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Sully's Court: Gonzaga's accomplishments still amazing

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  March 4, 2013 09:44 AM

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The Monday morning college basketball report while eagerly awaiting conference tournaments. Sully’s Court will begin previews starting Tuesday.

Five rising:

California: The Bears have won seven straight and have rallied to where they have a legit chance to win the Pac 12 championship. They have to beat Stanford to finish 13-5 and hope UCLA and Oregon, the league leaders, slip up.

Delaware: The Blue Hens have won 10 of 12, and six of their last seven games have been decided by two or fewer points — the longest such streak in program history. They’ve played a tough schedule early, LaSalle, Virginia, Kansas State, Pitt, Temple, Duke, and Villanova so they’re obviously tournament tested and will be the biggest threat to Northeastern in the CAA tournament.

What a year for the Zags, who will be No. 1 in this week’s poll. They need to win the conference tournament to ensure one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. The Zags have had much success but the idea they could be No. 1 at the end of the regular season is still incredible.

Lafayette: The Leopards, coached by the estimable Fran O’Hanlon, won their last five regular-season games including victories over the Patriot League’s two best teams, Bucknell and Lehigh, and now have the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.

Texas Southern: The Tigers, coached by former Indiana coach Mike Davis, finished the regular season with 12 straight victories and will be the top seed in the SWAC tournament.

Five falling:

Butler: Everyone’s darling has hit a tough stretch, they got obliterated by Virginia Commonwealth, 84-5,2 Saturday and have now lost three of their last five (the two wins were over the two worst teams in the Atlantic 10 (Duquesne and Fordham). The Indiana upset seems like a long time ago.

Furman: There was a time when basketball was important at this school when an excellent recruiter named Joe Williams was head coach. He’s one of only 25 coaches to lead three schools to the NCAA Tournament (the other schools were Jacksonville and Florida State). The Paladins (great nickname) are a certifiable disaster as they finished the season with 10 straight losses and are 6-23 with the SoCon tournament left.

Grambling: There really no basketball tradition at Grambling. It’s a football school. Willis Reed once played there but that’s about it. Even so, the Tigers just finished up one of the worst regular seasons in college basketball history at 0-27 and they were outscored by over 27 points per game. The team was decimated by the ARP academic penalties. It’ll be a long road back to any respectability.

Indiana State: What a flop by the Sycamores who finished the regular season by losing five of their last six, going from an at-large possibility to a most likely first-round loser in the MVC Tournament. They play Evansville in the first round, and the Aces beat the Tree,s 84-69, Saturday.

Syracuse: Two weeks ago, the Orange were flying high with as 38-game home-court winning streak. Now, they’re on a three-game losing streak including two losses at the Carrier Dome where they lost a rock fight to Louisville Saturday.

This week’s George Mason (best mid-major): Akron. Sully’s Court is still on the Zips’ bandwagon despite their loss at Buffalo that ended their 19-game winning streak.

This week’s Final Four: Indiana, Duke, Saint Louis, Michigan

This week’s National Champion: I’m undaunted by the Hoosiers loss to Minnesota in Minneapolis. They are still the favorite.

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