Cal Christophoro’s College Basketball All-Star Starting 5

Each of our podcast personalities are picking a college basketball All-Star starting lineup. This season has been known for its chaos and lack of one true standout star, which makes this exercise as none of our team’s had more than two of the same players as another lineup. Here is Cal Christoforo’s squad:

Point Guard: Markus Howard – Marquette

  • You may want your point guard to be a great game manager, distributing the ball, not turning the ball over, making safe plays to win the games. Kind of like a Ryan Tannehill of college basketball. And that can work, as the Titans proved this year, but I want a Patrick Mahomes running my offense, a guy that can absolutely take the game over and single-handedly lift his team to victory. Howard is the best guard when it comes to this ability, and it’s not close. He averages 27.6 points per game, and when it comes down to clutch time, I want a guy who can make a shot from anywhere on the court. 

Guard: Jordan Nwora – Louisville         

  • Nwora has been a very capable leader of the Louisville offense, and with 7.4 rebounds per game, he’s one of the best rebounding guards in the country. He’ll help clean the glass when Howard misses and making a bevy of his own shots as well – Nwora averages 18 points per game on 44% shooting, and he’s absolutely capable of taking over a game if necessary. 

Guard: Anthony Edwards  – Georgia 

  •  Don’t overlook this man just because he plays for Georgia. The Bulldogs may not be going dancing this year, but Edwards is definitely one of the best players in the country. He can also rebound very well for a guard – picking 5.4 boards per game, and he offers yet another perimeter scorer to complement Howard. Edwards averages 19.5 points per game playing in a brutal SEC as the best player on a bad team, meaning every single team he plays is gameplanning to stop him. When they have to deal with Nwora and Howard too, Edwards will be free to ball out. 

Forward: John Mooney, Notre Dame

  • Leading the nation with 23 double-doubles, Mooney has been a force for the Irish all year. He can occasionally shoot it from three, but he rebounds like a maniac and imposes his will in the paint. With Notre Dame running a 4-guard offense very often, Mooney is usually the only man inside the paint, helping facilitate the ball movement, and taking over games when necessary. If I’m looking for players that consistently put up great numbers to take me on a tournament run, I’m definitely taking Mooney.

Center: Vernon Carey, Duke

  • Having scored 25+ points five different times and is capable of dominating the boards, having collected up to 17 rebounds in a contest. With Mooney already inside, Carey can focus a little less on rebounding and more on attacking the rim and getting easy buckets in the paint whenever the 3s aren’t falling.

Coach: Bruce Pearl – Auburn

  • You love to see a coach get fired up, and that’s exactly what Bruce Pearl does, consistently getting his guys going for big games, delivering passionate pregame speeches and getting hyped up after a huge win. Pearl has also turned a team that was under .500 for five straight years before he started his tenure into a Final Four team by his fifth season. He’s also on pace to lead the Tigers to their third straight tournament appearance, the first time they’ve done that since 1984-1988. Best coach in the nation. Period. 

Andrew DeGeorge’s College Basketball Starting 5

Each of our podcast personalities are picking a  All-Star Starting 5 for college basketball; here is Andrew DeGeorge’s team:

This task is a tough one, but ultimately, I selected a low-turnover team with some dominant inside scoring to lead the way. Here is my full squad. 

Point Guard: Payton Pritchard – Oregon

  • I said it on last weekend’s takeaways, but I fully believe Pritchard is the best point guard in the country. He’s gritty, doesn’t turn the ball over, and shoots the ball at a 46% clip. He can also distribute the ball, racking up 5.5 assists per game and turning the ball over just 2.7 times. His efficiency and ability to both pass and shoot led me to selecting Pritchard as my point guard. 

Guard: Myles Powell – Seton Hall

  • This may be a slightly surprising pick, but I believe Powell is the driving force behind Seton Hall’s surprising season. The Pirates have not been higher than a 6-seed since 1993 and haven’t made it past the opening weekend of March Madness since 2000. With Powell leading the way, the Pirates look primed to break both of those streaks this year. Their point guard is averaging 21.3 points per game – the highest of my guards – and he will be a spectacular option off of Pritchard, whose shooting prowess will draw defenses away from the Seton Hall star. 

