With less than a week before Christmas and about a week before the start of big time conference basketball, many schools decided to take it easy on their schedules. But, as has been the case this year, there was still a solid slate of games last week, particularly on Saturday.
Of course, the results of last week’s games bring us a new Power 32. The top looks much the same, but there was shuffling aplenty throughout and a few new entrants happily make appearances in this week’s poll.
Here’s a look at this week’s rankings:
1. Syracuse (11-0) LW: 1 – Last week’s #1 sorta looked like it, in a convincing (for the most part) win at North Carolina State. It’s cupcake city for the Orange this week.
2. Ohio State (10-1) LW: 2 – Jared Sullinger’s injury issues are a tad bit concerning, but they have also allowed Buford and Thomas to take on key roles that will surely be beneficial down the line.
3. Kentucky (9-1) LW: 3 – The Wildcats crushed poor Chattanooga on Saturday and won’t be tested again until Rick Pitino & Louisville come calling on New Year’s Eve.
4. North Carolina (9-2) LW: t4 – The Tar Heels handled Appalachian State over the weekend and will get a young Texas team in Chapel Hill on Wednesday.
5. Connecticut (9-1) LW: t4 – UConn seems to be putting it all together in recent weeks. Last week, they destroyed Holy Cross, led by Andre Drummond’s 24 points. They host a good Fairfield team on Thursday.
5. Louisville (10-0) LW: 6 – The Cardinals took care of Memphis on Saturday and look like a deep and dangerous team heading into the New Year.
7. Baylor (9-0) LW: 9 – The Bears had a close call at BYU over the weekend and face St. Mary’s and West Virginia this week.
8. Missouri (11-0) LW: t7 – Mizzou hasn’t been tested in a couple weeks, but they have a rivalry game versus Illinois on Thursday.
9. Duke (9-1) LW: 10 – The Dukies were idle last week and they won’t face any real competition again until after New Years.
10. Xavier (8-1) LW: t7 – Yes, the suspensions of Holloway, Lyons and Wells hurt, but being blown out at home by Oral Roberts is still a letdown. They’ll get Holloway back for Thursday’s game versus Long Beach State. After Sunday’s performance, we’re not sure if that will be enough.
11. Marquette (10-0) LW: t11 – Buzz Williams’ squad has been hovering around the top 10 for a while now. Things will get tougher for them in the next couple weeks.
12. Kansas (7-2) LW: t11 – The Jayhawks were idle last week, resting up for their trip to the west coast to face USC this week.
13. Florida (8-2) LW: 13 – The Gators dispatched of Texas A&M rather impressively on Saturday and face in-state rival Florida State on Thursday.
14. Pittsburgh (10-1) LW: 14 – The sudden departure of freshman Khem Birch is, without question, a big blow to the team and the program. However, Pitt will be Pitt, so don’t expect much of a drop off.
14. Wisconsin (10-2) LW: t15 – Bo Ryan’s team keeps trucking along and won’t have to turn it up a level until 2012.
16. Georgetown (8-1) LW: t15 – The Hoyas get an unusual early season rematch with Memphis on Thursday, after beating the Tigers in Maui in November.
17. Indiana (10-0) LW: t20 – Tom Crean and the Hoosiers showed that their win versus Kentucky was no fluke, with a thorough beating of Notre Dame at Conseco Fieldhouse, Saturday.
18. Mississippi State (11-1) LW: 17 – The Bulldogs have been winning under the radar against subpar competition the last few weeks. That should continue this week versus Northwestern State.
19. Michigan State (8-2) LW: 18 – Tom Izzo’s squad hasn’t lost since the second game of the season versus Duke and it would be shocking if they lost again until after Christmas.
20. Michigan (8-2) LW: 23 – The Wolverines, too, are in the cupcake portion of their schedule.
21. UNLV (9-2) LW: NR – After two blowout losses on the road, the Rebels bounced back strong to take care of UTEP and Illinois. They have a solid match-up with California on Friday.
22. Creighton (8-1) LW: t26 – The Bluejays start a tough stretch this week with an away game at Tulsa tonight and a home game versus Northwestern on Thursday.
23. Harvard (8-1) LW: 24 – Tommy Amaker’s crew was idle last week, studying for what were most likely the toughest final exams in the Power 32.
24. Murray State (9-0) LW: 28 – The Racers continued to roll against overmatched teams last week.
25. California (9-2) LW: 25 – Cal gets a couple of good teams this week, home versus UCSB and on the road versus UNLV.
26. Purdue (9-3) LW: t20 – Purdue suffered a tough loss to an always game Butler squad, Saturday.
26. Saint Louis (9-1) LW: 29 – Rick Majerus’ one-loss squad will not be tested until New Year’s eve, at New Mexico.
28. San Diego State (9-2) LW: 30 – The Aztecs were idle last week and it will be nearly another month before they face another formidable opponent.
29. Gonzaga (7-2) LW: NR – The Zags got two solid wins versus Oral Roberts and Arizona, last week. They have an interesting match-up with Butler tomorrow.
30. Stanford (9-1) LW: NR – Stanford’s only loss this year was versus Syracuse at Madison Square Garden. Though their schedule has been tame otherwise, they have handled their business. The Cardinal also get Butler this week.
31. Alabama (8-3) LW: 22 – Talk about a team whose star is fading fast? It was just a few weeks ago when the Crimson Tide was considered a top 10 team. Perhaps, the only team that has faded faster is their fellow SEC member, Vanderbilt. Bama lost at the Big 12’s Kansas State Saturday night. They can make up for it with a win versus Oklahoma State, on Wednesday.
32. Minnesota (11-1) LW: NR – With only one loss this season, at the hands of Dayton, Tubby Smith deserves some credit for the Gophers’ strong start.
IN: UNLV; Gonzaga; Stanford; Minnesota.
OUT: Vanderbilt; Illinois; Belmont; Memphis.
What are your thoughts on this week’s rankings?
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