We had some movement in the Power 16 after several prominent non-conference match-ups this week. However, Duke strengthened its hold on the #1 spot with solid wins against fellow 2010 Final Four teams, Michigan State and Butler. While Duke did its part, the ACC wasn’t able to hold off the Big Ten for the second consecutive year in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. In a battle of Power 16 teams, Georgetown downed Missouri in an OT thriller. There are several exciting non-conference games ahead this week including Michigan State – Syracuse, Tennessee – Pitt and UNLV – Louisville, but now it’s time for December’s first Power 16…

Rank (Last Week)
1. Duke (1)
Is there any doubt that this year’s Duke team is improved due to the arrival of Kyrie Irving? He has posted impressive early season performances versus two of the best veteran point guards in college basketball, Jacob Pullen and Kalin Lucas. Irving is building a resume that could land him as the #1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
2. Ohio State (2)
The Buckeyes held its fourth straight opponent under 45 points with a solid road victory at Florida State. Thad Matta’s club leads the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency at 0.823 points per possession. Much of the credit goes to OSU’s senior leader David Lighty. He’s an excellent athlete and is one of the best all-around defenders in the country.
3. Pitsburgh (3)
After nine games, Pitt has the #1 ranked offense in the country in terms of points per possession. The 2010-11 Panthers are showing some of the same characteristics as the 2008-09 version, which made a run to the Elite Eight. That team ranked #2 in the country offensive efficiency and offensive rebounding, while this year’s club is #1 in both categories. Jamie Dixon’s team gets a big test against Tennessee this Saturday.
4. Kansas (4)
The Jayhawks survived a close contest with UCLA thanks to a controversial call Thursday night. The win ran their non-conference home winning streak to 64. For the first time this season, KU looked like they missed Cole Aldrich as UCLA freshman, Joshua Smith, dominated the Jayhawks’ frontline. Bill Self’s team faces another challenge as they take on Memphis Tuesday night.
5. Kansas State (6)
Frank Martin’s team had another shaky outing at Washington State Friday night. Despite the sloppy win, Frank Martin had to be pleased that his team was able to pull out a victory in a tough road environment, especially when Jacob Pullen had a terrible night. Pullen was 2-11 for 8 pts and he had 6 turnovers. I know you’re all waiting for the weekly K-State free throw percentage watch: they dropped two spots to 344th in the country. This can’t continue, can it?
6. UConn (7)
The Huskies struggled in their return to the mainland, surviving a close contest with New Hampshire. Kemba Walker continued his torrid start with 30 and 24-point performances this week. The junior guard is averaging 29.1 ppg on 53.3% shooting. Jim Calhoun’s squad has a light schedule of three games over the next three weeks leading up to Christmas.
7. Baylor (8)
Coach Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears survived a scare as X-Rays confirmed that LaceDarius Dunn has only a bruised left forearm after taking a hard fall against Arizona State Friday night. Prior to the fall, Dunn had a big night making 6-threes and scoring 24 pts. Freshman phenom and projected Top Pick, Perry Jones, had a solid week averaging 14 pts and 10 rebs.
8. Tennessee (12)
Tennessee had a light tune-up versus Middle Tennessee State last week and now they’re busy preparing for a tough road trip to Pitt this Saturday. The Vols are doing a much better job of getting to the free throw line this season as Tobias Harris, Cameron Tatum and Scotty Hopson are all averaging over 5.5 charity stripe attempts per game.
9. Georgetown (16)
The Hoyas downed Mizzou in an OT thriller, which was probably college basketball’s game of the year so far. Once again John Thompson’s team was deadly from the three-point line as they connected on 15 of 32 attempts including one by Chris Wright that sent the game to OT. This is the second year in a row the Hoyas have started the season 8-0. Coach Thompson will be hoping for better than last year’s 15-11 finish.
10. Michigan State (5)
Sparty hung tough with the #1 team in the nation at Cameron Indoor, but their early-season turnover problems cost them. Michigan State is often considered a fundamentally sound team, so it’s surprising to find them ranked 324th in turnover percentage and 288th in free throw shooting percentage. Don’t be too concerned with the two early-season losses though, because MSU has lost two games before December 5th in five of the last six seasons. That didn’t stop them from making the Final Four in three of those seasons.
11. San Diego State (15)
The Aztecs passed two stiff tests last week with home wins against St. Mary’s and Wichita State. The Mountain West race should be among the most entertaining in the country again this year as San Diego State, UNLV and BYU are all potential 25-win teams. Sophomore Kawhi Leonard is emerging as a star.
12. Villanova (13)
Nova is in the midst of Big Five play over the next week and they shouldn’t be tested again until facing Temple on December 30th. The Cats once again struggled from the three-point arc, but they were able to secure a win against St. Joe’s thanks to excellent rebounding by Antonio Pena and Mouphtaou Yarou.
13. Syracuse (14)
The Orange continue to win close games, as they survived against NC State Saturday night. Outside shooting has been a problem for the ‘Cuse and they’ll need to correct it if they hope to compete for a Big East championship. We’ll find out more about Jim Boeheim’s club when they face Michigan State Tuesday night.
14. UNLV(NR)
Lon Kruger has done an outstanding job since taking over the UNLV program in 2004. He has compiled a 145-62 record and taken the Runnin Rebels to three NCAA tournaments. His team is off to an impressive start with wins over Wisconsin and Virginia Tech. They’ll face a big road test this Saturday at Louisville.
15. Texas (NR)
Jordan Hamilton is picking up the slack for the departed Damion James. His scoring average is up 11.7 ppg and his rebounding average has increased by 4.3. The addition of blue chip freshmen, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph make the Longhorns one of the most athletic teams in the nation.
16. Illinois (NR)
Bruce Webber’s team had an excellent week with a home win against North Carolina and a solid “road” victory in Seattle against Gonzaga. The Illini have shown nice balance this season with five players averaging double-figures. Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale give Illinois an inside punch to complement the terrific guard trio of Demitri McCamey, D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul.

Dropped out: Kentucky (9), Minnesota (10), Missouri (11)

Email questions or opinions to Josh at [email protected]


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