Guard: Elijah Hughes – Syracuse

  • I’ve gotten to see Hughes several times in person and I’ve been impressed. He grabs the most rebounds (5.1 per game) and turns the ball over the least (2.3) out of all my guards. He scores 18.8 points per game, the lowest of my three guards, but Hughes is a trustworthy guy with the ball in his hand, and he will play gutsy basketball and make the right decision most of the time. He probably will not be a primary scorer for this team, but he has the toolkit to impact the game in other ways. 

Forward: Luka Garza – Iowa              

  • Garza is one of the best paint players in the country, and he could start at either forward or center for my team. I’m putting him at forward for the relatively arbitrary decision that my other big man is slightly taller, but either way, I expect Garza to be a huge factor offensively for my team. He leads my squad on 23.6 points per game while also grabbing 9.6 rebounds. He has made a relatively mediocre Iowa team relevant through his spectacular play, and with a better supporting cast, I trust the Iowa big man to be even more potent in this lineup. 

Center: Udoka Azubuike – Kansas

  • While Azubuike does not boast the same numbers as some of the premier inside scorers in the country, it is partially because his role on the Jayhawks does not require him to do so. He averages 13.4 points per game on a stunning 74.4% shooting percentage, while grabbing 10.4 rebounds per game. He’s one of just a few players to average a double-double, and he constantly gets free in the paint. His biggest downside is occasionally being limited by foul trouble, but Azubuike is an elite talent, having a 7’0, 270-pound center with his skill is too good to pass up, so he cracks my starting lineup. 

Coach: Bill Self – Kansas

  • Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk. Bill Self has never missed the NCAA tournament when coaching Kansas, and he has never lost more than 10 games in a season. He’s got plenty of NCAA tournament experience, he’s been to two Final Fours, and he’s won it all once. He’s got what it takes to win, and with a lineup this talented, I’ll take Self to guide them to the finish line. 

Nathaniel Lapoint’s College Basketball All-Star Starting 5

Each of our podcast personalities discussed an all-star starting five in our most recent podcast, and so now, we’re publishing each of their respective teams. With no clear best player and a wide range of talent available, picking one starting lineup is a tough task. However, here is Nathaniel Lapoint’s best shot. 

Point Guard: Payton Pritchard – Oregon

  • When it comes to the point guard position, there is nobody in the country better at running an offense than Pritchard. He has the clutch gene, seen in his recent 38-point performance against Arizona, he can both score and distribute the ball efficiently, averaging 5.5 assists and 20.1 points per game on 46% shooting, one of the highest shooting percentages by a guard in the country. No doubt that Pritchard is quarterbacking the offense here. 

Guard: Devon Dotson – Kansas

  • The Jayhawks are the best team in the country, and Dotson makes this squad go. All due respect to Udoka Azubuike in the paint, but the Kansas big man is not nearly as relevant without Dotson drawing so much defensive attention. And even with the attention, Dotson averages 18 points per game on 46.4% shooting, turning the ball over just 2.3 times per game. Pretty good guard to help Pritchard run the show. 

Guard: Markus Howard – Marquette

  • After securing two of the most efficient shooters in Pritchard and Dotson, the third guard slot belongs to Markus Howard, who leads the nation in three-point shooting. Although he shoots at a slightly more inconsistent clip, just over 41%, Howard launches up such a volume of 3-pointers that he is averaging over 27 points per game. His large quantity of shots and points, combined with the efficient play of Dotson and Pritchard create a dynamic scoring trio around the arc. 

Forward: Vernon Carey – Duke

  • One of several Duke stars, Carey puts up a solid 17.6 points per game and grabs just under nine rebounds. He shoots at a 58% clip, mostly from inside the paint, and he provides a powerful scoring option inside, if my trio of guards are struggling to get open looks.

Center:  Luka Garza  – Iowa

  • Garza was a pretty easy pick to be my center. He’s one of the hottest players in the country right now, scoring 20+ points in all but two games of 2020. The Hawkeyes lean on their big man, who draws a ton of attention and still drops almost 24 points a game while cleaning the glass to the tune of 9.6 rebounds per game. Shooting at 55% and averaging 1.8 turnovers per game, the lowest on the team, Garza provides efficient and lethal inside scoring. Teams can’t guard Garza when he’s the best player on his team – try guarding him when he’s got three of the best guards in the country handling the ball. 

