The Loop

This Week's Syllabus: March 3-9


My look at the top five teams in the country right now



__[#image: /photos/55ad7345add713143b424c42]|||Thumbnail image for Oklahoma-state-logo-latest.jpg|||

1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)

I'm interested to see how the pre-Masters buzz affects Peter Uihlein. I genuinely believe he'll be able to compartmentalize the golf from the other demands he's starting to face that come with playing at Augusta National in April, but at the same time that tournament has been a distraction for other collegians who have played in the event, like another former Cowboy__Casey Wittenberg__).

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 11-13


2. UCLA (2)

The Bruins depth is their trump card, which is why I keep them in No. 2 after finishing second at the USC Invitational rather than drop them to No. 3. Played without Gregor Main (coaches' decision) and Pedro Figueiredo continues to nurse an injury, yet the team extends its streak of top-three finishes to six.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 11-13


3. Alabama (4)

A homecoming of sorts for coach Jay Seawell, as he takes his team to his hometown for the Palmetto. Combine his local knowledge with the free-wheeling spirit his team exudes and you figure the Tide will continue to roll.

Next event: Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate, Palmetto GC, Aiken, S.C., March 7-8


4. Georgia Tech (5)

Maybe it's because they've only won one tournament this season, but the Yellow Jackets' stock is still being undervalued by too many onlookers. This is a very experienced group with a handful of players that are essentially done with classes and can focus almost exclusively on their games.

Next event: Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, Southern Highlands GC, Las Vegas, March 11-13


5. Florida (4)

The Gators finished outside the top-five at a tournament for the first time with their T-6 showing at the John Hayt. It's nothing to worry about and might actually be beneficial for Buddy Alexander, in terms of keeping his crew humble and working during the "dog days" of the spring. More than willing to give Bank Vongvanij and __Tyler McCumber__a pass at Sawgrass CC and must tip the cap to Philip Choi for his individual victory. No need to worry in Gainesville.

Next event: Bandon Dunes Collegiate, Bandon Dunes Resort, Bandon, Ore., March 11-12



1. USC (Last week: 2)

Two-for-two now this spring for the Trojans with their impressive victory at the Sugar Bowl. The squad gets extra credit for traveling east to pick up the win. Only hitch would be that the No. 4 and 5 spot seem to be a little inconsistent, but when you've got Lizette Salas,Lisa McCloskey and Sophia Popov in the 1-2-3 holes, you can recover fairly well.

Next event: The Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn, Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort, San Diego, March 20-22


2. Alabama (1)

If not for a late slip in the final round at Sugar Bowl, when the Crimson Tide counters shot +4 on the 17th and 18th holes, the runner-up finish at English Turn might have been one better. Hard to mark this group down for just that one slip, but that it allowed USC to win causes me to have the schools trade places. Could easily switch back in another week.

Next event: LSU Golf Classic, University Club, Baton Rouge, La., March 11-13


3. UCLA (3)

The title at the Bruin Wave Invitational was pretty much wrapped up after just the first round, UCLA taking a 11-stroke early lead. The team never let up with Lee Lopez,Glory Yang and Stephanie Kono finishing 1-2-3 individually. Third win in four starts dating back to October suggests Bruins are hitting their stride.

Next event: The Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn, Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort, San Diego, March 20-22


4. California (NR)

The Bears have carded two straight 18-stroke victories at the Peg Barnard and the Juli Inkster Spartan, boosting their overall head-to-head record to 83-14-1. A trio of transfers (Emily Childs,Joanne Lee and Daniela Holmqvist) have made senior Pia Halbig's life much easier by providing back-up for the German and taking the pressure to perform off her shoulders. Next two events (Rancho Bernardo and Ping ASU) will be good tests to see how Nancy McDaniel's bunch handles facing the toughest competition they'll have seen this spring.

Next event: The Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn, Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort, San Diego, March 20-22


5. Iowa State (4)

Which active Big 12 golfer has won the Big 12 player of the month award the most time in her career? If you said Cyclone senior Victoria Stefansen, you'd be right after she received the honor for the third time this past week.

Next event: SunTrust Gator Women's Invitational, Mark Bostick GC, Gainesville, Fla., March 6-7



Number of days since Allie White last finished outside of the top 20 at a tournament while playing for North Carolina, after she had a T-41 finish at the Allstate Sugar Bowl earlier this week.

*OK ... so the stat is a bit manufacturer. White played the 2008-09 season as a freshman at North Carolina, finishing T-50 at the Liz Murphy that spring before closing out the semester with four straight top-20s, including a T-16 at the NCAA Championship. The Ohio native then transferred to Ohio State for her sophomore year, where she had two top-10 finishes and one DQ during the fall of 2009 before deciding to leave the team during the winter break. Within the last year, however, White decided to return to North Carolina, where she rejoined the team this semester and played in the Tar Heels first team event in New Orleans.


While humorous, I thought__Charlie Sheen's "Winning" phrase was the most overused thing I'd heard in a while ... and then the PGA Tour came to PGA National for the Honda Classic. If I hear Bear Trap uttered one more time, I sincerely hope the person who utters it is mauled by the bear that's trying to be trapped.


