College Basketball: Who's No. 1?

Kyle CrawfordContributor IIJanuary 30, 2011

CHAMPAIGN, IL - JANUARY 22: Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on late in the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall on January 22, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Ohio State won 73-68. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Just over 20 games into the college basketball season and we don't know much more about the NCAA tournament than we did in the middle of November.

Sure, we know some teams have been disappointments (Baylor and Kansas State, I'm looking at you), we know that one team has a better record than everyone else (Ohio State is undefeated), and that one guy can outscore everyone in the nation (obviously The Jimmer). But other than Ohio State, we don't really have any clear-cut No. 1 seeds. So here is the breakdown of who it might be. 


A Texas team that was ranked 25th in preseason coaches poll, and was unranked in the first AP ballot in Week 2 has taken the Big XII by storm. The Longhorns last lost was to Connecticut on January 8 (a game that provided us with this funny play), and the Longhorns only lost that game by a single point in overtime. 
Since then, the Longhorns have wins against A&M, at Kansas (breaking their 69-game home court winning streak), and at home against Missouri. The Longhorns still have to navigate a Big 12 schedule that includes a trips to A&M, Baylor, and a home date with Kansas State, not to mention a potential rematch with the Jayhawks in the Big 12 tournament.

However, the Longhorns are packed with talent in Jordan Hamilton (19 ppg), Tristan Thompson (12.9) and the occasional explosion from J'Covan Brown (23 at Kansas), and as opposed to last year's Texas team have gelled and look primed for a postseason run. 


Kansas is 20-1 on the season with their only loss at home to an uber-talented Texas team. The Jayhawks' remaining schedule has them set to play Missouri (twice), and host A&M in their next to last conference game. In their first game after the passing of Thomas Robinson's mother, Kansas absolutely obliterated Kansas State, hanging 90 points on the Wildcats. 
Kansas has talent down low in the Morris twins (who have the best chemistry of any big man combo I've ever seen), talent on the wing with freshman sensation Josh Selby, and your token white guy(s) in Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar. For the Jayhawks to snag a No. 1 seed, they'll most likely need to drop at most one game and make a deep run in the conference tournament. 


The Panthers currently sit atop the very deep Big East that is very intent on beating each other up. The Panthers resume boasts wins over ranked teams (Texas, UConn, Georgetown and Syracuse) and their two losses have been to a very good Notre Dame team, and a very up-and-down Tennessee team. Pitt still must play Nova and West Virginia (twice each) and they'll host Rick Pitino and his Louisville Cardinals. 
The Panthers, led by Jamie Dixon, are incredibly experienced with five of their six players that average over 20 minutes being either junior or seniors. The Panthers are excellent defensively, allowing opponents to shoot only 40 percent per contest and are the most efficient team in the nation scoring nearly 120 points per 100 possessions.

The Panthers need to avoid any major slip ups for the rest of the season along with making it to the final four of the Big East tourney if they want to snag a No. 1 seed. 


The Huskies were expected to be down as they came into this year, but Kemba Walker (24 ppg, 4 apg) has decided to put the team on his back and carry them through the season. UConn has wins over Michigan State, Texas, and Villanova and all of their losses have come at the hands of good teams (Pitt, Notre Dame and Louisville).
The Huskies are going to need to play near perfect ball, which would include beating 'Cuse, Georgetown, Louisville and Notre Dame to close out the season. If UConn has any desire to win out they'll need to give Kemba Walker a little more support than they have so far this season as he is accounting for 31 percent of the Huskies points. Regardless of their seed, Jim Calhoun will have his Huskies ready to go come NCAA Tournament time. 


At one point Duke was the No. 1 team in the nation, with a relatively easy schedule, and had people talking about an undefeated season. Since then the Devils have lost twice (Florida State and St. John's), and found that their road to a No. 1 seed is near impossible. While the Blue Devils are a very good basketball team led by Kyle Singler (he gets buckets) and Nolan Smith, they really have no way to prove it.
You see, the Blue Devils came into the season as the No. 1 team in the nation, and were thinking that they would have marquee matchups with Kansas State, Michigan State, Butler and a few teams scattered among the ACC.

However, what Duke wasn't counting on was Kansas State being a disaster, Michigan State being an eight-loss team and Butler being an average team with no Gordon Hayward. But that is whats happened to Coach K and his team, and now they are stuck in a very weak ACC with no way of shaking off two losses to below-average teams (for those of you that care, Duke hasn't played a team ranked in the top 25 of the RPI).
While certainly a handful of other teams (Villanova, San Diego State, BYU) could make a push for a No. 1 seed, they would all require the teams listed above to have quite the stumble. Only the rest of the season will tell us who the four best teams are come March Madness—don't miss a second of it.