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Mac’s College Basketball Rankings – Valentine’s Day Edition

February 14, 2011

TOP 25:

1. Texas (22-3)
Key Wins: Illinois, @UNC, @MSU, Arkansas, A&M, @Kansas, @Ok St, Mizzou, @A&M, Baylor
Key Losses: @Pitt, @USC, UCONN
Last Week: #3
Comments: I’ve been on the Texas bandwagon for a few weeks now, so it should come as no surprise that I bumped them to #1 now that Ohio State has finally taken an L. I’m kind of expecting Kansas to be #1 tomorrow and I can see the reasoning there: they were #2 last week and are currently #1 in the RPI rankings, so if we ignore all other factors, it seems like an obvious choice to move them into the top spot. Texas will get some first place votes though because I can’t imagine I’m the only person in the nation that can’t ignore the glaring fact that Texas beat Kansas by 9 in Kansas. Sure, Texas has three losses and there’s no excuse for getting blown out by USC, but if you look at Texas’ other two losses they happened by a whopping combined total of 3 points at the hands of two top ten teams (Pitt & UCONN). I can see the argument for Kansas, but Texas has that huge road victory over the Jayhawks and all the momentum right now.

2. Kansas (24-1)
Key Wins: Arizona, UCLA, Memphis, USC, @Cal, UNT, @Michigan, @Iowa St, @Baylor, @Colorado, KSU, Mizzou
Key Losses: Texas
Last Week: #2
Comments: Just to add to my comments above, I don’t really understand how Kansas is #11 in Strength of Schedule and Texas is #17. They play in the same conference and Kansas’ non-conference schedule included Memphis and… well, the Pac-10, while Texas played Pitt, UCONN, Michigan State, Illinois, and North Carolina (all five of which have been ranked this season, two of which are still in the top ten) … uhhh… okay.

3. Ohio State (24-1)
Key Wins: @Florida, @FSU, South Carolina, Oakland, Minnesota, @Michigan, Penn St, @Illinois, Purdue, N’western, @Minnesota
Key Losses: @Wisconsin
Last Week: #1
Comments: I think a lot of people saw that first loss coming this weekend. Wisconsin is a good team that plays even better at home. It was bound to happen. OSU should still snag some first place votes and certainly won’t fall any lower than this.

4. Pittsburgh (23-2)
Key Wins: Maryland, Texas, UCONN, Marquette, @Georgetown, Syracuse, Cincy, @WVU, @Villanova
Key Losses: Tennessee, NDU
Last Week: #4
Comments: The Panthers have long made it clear that they’re the team to beat in the Big East, but added an exclamation point to the statement with road wins over West Virginia and Villanova this week.

5. Duke (23-2)
Key Wins: Marquette, Kansas State, MSU, Butler, Miami, UAB, Maryland, @NC St, BCU, @Maryland, NC St, UNC, @Miami
Key Losses: @FSU, @SJU
Last Week: #5
Comments: Okay… Duke takes the first round at home against North Carolina, but the Tarheels showed it could be a different story when Duke comes to their house. Isn’t it funny how Duke went from the consensus best team in America to having almost no buzz at all now? Blame it on the rest of the ACC… and Kyrie Irving’s injury. I still don’t know the timetable for Irving to come back, but if he’s healthy when the tournament starts, don’t forget about Duke.

6. BYU (24-2)
Key Wins: Utah St., St. Mary’s, @Vermont, Arizona, UTEP, @UNLV, @Colorado St, SDSU, UNLV
Key Losses: @UCLA, @New Mexico
Last Week: #6

7. San Diego State (25-1)
Key Wins: @Gonzaga, St. Mary’s, Wichita St., @Cal, UNLV, @New Mexico, Colorado St, @UNLV
Key Losses: @BYU
Last Week: #7

8. Notre Dame (21-4)
Key Wins: Cal, Georgia, @Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Georgetown, UCONN, SJU, Cincy, Marquette, @Pitt, L’ville
Key Loses: @Kentucky, @Syracuse, @Marquette, @SJU
Last Week: #8
Comments: I remember when UCONN shocked the world by knocking off Wichita State, Michigan State and Kentucky way back in November… they made a historic jump up the rankings, going all the way from unranked to the top 5. Well, Notre Dame has taken a much longer road, but the end result is no less stunning. This was a team that might make the tournament this year after losing star Luke Harongody and now finds itself firmly in the top ten… a place I can’t remember them ever reaching with their previously mentioned superstar. Crazy.

9. Georgetown (20-5)
Key Wins: NC State, @ODU, @Missouri, Utah State, @Memphis, SJU, @Villanova, L’ville, @Syracuse, Marquette
Key Losses: @Temple, @Notre Dame, @St. John’s, WVU, Pitt
Last Week: #10
Comments: The hottest team in the nation outside of Texas continues its assault on the Big East knocking off Syracuse on the road and then beating Marquette at home.

