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

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIFebruary 20, 2012

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

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    Kentucky topped the B/R Writers Rankings once again, after all but two voters tabbed the Wildcats at No. 1. For the second straight week, Syracuse, Missouri, Duke and Kansas round out the Top 5.

    Other Top 25 teams, however, fell in upsets—Ohio State and Baylor, for example. 

    Read on to see where everyone currently stands. 

    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 Eshleman, Ken KraetzerAri KramerJesse KramerDavid MayerThad NovakDaniel O'BrienMatt OveringRobert PaceJosh SchochJordan SchwartzGene SiudutJames SullivanDan Vasta

Just Missed the Cut

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    Dropped From Rankings

    Mississippi State, 23

    Creighton, T-25

    Others Receiving Votes

    Creighton, 26

    Gonzaga, 20

    New Mexico, 20

    Harvard, 11

    Vanderbilt, 11

    Southern Miss, 10

    Oral Roberts, 8

    Mississippi State, 3

    Iona, 2

    Saint Louis, 1

    South Florida, 1

25. Temple Owls

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    Record: 21-5, 10-2 A-10

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 30

    After just missing the cut last week, Temple cracked the Top 25 by extending its winning streak to 10 games. The Owls beat Saint Bonaventure and Duquesne last week, and they sit atop the A-10, a half-game ahead of Saint Louis.

    They'll visit in-city rivals La Salle and Saint Joseph's this week, so wins won't come easily. However, Temple has already beaten both teams.

    The Owls appeared on seven ballots, ranking as high as No. 13.

24. Virginia Cavaliers

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    Record: 20-6, 7-5 ACC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Voting Points: 41

    Voters dropped Virginia to No. 24 after the Cavaliers lost to Clemson and dominated Maryland. The Cavaliers started 14-1, but they've slipped lately, going just 6-5 over their last 11.

    With Joe Harris suffering from an injured hand, Virginia will need some extra help at Virginia Tech and against UNC this week.

    Three voters didn't rank the Cavaliers.

23. Saint Mary's Gaels

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    Record: 23-5, 12-2

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Voting Points: 44

    Saint Mary's endured a tough week, falling to Loyola Marymount and Murray State and losing Stephen Holt to a knee injury. Holt's injury—suffered during the game against the Lions—compounded by Matthew Dellavedova's banged-up ankle severely hampered the Gaels against the Racers.

    Saint Mary's is probably still destined for an at-large bid—if it doesn't win the WCC—but the Gaels definitely need to get back on track against Portland and San Francisco this week.

    Five voters didn't include the Gaels on their ballots, but one voter had them at No. 14.

22. San Diego State Aztecs

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    Record: 20-6, 6-4 MWC

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Voting Points: 71

    On Jan. 24, San Diego State stood at 18-2, and Steve Fisher was a viable candidate for National Coach of the Year.

    Then, the Aztecs proceeded to lose four of their next six, including games against New Mexico and Air Force last week.

    Now is the worst time to hit a skid, so San Diego State desperately needs to gain control once again by beating Wyoming and Colorado State at home this week.

    Three voters didn't rank the Aztecs, who peaked at No. 16.

21. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Record: 20-7, 8-7 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Voting Points: 81

    Indiana finally appeared to be back on track, stringing together three consecutive wins. However, the Hoosiers suffered a setback on Sunday at Iowa. 

    One voter left Indiana off his ballot, and one voter ranked the Hoosiers as high as No. 12.

20. Wichita State Shockers

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    Record: 24-4, 14-2 MVC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: T-25

    Voting Points: 83

    2012 has been kind to Wichita State. The Shockers are 14-1 since we turned the calendar, and they've worked their way into the Top 20.

    Most recently, Wichita State thrashed Davidson in the second half of Saturday's BracketBuster matchup for a 91-74 win.

    The Shockers ranked between No. 11 and No. 25.

T-18. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    Record: 19-8, 11-3 Big East

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Voting Points: 100

    Notre Dame trailed Villanova by as many as 20 points, but the Fighting Irish stormed back to win in overtime. The win preserved their winning streak, which is now at eight.

    The Fighting Irish ranked as high as No. 13 and as low as No. 22.

T-18. Louisville Cardinals

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    Record: 21-6, 9-5 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Voting Points: 100

    Louisville nearly beat Syracuse early in the week but also nearly lost to DePaul. Ultimately, the Cardinals emerged with one win and one loss, as they prepare for this week's games against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

    Two voters didn't rank the Cardinals while two put them at No. 14.

17. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Record: 20-7, 9-5 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Voting Points: 106

    Wisconsin salvaged its week by beating Penn State, just two days after struggling mightily at Michigan State.

    The Badgers seek revenge against Iowa this week—if you don't remember, the Hawkeyes started the Badgers' midseason three-game skid.

    Two voters excluded Wisconsin, which peaked at No. 13.

16. UNLV Rebels

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    Record: 22-6, 6-4 MWC

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Voting Points: 118

    After a rough week, UNLV fell five spots in the rankings. The Rebels started by losing to TCU in overtime and followed that up with a 20-point loss to New Mexico, which now stands at first place in the MWC.

    UNLV ranked as high as No. 14 and as low as No. 23.

15. Florida State Seminoles

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    Record: 19-7, 10-2 ACC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Voting Points: 124

    Michael Snaer hit another buzzer-beater, as Florida State completed its dramatic comeback against Virginia Tech. The Seminoles also beat NC State over the weekend to remain in a first-place tie with UNC and Duke atop the ACC.

    Next up: a rematch with the Blue Devils—in Tallahassee. 

    One voter didn't rank the Seminoles, who peaked at No. 12.

