NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Mon, 12/20/2010 - 8:12am

Duke, Ohio State and Kansas continue their hold on the top three spots, while a number of upsets created movement in the remainder of our Power 16. The rankings are loaded with Big East and Big Ten flavor as they have established themselves as the top two conferences in the country thus far. Enjoy this pre-holiday edition of the Power 16:

Rank (Last Week)
1. Duke (1)
Coach K’s team had a bye week and will essentially have two more as they play Elon and UNC-Greensboro to close out 2010. This has clearly been the best team in college basketball through the first six weeks. They lead the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and they rank 2nd in adjusted offensive efficiency.
2. Ohio State (2)
A week after posting an Ohio State freshman record 40 points, Jared Sullinger dominated South Carolina with 30 points and 19-rebounds. The Buckeyes appear to be the favorite in a tough Big Ten.
3. Kansas (3)
Josh Selby’s suspension ended just in time as the Jayhawks needed a late three-pointer from the freshman to hold off USC. Selby had an impressive 21-point, 5-rebound debut, including a 5-8 performance from the three-point arc. It will be interesting to see how this team adjusts to the lineup change, but they have a relatively easy schedule until traveling to Michigan on January 9th.
4. Syracuse (5)
How good is Syracuse? They’re 11-0 against the 95th toughest schedule in the country and they have a very impressive win against Michigan State. On the other hand they survived sloppy, uninspired performances against William & Mary, Michigan and Iona. They hold our #4 spot for now, but I don’t think this is a team that can win the Big East.
5. UConn (6)
UConn caught our attention with an impressive run in Maui, but their schedule has been very light since then. Coach Calhoun’s team has two tune-up games this week before opening the Big East schedule on the road at Pitt. A win against the Panthers next Monday will signal to the nation that the Huskies are for real.
6. Pittsburgh (8)
Despite that surprising home loss to Tennessee last week, Jamie Dixon’s Panthers are for real. They lead the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and in offensive rebounding percentage. Pitt has a tune-up against American this week, leading up to the big showdown with UConn on the 27th.
7. San Diego State (7)
Kawhi Leonard has been grabbing the headlines for the Aztecs, and rightfully so. However, don’t look past senior forward Malcolm Thomas. He’s averaging 11.5 pts and 7.0 rebounds, while shooting 61.2% from the field. Thomas stepped it up in two games this week, averaging 18 pts and 12.5 rebounds against Cal-Poly and UCSB. Expect the Aztecs to be 16-0 when they head to Utah on January 8th.
8. Georgetown (15)
With all of the upsets this week, the Hoyas make a huge jump in our rankings by default. That being said, the Hoyas have played the 15th toughest schedule in the country, according to Their only loss was a close one on the road at Temple. John Thompson has one of the best shooting teams in the nation, as all of their starters are shooting over 47.4% from the field.
9. Villanova (12)
The Big Ten received early-season designation as the nation’s top conference, but the Big East has earned that label through the first six weeks. Villanova gives the Big East five teams in our top 10.
10. Kansas State (4)
DIt’s difficult to keep K-State in the top ten after its abysmal 44-point performance against Florida. The Wildcats couldn’t hit the ocean from a boat, while shooting 27.3% against the Gators. Much like Michigan State, we might be giving K-State too much credit for what they did last year. They have another big test coming up on Tuesday against UNLV.
11. Baylor (7)
Despite Perry Jones solid performance, the Bears suffered a disappointing loss to Gonzaga Saturday afternoon. 11th might be too high for the Bears based on merit as Gonzaga is the best team they’ve played to date and it was their first game away from home (although it was in nearby Dallas). That being said, Baylor shouldn’t be challenged again until Kansas comes to town on January 17th.
12. Michigan State (NR)
Sparty hasn’t earned the #12 ranking with their on-court play to this point, but they are too talented and too well-coached to be ignored. We’ve mentioned several times that Izzo’s teams are notorious for slow starts only to finish with a flurry in March. We expect nothing less this season. It should be noted that all of Sparty’s losses this year are away from East Lansing to top 10 teams.
13. Missouri (16)
Our pick for the upcoming game of the week is Illinois versus Mizzou in St. Louis. The Tigers’ schedule has been a bit light to-date, but we’ll have a good chance to evaluate Mike Anderson’s team against the Illini.
14. Kentucky (NR)
The Wildcats have bounced back from their loss at North Carolina by winning three straight. Once again, Terrance Jones has led the way averaging 18.7 points and 11 rebounds in that span. Brandon Knight hasn’t been too shabby either, averaging 17.3 points and 4.3 assists over the past three games. This team will be a threat come tournament time.
15. Purdue (NR)

The Boilers haven’t been receiving a lot of love nationally since losing Robbie Hummel to a season-ending injury. Give Matt Painter’s crew credit for finding ways to win without their best playmaker. E’twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson are among the best inside-out duos in the country, but they’ll need help in order to compete for a Big Ten title.

16. Minnesota (NR)
Rodney Williams picked up his first career double-double in a hard fought win against Akron. The Gophers have struggled since the loss of PG Al Nolen, but they expect him to return against Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener. This team is deep, but do they have that difference-maker that can lead them to a Big Ten title?

Dropped out: Tennessee (10), Illinois (13), BYU (14)

Email questions or opinions to Josh [email protected]

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