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NCAA Basketball top 25 power rankings: Tennessee and Villanova rise, Alabama falls

Tennessee guard Kennedy Chandler (1) drives to the goal during a basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Arizona Wildcats at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.Kns Vols Arizona Hoops Bp
Tennessee guard Kennedy Chandler (1) drives to the goal during a basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Arizona Wildcats at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.Kns Vols Arizona Hoops Bp /
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NCAA Basketball LSU Tigers Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball LSU Tigers Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

15. LSU (12-0)

Mired in controversy, Will Wade could have easily lost his job and LSU could’ve been forced to start over as the FBI allegations encompassed Wade and this program. Instead, the Tigers will enter SEC play with an unbeaten record and are certainly looking like one of the contenders in a deep and exciting conference. Few likely expected LSU to be at this point but that defense is no joke and has carried to them to these heights.

LSU hasn’t played any top 25 level opponents, but have stockpiled wins over Belmont, Penn State, Wake Forest, and a few other sneaky good teams. Their defense has played phenomenal in most of their games, and they’ve done more than enough to pound out some of their tougher games along the way. On one hand, LSU has yet to play a true road game; they’ll get plenty of chances once conference play begins next week.

The Tigers visit Auburn next week and could very easily see their unbeaten season come to a quick end as SEC play begins. Their start to the season has been no fluke; this team plays awesome defense, having allowed no more than 63 points in a game this season. They’ve seen some standout performances from Tari Eason, while the rest of the roster has done its share to get this squad to 12-0. While there have certainly been higher expectations for LSU in recent years, can they continue to exceed expectations and perhaps bring home an SEC crown in the coming months?