Coach: Brian Dutcher – San Diego State

Dutcher deserves loads of credit for what he has done in San Diego. He’s taken the Aztecs from a middling Mountain West squad to potential #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, having just made the dance just once in the past four years. San Diego State wasn’t even projected to win the Mountain West Conference before the season, yet they’ve compiled a 27-1 record and a top-5 ranking. Lots of respect for the players out there, but without Dutcher at the helm, I don’t think this team is close to where it’s at.

Tuesday Top 25 Takeaways: SDSU struggling, Duke a pretender?

While college basketball usually has a lot of conference action on Wednesdays, Tuesday boasted a large slate of match-ups involving ranked teams, highlighted by a Top-25 showdown between #18 Iowa and #24 Michigan State, and Wake Forest’s shocking upset of #7 Duke. With that being said, each of our podcast personalities came up with a takeaway or two from Tuesday’s packed schedule.

Andrew Degeorge

  • Tom Izzo needs to calm down

An emotional coach on the sideline can generate a lot of opinions, but Tom Izzo’s frustration with the referees on Tuesday seemed more reflective of his frustration with the under-performing Spartans. Michigan State pulled out a win on Tuesday, but hovering at the edge of the Top 25 is pretty disappointing, and Izzo may be boiling over. Michigan State’s season isn’t dead yet though, so Izzo needs to calm down a little bit as the Spartans head for the postsesaon.

  • Xavier Tillman figures out how to slow down Luka Garza

Izzo called Tillman one of the best defenders in the country after this game, and the praise was justified. Playing a red-hot Luka Garza, Tillman matched up against the Iowa star and made him earn every point. After Garza dominated other Michigan State defenders in the first half for twelve points, Tillman took over in the second half. Although the Hawkeyes’ stud notched eight more points, he missed seven second half shots, shooting just 38% for the whole game. Tillman also notched a couple of huge blocks to help the Spartans grab a much-needed victory.

Nathaniel Lapoint’s Takeaway

  • Duke is really overrated

Duke had been looking really good, but then they lost by 22 points to NC State. However, the road loss to a desperate bubble team could be excused, and Duke looked to bounce back with a dominant victory over Virginia Tech. Then came last night. The Blue Devils were up nine with under 90 seconds remaining but allowed one of the worst teams in the ACC – Wake Forest – to come back, tie the game, and then win in double overtime. Duke gave up 113 points in the loss, an embarrassing total considering Wake Forest’s feeble performance this season. With two straight ugly losses to unranked teams, it may be time to start questioning how legitimate this Duke team is.

Cal Christoforo’s Takeaway

  • SDSU needs to wakeup

It’s really hard to finish a season undefeated. So while SDSU’s loss to UNLV was a tough blow to their hopes for a #1 seed, it’s at least understandable. Everyone has an off night. But then the Aztecs came out on Tuesday, presumably fired up to play after a loss, and laid a first-half egg. They trailed a mid-tier Colorado State team at halftime on their home court, and needed a comeback to secure a 6-point victory by the end. San Diego State seems to have gotten a little bit too comfortable, and they need to wake up. There will be better teams than UNLV and Colorado State in March.

Final Four Picks: Kansas is unanimous among divided ballots

After a crazy week in college basketball shook up the rankings and provided a little bit of clarity at the top of the rankings, all four of our team members gave our best Final Four predictions. One team got all four of our votes, but nobody else got more than two, so check out the various predictions below. No explanations…just the picks. Let us know who has the best and worst ballots via Twitter or Instagram @college_talking and enjoy the picks!

