Carter's NCAA Basketball Power Rankings-February 7: Underdogs Getting Attention

David CarterCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2011

Nolan Smith continues to help Duke keep their dreams of a Number One tournament seed alive
Nolan Smith continues to help Duke keep their dreams of a Number One tournament seed aliveMitchell Layton/Getty Images

My list is a little different from the other rankings published. My list also includes teams in the NCAA that nobody else would ever think about. I hate it when people assume that if you’re not a “big name” school you shouldn’t be in the top 25. If you have a good record, you should definitely be considered as a top team.

Take Coastal Carolina for example. Last year, they entered the NIT tournament with a record of 28-6, being snubbed from the National Championship tournament. How does a team with 28 wins not get into the big dance?

If a team finishes the regular season with at least 20 wins then they should automatically receive a bid into the tournament no matter which conference they are from. It will be very disappointing if teams like Coastal Carolina, Wichita State, Cleveland State, Princeton and Harvard don't get into the big dance. All of these teams I just mentioned have only 4 losses or less to this point. They deserve to be considered for the tournament more than teams from the power conferences with records barely over .500.

To get into my rankings a little more, I obviously have to put Ohio State at No.1 considering they are the only undefeated team left. Not only that, but they have outscored opponents by an average of 20.3 points per game, which is the best margin of any team. Kansas deserves to be No. 2 over San Diego State right now because they have better talent and would beat the Aztecs if they were to play in the National Championship tournament.

I put teams like Coastal Carolina and Utah State in the rankings because they are very underrated and could be huge surprises in the tournament. As I mentioned before, I think it would be wrong if either Coastal Carolina or Utah State were left out of the field of 68.

A team to watch out for would be the Arizona Wildcats who just broke the 20-win mark last week. In the Pac-10, it’s basically Arizona and then everybody else. The 2 Ivy League schools in my rankings, Harvard and Princeton, are teams to watch out for as well with a combined record of 32-8.

Here’s how I see the NCAA Top 25 teams

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (24-0)
2. Kansas Jayhawks (22-1)
3. San Diego State Aztecs (23-1)
4. Duke Blue Devils (21-2)
5. Pittsburgh Panthers (21-2)
6. BYU Cougars (22-2)
7. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (22-2)
8. Utah State Aggies (22-2)
9. Texas Longhorns (20-3)
10. St. Mary’s Gaels (20-4)
11. Wichita State Shockers (20-4)
12. Arizona Wildcats (20-4)
13. Villanova Wildcats (19-4)
14. Cleveland State Vikings (21-4)
15. Syracuse Orange (20-4)
16. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (19-4)
17. Connecticut Huskies (18-4)
18. Harvard Crimson (16-4)
19. Princeton Tigers (16-4)
20. Missouri Tigers (18-5)
21. Cincinnati Bearcats (18-5)
22. Louisville Cardinals (18-5)
23. Wisconsin Badgers (17-5)
24. Purdue Boilermakers (18-5)
25. George Mason Patriots (19-5)

Carter’s Top 15 Individual Players
1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
2. Marshon Brooks (Providence)
3. Andrew Goudelock (College of Charleston)
4. Charles Jenkins (Hofstra)
5. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
6. Xavier Silas (Northern Illinois)
7. Norris Cole (Cleveland State)
8. Alex Young (IUPUI)
9. Noah Dahlman (Wofford)
10. C.J. McCollum (Lehigh)
11. Klay Thompson (Washington State)
12. Nolan Smith (Duke)
13. Donald Sims (Appalachian State)
14. JaJuan Johnson (Purdue)
15. Andrew Gonzalez (Houston Baptist)