NCAA Top 25 Poll
By Kevin Duffy
Team (Record) AP Poll Rank / ESPN/USAToday Rank1. North Carolina (7-0) 1 1
[img_assist|nid=3594|title=Tyler Hansbrough - Andy Altenburger/Icon SMI|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=400|height=318]The ‘Heels have yet to play a ranked opponent, but a 7-0 record with wins against quality Kentucky, Davidson, and Ohio State teams is nothing to scoff at. After beating Penn on Tuesday night, the team wont play again until December 16th (at Rutgers). 12 days to enjoy the view from the top! They don't play a ranked opponent until January 6th (Clemson).
2. Memphis (6-0) 2 2
Memphis solidified their spot at #2 with a big win over USC at MSG Tuesday night. We’ll really find out what the Tigers are made of in two weeks when they square off with Georgetown and Arizona. If they can find a way to win those two games, and that’s a BIG if, Memphis has a good shot to go undefeated through the regular season ala St. Joseph’s in 2003-04. You heard it here first.
3. Kansas (7-0) 3 3
A big win over USC helps Kansas climb to 3rd. The Jayhawks don’t play a ranked opponent until they face No. 5 Texas on February 11th! This team could claim the top ranking in the coming weeks if Memphis and UNC stumble due to tougher schedules. This team has great depth and will be that much better when Sherron Collins finally returns.
4. Texas (7-0) 4 5
Is it possible the Longhorns are better without Kevin Durant? Probably not. Is it possible that DJ Augustin and Damion James have taken their games to new levels? Definitely. Texas is garnering some first-place votes after an early season blowout of then No. 7 Tennessee and last week’s upset of No. 1 UCLA in Westwood. Texas plays some softies starting with North Texas Wednesday before a December 22nd match up with Michigan State.
5. Georgetown (5-0) 5 4
Georgetown is winning ugly (11-point victory over Fairfield last week), so there will be some doubters. But critics must realize, the Hoyas can win ugly against anyone and that is why they are in the Top 5. Still no signs of life from 5 star recruit Vernon Macklin.
6. Duke (8-0) 7 6
This is the best team Coach K has had in years combining athleticism with numerous quality 3 point shooters. Two convincing wins over Wisconsin and Davidson last week have the Dukies poised to contend with North Carolina for the elusive ACC championship as well as legitimate National Title contenders.
7. UCLA (7-1) 7 8
Tough week for Bruin sports. The No. 1 basketball team was ousted by Texas and the football team lost to USC and then fired head coach Karl Dorrell. UCLA will have a chance to get itself back on the right foot when it faces Davidson Saturday on the Bulldog’s RPI-boosting tour that has included games against Duke and North Carolina.
8. Michigan State (6-1) 9 10
Raymar Morgan, averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds per game, is making an early case for Big 10 Player of the Year. The Spartans are back on track after their loss to UCLA on November 20th, getting solid play from their anonymous frontcourt.
9. Tennessee (7-1) 10 12
Chris Lofton is inexplicably averaging nearly 7 points per game fewer than he did last year and shooting 36% from the field, but the Vols have a plethora of weapons to take the slack off of their senior star. If Lofton can get his shot back in the coming weeks, Tennessee could be among the country’s top teams down the stretch.
10. Washington State (7-0) 8 6
I’m very reluctant to put Washington State in the top ten so soon, but apparently the ESPN/USA Today Poll isn’t. We’ll learn a lot about this team in their Wednesday showdown against No. 19 Gonzaga.
11. Butler (7-0) 13 13
The Bulldogs outscored Ohio State 46-15 in the second half of 19-point rout of the former national runner up. If you’re not a believer yet, you should be.
12. Pittsburgh (7-0) 12 9
In all likelihood, the Panthers will be undefeated when they host No. 7 Duke on December 20 in a match-up of two potential Elite Eight teams.
13. Marquette (5-1) 11 15
We all know the Golden Eagles are talented. We don’t know if they are tough enough to get through a difficult Big East schedule. Let’s see Marquette win a few big games before we place them in the Top 10
14. Oregon (6-1) 19 18
Big win vs. Kansas State last week. The Ducks play perhaps the most exciting brand of basketball in the country and should be a serious contender in the Pac-10 once again.
15. Gonzaga (7-1) 17 19
The Zags shot their way back into a neutral-site game against UConn last weekend and eventually downed the Huskies 85-82. Austin Daye struggled from the floor, but showed great composure for a freshman as he iced the game with three of four free throws down the stretch.
16. Indiana (6-1) 15 15
Perhaps dropping them to No. 20 last week was a bit much. Assuming Eric Gordon’s injury isn’t serious, the Hoosiers have an inside-outside duo that can beat any team.
17. Brigham Young (6-1) 20 22
BYU beat up on Louisville two weeks ago and faces another test in Michigan State on Saturday. A win could catapult this team near the top ten.
18. Louisville (5-1) 14 11
The Cardinals are vastly overrated in both polls. Their frontcourt is suddenly thin and they struggled to a 47-44 win over Miami (Ohio) last week.
19. Arizona (5-2) 22 24
It’s tough to put a 2-loss team ahead of so many undefeated and one loss squads, but ‘Zona posted a signature win over Texas A&M last week, and might finally be realizing its potential. The Wildcats have the talent to be in the Top 10, but recent Lute Olsen teams have mightily underachieved. This week brings another intriguing matchup, as Jerryd Bayless, Chase Budinger and company face Illinois Wednesday night.
20. Texas A&M (7-1) 16 14
The good news: Freshman C DeAndre Jordan is 31-40 from the field. The bad news: Jordan is 6-27 from the charity stripe. The Aggies have a ton of depth and despite a minor meltdown against Arizona appear to be a dangerous squad.
21. Xavier (6-1) 21 20
Aside from their two-point loss to Miami (Ohio), Xavier has won each game by an average of 29 points per game.
22. Villanova (5-1) 25 21
Nova could potentially win their next six games before a January 6 showdown with Pitt. Their talented backcourt duo of Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher is beginning to become lethal.
23. West Virginia (5-1) NR NR
The Mountaineers took care of business when they were supposed to, as they brought their A-game and handled a lesser opponent in Winthrop (70-53). Wish I could say the same thing about the football team.
24. Vanderbilt (7-0) 23 25
The Commodores are proving that last year was not a fluke. After losing All-American Derrick Byers, the scoring load has fallen on the shoulders of senior G/F Shan Foster (19.6 points per game) and freshman center Andrew Ogilvy (18.1 points and 6 rebounds per game).
25. Saint Mary’s NR NR
Why Saint Mary’s over undefeated Clemson? Because the Gaels actually have two signature wins to Clemson’s zero. They beat Oregon by 12 early in the year and beat up on then-undefeated Seton Hall by 15 last week.