College Basketball Top 25: Kansas, Michigan State Top 5 in B/R Writers Rankings

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIFebruary 27, 2012

College Basketball Top 25: Kansas, Michigan State Top 5 in B/R Writers Rankings

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    Kansas edged Missouri over the weekend, so the Jayhawks ascended to No. 3 while the Tigers dropped out of the Top 5. Ohio State was the only other Top 10 squad to be upset last week.

    Not surprisingly, Kentucky and Syracuse remain at the top. Conversely, however, Wichita State's ranking might be shocking—yes, pun definitely intended.

    Read on to see where the Shockers and everyone else landed.

    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: Teddy Bailey, Joshua GleasonAri KramerThad NovakDaniel O'BrienRobert PaceJosh SchochJordan SchwartzGene SiudutDan Vasta

Just Missed the Cut

1 of 29

    Dropped From Rankings

    Virginia, 24

    Others Receiving Votes

    Vanderbilt, 11

    Gonzaga, 10

    Virginia, 8

    New Mexico, 6

    Iona, 5

    Memphis, 3

    Mississippi State, 2

    South Florida, 1

    Drexel, 1

25. Temple Owls

2 of 29

    Record: 22-6, 11-4 A-10

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Voting Points: 20

    Temple clung to the poll's final spot, despite losing to rival Saint Joseph's over the weekend. The Owls also struggled at La Salle but ultimately earned a one-point victory.

    Rhode Island stunned Saint Louis, so Temple still holds a one-game lead atop the A-10.

    The Owls, who play UMass and Fordham this week, appeared on four ballots, peaking at No. 15.

24. Creighton Blue Jays

3 of 29

    Record: 25-5, 14-4 MVC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 34

    Since losing three straight, Creighton has won four consecutive games—three of which they've won by a combined four points. The Blue Jays don't appear to be as formidable as they were four weeks ago, but they still won't be an easy out in the Big Dance, assuming they still get called on Selection Sunday.

    Creighton, which appeared on seven ballots, will open the MVC tournament against either Drake or Bradley on Friday night. 

23. Saint Mary's Gaels

4 of 29

    Record: 25-5, 14-2 WCC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Voting Points: 37

    Saint Mary's picked up two road wins at Portland and San Francisco to lock up the WCC's No. 1 seed. As the conference's top team, the Gaels earned a double-bye to the semifinals.

    Seven voters ranked Saint Mary's, which peaked at No. 17.

22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

5 of 29

    Record: 20-9, 12-4 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: T-18

    Voting Points: 38

    St. John's ended Notre Dame's nine-game winning streak, but the Fighting Irish also beat West Virginia by 27 points last week. 

    A win at Georgetown tonight would practically secure at least a No. 3 seed for Notre Dame in the Big East tournament. 

    The Fighting Irish ranked as high as No. 20 and as low as No. 25.

21. San Diego State Aztecs

6 of 29

    Record: 22-6, 8-4 MWC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Voting Points: 42

    After losing three straight, San Diego State got back on track last week, beating Wyoming and Colorado State. The win over the Rams was particularly important—CSU handed the Aztecs their first MWC loss a month ago.

    Three voters excluded the Aztecs, but two ranked them as high as No. 16.

20. Louisville Cardinals

7 of 29

    Record: 22-7, 10-6 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: T-18

    Voting Points: 60

    Louisville relinquished its second half lead over Cincinnati and couldn't claw back, but the Cardinals also defeated Pitt last week. 

    Rick Pitino's squad appeared on all but one ballot, topping out at No. 16.

19. Florida State Seminoles

8 of 29

    Record: 19-9, 10-4 ACC

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Voting Points: 72

    Two losses last week eliminated Florida State from the ACC's battle for first place. The Seminoles, who first lost to Duke, fell at Miami on Sunday.

    Voters ranked the Seminoles between No. 11 and No. 23.

    Disclaimer: Several ballots were submitted before the completion of Florida State's loss to Miami.

18. Indiana Hoosiers

9 of 29

    Record: 22-7, 9-7 Big Ten

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Voting Points: 80

    Indiana toppled Minnesota on Sunday to avenge its home loss to the Gophers. The Hoosiers, who also beat NC Central, earned just their third Big Ten road win at Minnesota. 

