Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

College Extra

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

College Extra

Article excerpt

NUMBERS GAME

4

Teams that are undefeated in conference play (Florida, Holy Cross, Memphis and Winthrop).

336

Current RPI ranking of the University of North Florida, which ranks last among Division I teams.

THE TICKER

RISING

TEXAS A&M

If there were any doubts about the Aggies, they erased them with an exclamation point by beating Kansas on the road and Texas at home - both on national television. It was by far the best 48-hour stretch in the school's otherwise forgettable basketball history. Guard Acie Law (below) is proving to be one of the country's top players in the clutch (witness his game-winning 3-pointer against the Jayhawks), and Billy Gillispie is closing in on coach-of-the-year honors. A&M is alone in first place and now the favorite to win the Big 12 regular-season title.

FALLING

MICHIGAN STATE

The Spartans were 17-4 overall as recently as Jan. 24 and looked like a team capable of challenging Wisconsin and Ohio State for the Big Ten crown. But three consecutive losses, two of them to the Buckeyes, have dropped Michigan State to below .500 in the conference heading into tonight's trip to Purdue. The Spartans also have five difficult conference games ahead of them, including two dates with the fourth-ranked Badgers. Even with 17 victories, another NCAA Tournament berth is anything but certain.

CINCINNATI RED

It was no secret the University of Cincinnati was headed for a rebuilding period after Bob Huggins was fired as coach two years ago. But the depth of the Bearcats' fall has been shocking.

Cincinnati has lost nine of its past 10 games, is a lock to miss out on the Big East Tournament and appears headed for its worst finish since 1987-88, two years before Huggins' arrival annually made Cincinnati one of the country's top teams.

"It's easy to be a front-runner in life," first-year coach Mick Cronin (right), who only got the job late last March, told The Associated Press. …

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