Furman Reaches Top 25

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Furman Reaches Top 25

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     The NCAA has released the top 25 rankings for this week and I saw a team that shocked me. The Furman Paladins ventured into the 25th seed in the NCAA after starting 9-0 on the year and being first in the Southern Conference.

     Coach Bob Richey of the men’s basketball team at Furman took the Paladins to a Southern Conference semi-final during the 2017-18 season. They had a record of 23-10, having a .697 winning percentage and shooting 47% in the paint and 35.6% behind the arc. They graduated 4 out of their 15 players last season. Coach Richey’s Paladins take on USC Upstate in South Carolina Saturday at 4:30 P.M. It will be televised on ESPN+. This is a huge game for the Paladins. If they lose, they could get turned down by the committee to be in the top 25.

     Could Coach Bob Richey’s Paladins be the Lu Wolf’s of Loyola Chicago from last season? Many people and college basketball analysts are already thinking about March Madness for this season. The Paladins could have a chance of making a huge run in the tournament if they keep up their success this season.

     The other changes to the top 25 for this week were Texas, Oregon, and Purdue. All dropped out of the rankings. Purdue, previously ranked 19th in the NCAA, has lost their last 3 out of 4 games they have played. Purdue’s top player and guard from last season, Carson Edwards, has returned his leadership role this season as well as senior Ryan Cline. They both have played a huge part in Purdue’s success in the past with Edwards averaging 18.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 2.8 apg last season. Cline averaged 4.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg, and 1.7 apg. Cline was more of a versatile player, especially off the court, always building his teammates confidence up. The Boilermakers faced off last night in Lafayette against the #23 ranked Maryland Terrapins. The Boilers had a great outcome to the game, defeating the Terrapins 62-60. Senior, Carson Edwards put up 20 points while bringing down four rebounds and three assists. Purdue guard, Aaron Wheeler, put up 15 points while pulling down three boards.

     The other power rankings of the NCAA didn’t change much with the Gonzaga Bulldogs reclaiming the number one seed (8-0) with Kansas following behind them (6-0). Rounding out the top ten for week five are #3 Duke (7-1), #4 Virginia (7-0), #5 Michigan (8-0, #6 Nevada (8-0), #7 Tennessee (6-1), #8 Auburn (6-1), #9 Kentucky (7-1), and #10 Michigan State (6-2).

     This early in the season, it’s hard to determine who will stay in the top 25, but I predict Duke, Gonzaga, and Virginia to stay within the top three seeds throughout the entire year. All of them are able to put up big numbers each game. Currently, Duke is averaging 93 ppg (points per game), 46 rpg (rebounds per game), 18 apg (assists per game), and 8 bpg (blocks per game). Gonzaga averages 96 ppg, 41 rpg, 20 apg, and 7 spg (steals per game). Lastly, Virginia averages 75 ppg, 32 rpg, 16 apg, and 8 spg.

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