Grant Wahl has an article up suggesting
Stanford should be #1. To be fair, they have an argument. But to
argue, as Arizona assistant Jim Rosborough does, that it's because Duke is on
ESPN all the time is fatuous for a couple of reasons.
First, Arizona, Stanford, and the PAC-10 chose their own
television deal and are rarely on national TV. Exposure has been a PAC-10
problem for years, and they've done little to improve their lot.
Secondly, according to the Sagarin ratings, the PAC-10 has
fallen to ninth
in the conference ratings. So going undefeated - and we remind you, Stanford was
not expected to go undefeated this year - in a third-tier conference is no big
deal. Any decent team could beat most of the PAC-10, and a good team
should dominate this year. Here's a thought: how thoroughly would Duke
dominate the PAC-10, given what it has done to the ACC?
But Wahl dismisses the rankings in favor of a head-to-head
We have not seen Stanford play a lot this year, but we're
pretty familiar with their style now. Duke has the capacity to apply an
intense defense, to block shots, and to disrupt the passing lanes. They
also have the capacity to go off on 3-point binges at any time.
The wild cards, to us, are Josh Childress and Luol Deng.
If Childress covers Redick, as Wahl suggests, who covers Deng? As we have
seen lately, Deng - "Louie" according to Coach K - is just scratching
the surface of his potential, but he's scratching deeper and deeper
lately. Who will guard him, and who will he guard? Childress is tough, but
he can't guard both explosive players at the same time. Sorry, Grant. Edge:
Given the nature of the ACC vs. the PAC-10, Stanford will
likely be a #1 team at some point soon, perhaps as early as Monday. But
the levels of competition are strikingly different. In fact, we'll go out
on a limb here: Stanford may well finish the regular season
undefeated. But we're betting they won't make the Final Four.