Rank (Last Week)
1. Ohio State (1)
If you’re Thad Matta, or anyone else emotionally vested in the Buckeyes winning a Big Ten crown, much less national hardware, the injuries to Jared Sullinger have to be a concern. The latest is a bruised left foot.
2. Syracuse (2)
This is how balanced Jim Boeheim’s club is: No one averages more than 14.4 points, 6.0 rebounds or 4.0 assists per game. Big East opener on Dec. 28 (vs. 8-3 DePaul) is now more intriguing than it appeared it was going to be a month ago.
3. Kentucky (3)
For the hoops-enthused among us, there are a lot worse options than parking our butts in front of flat-screens to watch the Wildcats and Louisville hook up early afternoon on New Year’s Eve.
4. Connecticut (4)
Freshman Andre Drummond hit 11 of 12 shots with 24 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots against Holy Cross on Sunday. He’ll put up numbers like that occasionally in the Big East and NCAA Tournament portions of the season as well.
5. Baylor (5)
If nothing else, the Bears are closing in on a Mountain West Conference championship after winning at Brigham Young University Saturday with a Nov. 15 victory over San Diego State also on their resume.
6. North Carolina (6)
From the Remarkable Statistics Department – the Tar Heels are hitting .412 behind the arc even with one of their best 3-point threats (Leslie McDonald) sidelined for the season because of a knee injury.
7. Duke (7)
Mr. Consistency – Freshman Austin Rivers has scored fewer than 15 points just twice this season while exceeding 20 just twice.
8. Florida (8)
The Gators play host to Florida State Thursday night in an in-state “SEC-ACC Challenge” game of sorts – there might not be a better game this week.
9. Louisville (9)
On the subject of Big East openers on Dec. 28 – the Cardinals taking on visiting Georgetown (9-1) should be a dandy, eh?
10. Kansas (11)
Call it a hunch but, although the Jayhawks haven’t played since knocking off Ohio State on Dec. 10, Thomas Robinson will still look like their best player when they play host to Davidson on Monday night.
11. Missouri (12)
Illinois’ 16-point loss to UNLV on Saturday took a little of the luster off the Illini-Tigers’ showdown on Thursday night – but not a whole lot.
12. Marquette (13)
Truth be told, there may not be a deeper – or better – backcourt than the one that Coach Buzz Williams has at his disposal with the Golden Eagles.
13. Indiana (15)
Just a hunch – we’ll see a Zeller vs. Zeller showdown in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.
14.Xavier (10)
Of course, with Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dez Wells in street clothes while serving suspensions, there will always be a significant asterisk attached to the Musketeers’ first loss of the season (by 16 points to Oral Roberts Sunday in Cincinnati). Holloway vs. Long Beach State’s Casper Ware (Thursday night in Honolulu) could be the week’s best individual matchup.
15. Harvard (16)

The Ivy League foes would beg to differ but a Dec. 31 game vs. Saint Joseph’s is shaping up as the Crimson’s toughest remaining regular-season competition.

16. Wisconsin (NR)
The Badgers get the final slot in the Power 16 – losses were only to North Carolina and Marquette by a combined margin of 10 points.

On the cusp: Creighton 8-1, Virginia 9-1, Mississippi State 11-1, San Diego State 9-2, Saint Louis 10-1, Georgetown 9-1, California 9-2, Michigan 9-2, Wichita State 8-2, UNLV 11-2, Pittsburgh 10-1, Murray State 12-0, Illinois 10-1, Stanford 9-1 and Cleveland State 10-1.

Top performances of Dec. 12-18

TEAMS: Syracuse (16-point victory over North Carolina State in first “true” road contest); UNLV (16-point decision over previously unbeaten Illinois in Chicago); Baylor (three-point win over BYU in Provo); South Dakota State (beat Washington by 19 points in Seattle).


PLAYERS: DeShaun Thomas (Ohio State/a combined 53 points vs. University of South Carolina-Upper State and the South Carolina squad that resides in Columbia); Perry Jones III (Baylor/28 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in win at BYU); Dion Waiters (Syracuse/Came off the bench for a career-high 22 points to go with three assists at North Carolina State); Mike Moser (UNLV/17 points and 11 rebounds vs. Illinois); Jorge Gutierrez (Cal/24 points, five rebounds and three assists and just one turnover while holding Weber State’s Damian Lillard, the leading scorer in the country, to four of 17 from the field and a season-low 14 points)


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


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