College Basketball Power Rankings for Dec. 26th, 2012

Anybody who checked out our last power rankings will notice that not much has changed in the top two spots. Both Duke and Michigan continue to win, which means they hold down first and second once again. However, there has been plenty of change throughout the rest of our top 10, and you can see this below.

1. Duke Blue Devils (11-0) – Following nearly two weeks away from the court, Duke returned with easy victories over cupcakes Elon and Cornell. Of course, the Blue Devils can rest on their laurels until the ACC schedule begins since they’ve already captured victories over Louisville, Ohio State and Kentucky.

2. Michigan Wolverines (12-0) – Michigan continues to sit behind Duke, but will hope to leapfrog them once conference play begins. Sophomore Trey Burke seems to get better as the season rolls along; he’s currently averaging 17.4 PPG and 7.1 APG. Freshman Nik Stauskas is also chipping in 13.4 PPG and shooting 55.7% from 3-point land.

3. Arizona Wildcats (12-0) – The Wildcats make one of the biggest jumps from last week (previously number six) after wins over East Tennessee State, Miami and 17th-ranked San Diego State. The latter was a thrilling one-point victory that required a Nick Johnson block to seal the victory. Interestingly enough, the 6’3″ guard is only averaging 0.2 BPG; but Johnson is also averaging 12.8 PPG and shooting 53.3% from the field.

4. Louisville (11-1) – The Cardinals move up three spots along with Arizona following a sixth straight victory. They’ll get a chance to steal more poll votes with a win over upcoming opponent Kentucky. The Wildcats aren’t as strong as usual with a 9-3 record, which includes losses to Notre Dame and Baylor.

5. Indiana Hoosiers (11-1) – After opening the year atop the AP polls, Indiana has been trying to get back there following an earlier OT loss to Butler. They get one more cupcake game against Jacksonville before Big 10 play opens. Cody Zeller continues to lead the Hoosiers with 16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 62.6% shooting.

6. Kansas Jayhawks (10-1) – The Jayhawks leap into our top 10 following a solid victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes. They haven’t lost since the second game of the year – when they dropped a 67-64 contest against Michigan State. An upcoming home game against Temple should prove to be tough for Kansas.

7. Cincinnati Bearcats (12-0) – After dealing their crosstown rivals, Xavier, a 60-45 loss, the Bearcats also defeated Wright State. We’ll really get to see Cincinnati tested when they face 24th-ranked Pittsburgh on the road soon.

8. Syracuse Orange (10-1) – Syracuse drops from three to seven in our rankings following a close loss to Temple. Seeing as how the only real good team that Syracuse has beaten at this point is San Diego State, we aren’t really sure where they sit right now. Once the Big East schedule opens, they should get a better chance to prove themselves.

9. Illinois Fighting Illini (12-1) – We’ve been pretty high on Illinois this year, but they drop four spots after a 9-point loss to Missouri. But we can’t completely knock the Fighting Illini out of the top 10 since they do own a victory over Gonzaga. Brandon Paul (19.2 PPG) continues to have an excellent senior year.

10. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2) – It was between Missouri and Ohio State as to who would grab our tenth spot. And while the Buckeyes have two losses to Missouri’s one, they did come against Duke and Kansas. The Jayhawks loss hurts worse because it was at home by eight points. Deshaun Thomas is looking like a definite NBA product at this point with 20.0 PPG and 6.8 RPG.

College Basketball Power Rankings for Dec. 17th, 2012

While the Duke Blue Devils claimed the top spot in our college basketball power rankings last week, they had yet to wrestle the top ranking away from Indiana in the polls. However, the Hoosiers dropped an overtime game to their instate rivals – the Butler Bulldogs – and they’ve given way to Duke. With the spoilers out of the way, let’s cover NCAA basketball’s top 10 teams.

1. Duke Blue Devils (9-0) – We haven’t seen Duke on the court in a while, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less deserving of the top spot. The Blue Devils have defeated some of the nation’s best teams in Ohio State, Louisville and Kentucky.

2. Michigan Wolverines (11-0) – Michigan has quite a trio in Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas. These three have helped the Wolverines get off to their best start since the 1988-89 season, when Glen Rice led Michigan to a national title.

3. Syracuse Orange (9-0) – Thanks to Michael Carter-Williams, who’s averaging 10.8 APG, the Orange rank third in both points and assists. Syracuse is also quite good on the other side of the ball since they’re holding opponents to just 56.1 PPG.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1) – OSU is our favorite one-loss team at this point because their only loss involved blowing a second half lead at Duke. Currently they’re dominating teams like Northern Kentucky, UNC-Asheville and Long Beach State while readying for a big game against Kansas next week.

5. Illinois Fighting Illini (12-0) – The pollsters aren’t showing Illinois a lot of respect right now since they’re ranked 10th. However, a big win over previously-unbeaten Gonzaga still has us high on the Illini. They have a huge test coming up against 12th-ranked Missouri.

