If 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.
4. 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.
7. 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.