    Michigan State and Purdue will visit Bloomington this week, and Indiana sorely needs a win over the Boilermakers, with whom they are currently tied.

    The Hoosiers ranked between No. 14 and No. 21.

17. UNLV Rebels

10 of 29

    Record: 24-6, 8-4 MWC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Voting Points: 85

    UNLV had lost three of its last four, but the Rebels beat Boise State and Air Force last week to keep pace with New Mexico and San Diego State atop the Mountain West Conference. 

    Voters ranked UNLV as high as No. 13 and as low as No. 24.

16. Wisconsin Badgers

11 of 29

    Record: 21-8, 10-6 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Voting Points: 97

    Apparently Iowa is better than Ohio State, or so Wisconsin fans might think. The Badgers lost to the Hawkeyes for the second time this season, but they also beat the Buckeyes in Columbus.

    With home games against Minnesota and Illinois, Wisconsin still has a shot at earning the Big Ten's No. 2 seed. The Badgers have already beaten both the Golden Gophers and the Fighting Illini.

    Voters ranked the Badgers as high as No. 12 and as low as No. 20.

    Disclaimer: Several ballots were submitted before the completion of Wisconsin's defeat of Ohio State.

15. Michigan Wolverines

12 of 29

    Record: 21-8, 11-5 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Voting Points: 110

    Before losing to Purdue, Michigan earned its second overtime victory over Northwestern. Tim Hardaway Jr.'s three-pointer forced overtime, and the Wolverines outscored the Wildcats by 12 in the extra period. 

    The Wolverines peaked at No. 10.

14. Florida Gators

13 of 29

    Record: 22-7, 10-4 SEC

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Voting Points: 111

    Florida had earned three consecutive convincing wins, but without the defensive-minded Will Yeguete, the Gators fell by 14 points at Georgia. Vanderbilt and Kentucky are on slate this week, so Florida could potentially back its way into the SEC tournament.

    The Gators ranked between No. 13 and No. 18.

13. Wichita State Shockers

14 of 29

    Record: 26-4, 16-2 MVC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Voting Points: 114

    Wichita State completed its perfect February by trouncing Illinois State and Drake. The Shockers haven't won by fewer than 10 points since Feb. 4—or six games ago.

    As the No. 1 seed in the MVC, Wichita State will play either Indiana State or Southern Illinois in Friday's first round.

    The Shockers appeared as high as No. 9 and as low as No. 19.

12. Murray State Racers

15 of 29

    Record: 28-1, 15-1 OVC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Voting Points: 139

    Murray State avenged its only loss of the season by routing Tennessee State on the road. The Racers, who also beat Tennessee Tech, are—obviously—the OVC's top seed, which receives a bye to the semifinals. 

    They'll play SE Missouri, Eastern Kentucky or Tennessee Tech on Friday evening.

    Voters ranked the Racers between No. 8 and No. 21.

11. Baylor Bears

16 of 29

    Record: 24-5, 11-5 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Voting Points: 147

    Baylor picked up wins over Texas and Oklahoma last week, but the Bears' odds of achieving anything higher than the Big 12's No. 3 seed remain slim. Though they can't finish lower than fourth, they'll need to win at Iowa State to secure third place.

    Baylor peaked at No. 9 and bottomed out at No. 14.

10. Georgetown Hoyas

17 of 29

    Record: 21-6, 11-5 Big East

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Voting Points: 154

    Seton Hall blew out Georgetown, but the Hoyas responded with a 21-point victory over Villanova.

    The Hoyas' final week of the regular season will be difficult. They'll play Notre Dame and Marquette, but wins over both teams would give Georgetown a shot at the Big East's No. 2 seed.

    The Hoyas ranked between No. 7 and No. 13.

9. Marquette Golden Eagles

18 of 29

    Record: 24-5, 13-3 Big East

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Voting Points: 172

    Marquette, which beat Rutgers and West Virginia last week, has won 12 of its last 13 games entering the season's final week. A win over Cincinnati or Georgetown this week would guarantee the Golden Eagles at least third place in the Big East.

    Only three voters ranked Marquette outside the range of No. 8-No. 9.