Andrew Degeorge

  • Kansas Jayhawks
  • Auburn Tigers
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Florida State Seminoles

Cal Christoforo

  • Kansas Jayhawks
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Duke Blue Devils
  • Villanova Wildcats

Nathaniel Lapoint

  • Kansas Jayhawks
  • Louisville Cardinals
  • Oregon Ducks
  • Butler Bulldogs

Aidan Thomas

  • Kansas Jayhawks
  • Baylor Bears
  • Duke Blue Devils
  • Kentucky Wildcats

Cal Christoforo’s Weekend Takeaways: A lot of overrated teams

1.Baylor isn’t ready for primetime 

With a non-traditional basketball power like Baylor at the top of the rankings, the question is always whether they can withstand the pressure of being one of the best teams in the country. For large portions of their game with Kansas, the Bears did seem overwhelmed by the moment, trailing by double digits on their home court. Although they came back late, Baylor did not seem to be playing like the #1 team in the country, and one has to wonder whether Baylor is ready for primetime. 

2. SDSU is not a one seed

Overreacting to San Diego State’s first loss of the year is easy to do, and while this takeaway isn’t saying that the Aztecs are complete frauds, I do think losing on their homecourt to an extremely mediocre UNLV team makes it evident that this squad is not and should not be a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Aztecs were still listed on the top line in Joe Lunardi’s bracketology in the latest projections, but that will hopefully change, because San Diego State is not one of the best four teams in the country. 

3. Penn State should never have been within the top 10

The recency bias on this ranking was horrific. Penn State had won eight straight games, several by single digits and several over some pretty bad Big 10 teams. At no point during the stretch did they play like a top-10 team, and they proved their ranking was unjustified with an extremely ugly week, losing at home to an unranked Illinois squad and dropping another contest at Indiana. It was a hideous week and proved that while Penn State is a tournament team, they should be nowhere near the top 10.

February 24, 2020: NCAA Basketball Power Rankings

As we expected, after Baylor and Kansas faced off, we had a much clearer idea at the top of the rankings, as three of our four ballots had the same top-2 teams, and for the first time all year, we had a unanimous #1 pick. Granted, Duke losing by 20 last week to NC State, San Diego State losing at home, and Gonzaga losing helped out the clarity significantly. Read on for the biggest risers and fallers this week, followed by the rankings in full!

Biggest Riser: Oregon

Biggest Faller: San Diego State

Joined the Ranks: Oregon

Dropped Out: Penn State

Honorable Mention

  • Louisville Cardinals (Last week: 10)
  • Villanova Wildcats (Last Week: HM)
  • Kentucky Wildcats (Last Week: HM)

#10 – San Diego State Aztecs (Last Week: 6) 

  • Last week, the Aztecs looked like a surefire bet for a #1 seed, and now it’s questionable whether they will even grab a #2 seed. We’ll have a better idea when the new AP Poll comes out, but for everyone questioning the legitimacy of San Diego State and their previously unbeaten record, Saturday’s home loss to UNLV provides bulletin board material. 

#9 – Maryland Terrapins (Last Week: 8)

  • Maryland won a game they should have won against Northwestern and then lost a tough road battle against a ranked and red-hot Ohio State team. They slide one spot due to the loss, but we weren’t overly surprised or disappointed by the Terrapins this week. 

#8 – Auburn Tigers (Last Week: 8)

  • On any other week, Auburn probably doesn’t rise, but given the general chaos near the top of the rankings, they actually manage to step up one spot this week, courtesy of a massive comeback against Tennessee that saw them rally from 15 points down to stay unbeaten at home. That (barely) balanced out yet another ugly road loss at Georgia, so the Tigers are treading a fine line. 

#7 – Oregon Ducks (Last week: Unranked)

  • Oregon is part of a tight four-team race for the Pac-12 regular season crown, and after  a very close road loss to the current leaders in Arizona State, Oregon pulled out an extremely impressive overtime victory on the road against a ranked Arizona squad. That win was impressive enough to send the Ducks flying into our Top 10, all the way up to #7 after a chaotic weekend of basketball. 

#6 – Florida State Seminoles (Last Week: 6)

  • The Seminoles cruised past Pittsburgh at home and then escaped NC State with a road victory that appeared more impressive after the Wolfpack dismantled Duke by 22 points. They were just a point off of rising a spot, but they should be able to accomplish that feat if they beat Louisville this week. 

#5 – Gonzaga Bulldogs (Last Week: 3)

  • People may overreact to Gonzaga’s loss this past week and forget that it was on the road and against a streaking BYU squad who jumped to #17 in today’s AP Poll. They’re still 5-2 in Quad 1 games and 27-2 overall, and they’re probably still in the hunt for a #1 seed. 

