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Sully's Court: On the rise with Cincy and Georgia

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  January 3, 2011 11:16 AM

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Five rising:

Cincinnati: The Bearcats are 14-0, their best start since 1998-99. The schedule has been fluffy but they proved a point by dominating Seton Hall on New Year's Eve. Next up is their big rivalry game with Xavier on Thursday night.

Georgia: Mark Fox has done a great job. The Bulldogs' talent is nondescript for the most part, but they've won eight in a row and are 11-2.

James Madison: The Dukes beat Kent State, 60-51, in Ohio on New Year's Eve, ending the Flashes' 15-game homecourt winning streak. The Dukes are 10-3 with a four-game winning streak and five wins on the road. CAA will be tough with JamMad, Old Dominion, and George Mason.

Missouri: The Tigers were unbeaten in December for the first time since 1991-92. The sky is the limit for this team.

Washington: The Huskies flexed their muscles by beating Southern Cal and UCLA, only the third time ever they've won both games in LA. The Huskies are 10-3 and the Pac-10 favorite.

Five falling:

Holy Cross: It's been a painful season. The Crusaders are now 1-12 after losing by one at George Washington and by two at Sacred Heart.

Minnesota: Tough start in Big 10 play for the Gophers, who lost a pair of road games to Wisconsin and Michigan State and also lost talented freshman big man Maurice Walker for the season with a knee injury.

Tennessee: What an amazingly negative reversal. The Vols have fallen apart, losing four of their last six. College of Charleston was in control the whole way in winning in Knoxville on New Year's Eve. The two most recent wins were shaky, a one-pointer over Belmont and a six-pointer over Tennessee Martin.

Washington State: The Cougars had a chance to make an impact but lost both games on the Los Angeles swing after falling to Butler in the Diamond Head Classic final.

West Virginia:
The Mountaineers inexplicably lost a home game to St. John's and then followed that up with a tough loss at Marquette.

The week's Butler (best mid-major):
Cleveland State. The Vikings, 15-1, are bringing down the hammer in Horizon League play. They routed Loyola of Chicago, 73-55, and vaporized Illinois-Chicago, 83-59. That's the same Illinois-Chicago team that beat Illinois and Loyola. It rebounded to win its next game over Youngstown State, 83-53.

The week's Final Four: Duke, Pitt, Ohio State, Missouri

This week's national champion: Duke

Surprising scores, amazing margins:
Illinois 69, Wisconsin 61:
Nice win for the Illini, but two pieces of news. Star guard Demetri McCamey announced he's going to take the ball to the basket more because someone told him to do that at Christmas dinner. Illinois coach Bruce Weber said he's been telling him to do it for three-and-a-half years. McCamey shot 11 free throws and made them all against Wisco. Weber also announced that he's no longer going to be nice to this team. He's got to yell at them. Well, he's 1-0 with the strategy.

Bucknell 62, Richmond 61: Bad loss at home for Spidey but as BC knows, Bucknell can be tough and could very well win the Patriot League.

Charlotte 86, Georgia Tech 83: A double-overtime, possible momentum-building road win for the Cornbreads. After a disappointing start, first-year coach Alan Major has his team at 8-6 with a four-game winning streak. They had to rally to win all four by a total of nine points.

Morehead State 69, College of Charleston 49: Possible All-Sully center Kenneth Faried had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Morehead pounded C of C overall on the glass to take a surprisingly easy win. C of C guard Andrew Goudelock, who smoked Tennessee in his previous game, only managed seven points. He's allowed an off-game, he's had a tremendous season.

Colgate 80, Longwood 61: Finally, a win after 11 losses, and it comes on the road. Actually, there's been worst starts for Colgate which lost its first 13 games in 1986-87.

Arizona State 60, Oregon 55: Ah, karma. The Ducks lost their final two games in McArthur Court, the arena that shouldn't be abandoned.

St. John's 67, Providence 65: The Redmen have bounced back from horrible losses to St. Bonaventure and Fordham, winning this one at the Dunk after also winning at West Virginia.

Bowling Green 67, St. Louis 61: Not only is this a disastrous home loss but St. Looie coach Rick Majerus was run over by two players along the sideline in the second half and suffered a gash in his leg after landing on the scorer's table. He's on blood-thinning medicine and missed the rest of the game while being treated in the locker room. It was the first road win of the year for BGreen.

Kentucky 78, Louisville 63: The game was played at the new Pitino Palace but even that couldn't help the Cardinals, who were beaten badly. The Cardinals have had a great season so far but their ball-handling problems were exposed in this one. Meanwhile, Kentucky's freshman forward Terrence Jones continues to really impress.

Florida 71, Xavier 67: The Muskies' 30-game homecourt winning streak ends.

UConn 66, South Florida 61: The Bulls missed a big opportunity to make a impact with a big road win but couldn't finish and lost in overtime.

Duquesne 91, Northwestern State 64: The northern road trip was a complete loss for the Demons from Louisiana, who were also routed by Canisius.

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