Well, it’s 2012, and with it comes the heart of the college basketball season. With a non conference slate that has been as strong as any in recent years, there is plenty to go on in ranking the country’s top teams. Let’s take a look at this week’s Power 32. Like KRS-One, Syracuse is still #1…
1. Syracuse (15-0) - The Cuse has been rolling right along and have the look of a team that wants and respects this #1 ranking. Their 75-49 thrashing of Seton Hall Wednesday was testament to that.
2. Kentucky (13-1) - The Wildcats handled hated rival, Louisville, Saturday and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seems to have arrived as their leader and best player. The SEC season starts for them this week.
3. Connecticut (12-1) - The Huskies have had trouble in the margin of victory category, but this supremely talented team has continued to win and is putting it all together game by game.
4. Ohio State (13-2) – The Buckeyes became the second top 5 squad to fall to Indiana at Assembly Hall, so it is hard to fault them too much for that.
5. North Carolina (13-2) - UNC may well be the best team when it is all said and done, but they have yet to peak and it will be tough to confidently gauge this team in the weak ACC.
6. Missouri (13-0) - Mizzou kept it moving with a nice road win over ODU. They will be tested on Saturday at Kansas State.
7. Baylor (12-0) - It was a close call, but the Bears remained undefeated with a 2-point win versus Mississippi State. They should be able to avoid their first loss for another week or so.
8. Duke (12-1) - The Blue Devils have taken about three weeks off from major Division I competition, but they’ll be back at it at Temple on Wednesday.
9. Georgetown (11-1) - Perhaps this season’s biggest early season surprise, the Hoyas have not lost in over a month and have handled good competition both at home and on the road. They’re in the Big East, so they’ll have two more tough games this week.
10. Indiana (13-1) - The Hoosiers have beaten two of the top 4 teams in the country, all be it with the help of one of the best home court advantages in the sport. IU’s only hiccup was a loss at Michigan State last week.
11. UNLV (13-2) - The Rebels have been very good so far this season, but still remain a bit under the radar. With their only losses coming on the road to Wichita State and Wisconsin and having beaten UNC, Illinois and Cal, UNLV has been one of the better teams in the country.
12. Michigan State (12-2) - The Spartans are another team under the radar, but they haven’t lost since November 15th. They handled Indiana last week, but have a tough test tomorrow at Wisconsin.
13. Louisville (12-2) - After two losses to two very good teams last week, the Cardinals drop out of the top 10. However, don’t fret Cardinals fans, Louisville and Pitino will be just fine.
14. Kansas (10-3) - The Jayhawks devoured some cream puffs last week, but have a rivalry game against a tough Kansas State team on Wednesday.
15. Mississippi State (13-2) - The Bulldogs lost a nail-biter at Baylor and then survived at home versus Utah State last week. They begin SEC play this weekend.
16. Florida (11-3) - The Gators were shocked at Rutgers last week, but their guard oriented team still passes the eye test.
17. Marquette (12-2) - Buzz Williams & co. have stumbled a couple times over the past two weeks and it only gets tougher this week with road games at Georgetown and Syracuse. Ouch.
18. Wisconsin (12-3) - The Badgers showed last week that they can be dominant and disappointing within a matter of days. They will be tested by both Michigan schools this week.
19. Michigan (11-2) - The Wolverines have been solid this season, but we’ll learn much more this week as they face IU at Assembly Hall and Wisconsin in Ann Arbor.
20. Creighton (11-2) - The Bluejays were tripped up at home by a solid Missouri State squad, only to rebound and get their best win of the season at Wichita State, last week.
21. Harvard (11-1) - The Crimson have possibly set themselves up for an unheard of at-large NCAA Tournament bid out of the Ivy league, after taking care of a pretty good St. Joseph’s team on Saturday.
22. Murray State (11-0) - The Racers remained undefeated last week and it will be up to an Ohio Valley team to ruin their perfect regular season.
23. Purdue (12-3) - Matt Painter has Purdue playing in their typical gritty fashion and typically, they are collecting Ws.
24. Kansas State (11-1) - Frank Martin is again proving that he can coach and has put together a system that renders the players interchangeable. The Wildcats will have their toughest week to date, with games at Kansas and versus Missouri.
25. Gonzaga (11-2) - The Zags notched a big road win against a struggling Xavier squad last week. Now it’s West Coast Conference time for the Bulldogs.
26. San Diego State (11-2) - The Aztecs are another team that is on about a month long schedule hiatus. So, we will have to wait another week or two to gauge their progress.
27. Alabama (10-3) - Bama has struggled a bit on the road, so it will be interesting to see how they handle things next week, as they visit two teams they should beat.
28. Saint Louis (11-2) - Rick Majerus has his team passing the eye test and winning some games to go with it. They did trip up at New Mexico last week, no easy place to play.
29. Xavier (9-4) – Obviously, the Musketeers have yet to recover from the brawl that decimated them with suspensions, but likely also had a major psychological affect and, without question, wiped out the momentum they had pre brawl. The biggest question, of course, is whether they will ever regain their early season form.
30. Seton Hall (12-2) - It had been hard to take the Pirates seriously, until their blow out win versus a solid West Virginia team last week.
31. Wichita State (9-3) - The Shockers suffered a home loss to Creighton last week, however, they still have no bad losses this season.
32. New Mexico (11-2) - A third member of the Mountain West Conference enters the Power 32 this week. New Mexico beat Saint Louis Saturday to cap a 10-game winning streak.
What are your thoughts on this week’s rankings?
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