The three of the four top-ranked clubs in the Power 16 face potentially severe tests this week:

No. 1 Syracuse is at No. 13 Pittsburgh (Wednesday);

No. 2 Arizona visits Tempe to take on an Arizona State club that is playing very well in Pac 12 competition, on Friday;

And the No. 4 Florida Gators – who haven’t lost since dropping a three-point decision to Connecticut in Storrs on Dec. 2 – are in Lexington on Saturday to face a Kentucky team that has won 10 of its past 12 games.

Another key matchup in the ACC has rivals Duke (No. 10) and North Carolina playing in Chapel Hill on Wednesday.

Rank (Last Week)
1. Syracuse (2)
The Orange has allowed more than 59 points just once in 10 games in 2014.
2. Arizona (1)
The Wildcats took care of two pieces of Pacific Northwest business in Tucson.
3. Wichita State (3)
At this rate, it would be at least a mild surprise if the Shockers aren’t 34-0 going into the NCAA Tournament.
4. Florida (4)
The SEC sledding should be more considerably hazardous this week in Knoxville and Lexington
5. San Diego State (5)
(Aztecs in Albuquerque) on your hoops-to-watch calendar.
6. Cincinnati (6)
The 15-game streak tumbled in Dallas Saturday but Bearcats’ play since mid-December has been remarkable.
7. Kansas (9)
The environment in Manhattan should be more than just a tad hostile Monday night.
8. Creighton (7)
Doug McDermott and his teammates hit a speed bump of sorts in New York Sunday.
9. Villanova (12)
The game at Creighton on Sunday should determine Big East’s regular-season crown.
10. Duke (NR)
The Blue Devils are batting .500 in road ACC games and hope to hit 1.000 in Chapel Hill Wednesday night.
11. Virginia (NR)
With just a loss at Duke (by four points), no one has played better in the “2014” portion of this season.
12. Michigan St. (10)
Eventually the Spartans are going to be “intact” and then we’ll see the real team most everyone (myself included) believes would be capable of winning a national title.
13. Pittsburgh (8)
The Panthers get to swing for the ACC fences this week (at home to Syracuse Wednesday; at North Carolina Saturday).
14. Wisconsin (15)
Did wins over Illinois and Michigan State effectively stop the “bleeding” (from five losses in six games)?
15. Iowa (14)

Just one game this week (at Penn State on Saturday).

16. Michigan (13)
This remains one of the more difficult teams to get a real handle on.

THE NEXT 16 (alphabetical): Arizona State 18-6, Connecticut 18-5, Gonzaga 21-4, Green Bay 19-5, Iowa State 18-4, Kentucky 18-5, Louisville 19-4, Memphis 18-5, New Mexico 18-4, North Carolina 16-7, Ohio State 19-5, Oklahoma 18-6, Saint Louis 22-2, SMU 19-5, Texas 18-5 and UCLA 18-5.


*Florida. It’s 15 in a row now for the Gators after SEC wins against Missouri and Alabama in Gainesville.

*Saint Louis. Stretched its winning streak to 16 with road A-10 victories against St. Joseph’s and LaSalle.

*San Diego State. MWC victories at Boise State and home to Nevada ran the Aztecs’ streak of victories to 20.

*SMU. Picked up to American Conference victories, including one that snapped Cincinnati’s 15-game winning streak.

*Wisconsin. The Badgers collected a couple of critical Big Ten victories against Illinois (on the road) and Michigan State.


*Aaron Craft. Ohio State’s senior point guard averaged 12.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.5 steals in Big Ten wins over Iowa and Purdue.

*Melvin Ejim. The senior forward from Iowa State scored 22 points in an OT win at Oklahoma State, then exploded for 48 points and 18 rebounds in a home Big 12 win over TCU.

*Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The “other” freshman for Arizona averaged 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in Arizona’s Pac 12 wins over Oregon and Oregon State.

*Nic Moore. The transfer from Illinois State averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists to help SMU score American Conference wins over Temple and Cincinnati.

*Jabari Parker. Duke’s freshman forward averaged 25.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in ACC wins over Wake Forest and Boston College.

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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