst start of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds and the Panthers wrapped up the top seed in the Big East tournament, beating Villanova 59-45 Saturday.

8. Kansas (20-7)
Kansas coach Bill Self was just as surprised as everyone else when star forward Wayne Simien said he had decided to stay for his senior year. "Wayne said that he was going to stay at KU when I wasn't around," the Jayhawks' first-year coach said Thursday. "I spoke with his parents briefly and I have spoken with Wayne. It's something that we should address when the time is right to address it. That time is not now."

9. Syracuse (21-6)
Syracuse University junior basketball star Hakim Warrick will be a millionaire soon. It's only a matter of time before he becomes an NBA lottery pick. This year or next year?

10. Georgia Tech (22-8)
Another figurative lid has been forcefully dislodged. Georgia Tech is capable of anything now -- winning the ACC tournament, reaching the Final Four, playing for the national championship. When you've done the thing you weren't sure you could do, you see the world differently. You treat everything as an opportunity. You're scared of nothing.

11. Duke (25-4)
There was no denying Duke Saturday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Not only did the Blue Devils beat North Carolina 70-65, but they also relied on an old friend -- resilience -- and, oh, yes, some Luol Deng scoring and some J.J. Redick free throws.

12. Illinois (22-5)
After a raucous bus ride home from Purdue late Wednesday, Illinois was greeted by a contingent of fans eager to congratulate the team for clinching a share of its third Big Ten title in the last four seasons.

13. Wisconsin (21-6)
The beauty of one of Wisconsin's most successful Big Ten basketball seasons was the finish. The Badgers closed the regular season with four consecutive victories, the last a 70-52 drubbing of once-mighty Indiana at Assembly Hall on Saturday. The victory kept them in the running for a share of a third straight Big Ten title and possibly sealed the conference player of the year award for Devin Harris.

14. Arizona (19-8)
The only scholarship player from Arizona on the roster will be the team's most valuable asset in whatever postseason action the Wildcats see. Though Frye's consistency has improved, the junior center is still best when a fire is lighted.

15. Gonzaga (26-2)
For the Pepperdine basketball team to salvage its season after a 5-11 start, the Waves know they have to beat Gonzaga in a West Coast Conference tournament practically streamlined for the Bulldogs' benefit. "They got, like, four byes don't they?" sophomore guard Alex Acker asked Thursday.

16. Texas Tech (21-9)
Ronald Ross was the star player, but he wasn't the star attraction. Ross, a junior guard, had 23 points and four steals to lead Tech to a 72-58 victory against Iowa State on Saturday. Tech finished 15-1 at home and barely broke a sweat against the Cyclones, whose NCAA Tournament hopes now seem all but cooked.

17. Texas (21-6)
There is one solid conclusion that can be drawn regarding Texas after Saturday's 58-48 loss at Kansas State: The six-day break before the Longhorns play again in the Big 12 tournament won't slow any momentum. They don't have any.

18. Boston College (21-8)
Jared Dudley had 15 points and eight rebounds and Boston College held the Friars to a season-low 15 first-half points to win 63-54 on Saturday and send PC to its second consecutive loss.

19. Air Force (22-5)
Marquee wins at Cal, Utah (twice), and BYU; I wouldn't want to be on the committee that kept a worthy troop of cadets out of the dance. MWC regular season champion says it all.

20. Colorado (18-9)
On hold, clutching a telephone waiting for the host of an ESPN radio show to get to his segment, Colorado forward Blair Wilson wondered aloud Saturday afternoon. "Do you think 10-6 gets us in?" he asked. "With 10 wins, in the Big 12, I think you're pretty much a lock," he was told.

21. Florida (18-9)
It has been 13 months since Florida played at Rupp Arena, yet the memory of what happened on Feb. 4, 2003 still lingers for Florida' The day before that game, the Gators were ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 basketball poll for the first time in school history. Full of pride and confidence, Florida was smashed by Kentucky 70-55 -- and the 15-point margin doesn't capture how thoroughly the Wildcats dominated.

22. Washington (17-10)
The Huskies achieved something that is virtually unheard of in the Pac-10. They completed a four-game sweep of the Arizona schools by winning in Tucson and Temple in a 48-hour period, following up on a late January sweep of the same teams in Seattle.

23. North Carolina State (19-8)
N.C. State, at the end of a long regular-season grind, ground Wake Forest's abuser-friendly defense into bits yesterday while clinching second place in the ACC with an impressive 81-70 victory at Joel Coliseum.

24. Iowa State (16-11)
CU Center David Harrison did not go quietly after Colorado's loss at Iowa State on Wednesday night, saying the Cyclones' fans were "classless" and calling former ISU coach Larry Eustachy a "drunk." Iowa State fans booed the 7-foot, 270-pound junior when he was introduced Wednesday night and stayed on him the rest of the game, an 83-77 victory for the Cyclones. At one point they chanted, "David Harrison sucks."

25. Notre Dame (16-11)
Notre Dame's leading rebounder Torin Francis needs surgery to repair a herniated disc and will miss the rest of the season. Francis, the team's third-leading scorer, is to have surgery Monday. He'll need two to three months to recover, the school said.

Keep an eye on

Troy State
UCF slowed the tempo to control Troy State's frantic pace and hit open shots in the seams of the Trojans' zone as Dexter Lyons scored 18 points to lead UCF to a 60-55 victory on Saturday in the Atlantic Sun tournament.

Ten straight wins got the Flames on this list and into Horizon title game. But only an 11th on Tuesday over Wis.-Milwaukee gets ‘em in the Dance.

South Carolina
South Carolina plans no rest as it enters an SEC Tournament that will play a major role in the Gamecocks' postseason fate.

Michigan State
Eight players to a team is apparently enough to make a run at an NCAA Tournament berth. And Michigan State hopes it may also be enough for a run at the Final Four.

George Washington
Junior guard T.J. Thompson is the bearer of GW's postseason fate, averaging better than 14 points per game on the season.

Caught Flopping

Wake Forest
N.C. State, at the end of a long regular-season grind, ground Wake Forest's abuser-friendly defense into bits yesterday while clinching second place in the ACC with an impressive 81-70 victory at Joel Coliseum. Getting its game back together after three ACC losses in four games, the 16th-ranked Wolfpack took 11th-ranked Wake Forest apart by shooting 54 percent from the floor and 52 percent from 3-point range and holding the high-powered Deacons' attack to eight second-half field goals.

Mid-Major Top 10

1. Gonzaga (26-2)
2. Troy State (23-6)
3. Illinois-Chicago (23-7)
4. Charlotte (20-7)
5. DePaul (19-8)
6. Memphis (21-6)
7. Pacific (22-7)
8. Murray State (28-5)
9. Southern Illinois (25-4)
10. Utah State (25-2)

Across The Board

Air Force (19th), Colorado (20th), Colorado State (145th), Denver (158th)

The Big 12…
Oklahoma State (2nd), Kansas (8th), Texas Tech (16th), Texas (17th), Colorado (20th), Iowa State (24th), Nebraska (43rd), Oklahoma (57th), Missouri (62nd), Kansas State (113th), Texas A&M (251st), Baylor (253rd)

CU's Schedule…
Utah (31st), Northwestern (92nd), Richmond (110th), Oregon State (116th), Pepperdine (122nd), Cal-Poly (210th), Tennessee Tech (279th), Savannah State (315th)

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