I spent the last weekend anchored to my couch watching Netflix's Making A Murderer (if you haven't watched it, you should start after reading this column), and found myself reaching levels of hate that I had only previously reserved for some of college basketball's most illustrious villains.
After finishing the docu-series, I couldn't figure out whether it was harder to power rank the biggest villains in Making A Murderer, or in the recent history of college hoops. But, after serious weeping and gnashing of teeth, here is the committee' s
Top Bottom 4 of most egregious characters to grace our screens in the last 20 years.
On the Bubble: Xavier, SMU, West Virginia
No. 11 - Miami (FL) (12-1, LW: NR)
These guys are already playing with house money, as they've wildly exceeded any rational expectations for them going into the year. A crowded ACC gets tougher as Miami has positioned themselves to make some noise as they enter conference play. We'll see where they stand after a difficult test next week against Virginia.
No. 10 - Arizona (13-1, LW: NR)
When you can overcome the Curtain of Distraction, you get a spot in the slippery power rankings.
No. 9 - Maryland (14-1, LW: 11)
The Twerps still have work to do to convince the committee of two, but they're finding ways to win as Turgeon continues to experiment with how to unlock his team's maximum potential.
No. 8 - Duke (13-2, LW: NR)
The rise of Brandon Ingram and his skinny arms has propelled Duke back into the slippery power rankings. But it's Grayson Allen who is still the key to Duke's success. In Duke's two losses this year, Allen scored a combined 13 points on 3-20 shooting. In the 13 victories, Allen has averaged an even 23 points and looked like a totally different player. Notably, Allen has looked poor against the two toughest teams Duke has faced this year, and Coach K must figure out how to help him elevate his game when the opponents get better.
No. 7 - Virginia (12-3, LW: 10)
Wow, this week Virginians learned that Virginia Tech has a basketball team. Despite the loss to their in-state rivals, the committee of two is willing to overlook it, mostly because we're scared Tony Bennett is going to unleash that defense on us.
No. 6 - Iowa (12-3, LW: 10)
Watch out for them Iowa boys! The Hawkeyes have put the top seeded teams on notice in the last week after knocking off Purdue and Michigan State in back-to-back games. This squad is likely to have some slip-ups along the way, but they're definitely a tournament team, and have shown they're more than capable of knocking anyone off on any given night.
No. 5 - North Carolina (14-2, LW: 6)
After noticing the damage Domas and Kyle did to USF over the weekend, UNC seniors Brice Johnson (39 points, 23 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals, and 3 assists) and Marcus Paige (30 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds) would not be outdone and erupted in a big way against Florida State.
No. 4 - Michigan State (14-1, LW: 4)
When does Denzel get back? The Spartans haven't looked nearly as dangerous in the three games since their talisman went down. Opposing teams offensive efficiency has jumped from 77.8 to 110.2 points per 100 possessions, and MSU is averaging 8 assists less per game. However, the Spartans have experienced major gains in the development of their "other players" as Eron Harris and Matt Costello have stepped up in a major way in Valentine's absence. This can only bode well for Tom Izzo's squad when Valentine returns in the next week or so.
No. 3 - Villanova (13-2, LW: 7)
Their place here seems tentative despite demonstrating they're the class of the Big East. 'Nova closed out 2015 by wrecking the Xavier Musketeers, and are in pretty good position to run the table on their conference schedule. There's only one game remaining in their schedule in which they're not projected to win (per kenpom)--against Xavier on the road.
No. 2 - Oklahoma (12-1, LW: 1)
I'm not intelligent enough to find enough superlatives to laud the Sooners for the job they did in Lawrence. Games between #1 and #2 seeds usually disappoint, but Buddy Hield made sure the nation recognized how good this Oklahoma squad really is. Hield made a ridiculous 8 three-pointers en route to 46 points, and his performance was so dazzling that he earned perhaps the ultimate reward an athlete could receive (short of winning a championship), the respect and admiration of the opposing fanbase.
ICYMI: Classy move by Jayhawk fans, who gave Buddy Hield a standing O after he scored 46 points in a loss to Kansas. https://t.co/gAUQbX5MmL— ESPN (@espn) January 5, 2016
Nice move, Jayhawk fans.
No. 1 - Kansas (13-1, LW: 2)
The Jayhawks came out on top in a triple overtime game that was vintage bananas, and reinforced everything we love about college hoops. Despite the aforementioned 46 points by Buddy Hield, I have to give mucho props to Frank Mason for the job he did staying in Buddy's pocket (no literally, he's small enough to fit inside Buddy's pocket). Honestly, that may have been the best defense I've ever seen played against someone who scored 46 points. While college basketball fans don't typically consider regular season games in the conversation for best games ever, it's fair to throw this one in the conversation as just about everything about it was perfect. As far as overtime thrillers go, I think the only two games that could possibly top it is Gonzaga's triple overtime thriller against Michigan State in 2005 during the Maui Invitational, and the six overtime marathon between Syracuse and UConn in the 2009 Big East tournament.