College Basketball Power Rankings for March 15th, 2013

kelly-olynyk-1In the power rankings that we ran last week, Gonzaga moved into the top spot after ending the regular season on a 12-game winning streak. Since they’ve added two more wins in the West Coast Conference tournament, things don’t look to change for the Bulldogs. In fact, for the first time in weeks, things won’t dramatically change for most of our top 10 college basketball rankings – although this isn’t to say that there’s no switching around.

1. Gonzaga (30-2) – Last week, the Zags ascended to the AP’s number one ranking for the first time in school history. So how did they handle the pressure? Well Gonzaga responded by easily winning both of their WCC tournament games – including a 14-point victory over St. Mary’s in the WCC Finals. As expected, future NBA lottery pick Kelly Olynyk came up big with 21 points and 12 rebounds in the finals. As a whole, this team should be well rested and ready for the NCAA tournament.

2. Duke Blue Devils (27-4) – Duke may not have ended the year on an impressive streak like Gonzaga; however, they are pretty close to the Bulldogs in our opinion – especially after beating their rival North Carolina by 16 points on the road. The Blue Devils shot 55% from the field in this game and buried plenty of shots from the outside to doom the Tar Heels. Regardless of their performance in the ACC tournament, Duke should have a number one NCAA tournament seed wrapped up.

cody-zeller3. Indiana Hoosiers (26-5) – A star is expected to come through when their team needs them. And that’s exactly what Cody Zeller did against Michigan with the Big 10 title on the line. Not only did the 7-footer make the go-ahead layup with 13 seconds left, but he also altered Trey Burke’s last second shot. With a 72-71 victory, the Hoosiers guaranteed themselves an outright Big 10 title and can also grab a top NCAA tournament seed too. They finish up their regular season with a home contest against Illinois.

4. Louisville Cardinals (27-5) – No team has risen as much as Louisville over the past two months. They now end the season where they began – right near the top. Despite playing in a very tough Big East, the Cardinals were able to rattle off eight straight victories and grab a conference title. During this stretch, they swept Notre Dame and beat 12th-ranked Syracuse to finish the year strong. Gorgui Dieng (10.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG) and Chane Behanan (10.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG) will provide the Cardinals with a very strong inside presence in the postseason.

5. Georgetown Hoyas (25-5) – The Hoyas move up two spots from last week after destroying Syracuse in a 61-39 route and beating Cincinnati 62-43. Next up is a third game against Syracuse – a team which will no doubt be looking for some revenge after losing two games to the Hoyas by a combined 33 points. Georgetown’s star Otto Porter Jr. (16.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG) will be looking to carry Georgetown past the Orange since he’s averaging 19.0 PPG over the past five contests.

otto-porter-jr6. Kansas Jayhawks (27-5) – An ugly 81-58 loss to Baylor drops Kansas one spot in our power rankings. Bears senior guard Pierre Jackson was huge in this game after scoring 28 points and dishing out 10 assists. Fortunately, the Jayhawks had no Pierre Jackson to deal with last night as they dominated Texas Tech 91-63. Kansas’ freshman star Ben McLemore was big in both recent games after scoring 23 points against Baylor and 24 points against Tech.

7. Ohio State Buckeyes (23-7) – The Buckeyes jump back into our top 10 after a five-game winning streak. The most impressive win during this run is a 9-point road victory against Indiana. The Buckeyes also defeated other tough squads like Minnesota, Michigan State and Illinois too. Junior guard Aaron Craft (9.7 PPG) has picked up his scoring lately since he’s averaged 12 PPG during the five game winning streak.

trey-burke-michigan8. Michigan Wolverines (26-6) – Ever since February began, Michigan’s season has hit several stumbling blocks. After opening the year 19-1, the Wolverines have gone 6-5 amidst a brutal Big 10 schedule. They don’t exactly get a breath of fresh air to end the regular season either because they face 22nd-ranked Wisconsin tonight. Despite suffering tough losses in the last month and a half, we like Michigan’s chances in the NCAA tournament with a bevvy of stars in Trey Burke (19.2 PPG), Tim Hardaway Jr. (14.8 PPG), Nik Stauskas (11.6 PPG) and Glenn Robinson III (10.9 PPG).