__* The Florida State men tee it up at the USF Invitational tomorrow, a tournament that was not originally on their schedule and one that could be pivotal if the Seminoles hope to be able to qualify for an at-large berth into the NCAA regionals. FSU's head-to-head record is 32-50-1. Trey Jones team has three starts after the event and before the ACC Championship, plenty of time get things straightened out. However, taking the trip to Lake Jovita suggests a bit of nervousness has descended on Tallahassee. Regardless of whether you like the idea of being allowed to make in-season schedule changes, if I'm an FSU fan I'd be more concerned about the psychological effect it could have on my team.



USF Invitational

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Lake Jovita CC, Dade City, Fla.

March 4-6

Host: USF

Field: Arkansas State, Austin Peay State, Cincinnati, DePaul, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Southern, Florida State, Jacksonville State, Louisville, Marquette, Middle Tennessee State, Missouri State, North Texas, Rhode Island, Toledo, Troy, UCF, USF, Villanova

Defending champion: Florida Southern (-12/852) by five strokes over Middle Tennessee State; Florida Southern's Matt Stauch (-12/204) by five strokes over Nebraska's Andrew Wyatt and South Alabama's Marc-Etienne Bussieres

Skinny: CU Colorado Springs win last fall at the Gene Miranda/Air Force event continued a run of D-II schools doing well in D-I events that began a year ago here with Florida Southern's win. Can the Mocs close the circle?

__Louisiana Classics

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Oakbourne CC, Lafayette, La.

March 7-8

Host: Louisiana-Lafayette

Field: Arkansas-Little Rock, Houston, Illinois, Kansas, Kent State, Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU, Memphis, South Alabama, S.E. Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Texas State, Tulsa, UAB

Defending champion: LSU (E/864) by two strokes over Illinois; LSU's Andrew Loupe (-8/208) by one stroke over Illinois' Scott Langley

Skinny: Curious to see how the two midwestern interlopers do during their latest visit to the Bayou.

__Fresno State Lexus Classic

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Sunnyside CC, Fresno, Calif.

March 7-8

Host: Fresno State

Field: BYU, CSU Bakersfield, Duke, Fresno State, Hawaii, Kansas State, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Pacific, Sacramento State, San Diego State, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UTEP

Defending champion: BYU (+20/1,085) in playoff over San Diego; BYU's Robbie Fillmore (-5/208) in playoff over UC Irvine's John Chin

Skinny: San Diego State arrives at the event among the hottest teams in the collegiate ranks. Lets see how they do as the hunted rather than the hunters.

__Del Walker Invitational

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Virginia CC, Long Beach, Calif.

March 7-8

Host: Long Beach State

Field: CSU Fullerton, CSU Northridge, Long Beach State, Louisiana-Monroe, Northern Colorado, Santa Clara, UC Riverside, Washington State, Weber State, Wichita State

Defending champion: Colorado State (-20/1,030) by nine strokes over Long Beach State; Long Beach State's Michael Drake (-11/199) by two strokes over Colorado State's Riley Arp and Santa Clara's Scott Travers

Skinny: Event moved from its traditional fall date. Three-time defending champion Colorado State isn't in field to try and make it four in a row.


Rio Verde Invitational

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Rio Verde CC (White Wing), Rio Verde, Ariz.

March 4-6

Host: Western Michigan

Field: Akron, Arkansas-Little Rock, Ball State, Bowling Green State, Bradley, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Michigan, Missouri State, Northern Arizona, Ohio, Penn State, Southern Illinois, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Toledo, Western Michigan, Xavier

Defending champion: Michigan (+29/881) by 14 strokes over Minnesota; Michigan's Ashley Bauer (-4/209) by nine strokes over Eastern Michigan's Robyn Scott

Skinny: The spring break trip for several midwestern schools. For whom will it be a working vacation?

__SunTrust Lady Gator Invitational

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Mark Bostick GC, Gainesville, Fla.

March 6-7

Host: Florida

Field: Arkansas, Augusta State, Chattanooga, Coastal Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Georgia State, Iowa State, James Madison, Kent State, Missouri, Ohio State, Stetson, Texas Tech, UCF, UNC Greensboro

Defending champion: Michigan State (+28/868) by three strokes over Florida State; Chattanooga's Emma de Groot (+2/212) in playoff over Michigan State's Laura Kueny

Skinny: If any team could use the home course advantage right now, it's the Lady Gators, who haven't finished better than 10th since September.

__Fresno State Lexus Classic

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Copper River CC, Fresno, Calif.

March 7-8

Host: Fresno State

Field: Boise State, Cal Poly, CSU Fullerton, Fresno State, Kansas State, Nevada, Portland, Portland State, Sacramento State, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Seattle, UTEP, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside

Defending champion: UC Davis (+16/880) by two strokes over San Jose State; San Jose State's Cristina Corpus (-2/214) by three strokes over three others

Skinny: No clear favorite as play begins in California.

__UNLV Spring Rebel Invitational

__   (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Boulder Creek GC, Boulder City, Nev.

March 7-9

Host: UNLV

Field: Ball State, Baylor, BYU, Colorado State, Idaho, Nebraska, New Mexico State, North Texas, Pepperdine, Oklahoma, Oregon State, South Dakota State, Tulsa, Wyoming, UNLV

Defending champion: UNLV (+2/866) by 12 strokes over Texas; UNLV's Therese Koelbaek (-6/210) by three strokes over Idaho's Kayla Mortellaro

Skinny: Only once as the medalist not shot a sub-par 54-hole score (Arizona's Cassandra Kirkland in 2005, +4/220)