Kansas Jayhawks, Kentucky Wildcats Separate Themselves in BR Top 25

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Kansas Jayhawks, Kentucky Wildcats Separate Themselves in BR Top 25
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Kansas and Kentucky have finally earned their spots as the top two teams in the nation. Not because those two squads are the only teams with one loss, but because the Jayhawks and the Wildcats look to be the two teams with the fewest weaknesses.

The other two favorites to reach the Final Four, Syracuse and Villanova have recently been exposed as somewhat one-dimensional teams. Big East teams have slowed the Orange down which has forced the 'Cuse to score in the half-court offense instead of in transition.

While the Orange have a solid half-court attack, it is not championship caliber. If forced to play at a slower tempo, the Orange need someone to step up. That player should be Wesley Johnson who has suffered through a shooting slump in Big East play. He's the missing dynamic that could catapult the Orange back into the same category as Kentucky and Kansas.

Villanova has the opposite problem. The Wildcats are ranked 46th in defensive efficiency, but unlike Syracuse whose offensive has fallen off during the season, 'Nova's defense is actually improving. That's partly because of the return of Reggie Redding, the team's best defender.

Jay Wright's defense needs to continue to improve in order to be a Final Four favorite, but his team is headed in the right direction.

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. Kansas 24-1, 447 (16) Last Week: 1

2. Kentucky 24-1, 433 (2) Last Week: 3

3. Villanova 22-2, 403 Last Week: 5

4. Syracuse 24-2, 390 Last Week: 2

5. Purdue 21-3, 380 Last Week: 7

6. Duke 21-4, 354 Last Week: 8

7. Kansas State 20-4, 328 Last Week: 9

8. West Virginia 19-5, 324 Last Week: 4

9. Georgetown 18-6, 301 Last Week: 6

10. Michigan State 20-6, 269 Last Week: 10

11. Ohio State 20-6, 263 Last Week: 15

12. Nex Mexico 23-3, 235 Last Week: 14

13. Gonzaga 21-4, 232 Last Week: 16

14. Texas 20-5, 229 Last Week: 13

15. Wisconsin 19-6, 222 Last Week: 11

16. Butler 23-4, 175 Last Week: 18

17. Brigham Young 23-3, 167 Last Week: 17

18. Tennessee 18-6, 147 Last Week: 12

19. Pittsburgh 19-6, 128 Last Week: 22

20. Vanderbilt 19-5, 109 Last Week: Not Ranked

21. Temple 20-5, 99 Last Week: 19

22. Wake Forest 18-5, 62 Last Week: Not Ranked

23. Baylor 19-5, 47 Last Week: 25

24. Texas A&M 18-6, 42 Last Week: Not Ranked

25. Northern Iowa 22-3, 29 Last Week: 20

Others Receiving Votes: Virginia Tech 18, Richmond 16, Xavier 15, UNLV 11, Georgia Tech 9, Louisville 8, UTEP 8, Cornell 6, Utah State 6, Maryland 5, Illinois 3, Charlotte 2, San Diego State 2, Clemson 1

Participants: Jameson Fleming, Derek Pivko, Carl Stine, Paul Swaney, Jesse Kramer, Tyler Stimson, Drew Gatewood, Brandon Bohning, Chris Burrows,  Chris DiLuccio, Joel Barker, Scott Henry, Kevin Lindsey, Brittany Jacobs, Kevin Cacabelos, Brad Frank,  Steve Tater, College Football Fanatic, Mike Miller

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