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NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 12:51am

Wichita StateWichita StateThe first five teams – three of the next seven – teams in the week’s Top 16 remain unbeaten.

Which stand the toughest tests at remaining that way a week from now?

I’m going with top-ranked Ohio State, which faces Notre Dame Saturday in Madison Square Garden.

But it wouldn’t surprise me to see No. 5 Wichita State stub its collective toes Tuesday on the road against a 5-4 Alabama squad with talent that sure seems a lot better than the record it has produced so far.

Two other unbeaten teams (neither has cracked the Top 16 yet), Missouri (vs. Illinois in St. Louis) and Oregon (at home to BYU) will also have difficult chores staying unbeaten Saturday night.

Rank (Last Week)
Record
Comment
1. Ohio State (1)
10-0
Saturday’s game vs. Notre Dame should be the toughest stop on what has been something well short of an extremely difficult non-Big Ten schedule.
2. Arizona (2)
11-0
Even with the inevitable (or so it would seem) few losses in Pac 12 play, the Wildcats’ wins at San Diego State and Kansas, and vs. Duke in NYC, have already set them up for a nifty NCAA Tourney seed.
3. Syracuse (3)
10-0
It was like old times Sunday in Madison Square Garden – the good old times for the Orange.
4. Connecticut (4)
9-0
Shabazz Napier is looking like a Triple Crown (scoring, rebounding and assist averages) for the Huskies this season.
5. Wichita State (5)
10-0
The Shockers will try to improve to 2-0 on the SEC portion of their schedule Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa.
6. Michigan St. (6)
8-1
The Spartans looked like the team considered by many the best in the nation when they beaten Kentucky in Chicago on Nov. 12 – not so much, since, though.
7. Duke (9)
7-2
The Blue Devils’ perimeter defense is sure to be tested by what it will face via the UCLA Bruins Thursday night in Madison Square Garden.
8. Louisville (10)
9-1
Can 8-1 Missouri State make things more than a little uncomfortable for the Cardinals Tuesday night?
9. Oklahoma State (11)
9-1
The Cowboys get a tussle with an old Big 12 foe (Colorado) Saturday night in Las Vegas.
10. Iowa State (12)
8-0
Raise a hand if you were confident the Cyclones would be unbeaten at this point of the season.
11. Wisconsin (13)
12-0
How’s this for a rhetorical question? “Has anyone done a better job of coaching so far than has Bo Ryan?”
12. Villanova (14)
10-0
The Wildcats in the Carrier Dome on Dec. 28 – how sweet will that be?
13. Memphis (15)
7-1
The Tigers get another pop at a ranked opponent (Florida) Tuesday night in NYC.
14. North Carolina (16)
7-2
Will sophomore guard Marcus Paige prove to be a viable ACC Player of the Year candidate? He certainly looks the part right now.
15. Florida (NR)
7-2

The Gators get one of those RPI-strengthening opportunities (vs. Memphis) Tuesday.

16. Kansas (7)
7-3
The Kentucky parallel is obvious – all the pieces are far from being interlocked right now.

THE NEXT 16 (alphabetically): Baylor 8-1, Butler 8-2, Colorado 10-1, Dayton 8-2, Gonzaga 10-1, Harvard 9-1, Kentucky 8-3, Illinois 9-2, Iowa 10-2, Massachusetts 9-0, Missouri 10-0, Oregon 9-0, Pittsburgh 10-0, Saint Mary’s 8-0, San Diego State 7-1 and UCLA 9-1.

TEAMS OF THE WEEK

*Arizona: The Wildcats trailed by nine points at intermission before turning in, arguably, their best 20-performance of the season to come out of Ann Arbor, MI on Saturday with a victory.

*Iowa State: The host Cyclones trailed by as many as 10 points before rallying to knock off in-state rival Iowa, 85-82, Saturday night in the first meeting in 26 years when both teams were nationally ranked.

*North Carolina: The Tar Heels knocked off a third national power this season, toppling visiting Kentucky Saturday (82-77) after Ws against Michigan and Louisville.

*Saint Mary’s: The Gaels went into Boise Saturday night and snapped the Broncos’ 26-game winning streak (82-74) against non-MWC opponents.

*Xavier: The Musketeers picked up a narrow over Evansville (63-60) then cruised over inter-city rival Cincinnati (64-47).

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

*Ben Brust (Wisconsin): The senior guard averaged 19.0 points and 4.5 rebounds had just one turnover during 26- and 25-point wins over University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Eastern Kentucky, respectively.

*Tyler Ennis (Syracuse): The freshman point guard had 21 points (knocking in all 10 of his free throws) to go with three rebounds, six assists and two steals in the Orange’s 68-63 victory against host Saint John’s.

*Stephen Holt (Saint Mary’s): The senior guard scored a career-best 24 points with six assists and just two turnovers in 40 minutes as the Gaels held on to beat host Boise State Saturday night.

*Nick Johnson (Arizona): The junior guard hit all six of his free throws in an 18-second stretch late in the game as the Wildcats held off host Michigan Saturday, 72-70. He averaged 11.0 points and 4.0 assists during the games with the Wolverines and visiting New Mexico State (Wednesday night).

*Scott Wilbekin (Florida): The senior playmaker scored 18 points to go with six assists and four steals during the Gators’ win over Kansas in Gainesville.

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]

i'm jus so offended
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Wisconsin #11?!

Wisconsin #11?! I....don't....understand...

llperez
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watching Alabama vs Wichita

watching Alabama vs Wichita st this whole second half and it has been a close back and forth game with the lead changing. Regardless of who wins this game, I have a hard time seeing the shockers as top 5. They haven't played anybody even close to top 25 consideration yet and they wont all season.

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