9. Kansas State Wildcats (26-5) – One team that we really expect to do well in the early rounds of the NCAA tournament is the Kansas State Wildcats. After all, this team has played very strong against clubs they are supposed to beat. The worst team that K-State has lost to all year is Iowa State, which is 22-10 on the season. The Wildcats dropped a tough road game against Oklahoma State on March 9th, but they rebounded with a 17-point win over Texas.

10. Michigan State (24-7) – After losing three straight contests in a murderer’s row lineup of Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan, the Spartans closed out the regular season with victories over 22nd-ranked Wisconsin and Northwestern. The Wisconsin win was quite impressive since Michigan State won by 15 points. Keith Appling (13.5 PPG) played well in both of these contests as he scored 19 points against the Badgers and 16 points against Northwestern.

College Basketball Power Rankings for March 7th, 2013

kelly-olynyk-gonzagaIn the last set of power rankings that we did, it was extremely difficult to pick a clear number one college basketball team. However, this week was a bit easier because only one top team has continued winning in recent weeks. After our top pick, things get a bit more muddled since none of the powerhouses can string together any sort of winning streak. This being said, let’s try to sort out the top 10 college basketball teams as we near the regular season’s end.

1. Gonzaga Bulldogs (29-2) – After ousting their last tough test of the season in Brigham Young and blowing Portland out, Gonzaga heads into the West Coast Conference tournament on a 12-game winning streak. This means that – barring anything crazy happening in the conference tourney – the Zags are virtually guaranteed a top NCAA tournament seed. The team should be fairly fresh for the postseason too since nobody on this club plays more than 31 MPG.

2. Duke Blue Devils (26-4) – Duke was previously the number one team in our power rankings, but they dropped a 5-point game on the road to Virginia (20-9). However, the Blue Devils also followed this game up with some revenge against 5th-ranked Miami and a win over Virginia Tech. They finish up the regular season with a road contest against rival North Carolina. Sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo (14.4 PPG, 8.0 RPG) will be hoping that his Tar Heels can pull off the upset and grab a good tournament seed.

3. Kansas Jayhawks (26-4) – The Jayhawks have been quickly climbing our rankings since they’ve gone on a seven-game winning streak against pierre-jacksonsome decent competition. They can collect a Big-12 title by winning at Baylor on Saturday. Kansas will need to shut down Bears senior guard Pierre Jackson (19.1) to assure themselves of victory.

4. Indiana Hoosiers (25-5) – Indiana drops a spot after losing two out of the past three games, including a 9-point home loss to Ohio State on Tuesday. The edge in this game appeared to be the Hoosiers’ 12 turnovers compared to the Buckeyes 7. Now Indiana will have to win on the road against 7-ranked Michigan if they want to guarantee themselves an outright Big-10 title. The first game was an eight-point victory for the Hoosiers; however, this contest is at Ann Arbor.

5. Louisville Cardinals (25-5) – After opening the college basketball season as the number one team in many publications – including ours – Louisville hit some stumbling blocks during the season such as a three-game losing streak and injury to starting center Gorgui Dieng (9.9 PPG, gorgui-dieng10.0 RPG). However, the Cardinals seem to be peaking at just the right time, and they’re on a six-game winning streak. The highlight of this strong run includes a road victory over 12th-ranked Syracuse.

6. Michigan Wolverines (25-5) – Michigan falls a couple of spots since they lost to Big-10 bottom-feeder Penn State (5-19) on February 27th. Luckily, they didn’t fall any further thanks to victories over 9th-ranked Michigan State and a mediocre Purdue team. The Wolverines could close out the regular season with a huge victory if they take down Indiana at home this weekend.

