College Basketball Top 25: Kentucky Supplants Syracuse Atop B/R Writers Rankings

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIJanuary 23, 2012

College Basketball Top 25: Kentucky Supplants Syracuse Atop B/R Writers Rankings

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    Without Fab Melo, Syracuse lost its perfect record, leaving Murray State as the nation's only remaining undefeated team.

    The Orange still received two first-place votes, but Kentucky returned to No. 1 in this week's B/R Writers Rankings.

    Syracuse wasn't the only upset victim, though. Duke lost to Florida State, UConn fell at Tennessee and Baylor dropped two games.

    Upsets galore led to yet another shakeup, so read on to see where Syracuse and the other victims now stand.

    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: Ryan EshlemanKen KraetzerAri KramerJesse KramerDavid MayerDaniel O'BrienMatt OveringRobert PaceJosh SchochJordan SchwartzGene SiudutJames SullivanDan Vasta

Missing the Cut

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    Dropped From Rankings

    Louisville, No. 21

    Illinois, No. 23

    Others Receiving Votes

    Louisville, 23

    Harvard, 20

    Gonzaga, 17

    Florida State, 16

    West Virginia, 15

    Wisconsin, 12

    Illinois, 7

    Cincinnati, 4

    Alabama, 1

    Iona, 1

    Middle Tennessee, 1

25. Seton Hall Pirates

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    Record: 15-4, 4-3 Big East

    Week: 0-1

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Voting Points: 24

    Despite losing at Villanova, Seton Hall clung to a spot in the rankings.

    The Pirates' recent struggles against South Florida and the Wildcats dissuaded all but two voters from including Seton Hall on their ballots.

24. Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Record: 14-5, 4-1 SEC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 33

    Vanderbilt played three great halves of basketball this week, beating Alabama on the road and holding an 11-point halftime lead against Mississippi State, but the Commodores couldn't seal the deal against the Bulldogs.

    The 78-77 overtime loss at Memorial Gym ended Vandy's eight-game winning streak.

    Because of their slow start and discouraging second half on Saturday, the Commodores appeared on just four of 13 ballots, ranking as high as No. 15 and as low as No. 20.

23. Kansas State Wildcats

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    Record: 14-4, 3-3 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Voting Points: 37

    After losing three of four, Kansas State earned two wins last week.

    The Wildcats fended off Texas at home and led most of the way at Oklahoma State, and games against Texas Tech and Oklahoma this week should equate to wins—Frank Martin is hoping home-court advantage reverses the result of the first game against the Sooners.

    Kansas State didn't appear on two ballots, but ranked as high as No. 18.

22. Saint Mary's Gaels

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    Record: 19-2, 8-0 WCC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 45

    Saint Mary's didn't pick up a signature win last week, but it cracked the B/R Top 25 for the first time after starting 19-2.

    If you're not familiar with the Gaels yet, you might want to acquaint yourself with them. They have one of the best offensive point guards (Matthew Dellavedova) and a double-double machine (Rob Jones), and the loss of Mickey McConnell seems irrelevant at this point.

    Saint Mary's appeared on all but two ballots, ranking as high as No. 13.

21. Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Record: 16-4, 3-2 SEC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Voting Points: 60

    A confounding loss at Ole Miss, which had just dismissed leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson from the team, held more weight than a comeback win at Vanderbilt in this week's poll.

    The Bulldogs, who are 4-3 over the past four weeks, didn't appear on two ballots, but came in as high as No. 14.

20. Michigan Wolverines

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    Record: 15-5, 5-2 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Voting Points: 73

    Tuesday's win over Michigan State couldn't help Michigan cling to its No. 17 ranking—the Wolverines lost at Arkansas and dropped to No. 20.

    With games at Purdue and Ohio State this week, Michigan has an opportunity to climb a bit in next week's polls.

    The Wolverines, who didn't appear on three ballots, ranked as high No. 14.

19. Connecticut Huskies

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    Record: 14-5, 4-3 Big East

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: T-10

    Voting Points: 103

    With Ryan Boatright still fighting eligibility issues, UConn dropped both of its games last week. The shorthanded Huskies fell in the final seconds against Cincinnati and struggled the entire game at Tennessee.

    Losers of four of six, UConn appeared on all but one ballot and ranked as high as No. 9.

18. Virginia Cavaliers

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    Record: 15-3, 2-2 ACC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Voting Points: 109

    Despite drubbing Georgia Tech by 32 points, Virginia dropped three spots after losing at home to Virginia Tech.

    The Cavaliers, who had an extremely padded non-conference slate, have lost two of their last three and came in as low as No. 25.

17. Marquette Golden Eagles

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    Record: 16-4, 5-2 Big East

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Voting Points: 110

    Marquette has won four consecutive games since losing four of six, and wins over Louisville and Providence last week helped the Golden Eagles leap a few spots in this week's poll. 

    Voters ranked Buzz Williams' squad between No. 11 and No. 22.

16. Creighton Blue Jays

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    Record: 18-2, 8-1 MVC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Voting Points: 121

    Creighton didn't need a spectacular week to jump six spots in the poll. Nonetheless, the Blue Jays avenged their only conference loss by beating Missouri State on the road before routing Indiana State.

    Team McDermott came in as high as No. 12 and as low as No. 21.

