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NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Wed, 11/24/2010 - 3:22pm

The preseason tourneys are giving college hoops fans a lot of great games early in the year. Michigan State plays Duke on December 1st in what could be a preview of the National Championship game. But before then there are plenty of great match ups to watch. Here's how we see the Power 16 after 2 weeks.

Rank (Last Week)
Record
Comment
1. Duke (2)
5-0
After beating a mediocre Marquette team by only five points, the Blue Devils went ahead and picked apart Kansas State. Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving are already displaying the kind of backcourt chemistry and playmaking ability necessary for a title run, and Mason Plumlee is coming out of his shell. The question of late: How will this team fair against bigger opponents? They've been playing a lot of three guard lineups with Kyle Singler at power forward. Still, right now, Duke looks to be the No. 1 team.
2. Ohio State (3)
3-0
The Buckeyes have wins of 41, 18 (at ranked Florida), 40 and 19 so far. They have yet to show a single weakness and have basically been the best team so far this year. The big boost for Ohio State is the play of freshman point guard Aaron Craft, who gives the team its first natural point guard since Jamar Butler graduated. We knew Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas would be excellent right away. This team does need William Buford back soon, though, with a trip to Tallahassee, Fla., at the end of the month.
3. Michigan State (1)
3-1
If this seems a little high for a one-loss team at this point, that's because the Spartans have so much more to offer than what they've shown thus far. No Tom Izzo team hits its stride in November, and many wait until March to find their identity. Connecticut is underrated and needed a monster game from Kemba Walker to beat the Spartans, though that game did unearth some questions about Michigan State's lack of true wing players and a weakness on the boards that should clear up if and when Derrick Nix rejoins the team.
4. Pitsburgh (4)
6-0
Talib Zanna has been one of the best surprises this season, but he's hardly the only reason the Panthers have looked like a legitimate Final Four contender this season. This team can really, really rebound and pass, which makes scoring all the easier. And the depth is a bit ridiculous, especially with Nasir Robinson healthy. Pitt has 10 legitimate players who not only can play, but could start and be just fine in a 25-30 minute-per-game role.
5. Villanova (7)
4-0
I'm very, very torn about which team is actually the best in the Big East: Pitt or Villanova. You can't go wrong with either team. Villanova dropped a bit in our first set of rankings because their depth isn't particularly impressive. But the eight-man rotation they use is excellent, all the way down to springy sophomore forward Isaiah Armwood, who has an excellent pedigree dating back to his time at Montrose Christian Academy.
6. Kentucky (14)
3-0
Terrence Jones is a superstar right now. He's more than made his case for a spot in the lottery, showing off the abilities of a dominant rebounder and the playmaking skills of a guard. His presence has been a big help to Brandon Knight, who isn't a true point guard but is a very effective scorer and a solid ballhandler. The duo is enough to build around, and the supporting cast fits right into place for John Calipari's team, with a bunch of skilled wings and a big man (Josh Harrelson) who won't stop rebounding. Beating Washington was a statement game for this young team.
7. Kansas State (5)
4-1
Jacob Pullen's not going to be shut down as he was against Duke very often. And really, that made all the difference in the team's 14-point loss to the Blue Devils. Still, serious question marks came to the surface in the loss. The starting lineup produced just 23 points, and the Wildcats need more out of sophomores Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder. The team lacks a shooter other than Pullen, though Martavious Irving has shown flashes of potential for that role.
8. Kansas (16)
4-0
This major leap in the rankings has less to do with four 30-plus-point wins and more to do with the NCAA finally coming to a decision on the future of Josh Selby, the star point guard recruit who will be eligible for the 10th game of the season. Kansas will be fine while it waits for Selby, but the Jayhawks will leap onto the top-10 level only when he makes his way back onto court and finds his rhythm.
9. Washington (12)
3-1
Though we expected Washington to beat Kentucky after the way the Huskies smashed Virginia, there isn't any shame to losing to a team with at least two future lottery picks. Still, the game brought up the question of whether Washington has the size necessary to compete against bigger teams. The Huskies are the favorite to win the Pac-10, which has a league-wide dearth of size, but they may have a ceiling when they play bigger teams. Aziz N'Diaye's continued development will really help in this regard.
10. Baylor (8)
4-0
LaceDarius Dunn is back with a vengeance. The nation's most gifted scorer made 8-of-13 shots, including 7-of-11 3-pointers, in his first game back, a 12-point win against Lipscomb on Monday. Sure, he had six turnovers and Perry Jones was less effective. But those rough edges will smooth out with time. The only lingering question that remains is about this team's proclivity for turnovers. Can A.J. Walton effectively run the point guard in a close game?
11. Arizona (15)
4-0
The Wildcats have had four massive blowouts to test out their rotations. Derrick Williams is averaging 19.3 points and nine rebounds per game and shooting 80 percent from the field in just 22.7 minutes per game. Kyle Fogg has shown some significant advancement as a playmaker, and he looks capable of playing point guard, which sures up a position where depth was a concern. Arizona -- and the Pac-10 -- is looking good through two weeks.
12. Minnesota (NR)
5-0
Trevor Mbakwe was worth the risk, and the wait. Any Golden Gophers fan would agree with that at this point. Devoe Joseph should be back soon, but Minnesota may not even need the talented guard with the way it has been playing so far. Ralph Sampson III has improved dramatically this year, anchoring an outstanding frontcourt.
13. Syracuse (6)
4-0
Yes, 4-0. But it hasn't been pretty. Jim Boeheim has a lot of questions to answer at this point in the season, but we're not giving up entirely on the Orange, even after a three-point escape against William & Mary. The team relies too heavily on forward Rick Jackson as a rebounding and defensive force, and Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche, expected to be top offensive otpions, have largely disappointed. But both of those players should get back on track, and Boeheim is not a coach to underestimate. Freshman Baye Moussa Keita has been a pleasant surprise.
14. Missouri (10)
3-0
On any given day, any of seven players could lead Missouri in scoring. That's just one of the things we love about Mike Anderson's team. Laurence Bowers has proven to be a dynamic "big" man despite his 210-pound frame. And Ricardo Ratliffe should continue to emerge as the team's top true post. We're still waiting on word about Tony Mitchell, which holds the Tigers back just a bit.
15. San Diego State (NR)
5-0
The Aztecs are the best mid-major team in the country. It really is that simple. There is simply nothing to dislike about this team, with Kawhi Leonard's ridiculous rebounding and D.J. Gay's veteran guidance at the point and Billy White's ability as a top-tier second option.
16. Georgetown (NR)
5-0
You can't argue with results. The Hoyas are getting just that so far this season, winning the Charleston Classic without much difficulty. The frontcourt remains mostly unproven, but Julian Vaughn is emerging as an elite rebounder. And what's not to like about a veteran backcourt led by seniors Chris Wright and Austin Freeman as well as junior Jason Clark?

