1. Kansas Jayhawks (20-1)
Thanks to Sherron Collins and the OT win over Kansas State, the Jayhawks are in the top spot once again.
2. Syracuse Orange (21-1)
Technically this team has the best record in the nation, but I just think Kansas has a stronger team by a slim margin. Jim Boeheim should definitely be in the running for Coach of the Year.
3. Kentucky Wildcats (20-1)
UK fans shouldn’t be worried about the one loss to South Carolina. This team is still pretty awesome.
4. Villanova Wildcats (19-1)
Scottie Reynolds continues to lead the way. The Wildcats could pick up a top seed in the tournament and maybe even a No. 1 overall seed if Kansas, Syracuse, and Kentucky drop a game or two more.
5. BYU Cougars (21-2)
Nobody is talking about this team and I don’t understand why. Despite their recent loss to New Mexico, this Cougars team is still looking pretty strong and could get a No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the tournament.
6. Northern Iowa Panthers (19-2)
Like BYU, Northern Iowa is another dark-horse team that’s having a great year, with their only losses coming against DePaul and Wichita State.
7. Murray State Racers (20-3)
Nobody is giving this team enough credit. The Racers are currently riding an 11-game winning streak and are looking to surprise some people in late March. Could this team be George Mason Version Two?
8. Texas Longhorns (18-3)
All the Longhorns fans are saying, “All great teams have their struggles every now and then,” which is true, but after losing to teams like K-State and a struggling UConn team, I’m still not sure if they can handle the big dogs of the NCAA like KU, Syracuse, Kentucky, or 'Nova.
9. St. Mary’s Gaels (19-3)
This team is looking pretty strong after blowout wins over San Diego, Pepperdine, and Loyola Marymount.
10. Purdue Boilermakers (18-3)
Looks like the Boilers have completely forgotten about their recent 30-game losing streak and followed it up with a four-game winning streak. I can’t wait for Feb. 9.
11. Michigan State Spartans (19-3)
The red-hot Spartans are looking to continue their quest for a Big Ten Championship and a decent seed in the tournament. Wisconsin is a good team, but the Spartans are looking to knock them down tonight.
12. Cornell Big Red (18-3)
Who would’ve thought that there would be an Ivy League team in here? I’ve had my eye on them ever since they almost beat Kansas a few weeks back. They are currently riding a six-game win streak and are looking to prove to us junkies that they are smart in the classroom and on the courts.
13. West Virginia Mountaineers (17-3)
Da’Sean Butler continues to lead the Mountaineers pretty well. WVU is currently on a four-game win streak, but Syracuse and Villanova still stand in their way of a conference championship. They’re good, but they're not the best team in the conference.
14. New Mexico Lobos (20-3)
After the recent win over BYU, the Lobos are a team that I would have my eye on in the polls. Darington Hobson and Roman Martinez are playing great and NMU has won their last six games.
15. UAB Blazers (18-3)
A rare loss to UTEP snapped their seven-game winning streak. Now let’s see if they can beat the still-pretty-good Memphis Tigers tomorrow night.
16. Rhode Island Rams (17-3)
Mark your calendars for Feb. 13 for the big game between Temple and URI. This game could show me who’s really the best team in the A-10.
17. Duke Blue Devils (17-4)
After seeing them lose on the road against Georgetown, I’m starting to believe that the Dukies aren’t National Championship material. I hope they can prove me wrong.
18. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (19-4)
I know what you’re thinking. If you believe that this team really isn’t any good, guess again. I know they play in a terrible Big South conference, but these guys have two great leaders in Chad Gray and Joseph Harris who can get it done night in and night out. I’ll be impressed if they win two games in the tournament.
19. Baylor Bears (16-4)
After watching them beat Texas on Saturday, I now believe that nobody should be surprised if they make it to the Sweet Sixteen.
20. Tennessee Volunteers (16-4)
The Feb. 9 game against Vanderbilt is becoming more and more intriguing. Despite their recent loss to Vanderbilt, I still think the Vols have the better team, but by a slim margin. Now let’s see if they can prove me right.
21. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (17-4)
And the best college basketball coming out of the state of Oklahoma is...Tulsa? Yeah! You better believe it. Sure, they don’t play in a high-powered conference, but this team is filled with great talent, starting with Ben Uzoh and Jerome Jordan. If they can beat Duke, they could shoot up in my rankings in late February.
22. Kansas State Wildcats (17-4)
If they would’ve scored three more points against the Jayhawks, they would’ve been at about the 13 or 14 spot in the rankings, but they did lose the game. However, this is not a team you want to sleep on if you have them on your schedule. This Jacob Pullen kid is not fun to play against.
23. Vanderbilt Commodores (16-4)
The loss to Kentucky pretty much said to me that the Commodores aren’t National Championship contenders. If they can get them back on Feb. 20, then I could change my mind about that a little bit.
24. Virginia Tech Hokies (16-4)
Feb. 21 at Duke: If the Hokies win that game, I might consider them as the best team in the ACC.
25. Wichita State Shockers (19-4)
This team could get into my top 20 if they can pull out wins over UNI and Indiana State this week. If Toure’ Murry and J.T. Durley play well, then it can be done.
Carter’s NCAA National Player of the Year Race
1. Omar Samhan (St. Mary’s)
2. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
3. Jacob Pullen (Kansas State)
4. Damion James (Texas)
5. Jon Scheyer (Duke)
6. Wesley Johnson (Syracuse)
7. Malcolm Delaney (Virginia Tech)
8. Scottie Reynolds (Villanova)
9. Ryan Wittman (Cornell)
10. LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor)
Carter’s Coach of the Year Race
1. Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)
2. Bill Self (Kansas)
3. John Calipari (Kentucky)
4. Jay Wright (Villanova)
5. Dave Rose (BYU)