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

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIMarch 12, 2012

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

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    Though both suffered conference tournament defeats, Kentucky and Syracuse held on to the top two spots in the B/R Writers Rankings.

    Kentucky and Syracuse weren't the only Top 25 teams to fall last week, though, and most others weren't able to maintain their ranking. For example, Florida lost to the Wildcats in the SEC tournament and dropped a couple of spots.

    Others ascended through the rankings after collecting big wins against conference foes. Vanderbilt and New Mexico cracked the Top 25 while Louisville and Florida State each jumped several spots.

    Read on to see where everyone stands.

    Voters: Joshua GleasonAri KramerJesse KramerDavid MayerThad NovakMatt OveringRobert PaceJosh Schoch, Gene SiudutJames Sullivan

Just Missed the Cut

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    Dropped From Rankings

    Temple, 23

    Notre Dame, 25


    Others Receiving Votes

    Memphis, 12

    Notre Dame, 10

    Temple, 6

    Cincinnati, 5

    Gonzaga, 3

    South Florida, 1

    VCU, 1

25. New Mexico Lobos

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    Record: 27-6, 10-4 MWC

    Week: 3-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 30

    After topping UNLV and San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament, conference champ New Mexico cracked the B/R Writers Rankings. The Lobos won their three conference tournament games by an average of 9.6 points.

    A tough No. 12 seeded Long Beach State squad awaits New Mexico on Thursday.

    Six voters ranked the Lobos, who peaked at No. 18.

24. San Diego State Aztecs

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    Record: 26-7, 10-4 MWC

    Week: 2-1

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Voting Points: 38

    Though San Diego State fell to New Mexico in the MWC championship, the Aztecs still rank ahead of their conference foe. San Diego State knocked off Boise State and Colorado State before losing to the Lobos.

    On Friday, the Aztecs will face No. 11 seed NC State, which won two ACC tournament games before controversially losing to UNC in the semifinals.

    All but two voters ranked San Diego State.

23. UNLV Rebels

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    Record: 26-8, 9-5 MWC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Voting Points: 44

    Yet another Mountain West team found itself at the bottom of the poll.

    Despite beating Wyoming, UNLV fell to New Mexico in the conference semifinals and dropped four spots in the rankings.

    The Rebels, who ranked as high as No. 18, will play Pac-12 champion Colorado on Thursday.

22. Saint Mary's Gaels

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    Record: 27-5, 14-2 WCC

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Voting Points: 45

    Saint Mary's only game this week was a big one. On Monday night, the Gaels defeated Gonzaga in the WCC championship.

    They'll face Purdue on Friday.

    Two voters didn't rank Saint Mary's, but one had the Gaels at No. 13.

21. Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Record: 24-10, 10-6 SEC

    Week: 3-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 46

    Kentucky was clearly the SEC's best team, but in 10 years, you'll see Vanderbilt as the 2012 SEC tournament champion. The Commodores upset the Wildcats in the conference championship after beating Georgia and Ole Miss in the tournament's earlier rounds.

    Seven voters ranked Vanderbilt, which peaked at No. 9.

20. Creighton Bluejays

7 of 29

    Record: 28-5, 14-4 MVC

    Week: 0-0

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Voting Points: 47

    Creighton did not play last week but ascended one spot, edging Vanderbilt by one point.

    The Bluejays, who appeared on all but three ballots, will play Alabama on Friday.

19. Florida Gators

8 of 29

    Record: 23-10, 10-6 SEC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Voting Points: 61

    Losing four of its last five games, Florida dropped two spots in the rankings. The Gators fended off Alabama but couldn't beat Kentucky in the SEC semifinals.

    As a result of their poor finish, the Gators were one of the biggest losers of Selection Sunday, receiving a No. 7 seed.

    Two voters didn't rank Florida while one had the Gators at No. 12.

18. Wichita State Shockers

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    Record: 27-5, 16-2 MVC

    Week: 0-0

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Voting Points: 72

    Because of the performances of Louisville and Florida State last week, Wichita State dropped to No. 18.

    The Shockers, who will face VCU on Thursday, ranked between No. 14 and No. 24.

17. Louisville Cardinals

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    Record: 26-9, 10-8 Big East

    Week: 4-0

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Voting Points: 83

    Winning four games in four days, Louisville won the Big East championship. The Cardinals defeated Seton Hall, Marquette, Notre Dame and Cincinnati along the way.

    They'll face Davidson on Thursday, and they ranked as high as No. 15.

16. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Record: 25-8, 11-7 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Voting Points: 103

    After beating Penn State, Indiana couldn't top Wisconsin for a spot in the Big Ten semifinals. The Hoosiers had won five consecutive games.

    A decent New Mexico State team awaits Indiana, which peaked at No. 10.

15. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Record: 24-9, 12-6 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Voting Points: 115

    Wisconsin beat Indiana in the Big Ten quarterfinals but couldn't upset Michigan State for a shot at the conference championship. The Badgers lost to the Spartans by 13 points.

    Voters ranked Wisconsin between No. 12 and No. 19.

14. Michigan Wolverines

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    Record: 24-9, 13-5 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Voting Points: 123

    After needing overtime to beat Minnesota, Michigan was routed by Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals. The Wolverines fell 77-55.

    They'll play Ohio on Friday, and they appeared as high as No. 11.

13. Georgetown Hoyas

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    Record: 23-8, 12-6 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Voting Points: 124

    Georgetown couldn't advance past the Big East quarterfinals, losing to Cincinnati in double overtime. The Hoyas, who have been somewhat inconsistent, will face an offensive-minded Belmont squad on Friday.

    Voters ranked Georgetown between No. 11 and No. 18.

