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I made some moves in my Power 16 based on feel. Memphis is playing too well right now not to be pushing on Connecticut's and Duke's heels. The Tigers shouldn't be penalized for having one loss and be behind Villanova. Duke, UConn and Memphis are playing the best basketball of any elite teams. Villanova isn't too far behind, but the Wildcats only have the one marquee win vs. Oklahoma. The Zags continue to play down to their level of competition, like going the distance with Spokane city rival Eastern Washington. Still, they win and they play one of the toughest schedules in the country. I'm feeling Washington and UCLA out of the Pac-10 after impressive starts by both, especially the road win by the Bruins at Michigan. BC is getting back to full strength and the Terps deserve top-16 mention after beating the Eagles. Gone from this poll are Texas, Louisville and Kentucky (even after pounding Louisville). I never thought that would occur. All three should be in the top 16 come March, but this is a snapshot each week and I'm not feeling any of the three this week.
You won't see the nation's most overrated team on my list. No. 10 Louisville has done absolutely nothing to earn a place in the Power 16, but there still is good news for Cardinals' fans. My "most overrated" preseason team -- Memphis -- has done awfully well for itself so far. In the meantime, there are no changes in my first five heading into the holidays. May Santa leave a No. 1 seed in all of your stockings!!
This is generally Safe Harbor Week in college basketball, when the big-time teams schedule a comfortable home game or two leading into the holidays. For that reason, there isn't much change in the rankings. I continue to be impressed with Illinois, which tortured Missouri -- and, you'd have to think, further hastened Quin Snyder's demise in Columbia -- and remains unbeaten. The Big Ten as a whole looks terrific so far and could challenge the Big East and ACC for Top Dog honors.
Not much of a change at the top, but Texas falls off the map following its loss at home to Tennessee. Don't write off the Longhorns quite yet as Rick Barnes will get this team back on track. Indiana had a nice win at underachieving Charlotte. Louisville drops as Rick Pitino's team hasn't impressed me at all. Memphis-Gonzaga next week should be a fun game to watch! 1. Duke
8. Michigan State
12. George Washington
16. North Carolina State
Tennessee jumps into the 16 with its big win at Texas. Can the Vols keep it going against Oklahoma State? UCLA jumps up with its big victory at Michigan. Conference play begins soon and then we'll see how some of the big boys fare.
Duke is No. 1 in the polls and was my preseason No. 1, but nobody has looked stronger than UConn to be the best in March. Memphis continues to rise with a bullet because the Tigers are not only talented, but this year, they are talented and together. Florida and Washington are my favorites to watch and Illinois may be beatable, but nobody seems to figure how to do it. The Illini have won 56 of their last 57 regular-season games. 1. Connecticut
4. Michigan State
13. Ohio State
16. Rajon Rondo
Bruce Weber is 127-23 in his last 4½ years as a head coach, and if we look at the downfall of Purdue, it began when he left West Lafayette, so maybe we need to take a good, long look at the Illini as the next "It" program in the Big Ten. Gonzaga has not been sharp since Maui, but the most fortunate part of being Gonzaga is that unlike the BCS conference schools, they have conference play to work out the kinks in their chain. Northwestern State (La.) has two guarantee-game wins (Mississippi St. and Oklahoma St.), they just beat Oregon State in Hawaii, and if Iowa State is not careful, it might get the Cyclones, too. Northern Iowa continues to impress with a win at LSU, and since the MVC is the best mid-major conference in the land, I always put my favorite team in the Power 16.
Illinois and Michigan State bump up a bit as the Big Ten is looking very strong heading into conference play. Can't see any way to keep Texas or Louisville in the 16 based on recent performance. Will keep the fighting Falcons in at No. 16 although a great case could be made for mid-major fave Northern Iowa, which will win at least one NCAA game this season.