Last week's "Fire" Four featured Ohio State, Georgetown, Texas, and Kansas. This week there is some change, even though none of these teams lost, I have some adjustments to make.
1. Kansas - After watching their demolition of Nebraska last week, I thought this team showed us their best basketball. Then they played the best game I think any team has shown this year against Missouri. Kansas poured in 103 points and won by 17. Their offense is #1 in field goal percentage (52.4%), they average 18.4 assists per game, which is good for second in the nation, and their 83.7 points per game is the sixth highest in the country. This team's offense is by far the best, but will their pace tire them out? That answer is no, because they have so much depth. Josh Selby didn't even play last night and they still put up 103 points. This team is the most talented offensive team I have seen in years.
2. Ohio State - It's hard to take this team out of any sort of elite ranking because they haven't lost yet. Sitting at 24-0, this team seems to have a chance to go undefeated in the regular season. Jared Sullinger is a prime candidate for Player of the Year, and the role players are stepping up and making large contributions. They are probably the most complete team in the country, with a great combination of size, speed, and intelligence. They play the game the right way and play an efficient style of offense, run through the post. The games have gotten closer and closer, but the Buckeyes are probably the best team in the land.
3. North Carolina - Now this is hard to believe, but the Tar Heels are playing some great basketball right now. They are ranked #21 this week, but still critics say that they don't have a signature win in the ACC. Well you can't have a signature win if you don't play a good team, but they get that chance tomorrow vs. arch rival Duke. UNC is demolishing opponents right now, beating Florida State by 20 points over the weekend. If UNC can beat Duke, which I think is possible despite the fact they will be playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, UNC will put itself in great position to contend for the ACC title.
4. Notre Dame - This was the toughest to pick, because frankly Notre Dame is simply not better than Texas right now. Texas is the odd team out in this week's "Fire" Four, but that doesn't mean that they aren't contenders. Notre Dame has won 5 straight, including a win vs. #4 Pittsburgh. The Fighting Irish also have victories against UConn and Georgetown. Sitting at 7-3 in the best conference, it's hard not to put the Fighting Irish in the top 10 week after week, since they had a very tough first half Big East schedule. Notre Dame has a big game tomorrow night vs. Louisvillle and if they handle the Cardinals, they have the opportunity to win 12 to 13 games in the Big East, which would be incredible.
ICE COLD - Washington is this weeks Ice Cold team, as they have lost three straight contests. Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State aren't exactly the toughest of competition either, putting the at 7-4 and third in the Pac-10. Washington has one win against a ranked opponent (Arizona), but has struggled mightily in the past two weeks. They will need to get back on track before February 19th, when they play Arizona again, otherwise they could find themselves out of the top 3 in the Pac-10 and a possible absence of a tourney bid.