Not sure if it's hidden in another thread but saw this on ESPN. Game Plan: The January thaw - ESPN For the first 10 weeks of the 2013-14 college basketball season, Wisconsin and Iowa State shared much in common. They were two of the sport’s most enjoyable “surprise” stories, scare-quotes intended, because the word surprise works only if you note that both were expected to be good, and wound up even better. Both programs subvert traditional offensive dogma, both rely on players with label-allergic skill sets; both take advantage of interchangeable parts. Both programs are more sheer fun to watch than ever before -- the Cylcones have pushed their typical high pace under Fred Hoiberg to new versatile lengths, while the Badgers are, for them, playing at breakneck speed (for them, anyway -- 65 possessions per game). For the first 10 weeks of the season, both remained among the nation’s ever-shrinking group of unbeaten teams. Last week, both lost that status. Did they ever. Ten days ago, Iowa State was in the thick of a three-team Big 12 title race. The Cyclones lost at Oklahoma Jan. 11, then at home to Kansas two days later, and then, finally, at Texas Saturday. Wisconsin, for its part, played uncharacteristically awful transition defense at Indiana on Jan. 14, falling to a shaky group whose next game was a 54-47 home loss to Northwestern. (Yep.) Just as surprising was Wisconsin’s failure to recover over the weekend, when it managed 70 points in 68 possessions in a home loss to Michigan. It’s now been nearly two weeks since either team won a game.This is what makes January so fascinating: It is an exercise in transition. Teams are more frequently and more rigorously tested. Fatigue and attrition come into play. Certain teams begin to take fearsome shape; others reveal their shortcomings. Outliers regress to the mean. We go from shaky impressions formed from disparate nonconference schedules to solid ideas based on less noisy data (and more of it), and all in the matter of a month. And by the time it’s all over, we’re already slotting people onto seedlines. It happens fast. So: What about Iowa State and Wisconsin? How much should perceptions change? Neither team was without its flaws even when it was undefeated, but those flaws were hidden behind close wins and scheduling luck. (Iowa State got the “Is Mitch McGary OK or not?” edition of Michigan at home; Wisconsin played Florida in the Kohl Center when the Gators had, like, six dudes on the team.) A few losses, sudden and stacked though they may be, won’t send either team plummeting to the NIT. They’re more like gentle reminders of the work ahead. These are the kinds of things that get figured out in January, in this first great surge of conference clarity. It’s when the nitpicking -- and the fun-- truly begin.