NCAA Top 25 Poll
By Kevin Duffy
Team (Record) AP Poll Rank / Coaches Poll Rank
[img_assist|nid=3613|title=Russell Westbrook - Darryl Dennis/Icon SMI|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=430]1. UCLA (6-0) 2 1
The Bruins took care business with Maryland, and survived a close scare against Michigan State without Darren Collison. Imagine what they’ll do when Collison returns. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute came up huge with a game clinching 3 against Michigan State. And Kevin Love has been as good as advertised. Collison's absense may ultimately end up a blessing in disguise as it's given back up Russell Westbrook valuable experience and confidence which is sure to help him and the team come March. Next: Wednesday vs. George Washington
2. North Carolina (5-0) 1 2
North Carolina has been solid but they aren't playing at the level of the Bruins yet. Check back next week. If the ‘Heels handle Ohio State and Kentucky on the road, they could make a run at the No. 1 ranking. Next: Wednesday at No. 24 Ohio State, Saturday at Kentucky.
3. Memphis (5-0) 3 3
Probably the most talented team in the country. We’ll really see what the Tigers are made of when they play USC, Georgetown, Gonzaga, and Tennessee later in the season. Although their cush conference schedule could be tough to wake up from come tourney time. Next: Wednesday vs. Austin Peay
4. Georgetown (3-0) 5 5
Thanks to David Padgett’s foot injury, the Hoyas are now the undeniable class of the Big East. With that being said, G’Town is not deserving of the first-place vote they received in the AP Poll. The Hoyas deliberate style of offense will lead to many close games, as evidenced by a 57-48 win over Ball State (0-3) last week. Next: Wednesday at Old Dominion (upset alert).
5. Kansas (5-0) 4 4
The Jayhawks are flying under the radar as national title contenders. This team is every bit as talented as any other and if it weren’t for a very poorly played Elite Eight game vs. UCLA last year, Kansas would have been in the Final Four. They return essentially everyone besides Julian Wright. The loss of Sherron Collins for a couple months (fractured foot) hurts, but the Jayhawks have plenty of depth and experience in the backcourt. Kansas close win vs. Arizona drops them a spot. Next: Wednesday vs. Florida Atlantic
6. Duke (6-0) 7 7
The Dukies finally have something they haven’t had in years: athleticism. DeMarcus Nelson is healthy and Gerald Henderson is blossoming into a star. And with so many 3 point shooters, this team can beat anyone on any night. They have a chance to make a statement this week with two crucial non-conference games. Next: Tuesday vs. No. 20 Wisconsin, Saturday vs. Davidson.
7. Texas (5-0) 8 8
No Durant, no problem. Pint-size guards AJ Abrams and DJ Augustin were the catalysts of a 97-78 thrashing of then No. 7 Tennessee. Next: Wednesday vs. Texas Southern.
8. Michigan State (4-1) 10 13
If there was ever a time that a team should move up after a loss, it’s this week for the Spartans. Izzo’s squad is playing with its usual grit and toughness, but also has a veteran point guard and some very athletic wings. Next: Wednesday vs. No. 24 North Carolina State, Saturday vs. Jacksonville
9. Washington State (6-0) 6 6
The Cougars are on the verge of climbing into the Top 5 of both the AP and Coaches Poll. Before this happens, lets remember this was a team that got hot last season and then fell off in March, as it stumbled in the second round to Vanderbilt. I’m not quite sold on Washington State yet, especially considering how difficult their Pac-10 schedule will be. Next: Friday at Baylor.
10. Tennessee (5-1) 11 12
Before everyone jumps off the Volunteer bandwagon, remember one thing. Guard play wins championships, and this Tennessee team has an All-American in Chris Lofton and three very good ones with the last name Smith. Next: Tuesday vs. North Carolina A&T, Saturday vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
11. Texas A+M (6-0) 9 9
Between DeAndre Jordan and Joseph Jones, the Aggies will be a load to handle inside all season long. Next: Wednesday vs. Alabama (upset alert)
12. Pittsburgh (5-0) 14 11
Levance Fields must be loving Pitt’s early season schedule because there have been so many cupcakes. Next team for Fields and Co. to feast on: Tuesday vs. Boston University.
