Men's NCAA hoops squads are catching fire at just the right time
The GIST: With mere days left in the regular season, some squads are catching fire at just the right time, while others are flaming out (looking at you, No. 15 Indiana). Monday’s rankings drop had lots to say about who’s hot — or not — as teams scramble to lock down conference titles. Spicy.
Who’s peaking: No. 25 Pitt is reveling in their rise. Last season, the Panthers posted a dismal 6-14 ACC record, but now, the conference title is theirs to lose, and they’ve ascended into the Top 25 for the first time in seven years. Also sneaking in under the regular season wire? No. 21 Maryland and historical blue blood No. 23 Kentucky.
- The flashiest glow-up? Marquette, whose steady climb since early January landed the Eagles at No. 6 this week. With recent wins over No. 14 UConn, No. 19 Xavier and Creighton, they’re poised for a Big East title and a deep March Madness run.
- No. 18 San Diego State also rose from No. 22 to No. 18 this week, although they failed their heat check when they lost 66–60 to Boise State last night. They’ll need a Saturday dub against Wyoming to guarantee the Mountain West regular-season ’ship.
Who choked: The No. 13 Virginia Cavaliers, aka the ’Hoos. The preliminary March Madness No. 3–seed dropped back-to-back losses to unranked conference foes, plunging them seven spots in this week’s poll. Although their 64–57 win over Clemson last night helped the ‘Hoos create some separation from the Tigers in the standings, it’s still…not a good look.
- Also flailing is Northwestern, who followed up home wins over then–No. 1 Purdue, then–No. 14 Indiana and Iowa with two straight road losses that booted them from the Top 25 as quickly as they climbed into it.
Who’s scoring: Detroit Mercy guard Antoine Davis, who’s 26 points away from breaking the NCAA career scoring record set at 3,667 by LSU alum “Pistol” Pete Maravich in 1970. Detroit Mercy beat Fort Wayne 81–68 last night to advance to tomorrow’s Horizon League tourney quarter-finals, giving Davis at least one more, ahem, shot at the record.