College Basketball Top 25: Syracuse, Kentucky Lead B/R Writers Rankings

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIJanuary 2, 2012

College Basketball Top 25: Syracuse, Kentucky Lead B/R Writers Rankings

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    Syracuse maintained its perfect record, Kentucky dealt Louisville its second consecutive loss and Indiana responded to its first loss with a victory over Ohio State.

    Several top 25 teams lost last week, so plenty of movement occurred in the poll—especially at the top. 

    If you're a Bleacher Report college basketball writer who wants to participate in the weekly poll, message me with your email address to indicate your interest.

    Voters: Doug BrodessAri KramerJesse KramerDavid Mayer, Brian MaziqueDaniel O'BrienMatthew OveringRobert PaceJordan SchwartzGene SiudutJames Sullivan

Missing the Cut

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    Dropped From Rankings

    Xavier, No. 23

    Illinois, No. 25

    Others Receiving Votes

    Gonzaga, 17

    Alabama, 10

    Seton Hall, 9

    Xavier, 8

    Illinois, 6

    West Virginia, 5

    Stanford, 4

    Cincinnati, 4

    Pittsburgh, 2

    Purdue, 2

    Texas A&M, 2

25. Kansas State Wildcats

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    Record: 11-1

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 19

    A week after capturing the Diamond Head Classic, Kansas State routed Howard with ease and earned the final spot in the B/R rankings. 

    The Wildcats' strength of schedule is currently ranked No. 113 according to Real Time RPI, so their 11-1 record shouldn't be too surprising. Their next three games, though, won't easily translate into wins—Kansas, Missouri and Baylor will all pose challenges to Frank Martin's squad.

23. San Diego State Aztecs

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    Record: 12-2

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 22

    San Diego State tied Creighton for the No. 23 slot.

    In the Aztecs' only game this week—a 94-43 massacre of Redlands—Jamaal Franklin had 26 points, 10 boards, six steals, five assists and three blocks.

    San Diego State has two cupcakes before Mountain West play commences on Jan. 14.

23. Creighton Blue Jays

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    Record: 11-2

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Voting Points: 22

    Despite earning an impressive victory at Wichita State, Creighton fell one spot after losing at home to Missouri State. 

    Doug McDermott produced two of his lowest scoring outputs this week—19 versus Missouri State and 12 at Wichita—but he's still shooting the ball at a ridiculous clip. The sophomore has connected on 60.8 percent of his field goals and 58 percent of his treys.

22. Harvard Crimson

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    Record: 12-1

    Week:  2-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 31

    After trouncing Boston College and using a second-half surge to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit against Saint Joseph's, Harvard returned to the top 25.

    A 14-point loss at UConn is the only blemish on Harvard's schedule, and the Crimson have a legitimate chance of winning out with Fordham as their final tuneup before Ivy League play begins.

21. Virginia Cavaliers

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    Record: 12-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 2-0

    Voting Points: 45

    Virginia survived winless Towson's upset bid and ascended two spots. 

    As a result of playing the likes of Towson and Maryland Eastern Shore, the Cavaliers have the No. 258 strength of schedule. However, a 12-1 record and wins over Michigan and George Mason helped them secure the No. 21 ranking here.

20. UNLV Rebels

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    Record: 15-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Voting Points: 83

    UNLV routed Central Arkansas by 49 and beat Hawaii by five this week to improve to 15-2. 

    The Rebels will play Cal State Bakersfield this Thursday in their final non-conference game.

19. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 14-0

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Voting Points: 88

    Murray State continued its climb through the rankings after beating Eastern Illinois by 33 points on the road. This week's competition will be more challenging, however, as the Racers host Eastern Kentucky and visit underachieving preseason favorite Austin Peay.

    Isaiah Canaan produced his lowest scoring output of the season this week, but the junior is averaging 17.7 points on 49.7 percent shooting.

18. Michigan Wolverines

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    Record: 12-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Voting Points: 96

    Michigan remained at No. 18 after fulfilling its expectations of the week: beating Penn State and Minnesota at home.

    With games at Indiana and versus Wisconsin this week, the Wolverines have an opportunity to enhance their resume.

17. Marquette Golden Eagles

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    Record: 12-2

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Voting Points: 103

    Vanderbilt embarrassed Marquette in Milwaukee, but the Golden Eagles salvaged the week with an 81-77 win over Villanova. 

    Buzz Williams will take his team to Georgetown and Syracuse this week.

16. Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Record: 13-2

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Voting Points: 107

    Mississippi State took Baylor to the wire in Dallas and staved off Utah State this week. 