14. Michigan Wolverines

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    Record: 20-7, 10-4 Big Ten

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Voting Points: 151

    Beating Ohio State in its only game of the week helped Michigan leap seven spots. After alternating wins and losses over the previous eight games, the Wolverines have now won three straight.

    Michigan peaked at No. 12.

13. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 26-1, 13-1 OVC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Voting Points: 178

    Murray State earned a convincing win over Saint Mary's in Saturday's BracketBuster game—the win practically guaranteed the Racers a spot in the NCAA tournament.

    The Racers ranked between No. 7 and No. 21, as voters clearly struggled with evaluating Murray State after its first loss.

12. Baylor Bears

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    Record: 22-5, 9-5 Big 12

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Voting Points: 191

    A home loss to Kansas State induced further descent through the rankings for Baylor. The Bears also beat Iowa State early in the week, but they've now lost three of their last four.

    Baylor ranked between No. 8 and No. 18.

11. Florida Gators

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    Record: 21-6, 9-3 SEC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Voting Points: 195

    Florida had a very successful week, beating Alabama and becoming the first team to win at Arkansas this season.

    The Gators ranked as high as No. 10 and as low as No. 21.

10. Marquette Golden Eagles

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    Record: 22-5, 11-3 Big East

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Voting Points: 225

    In its only game of the week, Marquette beat UConn on the road. The Golden Eagles, who have won 10 of their last 11, will play Rutgers and West Virginia this week.

    Voters ranked Buzz Williams' squad between No. 8 and No. 11.

9. Georgetown Hoyas

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    Record: 20-5, 10-4 Big East

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Voting Points: 233

    Georgetown beat Providence in its only game of the week. Once again, the Hoyas offense struggled against Providence—though it mustered 63 points this time instead of the 49 it posted in the first meeting.

    One voter ranked Georgetown at No. 18, but everyone else had the Hoyas between No. 7 and No. 10.

8. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Record: 22-5, 10-4 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Voting Points: 248

    After falling at Michigan, Ohio State has now lost two of its last three games. The Buckeyes, who average 74.9 points per game, have posted just 49.5 in the two defeats.

    They ranked as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 11.

7. UNC Tar Heels

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    Record: 23-4, 10-2 ACC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: T-7

    Voting Points: 269

    Though UNC struggled with Miami, it emerged with a win and then trounced Clemson over the weekend. The Tar Heels have now won three straight since the loss to Duke.

    UNC ranked as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 9.

6. Michigan State Spartans

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    Record: 22-5, 11-3 Big Ten

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: T-7

    Voting Points: 270

    Michigan State had a perfect week—the Spartans beat Wisconsin and Purdue, and Ohio State lost to Michigan, giving Tom Izzo's squad sole possession of first place.

    One voter ranked Michigan State as low as No. 12, but everyone else ranked the Spartans between No. 5 and No. 7.

5. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Record: 22-5, 12-2 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Voting Points: 293

    Kansas took care of business last week, beating Kansas State and Texas Tech. The Jayhawks, who have won four straight, will have an opportunity to gain sole possession of first place on Saturday against Missouri. 

    Kansas came in as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 7.

4. Duke Blue Devils

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    Record: 23-4, 10-2 ACC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Voting Points: 300

    After rallying to beat NC State, Duke routed Boston College to keep pace with UNC and Florida State. The Blue Devils will visit the Seminoles on Thursday, so they could potentially gain sole possession of first place.

    Though one voter ranked Duke at No. 8, the Blue Devils appeared primarily between No. 4 and No. 5.

3. Missouri Tigers

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    Record: 25-2, 12-2 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Voting Points: 322

    Missouri beat Oklahoma State and Texas A&M to keep pace with Kansas atop the Big 12. With Saturday's rematch against the Jayhawks, Missouri has an opportunity to separate itself. First, though, it must avenge its earlier loss to Kansas State.

    Every voter tabbed Missouri at No. 3.

2. Syracuse Orange

25 of 29

    Record: 27-1, 14-1 Big East

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Voting Points: 338

    Syracuse edged Louisville and staved off Rutgers' upset bid to extend its winning streak to seven games. One more win will clinch the Big East regular season title, and the Orange can achieve that Wednesday against South Florida.

    While two voters had Syracuse at No. 1, everyone else tabbed the Orange at No. 2.

1. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Record: 26-1, 12-0

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Voting Points: 348

    Kentucky received all but two first-place votes after beating Ole Miss by 15 in its only game of the week. 

    Thought the Wildcats are yet to lose in SEC play, the season's final four games pose the most difficult stretch of 2011-12 for UK. This week, John Calipari's squad will visit Mississippi State and host Vanderbilt.

Full Top 25

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    1. Kentucky, 348

    2. Syracuse, 338

    3. Missouri, 322

    4. Duke, 300

    5. Kansas, 293

    6. Michigan State, 270

    7. UNC, 269

    8. Ohio State, 248

    9. Georgetown, 233

    10. Marquette, 225

    11. Florida, 195

    12. Baylor, 191

    13. Murray State, 178

    14. Michigan, 151

    15. Florida State, 124

    16. UNLV, 118

    17. Wisconsin, 106

    T-18. Louisville, 100

    T-18. Notre Dame, 100

    20. Wichita State, 83

    21. Indiana, 81

    22. San Diego State, 71

    23. Saint Mary's, 44

    24. Virginia, 41

    25. Temple, 30

    Others receiving votes: Creighton (27), Gonzaga (20), New Mexico (20), Harvard (11), Vanderbilt (11), Southern Miss (10), Oral Roberts (8), Mississippi State (3), Iona (2), Saint Louis (1), South Florida (1)

Conference Breakdown

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    Big East: 5

    Big Ten: 5

    ACC: 4

    Big 12: 3

    SEC: 2

    MWC: 2

    A-10: 1

    MVC: 1

    OVC: 1

    WCC: 1