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College Basketball Rankings – 1/23/2011

January 24, 2011

TOP 25:

Winner Of The Week: Texas – It was a close call between UCONN and the Longhorns, but you can’t really top snapping a 69-game home winning-streak at Kansas. Plus, Texas beat a really tough Texas A&M team too and they did so easily.

Loser Of The Week: Syracuse – First, they let Pittsburgh jump off to a 19-0 run to start the game earlier this week, a game they wound up losing. Losing to Pitt on the road isn’t so bad, especially when your best player is injured. However, the Orange followed that up by losing to Villanova at home in front of 30,000+ fans and with Kris Joseph healthy again.

1. Ohio State (20-0)
Last Week: #1
Comments: The Buckeyes keep rolling and they’re doing it in one of the toughest conferences in the nation. Are they a run away for the national title? Not even close. They’ve managed to win them all, but OSU plays a lot of close games and it’s only a matter of time before someone finally knocks them off.

2. Pittsburgh (19-1)
Last Week: #4
Comments: Pitt remains undefeated in the nation’s toughest conference and they’ve looked good doing it.

3. Duke (18-1)
Last Week: #4
Comments: The Blue Devils may no longer be a national title favorite with Kyrie Irving out of action, but Duke is still easily one of the five best teams in the nation.

4. San Diego State (20-0)
Last Week: #6
Comments: The Mountain West showdown we’ve all been waiting for (SDSU vs. BYU) finally happens this week and… it’s not on national TV. Amazing. SDSU is really good, but let’s be real, they’re not going to get a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament… are they?

5. Kansas (18-1)
Last Week: #2
Comments: The Jayhawks had their 69-game home winning streak snapped by Texas yesterday and even though they remain atop the RPI rankings, it’s hard to argue that Kansas has a better slate of quality wins than the teams ranked ahead of them. In fact, Arizona’s the only team they’ve beat that’s even sniffing a top 25 ranking right now.

6. Connecticut (16-2)
Last Week: #10
Comments: UCONN continues to get the job done against tough teams despite the fact that they often seem one-dimensional. Kemba Walker is having an outstanding season and I’ve already seen him hit two game-winners and several other clutch shots late in the game. His supporting cast comes and goes though, so it’s hard to imagine the Huskies making a deep run in March.

7. BYU (19-1)
Last Week: #8
Comments: Jimmer Fredette has announced himself as a Player Of The Year favorite with two 40 point games in the past two weeks. A win over SDSU this week would be huge for the Cougars.

8. Villanova (17-2)
Last Week: #7
Comments: Villanova holds steady in the top ten with a loss to UCONN and a big road win over Syracuse.

9. Texas (16-3)
Last Week: #12
Comments: I could understand an argument for Texas being ranked higher. They had a huge week and they’ve been playing pretty good basketball for the past couple months now and have elevated the program into a legitimate national title threat.

10. Syracuse (18-2)
Last Week: #3
Comments: Tough week for The Orange. They lost games to Pitt and Villanova. Maybe an unfair drop, but looking at their quality wins, they don’t stack up to the teams above them anymore.

11. Texas A&M (16-2)
Last Week: #9
Comments: The Aggies got spanked by Texas, but bounced back with a quality win over Kansas State.

12. Notre Dame (16-4)
Last Week: #13
Comments: Holding strong in the Big East, but two of their conference losses have come against two middle-of-the-pack teams. Don’t be surprised to see NDU dropping the next couple weeks.

13. Missouri (17-3)
Last Week: #14
Comments: Another team that beat up on Kansas State this week. Seriously, what happened to KSU?

14. Purdue (17-3)
Last Week: #15
Comments: Purdue bounced back from a terrible week last week to post wins over Penn St. and MSU. Seriously, what happened to MSU?

15. Kentucky (15-4)
Last Week: #11
Comments: Kentucky took a bad loss @Alabama, but managed a road win over South Carolina this week to save themselves from a terrible week.