7. Georgetown Hoyas (23-5) – The Hoyas had an 11-game win streak snapped on the road against Villanova. Star forward Otto Porter Jr. didn’t exactly have his best game after shooting 2-for-9 against the Wildcats. However, the sophomore has been a great all-around player for Georgetown all season, so we look for some better performances from him in the postseason.

Rodney McGruder, Demarcus Holland8. Kansas State Wildcats (24-5) – K-State leaps into our rankings thanks to a recent six-game winning streak and strong overall record. Plus, they jump ahead of Florida due to a mid-season victory over the Gators. About the only team that’s had the Wildcats’ number this season is in-state rival Kansas, which beat K-State twice. Maybe Rodney McGruder (14.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG) and the Wildcats will get their chance at revenge in the Big-12 conference tournament.

9. Florida Gators (24-5) – Florida has played pretty mediocre for themselves over the past nine games after going 6-3. But they can finish the season on a high note by beating Kentucky on the road. This certainly won’t be an easy task though since the Wildcats feature five double-digit scorers and can beat opponents in many different ways.

10. Miami Hurricanes (23-5) – It’s hard telling what Miami team is going to show up each night. The Hurricanes have done everything from beat Duke by 27 points to lose against Indiana State at home. At this point, the latter Miami team has been showing up since they’ve lost three out of the past four contests. Now a three-point road loss to Duke is certainly understandable. However, they’ve also lost to a mediocre Georgia Tech squad and a pretty bad Wake Forrest team during this stretch. Even with this being said, the Hurricanes can finish atop the ACC with a victory over Clemson.

College Basketball Power Rankings for February 27th, 2013

duke-basketballAfter starting out 15-1 and landing a top 10 ranking, the Minnesota Golden Gophers haven’t had much luck. They’d lost 8 out of the last 11 games and were on their way to a disappointing NIT bid. However, there may still be some life left in the Gophers after they pulled off a big upset over number one-ranked Indiana. And while this won’t land Minnesota a spot in our power rankings, it does have an effect on where the Hoosiers sit this week.

1. Duke Blue Devils (24-3) – It was pretty much a no-brainer for us to put Duke back on top. After all, the three teams ahead of them in last week’s power rankings lost while the Blue Devils pulled out a couple more ACC victories. But do note that we cautiously put Duke in this spot since they’ve had some difficulties on the road. In any case, mark your calendar for March 2nd when Duke gets a shot to avenge an earlier loss to the fifth-ranked Miami Hurricanes.

2. Gonzaga Bulldogs (27-2) – The West Coast Conference doesn’t exactly provide a lot of powerhouse teams to help Gonzaga boost their image. However, with all the other top-ranked teams losing games recently, you can’t exactly fault the Zags for continuing to win. They face their last tough test on the road against a 20-9 Brigham Young team. Assuming Gonzaga wins this contest, they should have no trouble beating Portland and setting themselves up for a number one NCAA tournament seed.

victor-oladipo3. Indiana Hoosiers (24-4) – In a month where no team has truly stepped into the nation’s number one ranking, Indiana took its turn being the top dog. Unfortunately, they fell at the hands of a desperate Minnesota team that’s fighting to make the NCAA tournament. Indiana center Cody Zeller had one of his worst games of the season (2-for-9 shooting), while Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe had the hot hand (8-for-10 shooting). The Hoosiers play Iowa on Saturday before closing out with tough games against Ohio State and Michigan (road).

4. Michigan Wolverines (23-4) – Michigan moves up a few spots to number four after beating Penn State and Illinois over the past couple of games. The Illinois victory was particularly nice as Michigan guard Trey Burke poured in 26 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Out of the four remaining Big-10 games for Michigan, Indiana and Michigan State figure to be pretty brutal battles.