15. San Diego State Aztecs

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    Record: 17-2, 3-0 MWC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Voting Points: 130

    After edging UNLV at home before last week's poll, San Diego State went into the Pit and emerged with a win over New Mexico. That's no easy task, and now, the Aztecs have won 10 straight.

    Still, two voters kept SDSU off their ballots, but everyone else ranked the Aztecs between No. 9 and No. 18.

14. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Record: 16-4, 4-4 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: T-10

    Voting Points: 144

    Indiana's Sunday win over Penn State snapped a three-game skid, which dropped the Hoosiers to No. 14.

    Losses against Minnesota and at Nebraska are unacceptable, but Indiana has an opportunity to amend those mishaps at Wisconsin this week.

    The Hoosiers appeared as high as No. 9 and as low as No. 21.

13. UNLV Rebels

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    Record: 18-3, 2-1 MWC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Voting Points: 145

    UNLV barely edged Indiana for the No. 13 slot after picking up wins over TCU and New Mexico last week. 

    The Rebels ranked between No. 9 and No. 22.

12. Florida Gators

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    Record: 15-4, 3-1 SEC

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Voting Points: 146

    Securing the No. 12 spot by one point, Florida beat LSU in its only game last week.

    The Gators, who have won three straight since losing to Tennessee, didn't appear on one ballot, but ranked as high as No. 10.

11. Michigan State Spartans

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    Record: 16-4, 5-2 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Voting Points: 198

    Despite drubbing Purdue, Michigan State fell a few spots after losing to Michigan. The Spartans, who had lost two straight, couldn't execute their final play against the Wolverines and lost by one.

    Voters ranked Tom Izzo's squad between No. 8 and No. 13.

10. Georgetown Hoyas

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    Record: 16-3, 6-2 Big East

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Voting Points: 205

    Had Georgetown not survived Rutgers' upset bid, the Hoyas would not be No. 10. However, Otto Porter scored the final six points of the game to give Georgetown a 52-50 win.

    The Hoyas also beat DePaul last week, and they sit one game behind Syracuse for first place in the Big East.

    Georgetown appeared as high as No. 6 and as low as No. 19.

9. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 20-0, 8-0 OVC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Voting Points: 215

    Murray State continued to win without Ivan Aska, and as a result, the Racers continued to climb up the poll.

    Only three voters kept them out of the Top 10, which they cracked for the first time.

8. UNC Tar Heels

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    Record: 16-3, 3-1 ACC

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Voting Points: 221

    UNC responded to the Florida State debacle with an 82-68 win over Virginia Tech, but lost Dexter Strickland to a torn ACL in the process. 

    Despite winning, however, UNC dropped one spot because of Kansas' big week and subsequent jump in the rankings.

    Voters ranked the Tar Heels as high as No. 3 and as low as No. 21.

7. Baylor Bears

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    Record: 17-2, 4-2 Big 12

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Voting Points: 248

    No longer undefeated, Baylor dropped to No. 7 after losing to Kansas and Missouri last week. Rematches loom, but the Bears will play three of their next four games on the road beforehand.

    Voters ranked Baylor as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 11.

6. Duke Blue Devils

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    Record: 16-3, 4-1 ACC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Voting Points: 252 

    Duke is usually the only team that wins at Cameron Indoor, but Florida State snapped the Blue Devils' 45-game home winning streak on Michael Snaer's buzzer-beating trey.

    Coach K's squad, which will visit Maryland and host St. John's this week, ranked as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 10.

5. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Record: 16-3, 6-0 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Voting Points: 272

    Kansas completely outplayed Baylor, handing the Bears their first loss of the season. Then, the Jayhawks relinquished a double-digit lead at Texas, but held on for their ninth straight victory.

    Bill Self's team is on fire, and voters ranked it between No. 4 and No. 7.

4. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Record: 17-3, 5-2 Big Ten

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Voting Points: 280

    Duke and Baylor lost, and Ohio State destroyed Nebraska in its only game of the week to leap over the Blue Devils and Bears to the No. 4 ranking.

    The Buckeyes, who are in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten, ranked as high as No. 2 and as low as No. 7.

3. Syracuse Orange

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    Record: 20-1

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Voting Points: 302

    With Fab Melo serving a suspension, Syracuse lost for the first time this season. The Orange, as several No. 1's have, fell in South Bend to Notre Dame, which started hot and never trailed.

    The Orange still received two first-place votes, but also came in as low as No. 6.

2. Missouri Tigers

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    Record: 18-1, 5-1 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Voting Points: 303

    Missouri edged Syracuse by one point for the No. 2 ranking after beating Texas A&M and Baylor last week. With upcoming games against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, the Tigers should be 20-1 by next week's poll.

    Voters ranked Missouri between No. 2 and No. 4.

1. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Record: 19-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Voting Points: 323

    For the first time since a loss at Indiana bumped them from the top, the Kentucky Wildcats captured the No. 1 ranking.

    The Wildcats, who have won 11 consecutive games, routed Arkansas and fended off Alabama last week to remain undefeated in SEC play.

    Eleven voters tabbed Kentucky at No. 1.

Conference Breakdown

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    Big East: 5

    Big Ten: 4

    Big 12: 4

    SEC: 4

    ACC: 3

    MWC: 2

    MVC: 1

    OVC: 1

    WCC: 1