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Sully's Court: Bryant, Gonzaga on the rise

Posted by Joe Sullivan, Globe Staff  January 7, 2013 09:44 AM

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The college basketball Monday morning report but even I’ll be watching football tonight and I have a serious rooting interest. Go Irish.

Five rising:

Bryant: What a year it’s been already for the Bulldogs. It got better when they swept the sometimes difficult Western Pennsylvania trip in the NEC, beating Robert Morris (a real landmark victory) and Saint Francis. At 9-4, this team has set the school record for victories in a season and consecutive victories (four) since the school moved to Division 1.

Gonzaga: The Zags have evolved into a formidable unit because of the stellar play of guard Kevin Pangos and center Kelly Olynyk (one of the most improved players in the US). Both have become outstanding players. Plus forward Elias Harris, who seemed to have leveled off after a great freshman year, has taken it up a notch in his senior season. The Zags are 15-1 and, amazingly, are 5-0 vs. the Big 12, beating West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State.

Minnesota: The Gophers are 14-1 and have won 10 in a row after beating Michigan State and Northwestern at home.

Northeastern: The Huskies have to be considered a CAA contender after winning at George Mason and then beating UNC Wilmington at home to open 2-0.

Saint Louis: The Billkens are 11-3 with an eight-game winning streak, the longest since 2003 — and are 11-1 at home. UMass, winners of seven straight, comes to visit Thursday.

Five falling:

BU: The Terriers’ final season in America East is off to an awful start as they lost two close games, one to Maine on the road and another to Hartford at Agganis.

Illinois State: The Redbirds were an MVC contender, but then lost tough home games to Creighton and Northern Iowa and are 0-3 in the league. Their NCAA chances will now hinge on getting hot for Arch Madness.

North Texas: The Mean Green, with an NBA-caliber player in Tony Mitchell, have been really disappointing at 6-10, including dropping four of their last five.

Stanford: The Cardinal have been an underachieving bunch the last few seasons and they lived up to that again by getting swept in Los Angeles.

Xavier: The Muskies continue to decline, losing four in a row to fall to 7-6.

This week’s George Mason: Murray State. The Racers are back on track.

This week’s Final Four: Indiana, Michigan, Duke, Creighton

This week’s national champion: Indiana

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