5. Miami Hurricanes (22-4) – Just when the Hurricanes were on top of the college basketball world and looking unbeatable, they lose to a 12-15 Wake Forrest team by 15 points. Demon Deacons guard C.J. Harris was instrumental in this victory as he scored 21 points on 5-for-5 shooting from behind the three-point arc. As for Miami, they must go back and figure out why they’ve only scored totals of 45, 54 and 65 points against fairly mediocre teams lately.

elijah-johnson6. Kansas Jayhawks (22-4) – Kansas leaps back into our power rankings after winning five straight games. Of these wins, beating Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Iowa State will look particularly impressive to poll voters. Senior Elijah Johnson was spectacular in the 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State as he scored 39 points and hit six three-pointers in this contest. That’s definitely stepping up when you consider that his season average is 10.2 PPG.

7. Michigan State Spartans (22-6) – The Spartans might be facing the most brutal three-game stretch of any team this season. They lost to number one-ranked Indiana and 16th-ranked Ohio State (road), and they still have to play fourth-ranked Michigan (road) and 17th-ranked Wisconsin. This being said, we can’t fault Michigan State too much for dropping a couple of tough games in a row. The question is, can they stop the losing streak any time soon?

8. Louisville Cardinals (22-5) – Louisville may only be sitting third in the Big East right now, but they’re number one in our minds. The Cardinals really get a chance to prove where they stand in the conference with upcoming games against Syracuse, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. If they’re going to pick up wins against these clubs, guard Russ Smith (18.4 PPG) is definitely going to need some scoring help.

9. Georgetown Hoyas (21-4) – The Hoyas are closing in on a Big East regular season title, but there are some difficult tests remaining. They have to travel to Connecticut and Villanova in addition to facing Syracuse one more time. Georgetown will go as far as do-it-all forward Otto Porter Jr. (15.9 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.0 SPG) will take them – which we expect to be pretty far in regard to the NCAA tournament.

10. Florida Gators (22-4) – Florida falls five places this week after dropping two out of the past three games. If there’s any solace to come out of these losses, it’s that the Gators were playing two tournament-hungry teams on the road in Missouri (19-8) and Tennessee (17-10). A top seed is probably out of the question for Billy Donovan’s club; however, they can definitely grab a nice NCAA tournament position by winning their final three conference games against Alabama, Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

College Basketball Power Rankings for February 18th, 2013

durand-scott-miamiIf anything is clear thus far into the 2012-2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball season, it’s this: there is no clear number one team right now. First place votes are spread across five different teams, including Duke (18 votes), Indiana (6), Gonzaga (1), Miami (5) and Michigan (1). Out of these teams, both Miami and Gonzaga are nice surprises because neither club was expected to contend for the number one ranking. So which of these teams do we think is number one? You can check out the answer below.

1. Miami Hurricanes (19-3) – As mentioned in the introduction, nobody expected Miami to be this good – especially when they lost to Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana State earlier in the season. Butt the Hurricanes quickly put these losses behind them after demolishing Duke by 27 points a few weeks ago. Now they’re sitting at 12-0 in the ACC and have NBA stars like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade showing up to their games. This has really been a team effort with Durand Scott (14.0 PPG), Shane Larkin (13.4 PPG), Kenny Kadji (13.1 PPG) and Reggie Johnson (10.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG) all making big contributions.

2. Indiana Hoosiers (21-3) – The Hoosiers have rebounded nicely after a narrow February 7th loss to Illinois. They’ve now won three straight games (Ohio State, Nebraska and Purdue) and are looking very good going into a road matchup with eighth-ranked Michigan State. This is an extremely efficient offensive team with Cody Zeller (16.8 PPG, 59.8% shooting) and Victor Oladipo (13.8 PPG, 63.9% shooting) leading the way.

3. Michigan State Spartans (20-4) – Michigan State makes a big jump from last week after beating in-state rival Michigan by 23 points. This hasn’t been their only impressive victory either because the Spartans also have recent wins against Illinois and Minnesota. Tuesday night they’ll be facing off against Indiana in a highly-anticipated matchup. Things don’t get any easier because they face Ohio State, Michigan (again) and Wisconsin immediately after this.

Duke v Miami4. Duke Blue Devils (22-3) – Duke’s road woes continued this season after losing at Maryland by 22 points a couple of nights ago. Of course, there’s no reason to panic because the Blue Devils did win six straight games in one of the nation’s toughest conferences before this. Mason Plumlee continues to be a do-it-all player for Duke with 17.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.6 BPG and 1.0 SPG.

