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NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Tue, 01/01/2013 - 11:37pm

Glenn Robinson IIIGlenn Robinson IIINothing that happened in November and December altered my belief that the Big Ten is the strongest hoops conference in the country right now.

A half-dozen of its squads – Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota – are already NCAA Tournament “locks” and each of those is more than capable of playing during the second week of the tournament.

But the Big East has a boatload of teams that could make deep runs into March as well, including Syracuse, Cincinnati, Georgetown and Notre Dame.

It’s going to be a cool 2013 for college hoops. Happy New Year’s!

Rank (Last Week)
Record
Comment
1. Michigan (1)
13-0
There were three freshmen in the starting lineup when the Wolverines collected the 15-point victory over Central Michigan.
2. Duke (2)
12-0
The Blue Devils were tested, severely, in Durham before pulling away from Santa Clara Saturday afternoon.
3. Indiana (3)
12-1
The Hoosiers start road to 2013 Big Ten title on final day of 2012 (in Iowa City).
4. Syracuse (4)
11-1
The Jan. 19 game at Louisville will be one of the most compelling games of the month.
5. Louisville (5)
12-1
The return of center Gorgui Dieng will help this team evolve nicely into FFF (Final Four Form).
6. Arizona (6)
12-0
The Wildcats get a home toughie in Pac 12 opener Thursday – Colorado, which knocked them off in the conference tourney final last March in Los Angeles.
7. Georgetown (7)
10-1
The Hoyas haven’t been tested in a while. That’s about to change.
8. Kansas (8)
11-1
In December, at least, the Jayhawks were the best team in the country.
9. Illinois (9)
13-1
The Illini will be in West Lafayette, IN, to start Big Ten play Wednesday.
10. Gonzaga (11)
12-1
I still go with my preseason suggestion – this could prove to be the best-ever Bulldogs squad.
11. Ohio State (12)
10-2
The Buckeyes’ only losses have come to possibly FF teams (Duke and Kansas).
12. Oklahoma State (13)
10-1
The Cowboys have a challenging week – Gonzaga on the last day of 2012 and a trip to Kansas State for the Big 12 opener on Saturday.
13. Butler (14)
10-2
The Bulldogs’ string of NCAA Tourney misses is likely to end at one.
14. Cincinnati (10)
12-1
Look for Mick Cronin’s name to be on the short lists of all athletic directors looking for a big-time hire come the spring.
15. Florida (15)
9-2

BKenny Boynton will have to shoot much better than .363 from the field if the Gators are going to be the SEC’s best this season.

16. New Mexico (NR)
13-1
The Lobos’ win at Cincinnati just another bit of proof as to why the MWC is easily the best conference in the West this season.

On the cusp: (listed alphabetically) Boise 10-2, Colorado 10-2, Connecticut 10-2, Creighton 12-1, Kansas State 10-2, Maryland 11-1, Michigan State 11-2, Minnesota 12-1, Missouri 10-2, North Carolina 10-3, North Carolina State 10-2, Notre Dame 12-1, Oregon 10-2, Pittsburgh 12-1, San Diego State 11-2, UCLA 10-3, UNLV 11-2, Wichita State 12-1 and Wyoming 12-0.

TOP PERFORMANCES OF DEC. 24-30

TEAMS: Louisville (foul issues lead to the demise of a 17-point advantage but the Cardinals hung on to knock off Kentucky, 80-77, and snap a four-game losing streak to the Wildcats). UCLA (the Bruins rallied from nine points down late in regulation and knocked off Missouri, 97-94, Friday night in the New Pauley Pavilion to score the program’s most significant non-conference victory in a while). New Mexico (the Lobos collected one of the season’s most impress road victories by holding on for a 55-54 over previously unbeaten Cincinnati). North Carolina (the Tar Heels build a big early advantage then played well down the stretch to hold off visiting UNLV, 79-73, for their most impressive victory of the season). Harvard (the Crimson edged California in Berkeley, 67-62, Saturday to show that Tom Amaker’s team, despite the loss of two key players unexpectedly before the start of the season, is still a strong threat to win the Ivy League).

PLAYERS: Tyler Haws (BYU). The 6-5 sophomore scored 42 points against Virginia Tech, hitting 14 of 25 from the field (including six of eight behind the arc) and eight of nine from the free-throw line during a 97-71 dismantling of Virginia Tech in Salt Lake City. Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA). The oh-so-heavily touted freshman, who is averaging 25.0 points per game over the past four games, dropped 27 on Missouri Friday night to help the Bruins collect the win over the Tigers. Alex Kirk (New Mexico). The sophomore center scored 15 points with seven rebounds and three blocked shots in the Lobos’ win at Cincinnati). Russ Smith (Louisville). The junior guard had 21 points with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals during the win over Kentucky. Mason Plumlee (Duke). The strong candidate for the John R. Wooden Award had 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists during the victory against Santa Clara Saturday.

Frank Burlison has been covering hoops for 30+ years for a variety of publications.

Follow Frank on twitter @FrankieBur. Also make sure to follow his website at www.burlisononbasketball.com. College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]

Dale Worthington
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New Mexico

New Mexico got killed by St. Louis on the 31st...they've gotta drop out of the top 16.

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