College Basketball Top 25: Kentucky, Syracuse Top B/R Writers Rankings

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIMarch 5, 2012

College Basketball Top 25: Kentucky, Syracuse Top B/R Writers Rankings

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    Kentucky, Syracuse and Kansas remained as the Top 3, but a few Top 10 upsets led to another shakeup in the B/R Writers rankings.

    How did Duke's and Michigan State's losses affect the poll?

    Read on to find out.

    Voters: Teddy Bailey, Ryan EshlemanJoshua GleasonAri Kramer, Jesse Kramer, David MayerThad NovakMatt OveringRobert PaceJosh SchochJames SullivanDan Vasta

Just Missed the Cut

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    Dropped From Rankings


    Others Receiving Votes

    Gonzaga, 8

    Drexel, 7

    South Florida, 6

    Virginia, 3

    New Mexico, 2

    Iowa State, 2

    UConn, 1

25. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

2 of 29

    Record: 21-10, 13-5 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Voting Points: 36

    Despite finishing third in the Big East, Notre Dame came in at No. 25. The Fighting Irish stumbled down the stretch, losing to St. John's and Georgetown. They did salvage the season's final week by beating Providence, though.

    Three voters didn't rank Notre Dame, which peaked at No. 19.

24. Saint Mary's Gaels

3 of 29

    Record: 26-5, 14-2 WCC

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Voting Points: 40

    As the WCC's No. 1 seed, Saint Mary's earned a bye to the conference semifinals, where they staved off San Francisco's upset bid. The Gaels will battle rival Gonzaga on Monday night for the league's automatic bid.

    Saint Mary's appeared on eight ballots, ranking as high as No. 16.

23. Temple Owls

4 of 29

    Record: 24-6, 13-3 A-10

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Voting Points: 42

    Temple survived a scare against UMass before dominating Fordham on the road. The Owls have now won 13 their last 14 games. 

    Temple peaked at No. 15 but didn't appear on two ballots.

    Voter Opinion: "I used to love Temple, but they are struggling lately. Almost blew it against La Salle because of a stupid technical, St. Joe's beat them, and then they beat a UMass team that outplayed them solely because they shot 40 free throws. You only win by two points, after shooting 40 free throws? That's not good. Very overrated, lucky team." — Joshua Gleason

22. Louisville Cardinals

5 of 29

    Record: 22-9, 10-8 Big East

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Voting Points: 43

    After losing to South Florida and Syracuse, Louisville barely edged Temple for the No. 22 spot. The Cardinals couldn't beat the Bulls at home on senior night, setting them up for a tough finish to the season at Syracuse.

    Three voters didn't rank Louisville, which came in as high as No. 20.

    Voter Opinion: "The Cardinals' inconsistency is very concerning going into the NCAA Tournament. This team is very talented, but you really never know what to expect when they step on the court." — Robert Pace

21. Creighton Blue Jays

6 of 29

    Record: 28-5, 14-4 MVC

    Week: 3-0

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Voting Points: 56

    We didn't get the MVC championship we were hoping for, but it was a thriller nonetheless. After reaching the finals, Creighton needed overtime to defeat Illinois State for the league crown.

    As usual, Doug McDermott dominated.

    Creighton appeared on all but one ballot and ranked as high as No. 10.

    Voter Opinion: "The Blue Jays did a great job turning things around after their midseason swoon, and a seven-game winning streak (and counting) is nothing to sneeze at." — Thad Novak

20. San Diego State Aztecs

7 of 29

    Record: 24-6, 10-4 MWC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Voting Points: 65

    San Diego State won easily at Boise State but needed overtime to dispose of TCU. Nonetheless, the Aztecs emerged 2-0 from the season's final week.

    They'll play Boise State in the MWC tournament's first round on Thursday.

    San Diego State appeared on 13 ballots, peaking at No. 16.

19. UNLV Rebels

8 of 29

    Record: 25-7, 9-5 MWC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Voting Points: 85

    UNLV lost at Colorado State but beat Wyoming in the season's final week. The Rebels will face the same Cowboy squad on Thursday in the MWC tournament first round.

    UNLV ranked as high as No. 15 and as low as No. 25.

18. Florida State Seminoles

9 of 29

    Record: 21-9, 12-4 ACC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Voting Points: 91

    Florida State mounted yet another comeback, this time against Virginia. The Seminoles finished Thursday's game against the Cavaliers on a 12-2 run to win 63-60.

    Over the weekend, Florida State led Clemson for almost the entire contest.

    Voters ranked the Seminoles between No. 12 and No. 22.

17. Florida Gators

10 of 29

    Record: 22-9, 10-6 SEC

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Voting Points: 99

    Florida ended the regular season on a three-game skid, unacceptably losing to Georgia but also falling to Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Backing into the postseason is never good, so the Gators desperately need to win a couple of games in the SEC tournament.

