College Basketball Power Rankings: ‘Sic Em Bears’ Edition

It continues to be an exciting, albeit unpredictable, season in college hoops.  Twelve teams ranked in the Top 25 lost last week, with many of those defeats coming on the road.  Consequently, putting together this week’s power rankings proved to be pretty challenging once I got past the first 12 teams.

College Basketball Power Rankings

1. Syracuse (17-0, Previous Ranking: 1)

The Orange picked up a road win against Providence and held off a late Marquette rally on Saturday to remain unbeaten.  They continue to get contributions from a number of different players, with Brandon Triche stepping up this week to score 16 points in each game.

With struggling Villanova and another game with Providence on tap this week, ‘Cuse should be able to keep their perfect record intact.

2. Kentucky (15-1, Previous Ranking: 2)

Freshman sensation Anthony Davis had a big week, totaling 34 points, 26 rebounds, and 10 blocks in two comfortable wins.  Perhaps more importantly Terrence Jones scored 20 against South Carolina.  If he can develop some consistency, it takes the Cats to another level.

They have their second and third road games of the season this week against Auburn and Tennessee.

3. North Carolina (14-2, Previous Ranking: 3)

The Heels beat an overmatched Boston College squad in their only game of the week.  Harrison Barnes scored 25 points for UNC, who has been a bit under the radar since losing at Kentucky.

The ACC is clearly a two-horse race, and the Heels won’t face another ranked team until February.

4. Ohio State (15-2, Previous Ranking: 4)

After losing to IU on New Year’s Eve, the Buckeyes bounced back to beat Nebraska and Iowa by a combined 60 points this week.  Player of the Year candidate Jared Sullinger led the way with 28 against the Hawkeyes and a double-double against the Huskers.

OSU heads to Illinois on Tuesday and gets a chance for revenge against the Hoosiers on Sunday.

5. Baylor (15-0, Previous Ranking: 6)

Baylor won two more games this week, but things start to get more difficult starting with Tuesday’s trip to Kansas State.  They also have dates with Kansas and Missouri over the next couple weeks, which will be their three toughest games of the season.  We’ll know a lot more about how good this team is following that stretch.

perry-jones-baylorImage source: Ballin Is a Habit

6. Michigan State (14-2, Previous Ranking: 10)

The Spartans picked up their second Big Ten road win at Wisconsin to extend their winning streak to 14 games.  Draymond Green posted 18 points and 14 boards in the overtime victory, while Keith Appling added 16 points and was the MSU offense at various points down the stretch.

With games against Northwestern and Iowa this week, Tom Izzo’s club should be able to keep their win streak alive.

7. Indiana (15-1, Previous Ranking: 11)

IU picked up another big victory in Assembly Hall this week by beating Michigan, led by Christian Watford with 25 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. While the frontcourt fueled the victory over the Wolverines, the backcourt stepped up in a road win at Penn State.  Jordan Hulls had a career-high 28 points, and Matt Roth came off the bench to hit five triples and a number of key free throws for the Hoosiers, who went 16-of-24 from beyond the arc.

Minnesota visits Bloomington this week before IU hits the road to face Ohio State.

8. Duke (13-2, Previous Ranking: 5)

The Blue Devils started the week by losing to Temple on the road, and they nearly fell to 0-3 in true road games against Georgia Tech on Saturday.  Ryan Kelly hit all 14 of his free throw attempts en route to 21 points, but there are still question marks about this team’s defense.

Unfortunately given the lack of depth in the ACC, they won’t have many chances to prove themselves.  One of those chances comes Thursday when Virginia comes to Cameron Indoor.

9. Missouri (14-1, Previous Ranking: 8)

The undersized Tigers got pounded on the boards against Kansas State and lost their first game of the season on Saturday.  It will be interesting to see how they respond with a road game against an improving Iowa State team followed by a home date with Texas this week.

Following the transfer of Kadeem Green, Mizzou has just seven scholarship players and just two guys over 6-foot-6, which should make it tough for them against the top teams in the league.

10. Georgetown (13-2, Previous Ranking: 9)

After staging a furious comeback to beat Marquette, Georgetown fell on the road against West Virginia to break an 11-game winning streak.  Hollis Thompson continued his solid play, hitting the game-winner against Marquette and scoring 20 points against the Mountaineers.

The Hoyas have a favorable schedule for the remainder of the month before facing UConn on February 1st.

11. Kansas (12-3, Previous Ranking: 15)

Junior guard Travis Releford came up big for the Jayhawks this week, posting a double-double in an 18-point win over Kansas State and pouring in 28 points on the road against Oklahoma.

Kansas isn’t going to end their reign as Big 12 champs without a fight, and they should be 14-3 when Baylor comes to Lawrence on January 16th.

