Selection Sunday is two weeks away, and as each team frantically attempts to earn that signature win that will earn a ticket to the dance, here’s where the Top 25 stands according to KP…
The KP Poll (College Hoops – Week 16)
1. CONNECTICUT (27-2) Previous Rank: 3
Two solid wins over Marquette and Notre Dame earned the Huskies top billing, and perhaps more impressively, the Calhoun rant caused zero distraction. Next up is Saturday’s rematch with Pittsburgh.
2. NORTH CAROLINA (25-3) Previous Rank: 4
How would Coach Roy get his ‘Heels ready for ACC bottom dweller Georgia Tech after a tough overtime loss to Maryland? How about a 30-point blowout win, and oh yeah, for good measure, Tyler Hansbrough also set the NCAA career free throw shooting mark.
3. PITTSBURGH (26-3) Previous Rank: 1
The big scare this week for the Panthers was not the beatdown at the hands of the Friars, but instead the moment where DeJuan Blair left injured against Seton Hall. Fortunately for Pitt fans, he later returned.
4. OKLAHOMA (26-3) Previous Rank: 2
What concussion? Blake Griffin showed no ill effects in his return, scoring twenty points, while adding nineteen boards against Texas Tech the other night.
5. LOUISVILLE (23-5) Previous Rank: 5
Two wins this week against Seton Hall and West Virginia, coupled with a UConn loss to Pitt, and the Cardinals would have themselves the outright Big East regular season title.
6. MEMPHIS (26-3) Previous Rank: 6
Houston and Tulane are all that stand in the way of yet another undefeated conference regular season by the Tigers. It’s almost expected at this point.
7. DUKE (24-5) Previous Rank: 7
Make that four straight for Coach K and the Blue Devils. Two more wins vs. FSU and at Carolina (plus a solid conference tourney run), and could a one seed be the prize?
8. MICHIGAN STATE (23-5) Previous Rank: 9
The talented tandem of Kalin Lucas and Raymar Morgan were key in Sunday’s win over Illinois, shooting 50% from the floor, while scoring a combined 32 points.
9. WAKE FOREST (22-5) Previous Rank: 10
It was a long week for Jeff Teague, who averaged 12 points a game over two games, while shooting 5 of 21 from the field. The Demon Deacons, however, escaped with two victories over Virginia and N.C. State.
10. KANSAS (24-5) Previous Rank: 16
Guard Sherron Collins scored 51 points over the last two games, both being impressive resume building wins, one over Oklahoma, plus a blowout victory over Missouri.
11. MARQUETTE (23-6) Previous Rank: 8
The bad news last week: two losses to tough conference opponents in UConn and Louisville. The worse news: losing Dominic James for the year.
12. VILLANOVA (23-6) Previous Rank: 12
The Wildcats have been involved in three nail biters over the last week plus, all by a combined total of seven points, including Saturday’s heartbreaking loss to Georgetown.
13. GONZAGA (23-5) Previous Rank: 17
While everyone talks about Memphis and its ability to sweep through its conference, the ‘Zags matched the Tigers with a similar undefeated run. In fact, the Bulldogs have lost only once in 2009—to you guessed it, Memphis.
14. LSU (25-4) Previous Rank: 20
Are there still doubts regarding the Tigers, even after successfully taking down both Florida and Kentucky? How about for Marcus Thornton as SEC Player of the Year?
15. CLEMSON (22-6) Previous Rank: 11
Looking for a reason why The Tigers have lost two in a row? How about the charity strip—20 for 31 from the line for the week, that’s 65%. Ugly.
16. PURDUE (22-7) Previous Rank: 15
6’ 10” sophomore JaJuan Johnson, averaging six boards and over thirteen points a game, should be considered a dark horse for Big Ten player of the year.
17. MISSOURI (24-5) Previous Rank: 13
Entering the previous week, the Tigers were the fourth highest scoring team in the nation. During Sunday’s 25-point loss to Kansas, Missouri managed just 19 first half points.
18. XAVIER (23-5) Previous Rank: 18
This week’s game against Dayton has big-time bubble implications. That plus the Musketeers, while in, are seeking revenge for a loss to the Flyers a few weeks back.
19. ARIZONA STATE (21-7) Previous Rank: 14
Back-to-back overtime road losses are enough to send a team into a funk…or make them stronger for a potential conference tournament run.
20. FLORIDA STATE (22-7) Previous Rank: 19
Senior guard Toney Douglas (20.6 points per game) isn’t just the team’s leader scorer, but the only one in double figures. Yikes.
21. UCLA (22-7) Previous Rank: 22
Two road wins at Stanford and Cal are enough to heal some wounds left by a team that was reeling after previously losing three of four.
22. WASHINGTON (22-7) Previous Rank: 23
Would anyone really argue if Isaiah Thomas earned Conference Player of the Year honors over James Harden of the Sun Devils? Maybe, maybe not.
23. BUTLER (25-4) Previous Rank: 24
If you’re the Bulldogs, you likely don’t want to face Cleveland State (who fell to Butler by two points—again) in the Horizon league conference tournament. If you’re a bubble team, you don’t want that either.
24. ILLINOIS (23-7) Previous Rank: 21
The Fighting Illini couldn’t keep the Spartans from clinching the Big Ten regular season title on Sunday, despite having four players score in double-figures.
25. SYRACUSE (21-8) Previous Rank: NR
Over the last four games, the Orange have averaged just under 90 points per game, including this past week’s two blowout wins over St. John’s and Cincinnati.
DROPPED OUT: Texas (19-9)
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