Wednesday, January 20, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 75

Lady Coogs' Road Woes Continue

The Wrestling Report

Helton Revamps Staff

About the Cougar

A look at the good, the bad and the disappointing in college hoops elite

Top 25 Notebook

By Matt Jackson

We have reached the midpoint of the college basketball season. Now it is time to look back at the first half of the season and look ahead to March Madness.

The team to beat

Duke -- The Blue Devils are head and shoulders above every team in America in talent and coaching. They beat defending champion Kentucky and top ranked Maryland by double digits. Trajan Langdon is hitting close to 50 percent of his three-point shots. Elton Brand is beginning to live up to his preseason hype as evidenced by his 32 point, 18 rebound performance last week against Virginia. 

The contenders 

Stanford -- Arthur Lee was the best point guard in the tournament last year, and he has followed that performance with a solid regular season. (15 ppg 7 apg 2.4 spg) With Tim Young, Mark Madsen, Peter Sauer and the Collins twins, Stanford has the frontcourt size and depth to wreak havoc on the opposition come March.

Cincinatti -- Bob Huggins' Bearkats are undefeated (unless you count the referee-assisted defeat at the hands of NC-Charlotte) and are the only team to beat Duke this year. Their interior defense is absolutely suffocating. Kenyan Martin, Pete Mickeal and Ohio State transfer Jermaine Tate never allow layups or garbage buckets. But their inconsistent play in the postseason is always a question.

Connecticut -- OK, so the Huskies are ranked No. 1 by the pollsters. Whoopde-freakin-doo! As evidenced by their RPI ranking of No. 19, the Connecticut Huskies have played absolutely no one this year. 

Maryland -- Despite herky-jerky play of late, the Terrapins are still a contender to cut down the nets. Obinna Ekezie and Terrance Morris are playing consistent paint games, but senior Laron Profit has been absolutely nonexistent in recent showdowns with Kentucky and Duke.

The surprises 

Auburn -- The Auburn Tigers are one of two remaining undefeated teams in college basketball (Connecticut). They return four starters from last year's NIT quarterfinalist, and added JC transfer Chris Porter who leads the Tigers in scoring at 16.7 ppg.

Iowa -- 1999 is supposed to be a swan song for Hawkeye coach Tom Davis but the Hawkeyes enter their Jan. 21 showdown with Michigan State sporting a 13-2 record and first place in the tough Big 10 with a 4-1 record. 

The disappointments 

Massachusetts -- The Minutemen were a top 10 team to begin the season, but have had to rally just to make .500 in midseason. Coach Bruiser Flint's biggest disappointment is sophomore center Lari Ketner. Ketner is averaging only 10 ppg, and he is shooting under 43 percent from the field and 50 percent from the charity stripe.

Pittsburgh -- The Panthers current play is light years away from their performance at the beginning of the season. Pitt roared to a 6-0 start including back-to-back victories over top 10 powers Xavier and Kentucky in the San Juan Shootout. 

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