12. Florida State Seminoles

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    Record: 24-9, 12-4 ACC

    Week: 3-0

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Voting Points: 128

    Knocking off Duke and UNC in the same season is quite an accomplishment. But Florida State did it twice, beating the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels en route to the ACC championship.

    The Seminoles, who will play Saint Bonaventure on Friday, peaked at No. 8.

11. Marquette Golden Eagles

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    Record: 25-7, 14-4 Big East

    Week: 0-1

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Voting Points: 143

    Though Marquette couldn't advance past the Big East quarterfinals, the Golden Eagles ranked No. 11 this week. They lost to eventual conference champ Louisville 84-71.

    With Iona and BYU set to play Tuesday, Marquette doesn't know exactly who it'll play on Thursday. 

    Voters ranked the Golden Eagles between No. 10 and No. 17.

10. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 30-1, 15-1 OVC

    Week: 0-0

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Voting Points: 147

    Murray State had a week off between its conference championship and Selection Sunday, and the selection committee paired the Racers with Colorado State in the Round of 64.

    Voters ranked Murray State as high as No. 5.

9. Baylor Bears

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    Record: 27-7, 12-6 Big 12

    Week: 2-1

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Voting Points: 153

    Sporting its new uniforms, Baylor beat Kansas State and Kansas en route to a spot in the Big 12 championship, but Missouri once again overwhelmed the Bears.

    Baylor, who will face an upset-minded South Dakota State on Thursday, came in at No. 9 on half the ballots.

8. Duke Blue Devils

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    Record: 27-6, 13-3 ACC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Voting Points: 180

    For the second time this year, Duke lost to Florida State. This time, the Seminoles defeated the Blue Devils in the ACC semifinals.

    Despite the early exit, Duke received a No. 2 seed and a Friday date with Lehigh.

    The Blue Devils came in as high as No. 7 and as low as No. 10.

7. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Record: 27-7, 13-5 Big Ten

    Week: 2-1

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Voting Points: 185

    In the Big Ten championship and season rubber match, Ohio State fell to Michigan State. The Buckeyes only forced six turnovers and allowed the Spartans to shoot 48.1 percent from the floor.

    Ohio State, which ranked as high as No. 6, will face Loyola-Md. on Thursday.

6. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Record: 27-6, 16-2 Big 12

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Voting Points: 206

    Kansas dropped three spots after losing to Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals.

    Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, they'll face a surging Detroit team, which is a No. 15 seed solely because of its slow start.

    Kansas appeared as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 7.

5. UNC Tar Heels

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    Record: 29-5, 14-2 ACC

    Week: 2-1

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Voting Points: 211

    UNC very rarely loses to the same team twice in one season, but Florida State defeated the Tar Heels for the second time, winning the ACC championship. 

    With Lamar and Vermont set to play for a shot at the Tar Heels, UNC doesn't know exactly who it'll play on Friday. 

    Voters ranked UNC between No. 3 and No. 7.

4. Michigan State Spartans

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    Record: 27-7, 13-5 Big Ten

    Week: 3-0

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Voting Points: 214

    After losing its final two regular season games, Michigan State reeled off three wins in three days to capture the Big Ten championship. The Spartans defeated Ohio State yesterday in the final.

    Voters ranked the Spartans between No. 3 and No. 7.

3. Missouri Tigers

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    Record: 30-4, 14-4 Big 12

    Week: 3-0

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Voting Points: 227

    Missouri received its first and only first place vote this season after defeating Baylor in the Big 12 championship. The victory helped the Tigers to a No. 2 seed and a Friday date with Norfolk State.

    Other than the voter who pegged Missouri at No. 1, nearly every other voter had the Tigers at No. 3.

2. Syracuse Orange

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    Record: 31-2, 17-1 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Voting Points: 239

    Despite losing in the Big East semifinals, Syracuse deservingly remained at No. 2 and received a No. 1 seed. The Orange couldn't ride Dion Waiters' hot hand to a win over Cincinnati, but there's still only one team that deserves to be ranked ahead of them.

    Syracuse, which received one first place vote, will play UNC-Asheville on Thursday.

1. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Record: 32-2, 16-0 SEC

    Week: 2-1

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Voting Points: 248

    Kentucky remained at No. 1 even though it lost to Vanderbilt in the SEC championship. The loss was the Wildcats' first since Dec. 10.

    As the NCAA tournament's overall No. 1 seed, Kentucky doesn't know who it will play on Thursday—the Wildcats will face either Mississippi Valley State or Western Kentucky.

Full Top 25

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    1. Kentucky, 248

    2. Syracuse, 239

    3. Missouri, 227

    4. Michigan State, 214

    5. UNC, 211

    6. Kansas, 206

    7. Ohio State, 185

    8. Duke, 180

    9. Baylor, 153

    10. Murray State, 147

    11. Marquette, 143

    12. Florida State, 128

    13. Georgetown, 124

    14. Michigan, 123

    15. Wisconsin, 115

    16. Indiana, 103

    17. Louisville, 83

    18. Wichita State, 72

    19. Florida, 61

    20. Creighton, 47

    21. Vanderbilt, 46

    22. Saint Mary's 45

    23. UNLV, 44

    24. San Diego State, 38

    25. New Mexico, 30

    Other receiving votes: Memphis (12), Notre Dame (10), Temple (6), Cincinnati (5), Gonzaga (3), South Florida (1), VCU (1)

Conference Breakdown

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    Big Ten: 5

    Big East: 4

    ACC: 3

    Big 12: 3

    MWC: 3

    SEC: 3

    MVC: 2

    OVC: 1

    WCC: 1