*Dropped from rankings: Florida (9), North Carolina (11), Illinois (13).

Games to watch (All times Eastern)

Wednesday, Nov. 24

Michigan State vs. Washington (5 p.m.) -- The Maui Invitation is stacked this year, and it seems insane that one of these two teams will have a pair of losses this early in the season.

UCLA vs. Villanova in New York (9 p.m.) -- What a test for Ben Howland's revamped and hot Bruins. Junior college transfer Lazeric Jones has had a great start for UCLA, but he'll have a tough test against Corey Fisher and Malik Waayns.

Connecticut vs. Kentucky (10 p.m.) -- You'll notice the Huskies aren't ranked in our Power 16. They were just on the outside. Kemba Walker's played as well as any player in the country, but at some point -- possibly Wednesday night -- this team will need to display some balance.

Thursday, Nov. 25

Notre Dame vs. Georgia in Orlando, Fla. (7 p.m.) -- Happy Thanksgiving. Two sleeper teams face off in a game that could be important down the road, particularly for perrenial bubble team Notre Dame. Georgia will probably be without Trey Thompkins again, but the Bulldogs have enough talent to win anyway.

Temple vs. California in Orlando, Fla. (9 p.m.) -- Always love to see a top mid-major taking on a surprisingly good power conference team. Which is for real? I'm taking the Owls, but Markhuri Sanders-Frison should be a strong test for Lavoy Allen.

Friday, Nov. 26

S.t Mary's vs. Texas Tech in St. Padre's Island, Tex. (8:30 p.m.) -- This game should be very interesting for many of the same reasons Temple-Cal is. St. Mary's has had a great start thanks to the development of Clint Steindl, the Aussie Osprey. Texas Tech has NCAA Tournament hopes and this win would be a big help.

Saturday, Nov. 27

Arizona vs. Kansas in Las Vegas (10:30 p.m.) -- Is there a better forward matchup than Derrick Williams vs. Marcus Morris? What a great way to spend Saturday night, if you're not going out.

Sunday, Nov. 28

Old Spice Classic title game in Orlando, Fla. (7 p.m.) -- Without the matchup assured, there's not a whole lot to talk about, but expect to see some pairing of Georgia, Wisconsin, Temple and Texas A&M in this one.

Florida at Florida State (7:30 p.m.) -- The Gators were manhandled by Ohio State, and the Seminoles are another physical, talented team. Chris Singleton has put up some huge numbers. How will he do against his school's biggest nonconference rival?

Tuesday, Nov. 30

Georgetown at Missouri (9 p.m.) -- These teams seem very evenly matched on paper, though Missouri has a bit more depth and Georgetown a bit more experience. It will be interesting to see how Missouri tackles a team with an explosive scorer like Austin Freeman.

North Carolina at Illinois (9:30 p.m.) -- Taking two losses in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off surely embarrassed Roy Williams, who knows his team is better than that. This game provides an important opportunity to define what type of team the Tar Heels are -- and they could easily get their clocks cleaned by the veteran Illini.

Grandmama
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Duke should have been number

Duke should have been number 1 in the first place.

kacey
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It is Josh Harrellson, not

It is Josh Harrellson, not Josh Harralson. You need to learn how to correctly spell this first round prospects' last name.

dye84
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duke

duke is in the right spot this week in the power rankings

jaysmith1987
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Duke

Duke is more talented than last year the only thing I think that can prevent them from winning it all again is themselves.

mista ibn
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I had to register after I

I had to register after I seen that you guys had Michigan State as number 1...How, how was that possible?

kexi
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