    Florida came in as high as No. 14 and as low as No. 23.

    Voter Opinion: "I picked UF low because they are just so inconsistent. They live and die by the three pointer and in the tournament, it's one and done and they just don't have a complete enough team." — David Mayer

16. Wichita State Shockers

11 of 29

    Record: 27-5, 16-2 MVC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Voting Points: 110

    Wichita State deprived us of a MVC championship against Creighton, bowing out to a pesky Illinois State squad in the conference semifinals. Though they didn't get the MVC's automatic bid, the Shockers will be called on Selection Sunday.

    They ranked between No. 13 and No. 21.

15. Indiana Hoosiers

12 of 29

    Record: 24-7, 11-7 Big Ten

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Voting Points: 132

    Indiana used a big week to jump three spots in the rankings. First, the Hoosiers beat Michigan State by 15 points. Then, they disposed of Purdue.

    Though they couldn't earn a share of the regular season crown, winning seven of eight is the way Tom Crean wanted to enter the conference tournament.

    Voters ranked Indiana as high as No. 11 and as low as No. 19.

    Voter Opinion: "After a strong start to the season, the Hoosiers have been overshadowed in the Big Ten as they have settled into mediocrity. However, with a strong four-game win steak to close out conference play that included a win against Michigan State, the Hoosiers have upped their appeal as a competitive tournament team." — Robert Pace

14. Wisconsin Badgers

13 of 29

    Record: 23-8, 12-6 Big Ten

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Voting Points: 149

    Wisconsin fought off Minnesota and easily disposed of Illinois last week, finishing Big Ten play in fourth place. The Badgers have won three straight and four of their last five.

    Voters ranked Wisconsin between No. 10 and No. 18.

13. Baylor Bears

14 of 29

    Record: 25-6, 12-6 Big 12

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Voting Points: 154

    Baylor dominated Texas Tech but struggled with Iowa State, losing to the Cyclones 80-72. The Bears will play Kansas State in the Big 12's first round—expect another tight game.

    Baylor peaked at No. 8 but also came in as low as No. 17.

    Voter Opinion: "When looking at this team, keep in mind that four of their five losses have come to No. 3 Kansas and No. 7 Missouri, and those teams can beat some of the best in the country." — Josh Schoch

12. Michigan Wolverines

15 of 29

    Record: 23-8, 13-5 Big Ten

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Voting Points: 166

    Earning a share of the Big Ten regular season championship, Michigan has won six of its last seven contests. The Wolverines defeated Illinois and Penn State last week to close out the regular season.

    Voters ranked Michigan between No. 9 and No. 15.

    Voter Opinion: "Michigan is coming off two road wins, which is hard enough in the Big Ten, beating Illinois and Penn State this week. Evan Smotrycz is heating up, a key player that Coach Belien desperately needs. Most bracketologists are seeding UM at a 2/3, but they deserve to be at No. 11 for now." — Teddy Bailey

11. Georgetown Hoyas

16 of 29

    Record: 22-7, 12-6 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Voting Points: 169

    Georgetown fell one spot after splitting last week's games against Notre Dame and Marquette. The Hoyas beat the Fighting Irish by 18 but lost to the Golden Eagles by 14.

    Georgetown peaked at No. 10 but also came in as low as No. 14.

10. Murray State Racers

17 of 29

    Record: 30-1, 15-1 OVC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Voting Points: 193

    As the OVC's regular season champion, Murray State received a bye to the conference semifinals. The Racers took care of business, beating Tennessee Tech and then Tennessee State for the conference's automatic bid.

    Murray State came in as high as No. 7 and as low as No. 14.

    Voter Opinion: "Say what you like about the competition they're playing, but Murray State keeps winning." — Thad Novak

9. Marquette Golden Eagles

18 of 29

    Record: 25-6, 14-4 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Voting Points: 205

    After being dominated by Cincinnati, Marquette easily disposed of Georgetown over the weekend, securing second place in the Big East.

    Marquette ranked between No. 5 and No. 13.

    Voter Opinion: "Marquette's transition game is great. They really ran the floor well against Georgetown. Talented squad. Can get sloppy, but they can be very dangerous." — Joshua Gleason

8. Michigan State Spartans

19 of 29

    Record: 24-7, 13-5 Big Ten

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Voting Points: 214

    Not only did Michigan State falter down the stretch—losing their last two regular season contests—but the Spartans also lost Branden Dawson to a torn ACL. Dawsen ranked third on the Spartans in scoring and second in rebounding.

    Michigan State peaked at No. 5 but also came in as low as No. 12.

