Rick Bozich has a list of who's hot -- and who's not -- in college basketball.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Syracuse survives. Marcus Smart sits. The SEC staggers. The AAC surprises. Indiana melts down. Florida stays hot. Selection Sunday moves closer.
That makes it a perfect time for another edition of Who's Hot – and Who's Not -- in college basketball.
HOT – Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis. Are applications for freshman of the year in college basketball officially closed? It's close, folks.
Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Julius Randle will have to overtake a guy the national folks ignored in November. The solid favorite today is Ennis, who has the Orange cruising through an unbeaten season while performing like the best player to move through the Carrier Dome since Carmelo Anthony.
Not bad for a guy who was ranked behind one, two, three, four other high school point guards – Andrew Harrison, Kasey Hill, Terry Rozier and Cat Barber – by one recruiting service a year ago.
NOT HOT – Ohio State. The Buckeyes' cooked up a special introductory video for Michigan when the Wolverines visited Columbus Tuesday night. Sounds downright neighborly, correct?
Except one clip featured a game-winning shot by Ohio State's Evan Turner against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament. Another clip showed Ohio University beating Michigan in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. And a third showed Chris Webber signaling for a timeout that he did not have during the 1993 NCAA Final Four.
One other thing: Michigan won the game. That's always the best revenge.
HOT – Tubby Smith, Texas Tech. Even some of Smith's friends wondered what Smith was thinking when he took the job in Lubbock after he was fired by Minnesota last March. Take another look. The Red Raiders have won three straight. Their record – 13-11 overall and 5-6 in the Big 12 – won't get them in the NCAA Tournament, but remember this is the same program that finished 11-20 and won only three conference games last season. Tubby's not ready for the country club life yet. This looks like his best coaching job since he left Kentucky. Good for Tubby.
NOT HOT – Indiana's ability not to kick the basketball into Lake Monroe. The Hoosiers have turned the ball over 20 times in four games this season. IU played 36 games last season – and never had more than 19 turnovers. No wonder IU has lost six Big Ten games by seven points or less. No wonder IU has lost to Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State while beating Wisconsin and Michigan.
HOT – Julius Randle of Kentucky and Russ Smith of Louisville. Not only did both players make the mid-season watch lists for the Wooden and Naismith awards, they also rank as the leading player of the year picks in their conferences, according to Ken Pomeroy's statistical formula.
NOT HOT – Fan participation in the Southeastern Conference. According to this story by Jon Solomon of Al.com, attendance is down 1 percent from last season in the SEC. A 1 percent drop does not become alarming until you check the fine print and understand that attendance last season was the lowest in the league since 1986-87.
The three schools with the largest decreases are Missouri (23 percent), Vanderbilt (11) and Tennessee (11). The league office has requested assistance from ESPN to develop a strategy to stir more fans into SEC arenas. My suggestion: Ask SEC football coaches to talk recruiting on the big screens during halftime and TV timeouts.
Harrow has led the Panthers to 12 straight victories – and Pomeroy ranks him as the top player in the Sun Belt Conference. Harrow has found the happy ending he was chasing.
NOT HOT – Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford. When the season began, the Cowboys were ranked eighth nationally in a tie with Syracuse. The Orange are currently unbeaten and ranked first. The Cowboys are still ranked eighth – in the Big 12, losers of five straight and without their best player, Marcus Smart, for two more games after his dust-up with a Texas Tech fan Sunday. They're trending toward missing the NCAA Tournament.
HOT – Myles Turner, a 7-foot high school senior from Euless, Texas. According to Scout.com, Turner is the only recruit ranked in the Top 20 nationally who remains unsigned, making Turner the subject of considerable love from schools like Arizona, Kentucky, Texas, Kansas, Duke, Oklahoma State and Ohio State. It's good to be Turner these days.
NOT HOT – Cornell. Remember when the Big Red were a legitimately dangerous team, capable of knocking Temple and Wisconsin out of the 2010 NCAA Tournament before playing a solid game against Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen?
Well, Cornell sits at the bottom of the Ivy League standings without a conference win. The Big Red are 1-19 overall – and the win came against Oberlin, which isn't a Division I program.
HOT – Former Indiana player and assistant coach Jim Crews. He took over the program at Saint Louis last season under tragic circumstances after Rick Majerus had to leave with heart issues. All Crews did was lead the Billikens to 28 wins and the third round of the NCAA Tournament. His current team might be even better. Saint Louis leads the Atlantic 10 with a 9-0 record and the Billikens are 22-2 overall.
HOT – Former Morehead State coach Donnie Tyndall. He's got Southern Miss positioned at the top of Conference USA, with an 8-1 record in the league as well as 21-3 overall performance. If any jobs open in the Southeastern Conference, look for Tyndall's name to appear on the short list.