6. Arizona Wildcats (8-0) – Arizona leap-frogs a few teams after defeating unbeaten Florida in an amazing comeback. The Wildcats were down by 6 points with 55 seconds left, but forced three turnovers and eventually won on a Mark Lyons’ layup.

7. Louisville Cardinals (9-1) – Despite losing starting center Gorgui Dieng to injury, the Cardinals were able to defeat rival Memphis on the road. However, it wasn’t easy since they had to rally from a 16-point deficit. Russ Smith is playing excellent lately as he’s averaging 21.8 PPG over the past four games.

8. Indiana Hoosiers (9-1) – While some might say that Indiana doesn’t deserve to drop from number two to number eight in these power rankings, we just don’t like how the Hoosiers lost to Butler. They were thoroughly outrebounded and outplayed during the loss. But with freshman Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin now eligible to play, things figure to get better for this team.

9. Cincinnati Bearcats (10-0) – The Bearcats remain stagnant in our rankings simply because other teams won some big games and moved up. They have a huge game coming up against crosstown rival Xavier. Can junior shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick (19.3 PPG) lead Cincinnati past the Musketeers?

10. Florida Gators (7-1) – Florida should have moved up to the number two spot; but they couldn’t hold onto a 6-point lead against Arizona with less than a minute to go. It was definitely a pretty bad way to lose a game, and they’ve fallen quite a bit in our power rankings.

College Basketball Power Rankings for Dec. 10th, 2012

With the 2012-2013 NCAA basketball season now several weeks deep, we’ve had an opportunity to see some of the top teams tested. Duke is one squad that’s definitely risen to the occasion after defeating three of the nation’s top teams. And Indiana has done an admirable job of taking care of business and remaining undefeated. So which of these teams is playing the best right now? Let’s take a look….

1. Duke Blue Devils (9-0) – Most people didn’t view Duke as a top title contender entering the season. Sure, they were expected to have another good season and grab a decent tournament seed, but championship….that was left for Indiana and Louisville to contend for. However, the Blue Devils have already beaten Louisville, Kentucky and Ohio State this year, thus giving them our top power rankings spot.

2. Indiana Hoosiers (9-0) – The Hoosiers remain the pollsters’ favorite team since they’ve stayed undefeated – including an 83-59 trouncing of North Carolina. The only thing keeping Indiana from the top spot is the fact that they haven’t beaten as many quality opponents as Duke. C Cody Zeller is having a great sophomore campaign with 15.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG and 1.4 BPG.

3. Florida Gators (7-0) – Entering this year, Billy Donovan worried about his club’s ability to defend opponents. Looking at the results, which see Florida win by an average of 25 PPG, you might just chalk this fear up to Donovan’s perfectionism.

4. Michigan Wolverines (9-0) – While Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. command the national attention here, freshman Nik Stauskas has been just as good averaging 13.7 PPG while shooting 60.5% from behind the arc. Teams have certainly had trouble shutting down all of the Wolverines’ scoring options.

5. Syracuse Orange (8-0) – Michael Carter-Williams has really stepped up his game in 2012 since he’s averaging a nation-best 10.4 APG and a nation-second-best 3.8 SPG. Expect the Orange to be remain undefeated for quite some time since their schedule is pretty soft until Big East play.

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1) – The Buckeyes carried an eight-point lead into the half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. However, they couldn’t hang on and will have to wait until a matchup against Kansas on December 9th to make a national statement. DeShaun Thomas is picking up where he left off from last season in averaging 20.6 PPG and 6.1 RPG.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini (10-0) – Illinois receives a huge boost in our power rankings because they just knocked off previously-unbeaten Gonzaga. Senior Brandon Paul saved his best for his last season by averaging 19.5 PPG – up five PPG from the previous year.

8. Louisville Cardinals (8-1) – The Cardinals were our favorite team to open the season, and they looked every bit the part…..up until a home loss against Duke and an injury to starting center Gorgui Dieng (8.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG). With Dieng out, Louisville’s lineup is certainly weakened.

9. Cincinnati Bearcats (9-0) – The Bearcats are looking very good heading into a game against crosstown rival Xavier. They’ve also become one of the favorites to win the Big East.

10. Arizona Wildcats (7-0) – Arizona may have point guard difficulties at the moment, but they’re hoping that Xavier transfer Mark Lyons can eventually fill the role. A big test is coming up on December 15th when the Wildcats face Florida.

College Basketball Power Rankings for Nov. 18th, 2012

The 2012-2013 NCAA basketball regular season has officially kicked off, and we’ve already had the chance to see a big game. Kentucky and Duke squared off in a close contest where the Blue Devils pulled away in the end. This huge game is largely responsible for both of the biggest moves from our last power rankings. Let’s take a look at where Duke and Kentucky rank now, along with some thoughts on the rest of the top 10.

