Power Rankings: College Basketball
1. Kentucky Wildcats (25-1)
It's starting to seem that the only thing that can keep the Wildcats from being a No. 1 seed is the state of Kentucky falling off of the map altogether. Kentucky is 25-1, undefeated in the (albeit soft) SEC, and has won 17 consecutive games. They have beaten Kansas and North Carolina, and their only loss came on a buzzer-beating three-pointer on the road at a tough Indiana team. The Wildcats are freakishly athletic, led by freshman big man Anthony Davis, who leads the nation in blocks. If this team keeps up its current play, it could bring John Calipari his first National Championship.
2. Syracuse Orange (26-1)
The Orange are right their with the Wildcats in terms of record--and Syracuse's only loss came without the services of their big man, sophomore center Fab Melo. However, the Wildcats got the nod over the Orange because they have a far more impressive resume than Syracuse. The Orange have had to eek out a few wins in the past week, first against Georgetown at home in overtime last Thursday, and then on Tuesday the Orange survived by a point at Louisville.
3. Missouri Tigers (24-2)
Missouri is really, really good. In fact, the Tigers might be better than the Orange, and I toyed with the idea of ranking them as such. However, Missouri has had two slipups this season with losses at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State. Otherwise, the high-scoring Tigers have an impressive resume with a pair of wins over Baylor and a home win over arch-rival Kansas. There is a very good chance that the Feb. 25 rematch between the Tigers and the Jayhawks will decide the Big 12 champion.
4. Kansas Jayhawks (21-5)
Kansas could be right there with Syracuse and Missouri. In fact, Kansas was the better team versus Missouri for much of their Feb. 4 matchup, but the Tigers closed on an 11-0 run, beating the Jayhawks. Kansas has played a brutal schedule, but has weathered it. KU is 2-3 versus top-10 teams, with wins over Ohio State and Georgetown, and losses to Mizzou, Kentucky and Duke. Kansas has won seven straight Big 12 titles, and the Jayhawks have put themselves in position to win an eighth behind the play of Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson and point guard Tyshawn Taylor.
5. Duke Blue Devils (21-4)
Duke is in great position to snag a No. 2 seed, and is still in contention for a No. 1 if it can get revenge over Florida State next week and finish a season sweep of rival North Carolina. The Blue Devils are slotted ahead of The Tar Heels and a few Big Ten schools thanks to wins over Carolina and Duke. Sure, Ohio State whipped the floor with Duke in November, but championships aren't won in November, and this Duke team has improved a lot over the course of the season.
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6. Ohio State Buckeyes (22-4)
Ohio State has been knocked for its lack of depth--the Buckeyes basically have a six-man rotation. Still, they have arguably the best player in the country in Jared Sullinger and a great Robin to his Batman in William Buford. Last week's home loss to Michigan State, in which the Buckeyes scored only 48 points was eye-opening, but the Buckeyes will be fine--and mighty dangerous come March.
7. Michigan State Spartans (20-5)
Michigan State has had a very strange season. The Spartans opened with a pair of losses against North Carolina and Duke (nothing earth-shattering there), then proceeded to win 15 straight before losing three of their last eight. However, the Spartans have won three straight, including victories over Michigan and at Ohio State. Tonight's matchup with Wisconsin should be very telling of the Spartans. One thing is definitely for sure: Tom Izzo knows how to coach in March, so Michigan State can't be counted out come March Madness.
8. North Carolina Tar Heels (22-4)
I wouldn't be surprised if North Carolina won the National Championship and I also wouldn't be surprised if the Tar Heels were that No. 2 seed being upset by a No. 15 seed in the first round. Roy Williams' team is difficult to dissect. With Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall and company, they have as much talent as anyone in the country, but sometimes they forget to show up. For example, the Jan. 14 33-point loss at Florida State, and in the last 10 minutes at home versus Duke, when they seemed to have the game in hand. Still, the Tar Heels lead the nation in scoring and rebounding, so this team is no slouch.
9. Baylor Bears (22-4)
Baylor is definitely hoping that Kansas and Missouri are as far from them in the bracket as possible come Selection Sunday. The Bears are 0-4 against the Jayhawks and Tigers this season and 22-0 against everyone else. Baylor lacks the quality wins of some of the other top-tier schools, but has absolutely crushed lower-level competition. How might Scott Drew's Bears respond to adversity come March?
10. Georgetown Hoyas (19-5)
Georgetown doesn't win pretty, but they win. The Hoyas have the best defense in the Big East, and might be a top-five team had their overtime loss at Syracuse last week gone the other way. Georgetown boasts quality wins over Memphis, Alabama, Louisville and Marquette, and while it would take a minor miracle for the the Hoyas to win the Big East, I would not be surprised to seem them give the Orange a run for its money at Madison Square Garden during the Big East Tournament.