16. Washington (15-4)
Last Week: #20
Comments: A huge win over Arizona for the Dawgs, but they played Arizona State way too close before blowing it open in the last couple minutes. Isaiah Thomas has elevated his game so much the past couple weeks that he’s starting to get some Player Of The Year talk. Matthew Bryan-Amaning has become a serious threat too after dropping 30 on ASU. Take away the loss @Stanford and Washington has looked like a top ten team all season long.

17. Wisconsin (15-4)
Last Week: #18
Comments: Looking strong in the Big Ten so far, but the haven’t played Purdue or Ohio State yet.

18. Florida (15-4)
Last Week: #19
Comments: Hard to call it with the Gators. They get an impressive win and follow it up with a bad loss. They might be top 25 good, but they won’t get past the second round in the NCAA tournament.

19. Minnesota (15-4)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: Beat up on the weak Big Ten teams this week, but Minnesota has been tough this year, posting quality wins over North Carolina, West Virginia, and Purdue. Plus they barely lost to #1 Ohio State on the road. A tough, but not great team.

20. Georgetown (14-5)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: The Big East has been brutal on the Hoyas; they’re yet to post a quality win in conference play. They’ve been solid against everyone else though.

21. Illinois (14-6)
Last Week: #21
Comments: Illinois might drop out of the national rankings, but they’re holding their own in the Big Ten and have a nice list of quality wins. Even with the six losses, I can’t justify putting them lower than this.

22. Louisville (15-4)
Last Week: #17
Comments: I still don’t think Louisville is going to last in these rankings, but they’ve shown me something by getting that gutsy win against Marquette last week and again by beating St. John’s. I just can’t see them hanging with the Big East powers when the conference schedule starts to get really tough.

23. West Virginia (13-5)
Last Week: #22
Comments: West Virginia nearly got embarrassed by Marshall (they did lose, but managed to avoid a blow out), but recent wins over Georgetown and Purdue suggest the Mountaineers aren’t to be trifled with.

24. Vanderbilt (14-4)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: Vanderbilt and St. Mary’s were pretty much battling for a top 25 spot yesterday and Vanderbilt killed them.

25. Florida State (15-5)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: Tied with Duke atop the ACC and responsible for Duke’s only loss? Yeah, they’re solid. The Seminoles play 5 of their next 6 ACC games against Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Clemson. Anything less than 4-2 in that stretch would be a shocker.

DROPPED OUT:

Gonzaga (13-7)
Last Week: #23
Comments: Just when it looks like Gonzaga is turning their season around they take two losses against teams they should beat easily (San Francisco, Santa Clara)… This was really a horrible week for the Zags because they’re looking more and more like a team that’s going to need to win the conference to make the NCAA tournament.

Michigan State (12-7)
Last Week: #16
Comments: It’s not as bad as it looks for Michigan State. You could argue they’ve played the toughest schedule in the nation and they’ve posted a good amount of quality wins so far… but still, this was a consensus top two team heading into the season. What’s going on in Lansing?

Temple (13-5)
Last Week: #24
Comments: No longer the best team in the Atlantic Ten. That spot now belongs to Xavier.

UCF (14-4)
Last Week: #25
Comments: I have a feeling that UCF’s season is going to be remembered for being nationally ranked for a couple weeks… cause they are starting to bomb now. Four straight losses against some of the weaker teams in C-USA? Even with a national ranking as recently as last week and wins over Miami and Florida, it’s a steep uphill climb from here on.

Notes:

-I can’t bring myself to rank teams like Utah State or Coastal Carolina. Both teams have fantastic records, but neither of them have a quality win.

-Cincinnati @ 17-3 is starting to pick up steam. It’d be funny if they dropped out of the top 25 after picking up their best win of the year (over St. John’s)… I still think this team doesn’t make the NCAA tournament.

-Tennessee is the best team that won’t be ranked. They have a long list of quality wins that have already punched their ticket to The Dance… but they also have a lot of horrible losses. My guess is it will be a mistake to underestimate the Vols come tournament time. They’ve shown they can compete with anyone on any given night. They’ll probably get in as a 6 or 7 seed, but will play like a 3 or 4… assuming they can beat the less talented team they play in the first round.

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