NCAA Basketball: Carter's Power Rankings-Bucks, Aztecs, 'Hawks Are Top 3

David CarterCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2011

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (20-0)
Last Week: No. 1
Another successful week for the Buckeyes with a blowout win over Iowa and getting by Illinois on Saturday. Now it’s onto a tough contest against Purdue tomorrow night and then, on the road against Northwestern on Saturday.

2. San Diego State Aztecs (20-0)
Last Week: No. 4
With Kansas and Syracuse both losing this week, San Diego State is looking stronger every week. Two more wins last week over New Mexico and Air Force, now their toughest game of the year comes on Wednesday against BYU and Jimmer Fredette—who is the nation’s best player in my opinion.

3. Kansas Jayhawks (18-1)
Last Week: No. 2
The Jayhawks drop a head-scratcher against the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, snapping their 69-game home winning streak. But this game doesn’t second-guess this team at all. I still think they can get to the tournament as a No. 1 seed.

4. Duke Blue Devils (18-1)
Last Week: No. 5
Two blowout wins on the road is a nice way to boost Coach K’s team. Now it’s two more games this week against Boston College and St. John’s where both could end up being two more wins for the Blue Devils.

5. BYU Cougars (19-1)
Last Week: No. 6
The Cougars continue to get the job done as they beat TCU and Colorado State last week. Their next game comes against the undefeated San Diego State Aztecs. It’s hard to pick the favorite for that one.

6. Pittsburgh Panthers (19-1)
Last Week: No. 7
A great home win on Monday night over a tough Syracuse team followed by a 30-point blowout win over DePaul. Don’t be surprised if Pittsburgh gets a No. 1 seed in the tournament if they keep this up.

7. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (18-2)
Last Week: No. 12
Wins over UNC-Asheville and Gardner Webb continue the Chanticleers’ 16-game winning streak. Now this “Cinderella” team looks to continue their streak as they end their road stand against High Point and Radford this week.

8. Syracuse Orange (18-2)
Last Week: No. 3
Syracuse fans should be a little nervous after seeing what went down last week with losses to Pittsburgh and Villanova. After having this tough week, many wonder if this talented team can still beat other talented teams in the late-tournament rounds once it comes.

9. Villanova Wildcats (17-2)
Last Week: No. 9
If I were a Villanova fan, I would start feeling pretty confident about my Wildcats. Sure they only lost to Pittsburgh by a basket, but hopefully this will be confidence builder going into the later past of the season. They certainly should a lot of confidence in their win over Syracuse two days ago.

10. Texas A&M Aggies (17-2)
Last Week: No. 8
Getting blown out by the Texas Longhorns is not what the Aggies had in mind last week. But they did play a better game against Kansas State on Saturday. Now they get a little extra rest time before they play their next one against Nebraska. Then, they will try and get revenge on the Longhorns next Monday in their rematch in “Aggieland.”

11. Utah State Aggies (18-2)
Last Week: No. 13
Utah State looked like they were glad to be home after their three-game road stand with two home wins over Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. Now it’s back on the road this week against San Jose State and Hawaii.

12. Connecticut Huskies (16-2)
Last Week: No. 14
After dropping two out of three against Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, the Huskies are looking pretty good. They're on a current five-game winning streak. Now they have Marquette before two tough ones against Louisville and Syracuse, who have a combined record of 33-6. Things are going to get a little bit more interesting since they are only 1-2 in their last three games against ranked teams in their conference.

13. St. Mary’s Gaels (17-3)
Last Week: No. 10
An odd week for the Gaels as they do beat conference-rival San Diego, but was crushed by Vanderbilt, snapping their 11-game winning streak. Let’s see if they can bounce back against conference rival Gonzaga and Portland this week.

14. Belmont Bruins (18-3)
Last Week: No. 15
Two more wins for the Bruins over USC Upstate and East Tennessee State. They are another one of those Cinderella teams to watch out for once tournament time comes. They have a chance to get 20 wins this week as they have Lipscomb and Florida Gulf Coast.

15. Texas Longhorns (16-3)
Last Week: No. 20
The Longhorns have bounced back rather nicely after barely dropping against Connecticut. Since then they’ve beaten four of their biggest rivals all by double digits (Texas Tech by 31, Oklahoma by 20, Texas A&M by 21, Kansas by 11).

16. Purdue Boilermakers (17-3)
Last Week: No. 16
After losing two games by a combined seven points, the Boilermakers have turned it around with two close wins of their own against Penn State and Michigan State. Now let’s see how tough they really are when they play Ohio State and Minnesota, who have a combined record of 34-4.

17. Missouri Tigers (17-3)
Last Week: No. 19
Apparently the loss the Texas A&M really lit a fire under their behinds. After the OT loss, they beat Kansas State and Iowa State by a combined 49 points.

18. Cincinnati Bearcats (17-3)
Last Week: No. 11
I’m beginning think this team probably won’t win more than two games in the tournament. Ever since their 15-0 start, they’ve gone only 2-3 with their three losses being against ranked teams (Villanova, Syracuse, Notre Dame).

19. Cleveland State Vikings (18-3)
Last Week: NR
After tough losses to Butler and Valparaiso, the Vikings continued their winning ways against Youngstown State, Detroit, and Wright State. They’re on the road this week against Illinois-Chicago and Loyola (IL).

20. Harvard Crimson (13-3)
Last Week: No. 25
Harvard continued their winning streak with wins over George Washington and Dartmouth. Let’s see how they do against conference rivals Columbia and Cornell.

21. Washington Huskies (15-4)
Last Week: NR
Recent wins over California, Arizona and Arizona State put my only Pac-10 team in the Top 25. The Huskies get eight days off before starting a three-game road stand against rival Washington State on Sunday.

22. Kentucky Wildcats (15-4)
Last Week: No. 18
The Wildcats get to rest up all week before a game on Staturday. This is good because they want and need some extra time to prepare for their rematch against the Georgia Bulldogs. Their last meeting didn’t go to well for them.

23. Louisville Cardinals (15-4)
Last Week: No. 17
This is just an odd team. They get crushed by Villanova, barely win over Marquette, beat St. John’s by 25, and then lost to Providence. Things are going to get more interesting for them as they have West Virginia, Connecticut, and Georgetown coming up.

24. Minnesota Golden Gophers (14-4)
Last Week: NR
After dropping three of four against Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State, the Gophers have started a nice winning streak by beating Purdue, Iowa and Michigan. Let’s see if they can beat Northwestern on Wednesday and if they can make it two in a row against the Boilermakers.

25. Wisconsin Badgers (15-4)
Last Week: NR
After dropping a heart breaker against Michigan State in East Lansing, the Badgers have also started a winning streak by Illinois and Indiana and crushing Northwestern to a million pieces.

Other Top 25 considerations: North Texas, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Arizona, Hampton, Missouri State, Wichita State, Ball State, Fairfield, Princeton, New Orleans, UTEP, Memphis, Notre Dame

Carter’s Top Ten Individual Players:
1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
2. Marshon Brooks (Providence)
3. Andrew Goudelock (College Of Charleston)
4. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
5. Klay Thompson (Washington State)
6. Charles Jenkins (Hofstra)
7. Alex Young (IUPUI)
8. C.J. McCollum (Lehigh)
9. Norris Cole (Cleveland State)
10. TyShwan Edmondson (Austin Peay)


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