Pittsburgh Panthers Rise, Purdue Tumbles in Bleacher Report Top 25

Jameson FlemingSenior Writer IJanuary 18, 2010

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Dante Taylor #11 of the Pitt Panthers shoots in front of Christian Watford #2  of the Indiana Hoosiers during the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 8, 2009 in New York, New York. The Hoosiers defeated the Panthers 74-64.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

There are two undefeated teams in Big East play left.

One was predictable. At 5-0 in league play, it's no surprise that a preseason top five team like Villanova would be without a blemish.

The other undefeated team, Pittsburgh, was picked to finish in the bottom half of the league and made few people's preseason NCAA Tournament brackets.

Jamie Dixon has taken a cast of fairly talented, inexperienced players and turned them into a typical Ben Howland Pittsburgh team. For the first time in several years, the Panthers have returned to their roots and become one of the toughest, most physical teams on the defensive end of the floor.

The results of Dixon's team's makeover are shocking. Pittsburgh has won eight in a row, including three consecutive road games against Syracuse, Cincinnati, and Connecticut. In a mere four weeks, Pitt went from not receiving a single vote in the Bleacher Report Top 25 to receiving 299, good enough for a 10th-place ranking.

While Pittsburgh is rising, Purdue is falling, rapidly.

After starting out the season at 14-0 and winning their first two conference games, the Boilermakers lost an acceptable game—at Wisconsin, one of the toughest places to play in America.

What happened next wasn't acceptable. Robbie Hummel scored 28 points in the first half against Ohio State, but Purdue wasted his performance, blowing a double-digit lead late at home.

If two losses weren't enough, Northwestern sent Purdue spiraling one more time, taking the Boilermakers down in Evanston. With another road game against Illinois coming up, Purdue's streak could reach four games.

The Boilermakers still have the résumé of a top 10 to 15 team, and that's where Bleacher Report voters ranked them.

Also, after North Carolina's disastrous week, the Tar Heels barely stayed alive in the poll. With six losses, including three in their last four games, the Tar Heels are falling apart. One more loss to Wake Forest this week and Roy Williams' team could be in trouble come March.

If you're a Bleacher Report member and interested in voting in the Bleacher Report Top 25 poll, email Jameson Fleming at jamesonfleming@gmail.com to receive a ballot.

Ranking, Team (record through Sunday), votes (first place votes), ranking last week

1. Texas 17-0, 493 (13) Last Week: 1

2. Kentucky 18-0, 484 (6) Last Week: 2

3. Kansas 16-1, 452 (1) Last Week: 3

4. Syracuse 17-1, 438 Last Week: 4

5. Villanova 16-1, 431 Last Week: 5

6. Duke 15-2, 395 Last Week: 7

7. Michigan State 15-3, 371 Last Week: 8

8. Tennessee 14-2, 353, Last Week: 10

9. Kansas State 15-2, 313 Last Week: 14

10. Pittsburgh 15-2, 299 Last Week: 15

11. West Virginia 13-3, 296 Last Week: 9

12. Georgetown 13-3, 268 Last Week: 11

13. Purdue 14-3, 237 Last Week: 6

14. Gonzaga 14-3, 230 Last Week: 17

15. Brigham Young 18-1, 225 Last Week: 18

16. Wisconsin 14-4, 179 Last Week: 12

17. Clemson 15-3, 168 Last Week: 23

18. Temple 15-3, 167 Last Week: 21

19. Georgia Tech 13-4, 130 Last Week: 20

20. Mississippi 13-4. 97 Last Week: 19

21. Ohio State 13-5, 85 Last Week: Not Ranked

22. New Mexico 16-3, 69 Last Week: 22

23. North Carolina 12-6, 65 Last Week: 13

24. Northern Iowa 16-1, 55 Last Week: Not Ranked

25. Butler 14-4, 43 Last Week: Not Ranked

Others Receiving Votes: Connecticut 41, Vanderbilt 31, Mississippi State 22, Baylor 21, Florida State 17, Rhode Island 12, Xavier 11, Virginia 8, Texas A&M 6, Illinois 5, UNLV 4, Marshall 4, Notre Dame 3, UAB 3, Saint Mary's 3, Northwestern 3, Cornell 2, Missouri 1, William & Mary 1

Participants: Jameson Fleming, Aaron Morse, Chris DiLuccio, Sam Silverman, Drew Gatewood, Brandon Bohning, Paul Seaver, Paul Swaney, Tyler Stimson, Derek Pivko, Daniel Karell, Brittany Jacobs, Mike Miller, Dr. Anthony Huff, Scott Henry, Corey Andry, Stephen Clay, Corey Taylor, Major Kelchner, Michael Jee


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