12. UNLV (16-2, Previous Ranking: 13)

With just eight teams in the Mountain West, the Rebels have yet to play a conference game and played just once last week.  Mike Moser posted yet another double-double in a win over Cal State Bakersfield, but a road date at San Diego State this Saturday will make for an exciting MWC opener for both teams.

13. Michigan (13-3, Previous Ranking: 18)

The Wolverines bounced back from a close loss to Indiana by throttling Wisconsin at home on Sunday.  Tim Hardaway Jr. led the team in scoring in both games while Trey Burke continues to excel at the point and extended his double-digit scoring streak to 10 games.

They face Northwestern at home this week before traveling to a resurgent Iowa squad this weekend.

14. Kansas State (12-2, Previous Ranking: 24)

It was an interesting week for the Wildcats, who lost by 18 to rival Kansas but bounced back to beat Missouri by 16 points on Saturday.  The backcourt duo of Rodney McGruder and Will Spradling combined for 34 points against the Tigers, but the schedule doesn’t get much easier with Baylor coming to town on Tuesday.

15. Creighton (13-2, Previous Ranking: 21)

Doug McDermott went off for 44 points on 18-of-23 shooting against Bradley on Saturday, and I strongly suggest you find a way to see him play if you haven’t already.  The Bluejays have three games with week as they face Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois at home with a trip to Illinois State in between.

16. Virginia (14-1, Previous Ranking: 25)

To a certain extent, the Cavaliers took advantage of the losses by other Top 25 teams to move up, but they did pick up a solid road win at LSU and beat a tough Miami (FL) squad in their ACC opener.  Mike Scott should be receiving serious consideration for ACC Player of the Year.  He scored a total of 35 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the two wins, and he remains one of the most efficient players in the country.

17. Seton Hall (14-2, Previous Ranking: N/A)

The Pirates picked up a huge win over UConn at home this week and followed it up by beating Providence on the road.  Seton Hall’s only losses have come against Northwestern on a neutral floor and at Syracuse, but they have solid wins over West Virginia, Dayton, VCU, and Saint Joseph’s.

Kevin Willard has the Pirates playing well defensively, and point guard Jordan Theodore has been outstanding, posting 51 points and 28 assists in the last three games.

18. Louisville (13-3, Previous Ranking: 12)

After losing in double overtime to Notre Dame, the Cardinals have now dropped three of their last four games.  They continue to struggle offensively, but they should be able to bounce back against Providence and DePaul this week.

Louisville needs more from Peyton Siva, who has just 23 points and 13 assists to go with 12 fouls and 11 turnovers over the last three games.

19. Florida (12-4, Previous Ranking: 14)

The Gators shot just 35.7 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc in a loss to Tennessee, which was the second bad loss for Florida in their last four games.  They are now 0-4 in true road games this season and don’t have a signature win.  That said, the Gators should be able to take care of Georgia and South Carolina this week.

20. Connecticut (12-3, Previous Ranking: 7)

UConn is searching for answers after a pair of road losses last week.  They now sit at just 2-2 in the Big East with a tough test coming on Monday against West Virginia.  The Huskies clearly have the talent, but leadership is another matter without Kemba Walker.  Freshman Andre Drummond continues to be inconsistent, and Alex Oriahki continues to struggle.

21. Gonzaga (13-2, Previous Ranking: N/A)

The Zags have now won eight straight heading into Thursday’s game with rival Saint Mary’s.  Big man Sam Dower is playing well off the bench, and the freshman backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell is really starting to gel.

22. San Diego State (13-2, Previous Ranking: 22)

The Aztecs haven’t played anyone decent since early December, but their first two MWC games are against UNLV and New Mexico, both of which will tell us a lot about SDSU.  Chase Tapley leads four players averaging in double figures for Steve Fisher’s club.

23. Murray State (16-0, Previous Ranking: 23)

Isaiah Canaan was on fire Saturday night against Austin Peay, hitting seven three-pointers and scoring 27 points in the first half.  He finished with 35 to keep the Racers unbeaten.  Look for them to stay that way with Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech coming to town this week.

24. Mississippi State (13-3, Previous Ranking: 16)

The Bulldogs played just their second true road game of the season on Saturday, losing by 10 points to Arkansas.  Foul trouble limited Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney, and MSU managed to lose despite shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from deep.  Tennessee and Alabama both come to Starkville this week.

25. Marquette (12-4, Previous Ranking: 19)

It’s tough to penalize the Golden Eagles for losing at Georgetown and Syracuse, but they have now lost four of their last six games after starting 10-0.  They need to right the ship with their next three games at home, starting this week with St. John’s and Pitt.

Follow me on Twitter (@andybottoms) for more thoughts on college hoops, and check out the latest edition of the Bottoms Line podcast.

About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms


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