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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Feb 14: Power 16

We're one week closer to March and while many teams have solidified themselves as contenders there's been some movement in the Power 16.

 Now that Evan Turner is back in the fold, Ohio St. should be 
considered a serious contender for the Final Four.

  1. Kansas - Only Kansas St. has challenged the Jayhawks in conference play.  This team should cruise the rest of the way.  Chances of #1 overall seed: 80%
  2. Kentucky - Tennessee played them tough at Rupp Arena last night but Kentucky is starting to silence the critics who claim there is too much youth on this team to take them seriously.  Odds of #1 seed in NCAA: 70%
  3. Syracuse - Just when you thought the Orange were gaining on Kansas they lose at home to a bubble team. Ouch.  Still 24-2 is mighty impressive.  Play at Georgetown this week so the ride might get a bit bumpy.  Odds of #1 seed: 67%
  4. Villanova - Sneaky win in Morgantown last Monday solidifies Villanova a notch above the next four.  If you like scoring you like Villanova basketball.  Odds of #1 seed: 50%
  5. Purdue - Statement win in East Lansing shows these Boilers should be taken seriously.  A 5-1 record against the RPI top 25 makes them the most likely candidate to challenge for a #1 seed.  Odds of #1 seed: 30%
  6. Duke - Crushed the Terrapins yesterday.  There will be no challenger for the Duke's regular season title although they still have three road games left.  Odds of #1 seed: 30%
  7. West Virginia - A bad week for the Mountaineers as they lost both at home to Villanova and at Pitt in a 3 OT thriller.  A loss this week may cost them #2 seed.
  8. Kansas St. - A win over Iowa St. moved the Wildcats to 7-3 in Big 12 play.  They're now at the easier part of their schedule with the only game they should have much trouble in is a road game against the Jayhawks.  If they don't slip up beforehand, KSU may have locked up a 2 seed.
  9. Michigan St. - This is where the rankings get fuzzy.  Lucas is back and so is the Spartans' mojo.  Indiana appears to be the unfortunate victim of MSU's renewed focus before Ohio St. comes to town Saturday.
  10. Georgetown - Wildly inconsistent.  The Hoyas play extremely well against good teams yet have losses to Old Dominion, home to S. Florida, and now at Rutgers.  Expect a tight game in their first round match-up of the NCAA tournament.
  11. Ohio St. - The win at Illinois should act as a wakeup call to everyone.  Evan Turner is the best player in college basketball and Ohio St. is an elite team when he plays.  If the Buckeyes defeat Purdue this week they'll vault into the #2 seed group.
  12. New Mexico - Steve Alford has this team ready for the NCAA Tournament.  The Lobos had a couple of impressive road wins this week against UNLV and Utah.
  13. Wisconsin - The home loss to Illinois was a bit of a shocker.  Still, Wisconsin is 9-4 in Big Ten play and completely annihilated the Hoosiers yesterday.
  14. Brigham Young - There's no shame in losing on the road to UNLV but losing there shows the Cougars aren't unstoppable.  They may be a better team than New Mexico but we'll have to wait until the end of the month to prove it.
  15. Vanderbilt - A complete trouncing of Tennessee keeps the Commodores in the Power 16.  Next Saturday's home match vs. Kentucky could be the game of the weekend.
  16. Gonzaga - Sweeping the top three teams in the WCC moves the Zags into the Power 16 for the first time this year.  The WCC doesn't participate in Bracket Busters so the Zags next meaningful game won't take place until their conference tournament.  For now they need to continue to win to avoid slipping in the minds of the committee.
Also considered: Butler, Temple, Tennessee, UNLV
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