Commentary

Top four teams in college hoops

Updated: February 14, 2011, 4:12 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

After Ohio State's loss at Wisconsin, the debate is on: Which team is No. 1 in college basketball? The beauty of the sport is that we determine a national championship with a tournament. That's what makes March Madness the greatest three weeks in sports, baby! You will hear cries from several campuses that their team is numero uno. Whether it is Columbus, Lawrence, Austin or Pittsburgh, it really is interesting. But here's how the VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) sees things right now:

I know the Buckeyes lost at Madison, but that is their only "L" on the season. When you evaluate the entire body of work, I still give the slightest of edges to Ohio State as the top team in the nation. It is another tough week for Thad Matta's team, however, as they will face a desperate Michigan State squad and travel to Purdue for a revenge game (they blew away the Boilermakers a few weeks back). I am not going to penalize the Buckeyes for losing at Kohl, one of the toughest places to play in America. The Badgers are 150-11 there under Bo Ryan.

My pick at number two at the moment is Kansas. I know, I know, Texas beat the Jayhawks head-to-head in Lawrence. But that was after the passing of Thomas Robinson's mother and I feel that there was emotional fatigue involved in that game. I am not taking anything away from the Longhorns, who have played as well as anyone lately. Again it comes down to the overall body of work and Kansas has lost once, while Texas has been beaten three times.

I am staying with Texas at number three, though you can make a case for Jamie Dixon's Pittsburgh Panthers. What an incredible week for Pittsburgh, winning at West Virginia and Villanova while top scorer Ashton Gibbs was hurt. He looked like a second lieutenant on the bench though, sitting and rooting for his teammates.

The Panthers beat the Longhorns head-to-head but, once again, you have to look at the entirety of the schedule/results column. Pittsburgh's home loss to Notre Dame keeps them at No. 4 in my book.

Those are four quality teams, my friends. Add Duke to the equation and you have a solid top five. But it only matters who is number one when we cut down the nets in Houston in April. Right now, it is just great fodder for talk shows, writers and bloggers, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.