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The Hype Machine: Believe it or not?

I just took the Hype Machine out of the shop. The frenzy over the last week fried it.

A fight happens and blame gets passed around like a cold. Interesting.

One team topped the national polls, but that doesn't mean it's really No. 1. Fans tried to find good games during finals week. Good luck. No, really. Good luck choosing between a variety of intriguing matchups.

Oh, and Indiana changed the Big Ten.

Blame the refs for the Cincinnati-Xavier brawl

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE: I respect Purdue's Matt Painter. And I understand why he blamed the officials for Saturday's Cincy-Xavier brawl during a radio show earlier this week. The refs in that game witnessed prefight theatrics that ultimately resulted in a melee that ended the game with 9.4 seconds to play. They could have done more to police the problem before it became a PROBLEM.

But they were only a part of the issue. They don't deserve the bulk of the blame. Ultimately, players made the poor decisions to let their fists fly toward the end of regulation.

And what about the opposing coaches? We all saw the pregame trash talk. Plus, it's a feisty rivalry. Did Mick Cronin and Chris Mack do enough before and during the game to minimize the potential for a fight? It's a fair question.

Officials, coaches and players -- with the latter warranting 95 percent of the responsibility -- all shared blame in the drama that served as a substantial bruise for college basketball.

We're still searching for America's best squad

BELIEVE THE HYPE: Syracuse deserves the No. 1 spot in this week's polls. The Orange have a 10-0 mark and the 11th-ranked strength of schedule. But there's no bulletproof argument that the Orange deserve the "America's best" tag.

It's a confusing time for the top 10. Syracuse has an unblemished record, but Florida is the only ranked squad it's played. Kentucky is one last-second prayer away from holding onto its previous post as America's No. 1 squad.

Ohio State might have held the spot had Jared Sullinger's back cooperated prior to last weekend's matchup against the Jayhawks. And although they have two losses, North Carolina's defeats are viewed as mulligans by some pollsters.

The Tar Heels were one of five teams that received first-place votes in the latest Associated Press poll. With all of the preseason hype that North Carolina received and the buzz that embraced Kentucky once the Tar Heels lost for the first time, many figured that one team would have surged above the rest by now. Hasn't happened.

Syracuse is deep and talented. But it's not necessarily the best team in the country. And the same can be said about four or five teams in the top 10. Baylor, Marquette and Missouri could make arguments, too, if they'd faced a stronger nonconference slate.

It might be some time -- if ever -- before one squad leaps over the field. So far we've found that there's far more parity among the top than the preseason hoopla suggested.

Let the search continue.

Not much to see during finals week

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE: This is typically a rough week for college basketball. With so many student-athletes taking finals, the schedule tends to take a hit. And the average hoops fan may struggle to find sexy matchups with so many top teams sidelined.

But there are a few gems.

UW-Milwaukee battled Wisconsin down to the final minutes Tuesday before falling 60-54. On that same night, Belmont and Middle Tennessee State tussled for the second time in three weeks. Both games were decided by three points -- MTSU winning this one (Belmont won the first meeting in double-overtime).

Oral Roberts at Gonzaga on Thursday night could be interesting. Syracuse at North Carolina State on Saturday offers zero guarantees for the Orange. That's one highlight from a nice slate of weekend games, including Memphis at Louisville, Baylor at BYU, Texas A&M versus Florida and UNLV versus Illinois.

Yes, this is one of the slower weeks for college basketball. But there are a few potential gems on the schedule.

Ohio State is now vulnerable in the Big Ten

BELIEVE THE HYPE: Indiana's victory over Kentucky on Saturday offered more proof that the Big Ten -- like the SEC, Big East and Pac-12 -- is not a one-team league anymore.

And I'm making that statement based on the presumption that Sullinger will not miss an extensive amount of time with his back injury.

The growth of Michigan State, Indiana and Illinois in recent weeks changed the status of the Big Ten. It was arguably the nation's best league before the Hoosiers' win over Kentucky. But key nonconference wins by Big Ten teams with the inside forces necessary to contend with the Buckeyes continue to confound the preseason consensus that OSU would earn the conference title with minimal resistance.

Draymond Green, Cody Zeller and Meyers Leonard could help their respective squads pull off upsets when they meet Ohio State. Wisconsin and Michigan have won three in a row and they could contend, too.

The Buckeyes are certainly the favorites. But the gap between them and the rest of the Big Ten seems to shrink every week.

Myron Medcalf covers college basketball for ESPN.com. He can be reached at mmedcalf3030@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MedcalfbyESPN