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

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IIDecember 26, 2011

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

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    Syracuse, for the third straight week, sits atop the Bleacher Report Writers Rankings. Only one of 13 voters didn't put the Orange at No. 1.

    Kansas, Pittsburgh, Xavier and Marquette were all upset this week, opening the door for other teams to surpass them in the rankings.

    Who climbed and fell the most?

    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 Mayer, Daniel O'BrienMatthew OveringRobert PaceJosh Schoch, Jordan Schwartz, Joshua SextonGene SiudutJames Sullivan

Missing the Cut

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    Dropped From Rankings

    Alabama, 24

    Others Receiving Votes

    Harvard, 19

    San Diego State, 18

    Alabama, 12

    Seton Hall, 10

    Gonzaga, 8

    Texas A&M, 6

    Iona, 5

    LSU, 2

    Stanford, 2

    West Virginia, 1

    St. Louis, 1

    Ohio, 1

25. Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Record: 11-2

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Voting Points: 24

    Though Illinois has lost two of its last three, the Fighting Illini remained in the Top 25.

    Bruce Weber's squad barely edged Cornell and its second half rally against Missouri fell four points shy. 

24. Virginia Cavaliers

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    Record: 10-1

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: NR

    Voting Points: 25

    Virginia cracked the Top 25 after extending its win streak to eight. The Cavaliers have beaten Michigan and George Mason at home.

23. Xavier Musketeers

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    Record: 9-3

    Week: 1-2

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Voting Points: 43

    After finishing seventh in the Diamond Head Classic, Xavier fell to No. 23.

    Tu Holloway returned for the Musketeers' tournament opener, and Mark Lyons joined him in the backcourt against Hawaii. However, their returns didn't result in wins against Long Beach State and Hawaii. 

    Xavier beat Southern Illinois on Sunday to end its three-game skid and get back on track.

22. Creighton Blue Jays

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    Record: 10-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Voting Points: 48

    Creighton rolled over Tulsa on the road and beat Northwestern at home to extend its win streak to three. 

    With Missouri Valley play set to commence on Wednesday, the Blue Jays certainly constructed a strong non-conference resume.

21. UNLV Rebels

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    Record: 13-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Voting Points: 49

    UNLV ascended four spots after dominating California on Friday. 

    The Rebels are now 3-1 against teams that have been ranked this season.

20. Murray State Racers

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    Record: 13-0

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 22

    Voting Points: 67

    As expected, Murray State easily defeated Tennessee-Martin on Dec. 21. The Racers will travel to 6-5 Eastern Illinois on Friday.

19. Pittsburgh Panthers

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    Record: 11-2

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 14

    Voting Points: 83

    Wagner upset Pittsburgh, handing the Panthers their second home loss of the season. 

18. Michigan Wolverines

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    Record: 10-2

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Voting Points: 106

    Michigan struggled with Bradley during the first half before pulling away for an 11-point victory.

    The Wolverines can thank Pitt for their one-spot climb in the rankings.

17. Michigan State Spartans

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    Record: 11-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Voting Points: 110

    Michigan State barely edged Michigan for the No. 17 slot, but a rout of UMKC and a nine-point win over Lehigh—a very solid mid-major—pushed the Spartans past the Wolverines, who struggled with Bradley.

    A Wednesday night matchup with Indiana awaits Tom Izzo's squad.

16. Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Record: 12-1

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Voting Points: 132

    A 15-point win over Northwestern State didn't alter Mississippi State's ranking.

    Winners of 11 straight, the Bulldogs will play Baylor on Wednesday night.

15. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Record: 8-3

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 11

    Voting Points: 133

    Kansas' loss to Davidson didn't settle well with voters, who dropped the Jayhawks four spots. 

14. Marquette Golden Eagles

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    Record: 11-1

    Week: 1-1

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Voting Points: 151

    Though Marquette lost at LSU, the Golden Eagles remained ahead of Kansas, which lost on its home floor to Davidson.

    Buzz Williams' squad responded to its loss with a 14-point win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

13. Georgetown Hoyas

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    Record: 10-1

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Voting Points: 161

    Georgetown beat Memphis for the second time this season—the two teams met in the Maui Invitational, too. 

    The Hoyas will take their eight-game winning streak to Louisville on Wednesday.

12. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Record: 12-0

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 17

    Voting Points: 174

    Routs of Howard and UMBC extended Indiana's win streak to 12, but opponents won't be as easy this week. The Hoosiers are set to play Michigan State and Ohio State before we turn the calendar.

11. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Record: 11-2

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Voting Points: 180

    Though Wisconsin played just one game this week—against the inferior Mississippi Valley State—the Badgers took care of business and leapt to No. 11.

10. Florida Gators

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    Record: 10-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Voting Points: 210

    Florida has now won five consecutive games since losing at Syracuse. The Gators have beaten Arizona, Texas A&M and Florida State during that stretch.

9. UConn Huskies

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    Record: 10-1

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Voting Points: 213

    UConn has won five straight, but the Huskies remain at No. 9. Their eight-point win over Fairfield last week shouldn't be evaluated by the final score—the Stags cut the Huskies' 20-point second half lead to three with under two minutes remaining.

    UConn has an easy start to Big East play, traveling to South Florida before hosting St. John's this week.

8. Missouri Tigers

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    Record: 12-0

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 8

    Voting Points: 247

    Though Missouri lost its 11-game streak of double-digit wins, the Tigers defeated Illinois in the annual Braggin' Rights game.

7. UNC Tar Heels

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    Record: 11-2

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Voting Points: 249

    Harrison Barnes poured in 26 points in UNC's 19-point victory over Texas last Wednesday. The Tar Heels also beat Nicholls State by 50 and have won five straight.

6. Duke Blue Devils

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    Record: 10-1

    Week: 1-0

    Previous Ranking: 6

    Voting Points: 258

    One blowout this week couldn't help Duke ascend past Baylor, despite the Bears' struggles with West Virginia.

    The Blue Devils should pick up two more easy wins against Western Michigan and Penn this coming week.

5. Baylor Bears

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    Record: 12-0

    Week: 3-0

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Voting Points: 264

    Pierre Jackson's three-pointer forced overtime, and Baylor survived West Virginia's upset bid to maintain its perfect record.

    The Bears, who also beat St. Mary's by 13, will play Mississippi St. on Wednesday.

4. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Record: 11-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Voting Points: 283

    Despite two blowout wins, Kentucky remained at No. 4. The Wildcats routed Samford by 32 points and pulled away from Loyola Md. for a 24-point victory.

    Kentucky plays Lamar on Wednesday in one final cupcake game before hosting Louisville on New Year's Eve.

3. Louisville Cardinals

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    Record: 12-0

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Voting Points: 295

    Louisville nearly lost its perfect record twice this week, but the Cardinals' two narrow victories over Charleston and Western Kentucky only dropped them one spot.

    Rick Pitino's squad will host Georgetown on Wednesday night in the Big East opener.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Record: 12-1

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Voting Points: 303

    Ohio State surpassed Louisville as a result of two routs and the Cardinals' struggles with Charleston and Western Kentucky.

    The Buckeyes, who have now won four straight, commence Big Ten play against Northwestern on Wednesday.

1. Syracuse Orange

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    Record: 13-0

    Week: 2-0

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Voting Points: 324

    For the third straight week, Bleacher Report writers gave Syracuse the No. 1 spot. 

    The Orange used a pair of 80-61 victories over Bucknell and Tulane to preserve their perfect record.

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