1. Louisville (3-0) – We expect the Cardinals to keep this position for quite some time because they won’t be tested for a while. On December 15th, they’ll face the 17th-ranked Memphis Tigers, but for now, the schedule is pretty easy.

2. Indiana (3-0) – Indiana has blown out three cupcakes so far in Bryant, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State. A road game against Georgia tomorrow night should be the Hoosiers closest contest thus far, and they play North Carolina next week.

3. North Carolina State (3-0) – Out of the top three teams here, the Wolfpack have faced the toughest opponents with road wins over Penn State and Massachusetts – although these weren’t truly that tough of games. A road game against Michigan looms in the near future.

4. Ohio State (2-0) – Duke won’t get much chance to celebrate their win over Kentucky since Ohio State rolls into Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 28th. PG Aaron Craft is playing really well for the Buckeyes since he’s scoring 20 PPG and shooting 71.4% from three-point land.

5. Michigan (3-0) – The Wolverines schedule will finally get tough with upcoming games against Pittsburgh and North Carolina State. Trey Burke (18.3 PPG) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (17.3 PPG) give this team a chance to beat anybody in the nation.

6. Duke (2-0) – A fringe top 10 team to open our power rankings, the Blue Devils have now jumped up to number 6 after the victory over defending champion Kentucky. Mike Krzyzewski’s seniors are really providing some strong leadership and scoring for this team.

7. Syracuse (2-0) – The Orange won an interesting opener against San Diego State on an aircraft carrier in San Diego harbor. Unfortunately, there won’t be too many interesting upcoming games until the Big East season opens.

8. Kentucky (2-1) – Nobody can accuse Kentucky of trying to dodge the competition since they played Maryland and Duke in their first two games. The latter game caused the first blemish on the Wildcats’ schedule, but they have plenty of chances to redeem themselves against top teams.

9. Florida Gators (2-0) – Big man Erik Murphy (19.5 PPG) has been nearly unstoppable to open the season, while Florida’s defense has been better than expected so far. Watch out when center Patric Young gets going too.

10. Kansas (2-1) – Much like Kentucky, the Jayhawks have also tumbled down our power rankings following a 67-64 loss to Michigan State. Circle your calendar for December 22nd, when Kansas travels to Columbus to face the Ohio State Buckeyes.

College Basketball Power Rankings for Nov. 10th, 2012

On the eve of a new college basketball season, there is no unanimous number one team. However, the Indiana Hoosiers come the closest to being a preseason favorite since they’ve grabbed 43 of a possible 65 first place votes. But Louisville and Kentucky are also highly-rated coming into the 2012-2013 NCAA basketball season. Plus there are several other teams worthy of national title consideration, as you’ll see in our first college basketball power rankings.

1. Louisville Cardinals – Following a Final Four run, the Louisville Cardinals are back with a strong returning group of Peyton Siva, Russ Smith, Wayne Blackshear, Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng. With so much returning and some new faces in Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock, the Cardinals look poised to make anoher deep tournament run this year.

2. Indiana Hoosiers – The Hoosiers are coming off a Sweet 16 appearance and big regular season win over Kentucky last year. With Christian Watford and Cody Zeller returning to dominate the paint for Indiana, big things are expected in the upcoming season.

3. North Carolina State – Often a middle-of-the-pack ACC team, the Wolfpack should be leading college basketball’s most prestigious conference this year since they return both C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown.

4. Kentucky Wildcats – The Wildcats added an eighth championship to their decorated basketball history after a 67-59 title game win over the Kansas Jayhawks. Unfortunately, they lose a massive amount of talent, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis. Coach John Callipari had no trouble reloading though after picking up top-flight recruit Nerlens Noel.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes – Ohio State has big shoes to fill after losing  Jared Sullinger and William Buford. However, Deshaun Thomas looks poised to break out this season while Aaron Craft should provide some steady leadership at both ends of the court.

6. Kansas Jayhawks – Few people expected the Jayhawks to make it all the way to the NCAA title game. Now championship expectations are there since veterans Jeff Withey and Elijah Johnson will combine with super freshmen Perry Ellis and Ben McLemore.

7. Michigan Wolverines – Following a disappointing second round exit in the NCAA tournament, Michigan returns with a strong nucleus that includes Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. Some of the incoming class could provide immediate help as well.

8. Syracuse Orange – Syracuse may have lost some key players, but they still figure to be a powerhouse with Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, Michael Carter-Williams and James Southerland returning.

9. Florida Gators – The loss of Bradley Beal to the NBA is no doubt a huge blow to Florida. However, Patric Young is one of the best centers in college basketball and Kenny Boynton will certainly help ease the loss of Beal.

10. Duke Blue Devils – Maybe this isn’t Coach K’s best Duke team to open the season. But we certainly see a potential top 10 club with Mason Plumlee, Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Tyler Thornton returning as starters.