7. Ohio State Buckeyes

20 of 29

    Record: 25-6, 13-5 Big Ten

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Voting Points: 221

    Ohio State fought off Northwestern before staging a comeback to topple Michigan State. The Buckeyes, who had lost three of five, have now won back-to-back games, entering the conference tournament.

    Voters ranked Ohio State between No. 5 and No. 9.

    Voter Opinion: "We always knew Jared Sullinger would be the anchor for Ohio State, but with William Buford hitting his stride, the Buckeyes have a dangerous inside-outside combination. Buford is the X-factor for this team, and seeing him clinch a win against Michigan State is a great sign for Thad Matta and company." — Josh Schoch

6. Duke Blue Devils

21 of 29

    Record: 26-5, 13-3 ACC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Voting Points: 237

    As expected, Duke defeated Wake Forest. However, the Blue Devils were embarrassed by UNC at Cameron, falling by 18 to the Tar Heels.

    As a result, Duke finished in second place.

    Duke ranked as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 9.

    Voter Opinion: "As North Carolina showed us this week, [Duke is] incredibly vulnerable to a good frontcourt. If the Blue Devils run into a talented big man in the tournament, they might as well pack their bags early." — Josh Schoch

5. Missouri Tigers

22 of 29

    Record: 27-4, 14-4 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Voting Points: 242

    Though Missouri struggled with Iowa State, the Tigers earned a victory over the Cyclones. They also routed Texas Tech a few days later.

    Voters ranked Missouri between No. 4 and No. 8.

4. UNC Tar Heels

23 of 29

    Record: 27-4, 14-2 ACC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Voting Points: 262

    UNC exacted revenge on Duke, dominating the Blue Devils to win the ACC regular season championship. The Tar Heels also beat Maryland earlier in the week.

    UNC ranked as high as No. 3 and as low as No. 7.

    Voter Opinion: "Made a statement against Duke, definitely showed their one-seed potential. It will be exciting to see how well both Duke and North Carolina play in the ACC tournament." — Matt Overing

3. Kansas Jayhawks

24 of 29

    Record: 26-5, 16-2 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Voting Points: 274

    Kansas won both of its games by double-digits last week, defeating Oklahoma State and Texas. The win over the Cowboys clinched the regular season Big 12 title for the Jayhawks.

    Ten of 12 voters ranked the Jayhawks at No. 3. The other two pitted them at No. 4.

2. Syracuse Orange

25 of 29

    Record: 30-1, 17-1 Big East

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Voting Points: 289

    In its only game last week, Syracuse defeated Louisville at the Carrier Dome. The Orange, who have won 10 straight, are on a roll entering the Big East tournament.

    Syracuse received one first place vote but appeared at No. 2 on every other ballot.

    Voter Opinion: "I picked Syracuse as the No. 1 team not because they are my favorite team, but because they have depth that is unmatched.  Although they don't have the best shooting team in the country, once they get into a tournament setting their zone defense and crazy depth will be enough to take them to the National Championship." — David Mayer

1. Kentucky Wildcats

26 of 29

    Record: 30-1, 16-0 SEC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Voting Points: 299

    Kentucky's torrid streak continued, as the Wildcats defeated Georgia and Florida by an average of 22.5 points. Sunday's tilt against the Gators was close with as few as nine minutes left, but the Wildcats dominated the stretch run to win 74-59.

    As a result of their 22-game winning streak, the Wildcats received all but one first place vote.

    Voter Opinion: "We're still splitting hairs between Kentucky and Syracuse, but I give the edge to Kentucky because they are one jump shot away from undefeated. Syracuse is one Fab Melo suspension away from an undefeated record. Both are incredible teams." — Matt Overing

Full Top 25

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    1. Kentucky, 299

    2. Syracuse, 289

    3. Kansas, 274

    4. UNC, 262

    5. Missouri, 242

    6. Duke, 237

    7. Ohio State, 221

    8. Michigan State, 214

    9. Marquette, 205

    10. Murray State, 193

    11. Georgetown, 169

    12. Michigan, 166

    13. Baylor, 154

    14. Wisconsin, 149

    15. Indiana, 132

    16. Wichita State, 110

    17. Florida, 99

    18. Florida State, 91

    19. UNLV, 85,

    20. San Diego State, 65

    21. Creighton, 56

    22. Louisville, 43

    23. Temple, 42

    24. Saint Mary's, 40

    25. Notre Dame, 36

    Others receiving votes: Gonzaga (8), Drexel (7), South Florida (6), Virginia (3), New Mexico (2), Iowa State (2), UConn (1)

Conference Breakdown

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    Big East: 5

    Big Ten: 5

    ACC: 3

    Big 12: 3

    SEC: 2

    MVC: 2

    MWC: 2

    A-10: 1

    OVC: 1

    WCC: 1