5. Florida Gators (21-3) – After being beaten by Arkansas on February 5th, Florida has came back strong by winning three straight contests against Mississippi State, Kentucky and Auburn. This is a veteran team that’s led by seniors Kenny Boynton (13.0 PPG), Mike Rosario (12.9 PPG) and Erick Murphy (12.7 PPG) as well as junior Patric Young (10.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.8 BPG). That said, we like the Gators’ chances when March Madness rolls around.

6. Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-2) – We’re aware that Gonzaga has a great team and even gained a first place vote. However, their weak conference schedule makes it hard to put the Bulldogs much higher than where we have them now. This certainly isn’t to say they haven’t beaten anybody though because the Zags have defeated Oklahoma, Davidson, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and BYU throughout the season. Assuming Gonzaga keeps winning, they have a good shot at a number one NCAA tournament seed.

tim-hardaway-jr7. Michigan Wolverines (22-4) – Michigan has had some rough matchups this month and has lost three out of the last five contests. If there’s anything good to be said of these losses, at least they were to ranked teams on the road (Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State). They’ll be seeing both Indiana and MSU against at home, so this will provide a chance to get some revenge. We like their chances of winning at least one of these two games because the Wolverines have an excellent core croup in Trey Burke (18.2 PPG), Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.5 PPG), Nik Stauskas (12.0 PPG) and Glenn Robinson III (10.9 PPG).

8. Syracuse Orange (21-4) – Big East play has proven pretty tough for Syracuse since they’ve lost three out of the last six games. Don’t expect the Orange to go undefeated the rest of the way since they face Georgetown (twice), 18th-ranked Marquette and 12th-ranked Louisville over the coming weeks. C.J. Fair continues to have an outstanding junior year since he’s averaging 14.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.1 SPG and shooting 41.2% from three-point territory.

9. Louisville Cardinals (21-5) – Louisville lost favor with the pollsters after losing three straight Big East games in late January. But they’ve been doing pretty solid this year after winning five out of their past six games. The lone loss was an overtime game to Notre Dame in South Bend. Quality wins during this period include beating Marquette and Pittsburgh. Gorgiu Dieng has been a great all-around player for the Cardinals with 9.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 2.6 BPG.

10. Georgetown Hoyas (19-4) – The Hoyas make their first appearance in our power rankings after rattling off seven straight Big East victories. And some of these wins weren’t easy to come by since Georgetown faced Notre Dame, Louisville, Marquette and Cincinnati during this stretch. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. is the star of this team and his contributes 15.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.8 SPG and 1.0 BPG.

College Basketball Power Rankings for Feb. 8th, 2013

trey-burke-michiganComing up with a number one college basketball team has been extremely challenging this week. After all, most of the top 10 teams lost, so it’s not like one club shined over the others. That said, this week was all about defining potential and considering which teams have the best shot at winning the NCAA tournament. Indiana, Michigan, Duke and Florida have all been very impressive this season, so we narrowly gave the top spot in this week’s power rankings to one of these teams.

1. Michigan Wolverines (21-2) – At this point, some people might be wondering why we’d rank the Wolverines above Indiana following a recent eight-point loss to the Hoosiers. And the reasoning is two-fold: A) this game was on the road, and B) Indiana just lost to an unranked team. This being said, we think Michigan would be slightly better on a neutral court. Plus they looked good in their last game, which saw the Wolverines beat 10th-ranked Ohio State by three points.

2. Indiana Hoosiers (20-3) – Maybe not everybody will agree that the nation’s top two teams reside in the Big-10. However, we strongly think that both of these clubs are headed towards a number one seed when March Madness begins. As alluded to before, the Hoosiers lost to unranked Illinois by two points. But remember that this Fighting Illini team is 16-8 and was playing Indiana at home.

