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 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).

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. 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.