13. USC (5-1) 22 24
The Trojan’s Mayo is already the second-most famous USC athlete named OJ. For his sake, let’s hope he never is the most famous. Despite an early loss to Mercer, the emergence of Davon Jefferson signifies that the Trojans are rolling after blowing out a solid Southern Illinois team. Next: Thursday vs. Oklahoma (upset alert).
14. Butler (6-0) 16 16
Uh oh…they’re back. The Bulldogs have begun another season of giant-killing, knocking off Michigan, Virginia Tech, and Texas Tech in consecutive games. Next: Saturday vs. Ohio State.
15. Marquette (4-1) 13 14
Tough loss to Duke in the Maui doesn’t hurt Marquette’s rankings. The Golden Eagles are a talented team, but anyone who watched the first-round of the NCAA tournament last year knows that because they are so guard heavy, they can go through some scoring droughts. Next: Friday vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
16. Oregon (5-1) 17 17
Loss at Saint Mary’s is a bit scary but they were missing their top player Bryce Taylor. We’ll learn a lot about the Ducks when they face Mr. Beasley this week. Next: Thursday at No. 25 Kansas State.
17. Gonzaga (5-1) 19 19
No, Josh Heytvelt, you aren’t hallucinating. Austin Daye is that good. Next: Thursday at Saint Josephs, Saturday vs. UConn.
18. Brigham Young (5-1) 22 23
BYU beat up on Louisville and played well in a tough loss to North Carolina. The Cougars brutal non-conference schedule continues on Saturday. Next: Saturday vs. Portland.
19. Louisville (4-1) 12 10
Let’s look on the bright side. It’s not like David Padgett has never been hurt before. The Cardinals still have Derrick Character and Earl Clark, who is playing the best basketball of his life, up front. Also Padgett can return next year after a redshirt year. Next: Saturday vs. Miami-Ohio.
20. Xavier (4-1) 23 25
The Musketeers beat Indiana by 15. How could they possibly be ranked below them? (as they are in the AP and Coaches Poll) Next: Wednesday vs. Oakland
21. Indiana (4-1) 15 15
The Hoosiers better hope the loss to Xavier was simply a bump in the road, because they have two more difficult games this week that could move them back up- or possibly out of- the rankings. Next: Tuesday vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday at Southern Illinois.
22. Villanova (4-1) NR 21
We knew Scottie Reynolds could score. Now we know that Corey Fisher can too. Nova’s explosive backcourt duo is among the best in the country. Next: Saturday vs. Penn.
23. West Virginia (3-1) NR NR
The Mountaineers only loss was a 74-72 defeat vs. Tennessee. Bob Huggins may make some noise with his alma mater sooner rather than later. Next: Wednesday vs. Maryland Eastern-Shore, Saturday vs. Winthrop (upset alert).
24. Ohio State (4-1) NR NR
I’ll give the Buckeyes the benefit of the doubt. They beat Syracuse by 14 and got housed by Texas A&M by 23. Because of their youth, they will be inconsistent at times, but there is too much talent on this team to keep them outside of the Top 25. Next: Wednesday vs. No. 2 North Carolina, Saturday vs. No. 13 Butler.
25. Michael Beasley (5-1) 25 NR
Wait…there’s a whole team? My bad. Next: Thursday vs. No. 16 Oregon.
Not Ready to be Ranked:
Clemson (5-0) No. 18 in AP Poll and Coaches Poll. The Tigers started off 17-0 last year and we all know what happened after that. They are playing a weak schedule early on again and I’m not buying them just quite yet. Wisconsin (5-0) No. 20 in AP Poll and Coaches PollNo Alando Tucker. No Kammron Taylor. No way this team is any better than the one that failed to make the Sweet 16 last year. Keep an eye on: Arizona (3-2) The ‘Cats went into Kansas last weekend and brought the Jayhawks into overtime behind 27 points from Chase Budinger. The talent is always there in Tucson, it’s just a matter of getting the most of it. If they can gel, Budinger and freshman sensation Jerryd Bayless should lead ‘Zona to some big wins in the Pac-10. California (3-0) NR has one of the best frontcourts in the country with Devon Harden and Ryan Anderson plus an underrated backcourt with Patrick Christopher and Jerome Randle. Cal could crack the top 25 with a win at Nevada on Wednesday.