NCAA Top 25 Poll

Tue, 01/22/2008 - 11:28am

By Kevin Duffy

Team (Record) AP Poll Rank / ESPN/USAToday Rank

[img_assist|nid=3524|title=Tyler Smith|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=429]1. Memphis (17-0) 1,1

The Tigers finally claim the top spot in the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls after North Carolina was upset by Maryland. After two blowout victories last week, Memphis faces two relative tests in Tulsa and Gonzaga in its first week at the top of the polls.

Likely Seed: 1

2. Kansas (18-0) 2,2

Kansas has staked some claim as the top team in the nation as well. The Jayhawks are currently receiving 10 of the 31 first-place votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, and because they play a tougher schedule than Memphis, Kansas may earn some more votes over the course of the next few weeks. Though no games are a given in the Big 12, the Jayhawks figure to escape with two easy wins at home over Iowa State and Nebraska before the next poll comes out.

Likely Seed: 1

3. Tennessee (16-1) 3 5

Too many weapons. Too many athletes.

While Duke took the No. 3 spot in the Coaches Poll, I agree with the AP and stick Tennessee at 3 for those very reasons. Duke will live and die by the three-point shot (so far they’re living pretty well), but even though the Vols rely on the longball, they have more of an inside presence in Wayne Chism and have more perimeter players that can create off the dribble. This team has the talent to make it all the way to the Final Four.

Likely Seed: 2

4. North Carolina (18-1) 5 4

Carolina is vulnerable, but then again, so is everyone. If Memphis was in the ACC, it would have probably lost a game by now also. Consider the ‘Heels two-point loss to Maryland nothing but a speed bump to a number one seed. It’s unlikely that Carolina will fall out of the top 5 or 6 all year.

Likely Seed: 1

5. Duke (15-1) 4 3

Duke holds onto the No. 5 spot after an impressive three-win week made up of convincing victories over Virginia, Florida State, and Clemson. The Blue Devils only have one game this week, but it’s in a hostile environment in Blacksburg against a Virginia Tech squad that knocked off the Blue Devils last season and has played them tough over the past few seasons. Coach K has his team playing well, but I smell an upset coming soon.

Likely Seed: 2

6. UCLA (16-2) 8 7

The Bruins are ranked ahead of some one-loss Wazzou and Michigan State for one reason: They beat them. I cannot agree with either poll placing Washington State ahead of UCLA when the Bruins convincingly handled the Cougars less than two weeks ago. While UCLA may suffer some more conference losses, I think they will win the top conference in the land, the Pac-10, and in turn earn the last No. 1 seed, edging out Tennessee and Duke.

Likely Seed: 1

7. Washington State (15-1) 6 6

Wazzou needed 27 points from Derrick Low and a furious second-half surge to overcome a pesky Oregon squad on Sunday. The Cougars have a difficult week ahead of them with away games against Arizona and Arizona State, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see this team fall out of the top ten in the next poll.

Likely Seed: 2-3

8. Indiana (16-1) 7 8

After two ugly wins over Illinois and Minnesota, the Hoosiers lost some style points (yes, I take those into consideration) and thus were not able to surpass Washington State in the rankings. Eric Gordon, who looked human for the first time this season against the Gophers, will need to bounce back when Indiana hosts a gritty Iowa squad and an up-and-coming UConn team this week.

Likely seed: 2

9. Michigan State (16-2) 10 10

State rebounded from a disastrous 43-36 defeat at Iowa to beat two good teams in Ohio State and Minnesota last week. The only concern: Star forward Raymar Morgan has struggled mightily over the last three games, averaging 8.3 points per contest while shooting 9-26 from the field and 7-17 from the free throw line.

Likely seed: 2-3

10. Georgetown (14-2) 9 9

There’s no such thing as an easy game in the Big East this year and the Hoyas are quickly learning that. Georgetown sits atop the conference at 4-1 right now, but that could change this week against West Virginia.

Likely seed: 2

11. Texas (14-3) 12 12

The Longhorns were the beneficiary of a topsy-turvy week in college basketball, as they moved up 7 spots in each poll despite barely beating Colorado in their only game. This week brings another challenge, as Texas travels to Stillwater to face off against Oklahoma State in a re-match of the triple overtime thriller last season.

Likely seed: 3-4

12. Vanderbilt (17-2) 13 14

The Commodores are idle all week before returning to action on January 27 at Florida. It became clear that Vandy was not the class of the SEC after a 20-point loss to Tennessee, but the ‘Dores are a notch below. They should be in good position to earn a top 4 seed for the tournament.

Likely seed: 3-4

13. Butler (15-2) 14 15

The Bulldogs are certainly not invincible. A 56-52 loss to Cleveland State (who is now 7-0 in the conference) would have knocked Butler down further if it weren’t for losses by the teams ranked a few spots lower.

