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NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Mon, 03/04/2013 - 6:35pm

Elias HarrisElias HarrisThe final full “regular season” week is on tap as the “Big Six” conferences prep for their conference tournaments next week, as does the conference that is every bit as good – or better – as the aforementioned six configurations.

That would be, of course, the Mountain West Conference which seems on the verge of being represented by at least the four squads (Colorado State, UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico) that played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

And strong performance by Boise State in next week’s conference tourney in Las Vegas might be enough to make it a “Fab Five” NCAA tourney teams for the MWC.

Gonzaga, this “Sweet 16’s” new No. 1, isn’t action until playing a West Coast Conference tournament semifinal in Las Vegas Saturday night.

Here are some of the better matchups in the final week of conference action: Monday – Cincinnati at Louisville; Tuesday – Ohio State at Indiana; Memphis at UTEP; Wednesday – Georgetown at Villanova; Michigan at Purdue; Oklahoma State at Iowa State; Saint Louis at Xavier; Wisconsin at Michigan State; Oregon at Colorado; Kentucky at Georgia; Saturday – Duke at North Carolina; Florida at Kentucky; Kansas at Baylor; Syracuse at Georgetown; Notre Dame at Louisville; Kansas State at Oklahoma State; UCLA at Washington; Arizona State at Arizona; Sunday – Indiana at Michigan; Illinois at Ohio State; Virginia Commonwealth at Temple.

Rank (Last Week)
Record
Comment
1. Gonzaga (2)
29-2

The Bulldogs ascend to the top spot by holding off host Brigham Young, coupled with Indiana’s loss at Minnesota.

2. Indiana (1)
25-4
The Hoosiers or Duke will be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tourney if they both win out.
3. Duke (3)
25-4
Ryan Kelly’s return to the lineup – along with his dandy jump shot – couldn’t have come at a better time for the Blue Devils.
4. Louisville (8)
24-5
My preseason choice to win the national title has hit a few speed bumps along the way this season but is still more than capable of making me look like a prophet.
5. Kansas (9)
25-4
The Jayhawks have two of the three top candidates for Big 12 Player of the Year (along with Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State) in Jeff Withey and Ben McLemore.
6. Miami (4)
21-5
The 15-point loss at Wake Forest was more alarming than the three-point defeat in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
7. Michigan (7)
24-5
Games at Purdue and at home to Indiana provide the Wolverines with the opportunity to go into the Big Ten tourney with a whole lot of momentum.
8. Michigan State (6)
22-7
No matter how good you might be – and the Spartans are a possible Final Four squad – it is tough as heck beating teams in the Big Ten.
9. Florida (5)
23-5
Injuries have hobbled the Gators of late.
10. Kansas State (13)
24-5
A couple of wins this week would cinch to worse than a share of the Big 12 title in Bruce Weber’s first season with the program.
11. Georgetown (11)
23-4
The Hoyas could take a 13-game winning streak into the Big East tourney.
12. Oklahoma State (13)
22-6
There is a lot of Steve Nash to Marcus Smart – he makes teammates a whole lot better.
13. Saint Louis (15)
23-5
The Billikens are doing their late, great coach very proud right now.
14. New Mexico (16)
25-4
The MWC should already send the Coach of the Year hardware to Albuquerque.
15. Syracuse (12)
22-7

This is probably not quite the way to gear up for the Big East tourney – three losses in a row and six in the past 10 games.

16. Memphis (14)
25-4
When the unbeaten Conference USA leader loses at the sixth place squad from the Atlantic 10, “how good is C-USA?” begs to be asked. Come to think of it the said could be said of the A-10.

On the cusp (listed alphabetically): Akron 23-5, Arizona 23-6, Boise State 20-8, Butler 22-7 , Cal 20-9, Colorado State 22-7, Connecticut 19-9, Creighton 24-7, Illinois 21-9, Kentucky 20-9, Louisiana Tech 26-3, Marquette 21-7, Maryland 20-9, Minnesota 20-9, Missouri 21-8, North Carolina 21-8, North Carolina State 21-8, Notre Dame 22-7, Ohio State 21-7, Oklahoma 19-9, Oregon 23-6, Pittsburgh 23-7, San Diego State 20-8, Saint Mary’s 26-5, UCLA 22-7 , UNLV 22-7, Villanova 18-12, Virginia 20-9 , Virginia Commonwealth 23-6, Wichita State 24-7 and Wisconsin 20-9.

TOP PERFORMANCES OF FEB. 25-MARCH 3

TEAMS

Creighton. The Blue Jays probably cinched an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament with their Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship-securing home victory then-second place Wichita State Saturday in Omaha.

Kansas. The Jayhawks pulled out a double-overtime victory at Iowa State and then maintained a share of the Big 12 Conference lead (with Kansas State) by handling visiting West Virginia Saturday.

Louisville. The Cardinals stayed a game within Georgetown for the Big East Conference lead by way of road victories against DePaul and Syracuse.

North Carolina. Roy Williams’ club continued its in-season resurgence, extending its winning streak to five with victories over Clemson and Florida State.

UCLA. The Bruins remained in control of their own possible Pac 12 Conference destiny by edging Arizona State and Arizona in Pauley Pavilion.

PLAYERS

Kyle Anderson (UCLA). The freshman swingman averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and 2.5 blocked shots in the Bruins’ victories over Arizona State and Arizona – their final two home games of the season, wins that kept them deadlocked for the Pac 12 lead with Oregon.

Elijah Johnson (Kansas). The senior point guard had a career-best performance – and then some – while leading his team to a double-overtime victory at Iowa State, scoring 39 points with five rebounds and seven assists.

Ryan Kelly (Duke). The senior “stretch 4” returned from nearly two months off from a sore foot by scoring a career-high 36 points (including seven 3s) during the Devils’ ACC victory over visiting Miami on Saturday.

Otto Porter (Georgetown). The sophomore forward continues to cruise along to his inevitable Big East Player of the Year hardware, scoring 50 points (including the winning bucket against Connecticut) in two Big East victories to go with 13 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, five steals and only two turnovers.

Doug McDermott (Creighton). In what was likely his final home game (if he turns pro after this, his junior season) the forward scored 41 point in a Missouri Valley Conference championship-clinching victory over Wichita State Saturday, hitting 15 of 18 from the field including five of eight on 3s. He also had six rebounds and three steals.

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]

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