Duke v Miami3. Duke Blue Devils (20-2) – Here’s where things get even trickier. The Blue Devils could make a case for being ranked ahead of Indiana – especially based on their outstanding early season wins. However, it was only January 23rd when Duke lost to the Miami Hurricanes by 27 points. The Blue Devils appear to be righting the ship again though after four straight wins, which includes avenging an earlier loss to NC State. A February 13th home game against long-time rival North Carolina should be quite interesting.

4. Florida Gators (18-3) – Florida was in excellent position to grab the nation’s number one ranking; however, they lost to a decent 14-8 Arkansas team by 11 points. That said, we don’t think the Gators are quite THE top team, but rather at the edge of potential number one tournament seeds. It’ll be interesting to see how far senior guard Kenny Boynton (13.2 PPG) and junior center Patric Young (11.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.8 BPG) can lead this team come March.

C.J. Fair,  Lance Storrs5. Syracuse Orange (18-3) – Syracuse has really been up and down over the past few weeks. They grabbed wins over Villanova, Louisville and Cincinnati to close out January; then they followed this up with two straight losses to Villanova and Pittsburgh. However, the Orange bounced back with a dominating 63-47 victory over 25th-ranked Notre Dame. Junior forward C.J. Fair has really stepped up his production (13.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG) this season.

6. Arizona Wildcats (20-2) – The Wildcats jump several spots from last week after winning four straight games. None of their recent victories (USC, Washington, Washington State, Stanford) are extremely impressive, but they are all Pac-10 wins nonetheless. Looking ahead in the schedule, it’s difficult to see Arizona not winning their conference and grabbing at least a number two seed for the tournament.

gary-harris7. Michigan State Spartans (18-4) – Once again, Tom Izzo’s squad is back in the national title picture, despite being in the toughest conference this year. Some of the upcoming Big-10 landmines include Michigan (twice), Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Assuming Michigan State can win two or three of these games, they should remain in the top 10 throughout this year. Freshman guard Gary Harris has provided a nice spark for the Spartans with his 12.9 PPG, 1.2 SPG and 41.8% from three-point territory.

8. Kansas Jayhawks (19-3) – In our last power rankings, we were fully confident that Kansas was the top team in NCAA basketball. But back to back losses have changed this notion in a big way! First, the Jayhawks lost on the road to a respectable 16-5 Oklahoma State team. Unfortunately, they followed this up with a road loss to the lowly-TCU Horned Frogs (10-12). Coach Bill Self had nothing bad things to say about his team in quipping, “It was the worst team that Kansas ever put on the floor, since Dr. Naismith was there. I think he had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA and things like that in the first couple years. But for the first half, there hasn’t been a team play worse than that offensively.”

9. Miami Hurricanes (18-3) – An earlier 27-point win over Duke was no fluke – Miami is for real! Now this number nine power ranking isn’t based on the entire season because the Hurricanes have very ugly losses to Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana State (at home). But this Jekyll and Hyde club also has scored victories over Michigan State, North Carolina, Duke, NC State and Maryland. Throw in the fact that they’re 9-0 in the ACC right now, and Miami definitely belongs among the elite teams.

10. Gonzaga Bulldogs (21-2) – When it comes to mid-majors, we like both Gonzaga and Butler. However, with Butler losing to both Saint Louis and La Salle lately, it’s the Zags that crack our top 10 this week. Following their one-point loss on the road to Butler, Gonzaga has responded by winning five straight contests. Sure most of these were fairly easy opponents, but a 20-point win over BYU (18-7) is definitely a quality victory. 7’0″ forward Kelly Olynyk continues to improve his NBA Draft stock with another impressive year at Gonzaga (17.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.0 RPG).

College Basketball Power Rankings for January 29th, 2013

The last time that we ran our college basketball power rankings, the Louisville Cardinals were on top with a 15-1 record. Boy how things change since Louisville isn’t even in our top 10 following three straight losses at the hands of Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown. The Cardinals finally stopped the bleeding with a victory over Pittsburgh, but it’s a little too late now. As for who’s number one in this week’s edition of the GTbets NCAA basketball power rankings, you can see the answer below.

