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Sully's Court: Cincinnati, Kansas on rise

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  December 24, 2012 10:02 AM

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The weekly college basketball evaluation where I won’t whine about the demise of Christmas tournaments and instead look forward to the good non-conference matchups.

Five rising:

Cincinnati: The Bearcats won a rock fight over arch-rival Xavier, showing some exceptional toughness, and now they’re 12-0.

Kansas: It’s hard to keep the Jayhawks out of the Final Four projection, but I can’t find a reason to take another team out. They’ve been crushing people while winning nine in a row, including an impressive one at Ohio State Saturday.

UMass: Quietly, the Minutemen have won four straight, including a nice one over Ohio and are now 7-3. They could win their next three to get to 10-3 before opening A-10 play at Saint Louis.

Tulane: The school that will be forever known as the one that forced the Catholic 7 to detach itself from the Big East has actually won seven of its last eight and is 10-3.

Utah State: The Aggies have won eight in a row, including a couple of road games (they don’t play many of them). They’re 10-1.

Five falling:

Illinois Chicago: The Flames were burning brightly at 8-1, but couldn’t sustain it and lost to Western Illinois and Miami of Ohio.

Saint Joseph’s: The Hawks were the preseason pick to win the Atlantic 10, but are now 5-4 after an inexcusable home loss to Fairfield Saturday.

Texas A&M: The Aggies are 8-3, but had an inconceivable home loss to Southern of the SWAC Saturday.

Wisconsin Milwaukee: The days of Bruce Pearl and NCAA tournament upsets are in the past. The Panthers have lost nine of their last 10.

Xavier: First, the Muskies got overpowered by Cincinnati in a big rivalry game, but even worse followed that up with a home loss to Wofford.

One falling and rising: Temple, the Owls lost at home to Canisius, but then rebounded to upset Syracuse, handing the Orange their first loss.

This week’s George Mason (best mid-major): Murray State. I’m still a big Racers fan despite the tough road loss to Dayton.

This week’s Final Four: Indiana, Michigan, Duke, Creighton

This week’s national champion: Indiana

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