#4 – Dayton Flyers (Last Week: 7)

  • Had it not been for Oregon’s huge jump, Dayton could have been our biggest riser of the week, as they were a huge benefactor of the bevy of upsets this week. They squeezed out a tough road victory at VCU and then handled Duquesne by ten points. At #4 in the AP Poll, are the Flyers suddenly in play for a #1 seed?

#3 – Duke Blue Devils (Last Week: 4) 

  • Only in as weird a week as this could Duke lose by 22 points and rise a spot. They’re at #7 in the AP Poll, but our ballots were more inclined to see their loss to NC State as a blimp on the radar, a  weird loss to a desperate team, as opposed to a reflection of their talent. They also followed it up with a dominant showing versus Virginia Tech on Saturday to recover from the upset. 

#2 – Baylor Bears (Last Week: 2) 

  • A 3-point loss to the new #1 in Kansas is not going to doom Baylor. They are still likely going to grab a 1-seed barring an upset, and they’re still 10-1 in Quadrant 1 games. Don’t count this team out due to a long overdue loss. 

#1 – Kansas Jayhawks (Last Week: 1) – 4 First Place Votes

  • Finally a unanimous #1 pick! Kansas was our #1 the past two weeks despite their worse record and head to head loss, and we receive validation for our gut feeling as Kansas took down Baylor last week in Waco. With the other upsets, Kansas is the clear #1 this week. Let’s see if they can keep it that way.

Andrew DeGeorge’s Weekend Takeaways

After a thrilling weekend of basketball that saw the #1, #2, and #4 teams in the AP Poll lose, and eleven ranked teams lose in total, each of us are discussing our takeaways from this weekend. Here are 3 of Andrew DeGeorge’s takes:

  1. Luka Garza is a top 3 player in the nation

Certainly, Garza has been extremely impressive all year. He was one of our earliest March Impact Player Profile features, and for good reason. Garza is a legitimate contender to become the National Player of the Year, and Iowa’s hopes for a deep tournament run this year. Technically, Iowa didn’t play this weekend, but they did take on a red-hot Ohio State team on Thursday, and Garza dropped 24 points, bringing his average to 23.7 points per game. It was his twelfth straight game of over 20 points, and he’s shot over 50% in six straight contests. He’s shooting 56% from the field and averaging almost 10 rebounds per game. He’s an unreal player who is turning the Big 10 on its head.

2. Jarron Cumberland is the best player in the American Conference

A senior guard for the Cincinnati Bearcats, Cumberland has been the focal point of the Cincinnati offense all year. The Bearcats are in a 3-way battle atop the American Conference, and Cumberland is stepping up late, including this past weekend, when the senior made a whopping 16 free throws as part of a 24-point outing to close out a huge win over Wichita State. The Bearcats have won eight of ten, and they’ll continue to look to their best player, and arguably the conference’s best player now that James Wiseman has left the picture, as they hope for a conference title and automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

  1. Payton Pritchard is the best point guard in the country

Back to the National Player of the Year conversation, another player who has simply played his way into candidacy is Payton Pritchard, Oregon’s senior guard. After leading the charge in the Ducks’ upset run to the Sweet 16 last year, Pritchard has returned with a vengeance this season. He has increased his output to 20.1 points per game, and he turned in his most impressive game of the season this past weekend. Coming off a tough loss to Arizona State and playing a huge road game against #24 Arizona, Pritchard never left the court, scoring 38 points on 44% shooting, turning the ball over just two times, as the fourteenth-ranked Ducks survived the Wildcats 73-72 as they jockey for the Pac-12 lead with three other teams.

Wait ‘Til Next Year: NCAA Basketball Bottom 10 Power Conference Teams

No conference wins are a guarantee in college basketball, but a few are pretty close. Recently, our podcast discussed the worst teams in the country, and this article puts a spin on that, ranking the worst 10 teams in Power-6 basketball. #1 is who we consider the worst team in these rankings. 

