Rank (Last Week)
1. Ohio State (1)
If you still don’t understand how impressive the Buckeyes are when Jared Sullinger is in the lineup, peruse the box score of their Nov. 29 game with Duke. With him sidelined (sore back), they were close to a solid – and motivated – Kansas team, in Lawrence, to the very end on Saturday. This is still the sport’s best team.
2. Syracuse (3)
The first venture outside of New York – a game at North Carolina State on Saturday – will give the Orange an opportunity to demonstrate why many believe Jim Boeheim’s team is worthy of No. 1 following OSU’s and Kentucky’s losses this past Saturday.
3. Kentucky (2)
The loss to Indiana was more about the Hoosiers showing just how good they are as opposed to the Wildcats offering any reason to think they don’t have the ability to be as good as many believe they can be in March.
4. Connecticut (4)
The Huskies turned in their most impressive performance of the season while dispatching with then-unbeaten Harvard last week. To risk being repetitive: This is a more talented squad than the one that won the national championship.
5. Baylor (8)
A trip to Utah for a game against the Brigham Young University Cougars – even with Jimmer Fredette in a Sacramento Kings uniform – is the toughest test yet for the Bears.
6. North Carolina (6)
The Tar Heels don’t visit an opponent’s building again until they take on Florida State on Jan. 14.
7. Duke (7)
An inability to stop the dribble penetration of the Huskies made the Blue Devils’ game with Washington much more competitive than it was for most of the first half.
8. Florida (8)
A game with Texas A&M on Saturday will give the Gators a chance to demonstrate that this rating is justified.
9. Louisville (9)
If National Coach of the Year honors were doled out a little more than a month into the season, Rick Pitino would be on a short list of candidates.
10. Xavier (10)
That was a heck of an impressive performance against Cincinnati but the flabbergasting brawl in the waning seconds immediately made that effort an afterthought.
11. Kansas (12)
Thomas Robinson is as good as any candidate to offer up as early-season leading contender for John R. Wooden Award honors in April.
12. Missouri (13)
Guard Marcus Denmon (20.3 ppg/.493 on 3s) is having a heck of a senior season so far, isn’t he?
13. Marquette (15)
A Dec. 19 game at LSU is shapes up as much more nationally significant than it seemed it would be a month ago.
14.Illinois (16)
There is nothing breezy about the rest of December (which includes games with UNLV, Missouri, Minnesota and Purdue) for Bruce Weber’s crew.
15. Indiana (NR)

Sure – Tom Crean’s name would be on that very short list of Early Season Coach of the Year candidates as well.

16. Harvard (16)
How thoroughly will the Crimson have to dominate Ivy League action to get, say, a 4 or 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament field?


On the cusp: Creighton (7-1), San Diego State (9-2), Wisconsin (8-2), Saint Louis (9-1), Georgetown (8-1), California (8-2), Michigan (7-2), Vanderbilt (6-3), Stanford (8-1), Mississippi State (9-1), Virginia (8-1), Wichita State (7-2), UNLV (9-2), Pittsburgh (9-1) and Murray State (10-0).

Top performances of Dec. 5-Dec. 11

TEAMS: Indiana (Handed Kentucky its first loss), Kansas (Gave the Ohio State Buckeyes – minus Jared Sullinger – their first loss), Murray State (Improved to 10-0 with a win at Memphis), Connecticut (Removed Harvard from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 14-point decision in Storrs), Michigan State (beat Gonzaga in Spokane).


PLAYERS: Christian Watford (Indiana/hit game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer against Kentucky), Thomas Robinson (Kansas/averaged 23.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in wins over Long Beach State and Ohio State), Draymond Green (Michigan State/34 points in the win at Gonzaga), Carl Jones (Saint Joseph’s/29 points, five assists, five rebounds and three steals while helping hand Creighton its first loss).



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 College coaching staffs interested in Burlison’s scouting service should contact him at [email protected]


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