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.