NCAA Power 16 Rankings

Sun, 11/28/2010 - 9:40pm

We’ve had our fill of turkey and all of the dressings, but our appetite for college hoops is growing by the week. Feast week usually provides a few surprises and this year was no exception. Very few expected UConn to defeat two top ten teams en route to the Maui Invitational championship and not many predicted Tennessee to handle Villanova in the Garden to win the NIT. However, that’s what makes this time of year so much fun. The tip-off tournaments are behind us and the various conference challenges highlight the upcoming week. On to the third edition of the Power 16…

Rank (Last Week)
1. Duke (1)
Coach K earned his 800th career win in a dominant performance by his Blue Devils against a very good Kansas State team. Kyrie Irving and Seth Curry have been huge additions to the defending national champions, as Irving provides elite playmaking ability and Curry stretches the floor with his 47.6% three-point shooting. Duke faces a huge upcoming week as two 2010 Final Four teams come calling in Michigan State and Butler.
2. Ohio State (2)
Ohio State has been on a roll defensively by holding its last three opponents under 45 points. Thad Matta’s club picked up two wins this week despite modest production from Jared Sullinger. His freshman running mate, Deshaun Thomas picked up the slack by averaging 15.5 pts and 6 rebs for the week. An interesting match up at Florida State looms for the Buckeyes Tuesday night.
3. Pitsburgh (4)
The biggest concern for Jamie Dixon after seven games is his rotation. That’s a good problem, because he currently has ten players averaging ten or more minutes per game and they have all been productive. This team’s depth will serve it well in the Big East. As will as its efficiency on the offensive glass. Pitt currently leads the nation with an astounding 49.1% offensive rebounding rate.
4. Michigan State (3)
Sparty ran into a buzzsaw by the name of Kemba Walker in the Maui Invitational, but they bounced back with a strong second-half effort to down a solid Washington team in the consolation game. Tom Izzo’s teams have traditionally started a bit slow, as evident by their 13-year drought in early-season tournaments. They have a chance to make a big statement Wednesday night as they travel to Cameron Indoor to challenge the defending national champion Duke Blue Devils.
5. Kansas (8)
KU is off to an impressive start as it leads the nation in offensive and defensive efficiency after six games. After seeing limited playing time last season, Sophomore Thomas Robinson is contributing early for the Jayhawks. His 10.7 pts and 6.3 rebs per game provide important frontcourt production for a team that lost its all-American center to the NBA Draft.
6. Kansas State (7)
While very disappointing in a loss to Duke, Frank Martin’s club is still a legitimate Final Four threat. However, they must cut down the turnovers and start hitting some free throws. K-State ranks 342nd in the country in free throw shooting percentage. They won in spite of those woes last year, but it’s going to cost them games sooner or later.
7. UConn (NR)
It seems like every year some team defies the pre-season prognostications and makes a huge leap in the polls. Last year it was Syracuse, this year it’s UConn. Kemba Walker was a man on fire in Hawaii, averaging 30 pts and 4 assists while leading his team to victories over two top ten opponents. Balance may be an issue going forward as Alex Oriakhi is the only other Husky averaging double figures. Despite that concern, Jim Calhoun’s club will likely be 10-0 when they travel to Pittsburgh on December 27th.
8. Baylor (10)
Baylor is an extremely dangerous team with the return of last year’s leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn, following a suspension. However, we may not get a real read on this team until Big 12 play due to their weak non-conference schedule.
9. Kentucky (6)
Coach Cal’s young Wildcats suffered a letdown after its impressive win over Washington. Kentucky was run out of the gym early by a hot UConn squad in the final of the Maui Invitational. Terrance Jones continued his torrid start with 24 points in the defeat. We’re excited to see three potential top 10 picks in action next Saturday as Jones and Brandon Knight travel to Chapel Hill for a battle with Harrison Barnes.
10. Minnesota (12)
The Golden Gophers are off to a tremendous start and they’ve added more fuel to the argument that the Big Ten is the best conference in the country. They will have an opportunity to start the conference on the right foot as they face Virginia in the first game of the Big Ten – ACC Challenge Monday night. Al Nolen and Rodney Williams will likely miss that game and possibly a few more, due to injuries. Will Tubby Smith reinstate Devoe Joseph given their absence?
11. Missouri (14)
Mizzou’s bench is averaging over 30 points per game and that depth feeds right into coach Mike Anderson’s style. The Tigers employ a frenetic pace and their ability to run ten guys at you causes teams to wear down. One example of their depth was their ability to survive the championship game of the Cancun Challenge against LaSalle despite last year’s leading scorer, Kim English, being held scoreless. The Tigers face a big test against Georgetown Tuesday night.
12. Tennessee (NR)
Give credit to the Tennessee players for responding to all of the off-season controversy with a strong start. They posted two quality wins over VCU and Villanova to win the Pre-Season NIT and they did it with strong defensive effort. Scott Hopson was named tournament MVP, but the Vols also received a big contribution from freshman Tobias Harris who is averaging 15.8 pts and 5.8 rebs per game.
13. Villanova (5)
Nova took one on the chin at Madison Square Garden Friday night at the hands of Tennessee. A major point of concern for Jay Wright’s club has been its outside shooting. They currently rank 281st in the country in three-point shooting percentage. Is it an early season slump or a sign of things to come?
14. Syracuse (13)
The Orange remain undefeated and in our Power 16, but not without some angst. They survived three close games against teams that may struggle to make the NCAA Tournament, as the Cuse found a way to win the Legends Classic. Heralded recruit Fab Melo has been a major disappointment thus far, but Rick Jackson is picking up the slack in the frontcourt.
15. San Diego State (15)
The Aztecs face a couple of interesting challenges this week as they play host to fellow mid-majors, St. Mary’s and Wichita State. Continue to keep your eye on Sophomore forward Kawhi Leonard, as he has posted five double-doubles in six games.
16. Georgetown (16)
The Hoyas have been lighting it up from the outside as they currently rank 6th in the country with a 44.4% three-point shooting percentage. Austin Freeman is shooting a blistering 57.6% on 5.5 three-point attempts per game. Jason Clark and Chris Wright also average over 5 three-point attempts per game and they’re shooting an equally impressive 45%. Coach Thompson’s club needs that production due to their thin frontcourt, but can they rely upon hot outside shooting for the balance of the season?

Email questions or opinions to Josh at [email protected].

Registered User
Joined: 11/29/2010
Points: 1

Duke is going 2 repeat. The only team that can beat them is Baylor or a well coached team like Syracuse other than that if they stay healthy its a wrap

llperez's picture
Registered User
Joined: 04/13/2009
Posts: 13187
Points: 15351
you shouldnt quit on

you shouldnt quit on washington too soon. Washnigton had leads against both kentucky and michigan state at halftime and both games were decided in the finl minute of play. Even after the second loss, the espn announcers said there are not 10 teams in america better then washington. I think washington would be favored against half the teams on this list.

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Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 11
Points: -18

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