Likely seed: 5-6

14. Wisconsin (14-2) 11 11

Wisconsin went from being unranked two weeks ago to nearing the top ten in both the AP and Coaches poll. I’m not quite ready to put the Badgers that high, however. The Big Ten is extremely weak and I’d like to see Wisconsin play Indiana and Michigan State before I can justify placing them as high as No. 11. Two wins last week over Penn State (now without Geary Claxton for the remainder of the season) and Northwestern didn’t prove much.

Likely seed: 5

14. Dayton (14-2) 16 19

Dayton actually moves up one spot after losing to unranked UMass in its only game last week. Though that loss may look bad (especially because it was at home), the A-10 is a more than legitimate conference and even the upper-tier teams like Dayton and Xavier can’t afford to have an off-day.

Likely seed: 5

15. Pittsburgh (15-3) 13 17

Not even considered a Top 15 team by the coaches, the Panthers barely squeak in to the No. 15 spot in our poll. Pitt suffered a tough road loss to a surprising Cincinnati team last week, but has done a good job overall of scrapping its way to victories despite the loss of Levance Fields and Mike Cook. Pitt should get two easy wins in the upcoming week against St. John’s and Rutgers to move its Big East record to 5-2.

Likely seed: 5

16. Ole Miss (15-2) 17 15

It was an erratic week for the Rebels. After knocking off Florida in a 89-87 thriller at home on Wednesday, Ole Miss suffered a hard fought, yet disappointing defeat at Auburn three days later. The Rebels seem to have cemented themselves as a perennial Top 25 team for the rest of the way, but are very young and are susceptible on the road.

Likely seed: 5-6

17. Villanova (13-3) 18 18

Nova rallied to defeat DePaul 76-69 and then upended Syracuse 81-71 in the Carrier Dome. Though they lack size, Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher are quickly becoming one of the top backcourt duos in the nation. Even so, because the Big East is so competitive and Nova lacks a quality win, I wouldn’t consider this team to be a lock for the NCAA tournament.

Likely seed: 7

18. Stanford (15-3) 20 21

Unranked in our poll last week, the Cardinal jumps into the Top 20 after a big win at Arizona and a slaughtering of Arizona State at home. Brook Lopez dominated the Sun Devils inside, going for 19 points and 16 rebounds in leading Stanford to a 15-point win after trailing by 10 at halftime.

Likely seed: 6-7

19. Texas A&M (15-3) 18 16

A&M took a serious fall in the polls after dropping two conference road games against Texas Tech and Kansas State by a combined 36 points. The talent is certainly there, but now there are some question marks lingering over Mark Turgeon’s squad.

Likely seed: 4-5

20. Arizona State (13-2) 22 25

The loss to Stanford hurts, but there aren’t many teams worthy of being placed ahead of the Sun Devils, who stick at No. 21 again this week. They’ll have the chance to move up even further with two home games against Washington and Washington State.

Likely seed: 5-6

21. Xavier (15-4) 23 24

The Musketeers are a bit of a mystery at this point. They have the ability to be ranked in the 12-15 range, but they’ve suffered some very disheartening losses, the most recent of which came Wednesday in a 78-59 loss at Temple. Keep an eye on the Musketeers, who could fall out of the Top 25 if they lose to Dayton on Thursday.

Likely seed: 6-7

22. Baylor (15-2) 25 NR

After cracking our Top 25 last week, the Bears, tied for first place in the Big 12 with Kansas, move up two slots this week. Curtis Jerrells and Co. will face a big test on Wednesday when they travel to College Station to take on a hungry Texas A&M squad.

Likely seed: 7-8

23. St. Mary’s (15-2) NR 24

The Gaels will continue to rise in the polls as they tack on the wins in their soft WCC schedule. A February 4 match-up with Gonzaga will provide a test of where St. Mary’s truly stands in the national rankings.

Likely seed: 6-7

24. Drake (16-1) 22 23

Are the Bulldogs better than major conference teams like Clemson, West Virginia, Florida, and USC? It’s hard to tell, but you can’t argue with their record. Drake has won 15 in a row since losing at St. Mary’s on November 10. It’s only two quality wins came against Iowa and Iowa State (and calling those quality is a stretch), so despite their record, the Bulldogs tournament resume won’t impress the selection committee too much.

Likely seed: 7-8

25. Kansas State (12-4) NR NR

When Bill Walker is knocking down threes and slashing to the basket, the Wildcats are very, very hard to stop. Walker and Michael Beasley combined for 40 points in a rout of Texas A&M on Saturday, and as the two continue to progress, the Wildcats will likely crack the AP and Coaches poll in the coming weeks.

Likely seed: 6-7

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