The Orange are gelling
By Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune
The one team everyone dissed could be the best bet to land in the Final Four.
Syracuse, which started the season unranked, looks primed to find itself in Indianapolis along with Kansas, Kentucky and Texas.
The Orange have a star in Wesley Johnson. They have power in the post with Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson. They have a strong perimeter shooting from Andy Rautins and Brandon Triche. And they have solid reserves in Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph. Perfect recipe.
Even Jim Boeheim is pleased with his team's balance and defense. Syracuse leads the nation in field goal percentage (53.4 percent) and assists (20.3) and ranks fourth in steals (11.2).
The other teams should be feared as well. Kansas' experience and point guard play with Sherron Collins makes the Jayhawks a favorite. Kentucky's star power and Texas' depth make them legitimate Final Four contender as well.
Room for a shake-up
Mike Anthony, Hartford Courant
There are four one-loss teams, four clear-cut favorites for No.1 seeds, as we head toward February.
Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova and Syracuse have been the best teams in college basketball. As the most demanding portion of schedules play out, and with conference tournament drama right around the corner, there's certainly room for slippage and shake-up. And then, of course, it's very rare for four top seeds to make the Final Four. Texas and Michigan State, likely No.2 seeds as it looks now, could make a run.
The way we see it for Indianapolis: Kentucky, Kansas, Villanova and Michigan State.
Big East vs. Big 12
Dave Fairbank, Newport News Daily Press
Six weeks until Selection Sunday and we want a Final Four?
Hey, if Decca Records executive Dick Rowe can dismiss a chance to record The Beatles by saying, "Guitar groups are on their way out," and if George W. Bush can declare "Mission Accomplished" six weeks into a nearly seven year-and-counting affair, then I suppose it's never too early for semi-informed guesses.
Obviously, much depends on the bracket, but let's go with Kansas, Texas, Villanova and Syracuse. The Jayhawks and Longhorns have guards, bigs and depth. 'Nova has excellent guards, a bonus in tournament play. The 'Cuse has length, athleticism and that confounding zone defense. Plus, won't a Big East vs. Big 12 debate be fun? Unless they're bracketed against each other, which would be annoying.
Kentucky, Kansas are locks
Andrew Carter, Orlando Sentinel
Kentucky for the obvious reasons. The Wildcats have the best talent and a coach, John Calipari, who has done a terrific job of melding everything together. John Wall, the freshman point guard, is probably the best player in the nation already, and he has a superb supporting cast. The only reason not to like the Wildcats is that they're relatively untested. They've only played two teams in the top 50 of the RPI.
Kansas appears to be another lock — or as much of a team can be a lock at this point. Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich are probably the best inside-out combo in the nation — or at least should be when they're playing at their potential. Yeah, the Jayhawks slipped up at Tennessee but they've cruised most of the rest of the season.
The other two teams? How about Michigan State and Villanova? Michigan State because it has another top-flight point guard — Kalin Lucas. The Spartans lost to Florida and North Carolina earlier this season – and Michigan State is better than both those teams - but Lucas and company have won 13 of 14 since. It's difficult not to like Villanova right now, which is 18-1 and has equaled its best start in school history. Teams need elite, go-to players in March and the Wildcats certainly have that in Scottie Reynolds, who's averaging 18.7 points per game.