1. Kansas Jayhawks (18-1) – Since losing their second game of the season to Michigan State, all Kansas has done is win. Just last week they won on the road against 11-ranked Kansas State, and they also have recent victories over Texas (road), Oklahoma and West Virginia (road). Super-frosh Ben McLemore (16.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG) might be the top pick in the NBA Draft if he decides to leave. But for now, he’s busy trying to lead the Jayhawks to a national title.

2. Michigan Wolverines (19-1) – A couple of weeks ago, Michigan was dealt their first loss on the road against Ohio State. However, they came back strong by winning at 9th-ranked Minnesota, against Purdue and at Illinois. This team features a very strong lineup that includes Trey Burke (17.4 PPG), Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.9 PPG), Nik Stauskas (12.7 PPG) and Glenn Robinson III (12.1 PPG).

3. Indiana Hoosiers (18-2) – Indiana has hovered around this spot in our power rankings for a while. They fail to move up because of a recent loss to Wisconsin; but a victory over Michigan State in their last game keeps the Hoosiers from falling back. Victor Oladipo (13.9 PPG) continues to shoot lights-out from three-point territory (54.8%), while Cody Zeller is taking care of the inside (16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG).

4. Syracuse Orange (18-2) – Villanova knocked off yet another powerhouse team when they grabbed a 75-71 OT victory over Syracuse. However, that doesn’t drop the Orange much in our eyes since they beat Villanova earlier in the year and have recent wins over Cincinnati and Louisville. Nobody scores a ton of points for Syracuse – Brandon Triche leads the team with 14.9 PPG – but they have a nice balanced approach that sees four players average at least 12.6 PPG.

5. Florida Gators (16-2) – Since dropping a home game against Kansas State on December 22nd, Florida has now won eight straight contests. The most impressive victory during this stretch was a 31-point drubbing of Missouri. Based on the way that they’ve been playing, we don’t think the Gators will have any difficulty winning the SEC. It helps that they only play 16-ranked Ole Miss once this year too.

6. Duke Blue Devils (17-2) – The Blue Devils impressed everybody early on with quick victories over Louisville, Ohio State, Minnesota and Kentucky. However, they’ve since been exposed after an 8-point loss at NC State and a 27-point beating at Miami. Duke will no doubt be looking forward to a rematch when 19th-ranked NC State comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium.

7. Butler Bulldogs (17-3) – The Bulldogs are leading the mid-majors charge in our eyes after a thrilling one-point win over 8th-ranked Gonzaga. Unfortunately, they had a letdown the next game and lost by one point at LaSalle. But this certainly doesn’t erase impressive victories over North Carolina, Marquette and Indiana. Expect Butler to have at least a three seed when the NCAA tournament begins in March.

8. Oregon Ducks (18-2) – Oregon makes an appearance in our power rankings for the first time this season. They’ve beaten some quality opponents during this stretch too, including Arizona, UCLA and Arizona State. The Ducks make sure that everybody gets the ball as six players are averaging 8.9 PPG or more. Freshman Damyean Dotson leads the scoring attack (11.7 PPG), while Arsalan Kazemi has been a monster on the boards (9.6 RPG).

9. Michigan State Spartans (17-4) – Like Oregon, MSU is making their first appearance in our power rankings. We don’t know if they’ll stay long because the Big 10 is extremely brutal this year. However, they’ve certainly done enough to impressive the college hoops world with recent wins over Wisconsin and Ohio State. And we won’t fault them for a close loss at Indiana in the past game.

10. Arizona Wildcats (17-2) – Pac-10 play has been hard on the Wildcats since they’ve lost to UCLA and Oregon in January. And although it’ll be hard for Arizona to win the Pac-10 now, they are still one of the best teams in the nation. We fully expect them to do well come March Madness because they’ve been getting very strong guard play from Mark Lyons (14.9 PPG, 3.1 APG) and Solomon Hill (13.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG).