- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No one gets quite so hung up on college basketball rankings as those in college football, which is a good thing.

Of course, basketball has a tournament at the end of the season to sort everything out, so the answer to “Who’s No. 1?” is rendered moot.

Anyway, here’s a look at my Associated Press basketball ballot, which was faithfully filed at about a quarter of 1 Monday morning after Washington finished off Pepperdine 99-91.

1. North Carolina (0-0)

2. Florida (1-0)

3. Kansas (1-0)

4. UCLA (0-0)

5. Pittsburgh (1-0)

6. Louisiana State (0-0)

7. Alabama (1-0)

8. Georgetown (1-0)

9. Ohio State (3-0)

10. Wisconsin (1-0)

11. Texas A&M; (1-0)

12. Duke (1-0)

13. Memphis (0-0)

14. Boston College (1-0)

15. Washington (1-0)

16. Connecticut (1-0)

17. Marquette (1-0)

18. Southern Illinois (1-0)

19. Texas (2-0)

20. Arizona (0-1)

21. Creighton (0-0)

22. Tennessee (1-0)

23. Georgia Tech (1-0)

24. Nevada (1-0)

25. Xavier (1-0)

There was little movement, besides dropping Arizona from No. 10 to No. 20 and slipping Xavier into the rankings in place of Hofstra, which lost at Charlotte on Saturday. Other teams very much on the radar: San Diego State, Kentucky, Syracuse, Virginia, Maryland, Wichita State and Michigan State.

A few more odds and ends on the first week of the season:

* A note on Pepperdine: The high score of its loss to Washington was as much a product of the Waves as it was the talented Huskies. Pepperdine coach Vance Walberg arrived this year from Fresno City College, which averaged 103.5 points the last four seasons. Book it: Pepperdine will be among the nation’s leaders in scoring offense, even if its defense ranks near the bottom.

* If college basketball really is a guard’s game, then Virginia just might be a team to watch. The Cavaliers’ backcourt of Sean Singletary and J.R.

Reynolds might be the ACC’s best, but it was swingman Mamadi Diane who sparked

Sunday night’s upset of Arizona in the opener at John Paul Jones Arena. If Singletary and Reynolds receive any consistent help — be it from Diane, Jason Cain or from one of Virginia’s newcomers — the Cavaliers will be a handful once conference play begins.

* Speaking of ACC guards, Wake Forest freshman Ishmael Smith set a school record with 11 assists in the Demon Deacons’ opening victory over James Madison.

Think of some of the point guards who have passed through Winston-Salem — Skip Brown, Muggsy Bogues, Randolph Childress and Chris Paul — and the 5-foot-11, 155-pounder’s debut for the ultra-young Deacons is especially impressive.

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