Dishonorable Mention:

  • Boston College 
  • St. Johns
  • Pittsburgh

#10 – Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  • The Demon Deacon are saved from the basement of the ACC by North Carolina, but this team is just 4-12 in conference play and 11-15 overall. They’ve been competitive in some games, but they’ve hit some bad lows recently, losing by 17 to a dismal Miami squad and at home to a really bad Georgia Tech team. 

#9 – DePaul Blue Demons 

  • In a competitive Big East, where seemingly every team has a chance in every game, the Blue Demons simply do not. They are a horrific 1-12 in conference games – somehow defeating a ranked Butler team once. After going 12-1 with a weak non-conference schedule, DePaul is now 13-13 and on an 8-game losing streak. 

#8 – Washington State Cougars

  • The Cougars do have a 5-9 conference record, but that’s not saying much in an exceptionally weak Pac-12. They just lost at home to Cal, one of the worst teams in the conference, which is their second loss to the Golden Bears. They’ve been blown out by USC, Stanford, and their lackluster offense leads them to some really ugly games. 

#7 – Kansas State Wildcats

  • The Wildcats bring up the rear of the Big 12, which is entirely mediocre outside of Kansas and Baylor. The biggest headlines K-State has made this year has been their postgame brawl with Kansas. They are just 2-11 in conference play and 9-17 overall, with just one decent win over West Virginia saving them from slipping lower on this list. 

#6 – Texas A&M Aggies

  • This might be a harsher ranking than the Aggies deserve, but they have been so horrifically uncompetitive in so many games that they just played themselves onto this list. They went just 6-6 in a pretty soft no-conference schedule, losing by 11 to Harvard, 23 to Temple, and losing to Fairfield. They hosted Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, currently 10-16 and in 9th in the Southland Conference, and they won by just three. This team is not good, and it’s embarrassing to the SEC that they’ve half a dozen conference games. 

#5 – Cal Golden Bears

  • That bad Cal team that beat Washington State twice? Yeah, they’re going to make this list too. In compiling just an 11-15 record, including 6-7 outside of the barely relevant Pac-12, Cal has been blown out by the likes of San Francisco, Santa Clara, Saint Mary’s, Stanford, and USC, while also dropping home games to Boston College and Harvard. It’s not exactly a bevy of quadrant one losses, and they haven’t beaten any conference opponent that’s more than a half-game better than them in the standings. Tough look for the Golden Bears. 

#4 – Northwestern Wildcats

  • You may have thought the Northwestern athletic department hit their low point with a dismal football season, but they actually may be looking back fondly on their season on the gridiron, after seeing their product on the court. They’ve lost ten straight conference games and bring up the rear in the Big 10 with a 1-14 conference record. Their one win is at home versus Nebraska who – not to offer spoilers – will also appear on this list. Embarrassing results include losses to Hartford, Radford, and Merrimack. Wouldn’t surprise me if Northwestern’s ranked field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams start getting more attendance than their basketball team. 

#3 – Vanderbilt Commodores

  • This team may have been #1 on this list until they somehow manhandled LSU. But at 1-12 in SEC play, that remains their only conference win, as the Commodores sport a measly 9-17 record. They’ve lost to Tulsa and Richmond while also dropping six conference games by at least 15 points, including a 19-point decision to the aforementioned Aggies. At least it’s baseball season for Vandy. 

#2 – Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

  • I’m avoiding recency bias with this ranking. Georgia Tech has been one of the worst teams all year in Power-6 basketball. Somehow, they’ve won three of four including a stunner of a Top-10 Louisville team. Between November 28 and their recent hot streak, a span of over two months, the Yellow Jackets scored more than 74 points just once in an ACC conference hardly known for its defensive prowess. They’ve lost to Ball State by 18 points at home, and by 34 at home to Syracuse. They hosted Bethune-Cookman and barely defeated them as well. If the Yellow Jackets can keep playing well, maybe they’ll work their way off this list, but their offense remains a gigantic eye-sore that fails to remedy their early season woes. 

#1 – Nebraska Cornhuskers

  • The only Big 10 team to fall victim to the atrocious Northwestern team, Nebraska’s equally dismal season has them topping off our list of the worst Power-6 teams. The Cornhuskers have also lost ten straight, and they’ve lost home games to North Dakota and George Mason this year, the latter coming by 19 points. They’ve been blown out by UC Riverside and lost to Southern Utah, teams so irrelevant in the national picture, you may not have even heard of them or known they played D1 basketball before this article. Nebraska has a dismal record of success in most of their major sports, and that certainly does not exclude their basketball team, which is an embarrassment to Power-6 basketball.