10. Wisconsin (19-5)
Key Wins: @BCU, NC State, @Marquette, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, @Northwestern, Purdue, MSU, OSU
Key Losses: @UNLV, Notre Dame, @Illinois, @MSU, @Penn St
Last Week: #14
Comments: Another team that has really been gaining momentum in the past couple weeks made the biggest statement of the week by handing Ohio State its first loss; and it was a gutsy performance to boot: Wisconsin was down 15 at one point in the second half. Oh, the Badgers also beat some team called Michigan State this week… by 30.

11. Connecticut (19-5)
Key Wins: Wichita State, MSU, Kentucky, @Texas, Villanova, Tennessee, @Marquette
Key Losses: @Pitt, @NDU, L’ville, Syracuse, @SJU
Last Week: #9

12. Florida (20-5)
Key Wins: @FSU, KSU, Xavier, RIU, Ole Miss, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Georgia, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, @SCU, Tennessee
Key Losses: OSU, @UCF, Jacksonville, SCU, @Miss St
Last Week: #16
Comments: Florida started the year looking pretty inconsistent, posting a mixture of great wins and some bad losses. Things have since evened out for the Gators and they’ve started to take on the look of one of the best teams in the country. It’s taken a while for their actual ranking to catch up to their RPI standing, but at 11-2 against top 100 teams and a #6 ranking in SoS, you can’t ignore this team anymore.

13. Purdue (20-5)
Key Wins: Oakland, @V-Tech, @Michigan, N’western, @Penn St, Penn St, MSU, Minnesota, @Illinois
Key Losses: @Richmond, @Minnesota, @WVU, @OSU, @Wisconsin
Last Week: #13

14. Villanova (17-6)
Key Wins: UCLA, Temple, Cincinnati, Louisville, Maryland, @Syracuse, Marquette, WVU
Key Losses: Tennessee, @UCONN, @Providence, Georgetown, @Rutgers, Pitt
Last Week: #11
Comments: The Wildcats had a tough week with two losses and a particularly bad one against Rutgers, but Villanova manages to avoid a freefall down the rankings due an overall impressive resume.

15. Arizona (21-4)
Key Wins: @NC State, @Oregon, ASU, @WSU, UCLA, USC, @Cal
Key Losses: @Kansas, @BYU, @Oregon St, UW
Last Week: #18
Comments: Arizona has earned their way into the top 15, but I’m not entirely sold on this team. They’re 1-3 against the top 50 and can’t really claim any great wins on their resume. They played Kansas relatively close, but BYU destroyed them. Mark me down as skeptical.

16. North Carolina (18-6)
Key Wins: Kentucky, @Virginia, V-Tech, Clemson, @Miami, NC St, @BCU, FSU, @Clemson
Key Losses: Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, @Georgia Tech, @Duke
Last Week: #15
Comments: Pretty much a break even week for UNC. No one really expects them to win @Duke and a road win @Clemson takes a lot of heat off that loss. Their momentum hit a road block, but I still consider this a team on the rise.

17. Syracuse (20-6)
Key Wins: MSU, NC State, Notre Dame, @St. John’s, Cincinnati, @UCONN
Key Losses: @Pitt, Villanova, Seton Hall, @Marquette, G’town, @L’ville
Last Week: #12
Comments: Syracuse lost two games in the same week for the third time this year and now hold a 4-4 record against top 50 teams. I was pretty skeptical about the Orange earlier in the year and then they started to make me look stupid… well, now they’re sitting about where I always expected they would.

18. Vanderbilt (18-6)
Key Wins: UNC, Marquette, Georgia, Ole Miss, St. Mary’s, @Miss St, SCU, Alabama, Kentucky
Key Losses: WVU, Missouri, @South Carolina, @Tennessee, Arkansas, @Florida
Last Week: #25
Comments: The Commodores beat Kentucky and a pretty decent Alabama team and finally had the breakthrough week they’ve been looking for after hanging around the top 25 bubble for most of the season.

19. Kentucky (17-7)
Key Wins: @Portland, Washington, Notre Dame, @Louisville, @SCU, Georgia, Tennessee
Key Losses: @UCONN, @UNC, @Georgia, @Alabama, @Ole Miss, @Florida, @Vanderbilt
Last Week: #17
Comments: Kentucky is still one of the strongest teams in the RPI rankings, but the rest of the SEC doesn’t seem to care too much about all that: Kentucky is now 5-5 in conference play and tied for 4th in the SEC East. There’s a ton of talent on this team, maybe the most in the nation, but it seems like they’re still figuring out how to win as a team and having a bit more growing pains than last year’s similarly young roster.