8. Ohio State Buckeyes

19 of 29

    Record: 23-6, 11-5 Big Ten

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Voting Points: 174

    Ohio State has recently been incapable of beating Top 25 teams. The Buckeyes, who fell to Wisconsin on Sunday, have lost three of their last five—each loss has been to a Top 25 squad.

    Ohio State ranked between No. 5 and No. 10.

    Disclaimer: Several ballots were submitted before the completion of OSU's loss to Wisconsin.

7. Missouri Tigers

20 of 29

    Record: 25-4, 12-4 Big 12

    Week: 0-2

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Voting Points: 184

    Marcus Denmon almost led Missouri past Kansas for the second time this season, but the Jayhawks defeated the Tigers in overtime. Denmon and Co. also fell to Kansas State earlier in the week.

    The Tigers came in as high as No. 6 and as low as No. 10.

6. UNC Tar Heels

21 of 29

    Record: 25-4, 12-2 ACC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Voting Points: 202

    UNC beat NC State and staved off Virginia's upset bid to keep pace with Duke entering the final week of the regular season. With just one more game before Saturday's rematch with the Blue Devils, we could see an epic battle for the ACC title. 

    The Tar Heels peaked at No. 4 but bottomed out at No. 7.

5. Michigan State Spartans

22 of 29

    Record: 24-5, 13-3 Big Ten

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Voting Points: 207

    Before routing Nebraska over the weekend, Michigan State fought back to beat Minnesota. The Spartans have won seven straight, and a win over Indiana or Ohio State this week would clinch full ownership of the Big Ten regular season title.

    MSU ranked between No. 3 and No. 7.

4. Duke Blue Devils

23 of 29

    Record: 25-4, 12-2 ACC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Voting Points: 221

    Duke avenged last month's loss to Florida State and used overtime to defeat Virginia Tech last week. A trip to Wake Forest is the only obstacle before Saturday's rematch with UNC, a game that should decide the ACC regular season championship. 

    One voter had Duke at No. 6, but everyone else had the Blue Devils at either No. 3 or No. 4.

3. Kansas Jayhawks

24 of 29

    Record: 24-5, 14-2 Big 12

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Voting Points: 225

    Kansas and Missouri engaged in the most thrilling game of the weekend, and the Jayhawks emerged on top. KU also beat Texas A&M last week, so the Jayhawks are two games ahead of Missouri with two games to play.

    Every voter had the Jayhawks between No. 3 and No. 5.

2. Syracuse Orange

25 of 29

    Record: 29-1, 16-1 Big East

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Voting Points: 240

    Syracuse relinquished its hefty lead over UConn, but the Huskies couldn't complete the comeback. The Orange also defeated South Florida earlier in the week to lock up the Big East regular season title.

    Syracuse appeared at No. 2 on every ballot.

1. Kentucky Wildcats

26 of 29

    Record: 28-1, 14-0 SEC

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Voting Points: 250

    Kentucky hasn't lost in more than two months, and the Wildcats are just two games away from running the table in the SEC. However, Sunday's trip to Gainesville isn't a guaranteed breeze for UK—though the Wildcats did defeat Florida by 20 the first time around.

    John Calipari's squad was the unanimous No. 1.

Full Top 25

27 of 29

    1. Kentucky, 250

    2. Syracuse, 240

    3. Kansas, 225

    4. Duke, 221

    5. Michigan State, 207

    6. UNC, 202

    7. Missouri, 184

    8. Ohio State, 174

    9. Marquette, 172

    10. Georgetown, 154

    11. Baylor, 147

    12. Murray State, 139

    13. Wichita State, 114

    14. Florida, 111

    15. Michigan, 110

    16. Wisconsin, 97

    17. UNLV, 85

    18. Indiana, 80

    19. Florida State, 72

    20. Louisville, 60

    21. San Diego State, 42

    22. Notre Dame, 38

    23. Saint Mary's, 37

    24. Creighton, 34

    25. Temple, 20

    Others receiving votes: Vanderbilt (11), Gonzaga (10), Virginia (8), New Mexico (6), Iona (5), Memphis (3), Mississippi State (2), South Florida (1), Drexel (1)

Conference Breakdown

28 of 29

    Big East: 5

    Big Ten: 5

    ACC: 3

    Big 12: 3

    SEC: 2

    MVC: 2

    MWC: 2

    A-10: 1

    OVC: 1

    WCC: 1