NCAA Basketball Tournament - Indiana  v Kentucky

Coaches Top 25 poll released, Indiana is No. 1

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The USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll was released this afternoon, and, frankly, there’s not a whole lot in there to quibble with.

Missouri and St. Joseph’s are far too low, but that’s just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.

Usually, preseason polls — especially the coaches poll — provides us with ample blog fodder. But this year, the folks that voted (let’s be honest, it was probably a group of SIDs and graduate assistants) did a pretty decent job.

Here’s the top 25 in its entirety:

1. Indiana (21) 761
2. Louisville (5) 738
3. Kentucky (5) 718
4. Ohio State 617
5. Michigan 605
6. North Carolina State 581
7. Kansas 563
8. Duke 516
9. Syracuse 502
10. Florida 422
11. Arizona 411
12. North Carolina 401
13. UCLA 396
14. Michigan State 391
15. Creighton 325
16. Memphis 307
17. Missouri 289
18. Baylor 266
19. UNLV 203
20. San Diego State 196
21. Wisconsin 191
22. Gonzaga 166
23. Notre Dame 122
t24. Florida State 61
t24. Texas 61

Others receiving votes: Saint Louis 58, Virginia Commonwealth 40, Cincinnati 33, Murray State 30, Kansas State 13, Saint Mary’s 11, New Mexico 10, Tennessee 10, Minnesota 9, Pittsburgh 9, Marquette 8, Stanford 7, Oklahoma State 6, Butler 6, Colorado State 4, Middle Tennessee 3, Saint Joseph’s 2, Drexel 2, Georgia 2, Miami (FL) 2, Marshall 1

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)