    SEC play begins on Saturday, when the Bulldogs visit Arkansas.

15. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Record: 12-3

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Voting Points: 113

    Though Wisconsin dominated Nebraska on the road, the Badgers fell four spots thanks to a 72-65 loss at home to Iowa.

    With Michigan State and Michigan looming on the schedule this week, the Iowa game could possibly be filed under "trap game."

14. Florida Gators

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    Record: 11-3

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Voting Points: 114

    Florida fell to Rutgers in Mike Rosario's return to the RAC. 

    The Gators' subsequent 20-point win over Yale couldn't help them stay at No. 10 this week.

13. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Record: 10-3

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Voting Points: 130

    Thomas Robinson's 30-point, 21-rebound effort in Kansas' rout of North Dakota highlighted an easy week for the Jayhawks.

    Though wins over Howard and North Dakota aren't exactly resume-builders, Kansas leapt two spots because of the faltering of others.

12. Michigan State Spartans

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    Record: 13-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Voting Points: 135

    Wins over Indiana and Nebraska last week pushed Michigan State's winning streak to 13 games. 

    Tom Izzo's team will visit Wisconsin in its only game this week.

11. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Record: 13-1

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Voting Points: 165

    Though Indiana lost at Michigan State, the Hoosiers knocked off Ohio State for their second win over a top-two team. 

    A win over Michigan on Thursday would be huge, because the Hoosiers would emerge 2-1 from their most challenging three-game stretch of the season.

10. Georgetown Hoyas

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    Record: 12-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Voting Points: 171

    Georgetown handed Louisville its first loss of the season and staved off Providence on New Year's Eve to push its win streak to 10. 

    The Hoyas host Marquette on Wednesday.

9. Louisville Cardinals

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    Record: 12-2

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Voting Points: 189

    After falling at home to Georgetown, only an upset of Kentucky could have helped Louisville avoid its imminent fall in the rankings.

    Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Kentucky took the in-state battle.

    Louisville plays St. John's and Notre Dame this week.

8. UConn Huskies

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    Record: 12-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Voting Points: 198

    Louisville's fall enabled UConn to finally climb a spot in the rankings. 

    This week, the Huskies, who struggled at South Florida before easily handling St. John's in Hartford, will visit upstart Seton Hall and Rutgers, which just upset Florida at the RAC.

7. Missouri Tigers

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    Record: 13-0

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Voting Points: 217

    Old Dominion nearly dealt Missouri its first loss of the season, but the Tigers fended off the Monarchs' upset bid. 

    Frank Haith's squad has now won two straight games by single digits after winning its first 11 by double figures.

    Saturday's tilt at Kansas State should be worth your viewing if you have ESPN3. The Wildcats have the length Missouri lacks, so the Tigers will certainly be tested on the road.

6. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Record: 13-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Voting Points: 221

    After routing Northwestern, Ohio State couldn't beat Indiana. 

    The Buckeyes fell further after this loss than they did after losing to Kansas because this time, they were at full strength with Jared Sullinger.

4. Duke Blue Devils

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    Record: 12-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Voting Points: 225

    Duke routed Western Michigan and Penn by an average margin of 35 points to extend its win streak to five. 

    The Blue Devils have a pair of road games against Temple and Georgia Tech this week.

4. UNC Tar Heels

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    Record: 13-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Voting Points: 225

    Fittingly, UNC and Duke tied for the No. 4 slot.

    Like the Blue Devils, the Tar Heels absolutely massacred its two opponents this week, improving their win streak to seven games. 

3. Baylor Bears

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    Record: 13-0

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Voting Points: 243

    Baylor's 54-52 win over Mississippi State in combination with Louisville's and Ohio State's losses enabled the Bears to jump to No. 3. 

2. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Record: 13-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Voting Points: 261

    Beating Louisville in one of college basketball's best rivalries enabled Kentucky to hop the Cardinals, and Ohio State's stumble opened up the No. 2 spot.

    The Wildcats shouldn't have any problems with Arkansas-Little Rock or South Carolina this week.

1. Syracuse Orange

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    Record: 15-0

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Voting Points: 275

    The unanimous No. 1, Syracuse sits atop the B/R rankings for the fourth consecutive week.

    The Orange, who dismantled Herb Pope and Seton Hall before easily winning at DePaul, will visit Providence and host Marquette this week.

Conference Breakdown

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    Big East: 5

    Big Ten: 5

    Big 12: 4

    ACC: 3

    SEC: 3

    MWC: 2

    Ivy: 1

    MVC: 1

    OVC: 1

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