20. Louisville (19-6)
Key Wins: Butler, UNLV, Marquette, SJU, WVU, @UCONN, Syaracuse
Key Losses: Drexel, Kentucky, @Villanova, @Providence, @G’town, @NDU
Last Week: #19

21. St. John’s (15-9)
Key Wins: ASU, Northwestern, @WVU, @Providence, Georgetown, Notre Dame, UCONN, @Cincy
Key Losses: @St. Mary’s, St. Bonaventure, @Fordham, @Notre Dame, Syracuse, @Louisville, Cincy, @Georgetown, @UCLA
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: I almost didn’t rank St. John’s because of the nine losses, but they also have a pretty stellar resume. They’ve posted wins over Notre Dame, Georgetown, and UCONN: all ranked in my top 11… and they beat West Virginia on the road, a team I’ve had ranked for weeks now. SJU is inconsistent and unpredictable, but they’re tied with Villanova, Connecticut, and West Virginia in the Big East standings and are half a game ahead of Syracuse, so they’ve certainly proved they can hang with the best teams in the nation.

22. Xavier (18-6)
Key Wins: Butler, @RIU, Dayton, Temple, @Richmond, @Georgia, @Duquesne
Key Losses: ODU, Miami (OH), Gonzaga, Florida, @Cincy, @Charlotte
Last Week: #22
Comments: For some reason, the Atlantic 10 is represented in the AP top 25 by Temple, while Xavier finished 34th in votes last week. Xavier is 19th in the RPI, Temple is 33rd. Xavier is 29th in SoS, Temple is 99th. Xavier is 9-4 against the top 100, Temple is 7-5. And this probably isn’t important, but Xavier BEAT Temple. Really???

23. Texas A&M (19-5)
Key Wins: Temple, Washington, Arkansas, OK St, Missouri, KSU, @Colorado
Key Losses: BCU, @Texas, @Nebraska, Texas, Baylor
Last Week: #21
Comments: I’ve been harsh on A&M in recent weeks. It’s not like they’re losing a lot of games they shouldn’t be. Hell, 40% of their losses are to the team I now have as #1 in the nation and they have a handful of quality wins under their belt. The only crime A&M has committed is that their momentum has kind of gone stagnant in a Big 12 Conference that isn’t as good as everyone thought it would be, while everyone else is gaining steam while playing tougher schedules.

24. Missouri (19-6)
Key Wins: @Oregon, Vanderbilt, Illinois, ODU, KSU, Iowa St, Colorado
Key Losses: Georgetown, @Colorado, @Texas A&M, @Texas, @OkSU, @Kansas
Last Week: #20

25. West Virginia (16-8)
Key Wins: Oakland, Vanderbilt, Cleveland St., @Georgetown, Purdue, @Cincy
Key Losses: Minnesota, @Miami, St. John’s, @Marquette, Marshall, @Louisville, @Villanova, Pitt
Last Week: #23

DROPPED OUT:

24. Minnesota (17-8)
Key Wins: @UNC, @West Virginia, Purdue, @Michigan, N’western
Key Losses: Virginia, @Wisconsin, @MSU, @OSU, @Purdue, @Indiana, OSU, Illinois
Last Week: #24

Other Notes:

-To continue my bashing of Utah State (currently #21 in the nation and rising), here’s another statistic: 19 of their 23 wins have come against teams ranked #151 or worse. I don’t want to give the impression that I think this team sucks–they’ve been the best team in their conference for years now–I just think it’s silly to rank them with the top teams in the nation when there’s absolutely no basis for it. They do face St. Mary’s next Saturday, which is by far their toughest game of the year, but it’s feasible they could finish the year 27-4 and ranked inside the top 20… and what kind of seed will that get them in the NCAA tournament? A 4 or a 5 seed? No… at best they’ll get a 7 seed, but more than likely they’ll be a #10 and enter the first round as an underdog to a team they finished ahead of in the national rankings.

-For a moment today, before doing my final edits, I had George Mason in my top 25. They are currently in the top 25 of the RPI and sitting atop of a Colonial Conference that boasts six teams that are at least sniffing at large berths. Obviously that’s not going to happen, but I think George Mason, Old Dominion, and VCU are all in right now. Yes, the Colonial Conference has more tournament prospects than the PAC-10. Gross.

-Kansas State is still firmly in the at large picture, but I just can’t help but toss this stat out there: 0 wins, 7 losses against teams in the top 50.

-UCLA can be considered amongst my teams that are currently on the rise. The Bruins have been okay against the nation’s best teams (4-5 against the top 100), but they’ve reeled off 9 wins in their last 10 games (including a win over St. John’s) and have gone from the NCAA tourney bubble to nationally relevant.

3 comments

  1. Great review. I like my Heels at #17. Start 2 freshmen, two sophomores and a junior, none of who we really have to worry about going pro (unless Barnes rips it up the rest of the way).

    Should be a great matchup with the Dukies at the Dean Dome!


    • Sorry to say it, but you’re delusional if you think Barnes isn’t a lottery pick in the next draft.


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