Right as we named North Texas the top team in our little power rankings, they went and dropped a stunner to Rice in Houston in front of James Harden.
It was not overly surprising if you considered the week long break and the road trip. Rice is improving and the gap between 1 and 14 is never as big as you think. Beyond that, there is the issue with a single game. Yes, we love that aspect of college basketball, but it can mean we see games like this.
Do not read too much into the result — or any result really — but also do not dismiss it. NT is vulnerable, but they are also good. We are not far away from POD play, the much praised then much maligned shot in the dark by the conference to avoid the 2018 Middle disaster again. Beyond that little weirdness, the league tournament is in Frisco again.
Book your tickets.
1 Louisiana Tech — 8-2
Tech lost to NT at home by the slimmest of margins but they handled the hell out of Rice at home in Ruston. They beat Charlotte and ODU this week — tough defenses both — and looked good in doing it. ODU gave them a game but as we said about NT, that is nothing to obsess about.
2 North Texas — 8-2
The lone game was a loss but we will forgive them. The team is still believed by the advanced numbers and they still play great defense. Rice made some shots down the stretch and credit to them for pulling out the win. NT has another opportunity to show that game was an aberration.
3 WKU — 7-3
Two straight losses from the Hilltoppers after looking really good for a while there. FAU and FIU are always tough away. The games were close, so we can feel good about the Tops but acknowledge they are not as good as their superfans would have you believe.
4 /5 / 6 Charlotte, FIU, FAU
These teams are all unbalanced. Charlotte is great defensively but cannot score. FIU is up-tempo but cannot stop anyone. FAU is up-and-down. I like each of these teams and when they beat anyone up there we are not surprised but when they crash and burn we are not surprised either.
7 ODU — 5-5
The Monarchs are terrible on offense but good on defense. Repeat what I said about but subtract a game-changing player that can get buckets against a tough, set defense.
8 UAB — 5-5
Blazers just needed to come to Texas to get right, apparently.
9 Marshall — 4-6
They went to FIU and won, but dropped the FAU game in dominated fashion.
10 / 11 UTEP, UTSA — 4-6
These two teams are destined to finish with the same record, as evidenced by their home-and-home earlier last month. They are different squads but they sure do find ways to lose.
12/13/14 Southern Miss, Rice, Middle — 3-7, 2-8
USM picked up an OT win over Charlotte that caused some upset 49ers on the east coast.
Rice beat NT in front of Harden, with Peterson doing some Dirk-like high post stuff.
Middle beat UTSA in the road while holding Jhivan Jackson to under 35.