February 19, 2020: College Baseball Power Rankings

Although pitchers and catchers may just be reporting for MLB, college baseball jumped right into the regular season this past weekend, and already there was some shakeup in expectations, with a few surprising results. Among these were Ole Miss and their series victory over Louisville, Vanderbilt’s 1-2 weekend. Here are our power rankings, based off of three ballots, which take into account both preseason expectations and rankings, as well as results from the opening weekend. 

Honorable Mention

  • UCLA
  • Ole Miss
  • Michigan

#10 – Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • The Bulldogs got a great start out of the gate with a series sweep of Wright State, with their pitching staff accumulating an ERA of under 3 over three games. The preseason #10, the Bulldogs didn’t exactly make a statement in beating an inferior opponent, but it was good, clean start to the season. 

#9 – LSU Tigers

  • LSU, a month removed from their football national championship, started their season with two dominating victores versus Indiana before a slip-up in the finale. Ranked #11 in the preseason, two of our ballots put the Tigers in the top-10, good for them to snag the #9 slot in this initial edition of the power rankings. 

#8 – Auburn Tigers 

  • Auburn had absolutely zero difficulty with Illinois-Chicago this past weekend, winning all four games at home. After a 5-3 victory in the opener, the Tigers took the final three games by a combined margin of 39-4. Much like Mississippi State, the series sweep over a low-caliber opponent does not justify much of a leap, so Auburn slots in at #8, where they were in the preseason rankings. 

#7 – Louisville Cardinals

  • Possibly the biggest disappointment out of any ranked team, Louisville won their opener with ease, 7-2, but gave up 15 runs over the next two games, as they dropped the series to the Ole Miss Rebels, starting their season off on the wrong note. The preseason #1, Louisville plummets to #7 in our initial power rankings. 

#6 – Arkansas Razorbacks 

  • The Razorbacks had a cupcake of an opening weekend, and they glided through their first three contests with very little difficulty, outscoring Eastern Illinois 27-5 en route to three victories. The preseason #7, Arkansas hops up to #6 thanks to Louisville’s slide. 

#5 – Texas Tech Red Raiders

  • It didn’t take Texas Tech long to get their bats warmed up, as they poured on 65 runs in four games versus two different opponents to crush their opening contests. Their pitching also only gave up 11 runs in their victories, allowing them to run away with each game by a decisive margin. They also jump up one spot from their preseason ranking of #6. 

#4 – Vanderbilt Commodores – 1 First Place Vote

  • Our ballots showed a little more mercy to Vanderbilt, who slides just two spots from their preseason perch at #2, despite a 1-2 weekend. The Commodores even nabbed a first place vote, after dropping a tight game to defending national runners up Michigan and a one-run defeat to Cal Poly, sandwiched around a dominating victory over UConn. The defending national champs have some easy games as they look to rebuild confidence after a tough first weekend. 

#3 – Georgia Bulldogs

  • The SEC doesn’t just run the football world, as they have several teams up near the top of the rankings in our baseball power rankings as well. #5 in the preseason, the Bulldogs jumped to #3 after a clean series sweep of Richmond. It certainly wasn’t a stiff challenge for Georgia, but their clean performance and the struggles of Louisville and Vanderbilit lifts the Bulldogs two spots. 

#2 – Florida Gators

  • Hosting Marshall, the Gators allowed the visitors no closer than seven runs in any game, scoring 34 times in three contests to throttle the Thundering Herd in a series sweep. They also jump two spots from their preseason spot at #4, and they figure to be a title contender in 2020. 

#1 – Miami Hurricanes – 2 First Place Votes

  • Sitting at #3 entering the year, the Hurricanes were the most direct benefactor of Louisville and Vanderbilt’s lackluster efforts in the first weekend, as they rocket up to the #1 spot in our initial power rankings. They handled Rutgers with ease in their opening series, and they’ll be looking ahead to a showdown with Florida next weekend.